Thomas Sowell's blog

Tortured reasoning

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Critics and defenders of the harsh interrogation methods applied to captured terrorists can argue forever over whether those methods were “torture.”

But any serious discussion of a serious issue — and surely terrorism qualifies as serious — has to move beyond semantics and confront the ultimate question: “Compared to what alternative?”

If you knew that there was a hidden nuclear time bomb planted somewhere in New York City — set to go off today — and you had a captured terrorist who knew where and when, would you not do anything whatever to make him tell you where and when? Read More»

Is law optional?

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The fiasco of “Rolling Stone” magazine’s apology for an unsubstantiated claim of gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity house — and the instant rush to judgment of the university administration in shutting down all fraternities, when those charges were made — should warn us about the dangers of having serious legal issues dealt with by institutions with no qualifications for that role.

Rape is a crime. It belongs in a criminal justice courtroom. And those found guilty belong behind bars for a long time. Read More»

Opinions versus facts

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Everyone seems to have an opinion about the tragic events in Ferguson, Missouri. But, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan used to say, “You’re entitled to your own opinion but you’re not entitled to your own facts.”

Soon after the shooting death of Michael Brown, this 285-pound young man was depicted as a “gentle giant.” But, after a video was leaked, showing him bullying the owner of a store from which he had stolen some merchandise, Attorney General Eric Holder expressed displeasure that the video was leaked. In other words, to Holder the truth was offensive, but the lie it exposed was not. Read More»

What happened last week

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Just what happened last week on election day? And what is going to happen in the years ahead?

The most important thing that happened last week was that the country dodged a bullet. Had the Democrats retained control of the Senate, President Obama could have spent his last two years in office loading the federal judiciary with judges who share his contempt for the Constitution of the United States. Read More»

Irresponsible ‘education’

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Goddard College’s recent decision to have its students addressed from prison by a convicted cop killer is just one of many unbelievably irresponsible self-indulgences by “educators” in our schools and colleges. Read More»

All politics is local? Not this time

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Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill once said, “All politics is local.” That may have been true in Tip O’Neill’s day, but some elections are decisively on national issues — and the Congressional elections this year are overwhelmingly national, just as the elections of 1860 were dominated by one national issue, namely slavery. Read More»

Ebola and Obama

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The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is both a danger in itself and a wake-up call for Americans — about President Obama, about the institutions of this country and, most important, about ourselves.

There was a time when an outbreak of a deadly disease overseas would bring virtually unanimous agreement that our top priority should be to keep it overseas. Yet Barack Obama has refused to bar entry to the United States by people from countries where the Ebola epidemic rages, as Britain has done. Read More»

Who wants war?

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Some pundits are saying that President Obama has been floundering in his response to the ISIS crisis because public opinion polls show most Americans don’t want another war.

In all my 84 years, I cannot recall a time when most Americans wanted war. That is something we should be proud of. But wars are not always optional. Read More»

Mob rule economics

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While we talk about democracy and equal rights, we seem increasingly to let both private and government decisions be determined by mob rule. There is nothing democratic about mob rule. It means that some people’s votes are to be overruled by other people’s disruptions, harassments and threats. Read More»

Obama’s ‘strategy’: Failure or success?

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Those people who say that President Obama has no clear vision and no clear strategy for dealing with the ISIS terrorists in the Middle East may be mistaken. It seems to me that he has a very clear and very consistent strategy. And a vision behind that strategy.

First the strategy — which is to get each crisis off the front pages and off television news programs as quickly as he can, in whatever way he can, at the lowest political cost. Calling ISIS a junior varsity months ago accomplished that goal. Read More»

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