Thomas Sowell's blog

Syria and Mr. Obama

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I cannot see why even a single American, a single Israeli or a single Syrian civilian should be killed as a result of a token U.S. military action, undertaken simply to spare Barack Obama the embarrassment of doing nothing, after his ill-advised public ultimatum to the Syrian government to not use chemical weapons was ignored.

Some people say that some military response is necessary, not to spare Obama a personal humiliation, but to spare the American presidency from losing all credibility — and therefore losing the ability to deter future threats to the United States without bloodshed. Read More»

A poignant anniversary

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The 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, and of the Reverend Martin Luther King’s memorable “I have a dream” speech, is a time for reflections — some inspiring, and some painful and ominous.

At the core of Dr. King’s speech was his dream of a world in which people would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by “the content of their character.”

Judging individuals by their individual character is at the opposite pole from judging how groups are statistically represented among employees, college students or political figures. Read More»

Reality vs. mirages in Egypt

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Nothing symbolizes the Utopianism of our times like both liberals and some conservatives calling for us to cut off aid to the Egyptian military, because of the widespread killings in what is becoming a civil war in Egypt. Such utter lack of realism from the left is not new, but hearing some conservatives saying the same things takes some getting used to.

President Obama’s call for the Egyptians to end the violence and form an “inclusive” government, with all factions represented, may sound good to many Americans. But there is not a snowball’s chance in hell that it will happen. Read More»

Are we serious about education?

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Two recent events — one on the East Coast and one on the West Coast — raise painful questions about whether we are really serious when we say that we want better education for minority children.

One of these events was an announcement by Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C., that it plans on Aug. 19 to begin “an entire week of activities to celebrate the grand opening of our new $160 million state-of-the-art school building.” Read More»

Busybody politics

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It is hard to read a newspaper, or watch a television newscast, without encountering someone who has come up with a new “solution” to society’s “problems.” Sometimes it seems as if there are more solutions than there are problems. On closer scrutiny, it turns out that many of today’s problems are a result of yesterday’s solutions.

San Francisco and New York are both plagued with large “homeless” populations today, largely as a result of previous housing “reforms” that made housing more expensive, and severely limited how much housing, and of what kind, could be built. Read More»

The mindset of the left, part 4: Busybodies

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At the heart of the left’s vision of the world is the implicit assumption that high-minded third parties like themselves can make better decisions for other people than those people can make for themselves.

That arbitrary and unsubstantiated assumption underlies a wide spectrum of laws and policies over the years, ranging from urban renewal to ObamaCare. Read More»

Exploring the mindset of the left — Part 1

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When teenage thugs are called “troubled youth” by people on the political left, that tells us more about the mindset of the left than about these young hoodlums.

Seldom is there a speck of evidence that the thugs are troubled, and often there is ample evidence that they are in fact enjoying themselves, as they create trouble and dangers for others.

Why then the built-in excuse, when juvenile hoodlums are called “troubled youth” and mass murderers are just assumed to be “insane”? Read More»

The mindset of the left: Part 2

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The political left has long claimed the role of protector of “the poor.” It is one of their central moral claims to political power. But how valid is this claim?

Leaders of the left in many countries have promoted policies that enable the poor to be more comfortable in their poverty. But that raises a fundamental question: Just who are “the poor”? Read More»

Economics vs. ‘need’

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One of the most common arguments for allowing more immigration is that there is a “need” for foreign workers to do “jobs that Americans won’t do,” especially in agriculture.

One of my most vivid memories of the late Armen Alchian, an internationally renowned economist at UCLA, involved a lunch at which one of the younger members of the economics department got up to go get some more coffee. Being a considerate sort, the young man asked, “Does anyone else need more coffee?” Read More»

Genes and racism

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During decades of watching both collegiate and professional football, I have seen hundreds of touchdowns scored by black players — but not one extra point kicked by a black player.

Is this because blacks are genetically incapable of kicking a football or because racists won’t let blacks kick a football?

Most of us would consider either of these explanations ridiculous. Yet genes and discrimination were the predominant explanations of black-white differences offered by intellectuals in the 20th century. Read More»

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