Jewish World Review Feb. 22, 2005 / 13 Adar I, 5765

Thomas Sowell

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Random thoughts | Random thoughts on the passing scene:

How many other species' members kill each other to the same extent as human beings?

How can you be an "insurgent" in someone else's country? Yet despite the fact that the wave of terrorism in Iraq is led by an outside terrorist who is murdering Iraqis, our media still calls his terror campaign an "insurgency."

It is amazing how many people who phone ask to know who you are instead of telling you who they are.

Raising Social Security taxes today will not leave a dime more to pay pensions to future retirees. Right now there is more money coming into the system than is going out — and the difference gets spent on other things. Higher taxes now would mean a bigger excess to be spent on other things, leaving nothing more for the future.

Time and again, over the centuries, price controls have produced three things: shortages, quality deterioration and black markets. Why would anyone want any of those things with pharmaceutical drugs?

What "eminent domain" laws mean in practice is that politicians have a right to seize your property and turn it over to someone else, in order to gain campaign contributions and win votes.

Don't you get tired of seeing so many "non-conformists" with the same non-conformist look?

Everyone is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty — in a court of law. But we cannot just mindlessly repeat words outside the context in which they apply. If you discovered that your spouse had been secretly checking into motels with someone else, would you presume innocence until proven guilty?

It is amazing how many people think that the government's role is to give them what they want by overriding what other people want.

Automobiles are getting to look so much alike that it is hard to tell some cars apart, even when they are made by different manufacturers or even made in different countries. Recently, I was embarrassed to realize that I was trying to get into someone else's German-made car on a parking lot, thinking it was my own Japanese-made car.

In honor of George Washington's birthday, you might want to read an excellent little book about his life. It is titled "Founding Father" by Richard Brookhiser.

Some words that are said cannot be unsaid. The most you can do is avoid saying them in the first place.

A check of official records shows that my property line extends farther than I thought — but laws prevent me from using that additional land. However, I can probably be sued if anyone gets injured while trespassing on it. In other words, I am worse off for owning more land than I thought I had.

Sign on a monument to people who served in the military: "All gave some. Some gave all."

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People who look at the Islamic world of the Middle East and ask, "Why do they hate us?" may be surprised to discover that such hatred goes back long before the Bush administration or even the founding of Israel in 1947. Eminent scholar Bernard Lewis has written a very readable little book titled "What Went Wrong?" that traces the internal problems of that region, which led to such hatred and fanaticism.

If sanity ever returns to our society and we stop taking pretentious elites seriously, one of the signs will be that the public will force the removal of those ugly pieces of twisted metal that are called "art" in front of government building.

If the government gave a $5,000 subsidy to anyone who buys an automobile, do you doubt that the price of automobiles would go up — perhaps by $5,000? Why then does no one see any connection between government subsidies to college students and rising tuition?

People who oppose the privatization of Social Security call it "a risky scheme." But is anything more risky than turning money over to politicians and hoping that they won't spend it before you retire? They have been spending the "trust fund" for decades.

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JWR contributor Thomas Sowell, a fellow at the Hoover Institution, is author of several books, including his latest, "Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One." (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.) To comment please click here.


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