Thomas Sowell’s Random Thoughts on the Passing Scene

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Government bailouts are like potato chips: You can’t stop with just one.

Anyone who is honest with himself and with others knows that there is not a snow ball’s chance in hell to have an honest dialogue about race.

I wonder what radical feminists make of the fact that it was men who created the rule of “women and children first” when it came to rescuing people from life-threatening emergencies.

Barack Obama’s motto “Change you can believe in” has acquired a new meaning– changing his positions is the only thing you can believe in. His campaign began with a huge change in the image he projects, compared to what he was doing for 20 years before.

After getting DVDs of old “Perry Mason” TV programs and old “Law & Order” programs, I found myself watching far more of the “Perry Mason” series. The difference is that too many “Law & Order” programs tried to raise my consciousness on social issues, as if that is their role or their competence.

What is amazing this year is how many people have bought the fundamentally childish notion that, if you don’t like the way things are going, the answer is to write a blank check for generic “change,” empowering someone chosen not on the basis of any track record but on the basis of his skill with words.

When New York Times writer Linda Greenhouse recently declared the 1987 confirmation hearings for Judge Robert Bork “both fair and profound,” it was as close to a declaration of moral bankruptcy as possible. Those hearings were a triumph of character assassination by politicians with no character of their own. The country is still paying the price, as potential judicial nominees decline to be nominated and then smeared on nationwide television.

Some of the most emotionally powerful words are undefined, such as “social justice,” “a living wage,” “price gouging” or a “fragile” environment, for example. Such terms are especially valuable to politicians during an election year, for these terms can attract the votes of people who mean very different– and even mutually contradictory– things when they use these words.

How many in the media have expressed half as much outrage about the beheading of innocent people by terrorists in Iraq as they have about the captured terrorists held at Guantanamo not being treated as nicely as they think they should be?

Although most of the mainstream media are still swooning over Barack Obama, a few critics are calling the things he advocates “naive.” But that assumes that he is trying to solve the country’s problems. If he is trying to solve his own problem of getting elected, then he is telling the voters just what they want to hear. That is not naive but shrewd and cynical.

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