Eternal vigilance is only part of the price of freedom. The maturity to live with imperfections is another crucial part of the price of freedom.
As long as human beings are imperfect, there will always be arguments for extending the power of government to deal with these imperfections. The only logical stopping place is totalitarianism -- unless we realize that tolerating imperfections is the price of freedom.
We might have been better off if the question of Obama's patriotism had been raised before he was first elected. Never should we ignore so many red flag warnings again.
Racism is not dead, but it is on life support -- kept alive by politicians, race hustlers and people who get a sense of superiority by denouncing others as 'racists'
People who think that they are being 'exploited' should ask themselves whether they would be missed if they left, or whether people would say: 'Good riddance?'
Too often what are called educated people are simply people who have been sheltered from reality for years in ivy-covered buildings. Those whose whole careers have been spent in ivy-covered buildings, insulated by tenure, can remain adolescents on into their golden retirement years.
Because many of us make mistakes that can have bad consequences, some intellectuals believe that it is the role of government to intervene and make some of our decisions for us. From what galaxy government is going to hire creatures who do not make mistakes is a question they leave unanswered.
When all is said and done, the Constitution of the United States is a set of words on a piece of paper. The only way that the Constitution can protect us is if we protect the Constitution.
Often it is those who are most critical of a Eurocentric view of the world who are most Eurocentric when it comes to the evils and failings of the human race.
Perhaps people who are gushing over the Obama Cult today might do well to stop and think about what it would mean for their granddaughters to live under Sharia law.
Asking liberals where wages and prices come from is like asking six-year-olds where babies come from.
Freedom... refers to a social relationship among people-namely, the absence of force as a prospective instrument of decision making. Freedom is reduced whenever a decision is made under threat of force, whether or not force actually materializes or is evident in retrospect.
Social values in general are incrementally variable: neither safety, diversity, rational articulation, nor morality is categorically a good thing to have more of, without limits. All are subject to diminishing returns, and ultimately negative returns.
We're not a socialist country, because the socialists believe in government ownership in the means of production, but the fascists believe that the government should have private ownership and the politicians should tell people how to run the businesses. So that's the route we seem to be going.
The cavemen had the same natural resources at their disposal as we have today, and the difference between their standard of living and ours is a difference between the knowledge they could bring to bear on those resources and the knowledge used today.
Civil rights used to be about treating everyone the same. But today some people are so used to special treatment that equal treatment is considered to be discrimination.
How long do politicians have to keep on promising heaven and delivering hell before people catch on and stop getting swept away by rhetoric?
So long as public schools are treated as places that exist to provide guaranteed jobs to members of the teachers' unions, do not be surprised to see American students continuing to score lower on international tests than students in countries that spend a lot less per pupil than we do.
I have never understood why it is greed to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else's money.
Think about it: What the busybodies are saying is that third parties like themselves -- who are paying nothing to anybody -- should be determining how much somebody else should be paying those who work for them.
Fairness' is one of the great mantras of the left. Since everyone has his own definition of fairness, that word is a blank check for the expansion of government power. What fairness means in practice is that third parties -- busybodies -- can prevent mutual accommodations by others.
The anointed don't like to talk about painful trade-offs. They like to talk about happy solutionsthat get rid of the whole problem- at least in their imagination.
What freedom does a starving man have? The answer is that starvation is a tragic human condition- perhaps more tragic than loss of freedom. That does not prevent these from being two different things.
If you have ever seen a four-year-old trying to lord it over a two-year-old, then you know what the basic problem of human nature is -- and why government keeps growing larger and ever more intrusive.
The vision of the left, full of envy and resentment, takes its worst toll on those at the bottom -- whether black or white -- who find in that paranoid vision an excuse for counterproductive and ultimately self-destructive attitudes and behavior.
Hilary Clinton said you know, it takes a village to raise a child and somebody said it takes a village idiot to believe that … it is part of the whole thing of third parties wanting to make decisions for which they pay no price for when they're wrong.
The minimum wage law very cleverly is misnamed. The real minimum wage is zero. That is what many inexperienced and low skilled people receive as a result of legislation that makes it illegal to pay them what they are currently worth to an employer.
The way the welfare programs are organized, poor people are only paid to do things that are counter-productive -- such as breaking up their families, such as not earning above a certain level of income.
For the anointed, traditions are likely to be seen as the dead hand of the past, relics of a less enlightened age, and not as the distilled experience of millions who faced similar human vicissitudes before.
One of the reasons for conspiracy theories is an assumption that people in high places always know what they are doing. When they do something that makes no sense, devious reasons are imagined by conspiracy theorists, when in fact it may be due to plain old ignorance and incompetence.
Few of the great tragedies of history were created by the village idiot, and many by the village genius.
High tax rates that people don't actually pay do not bring the government as much revenue as lower tax rates that they do pay.
If politicians were serious about day care for children, instead of just sloganizing about it, nothing they could do would improve the quality of child care more than by lifting the heavy burden of taxation that forces so many families to have both parents working.
Where intellectuals have played a role in history, it has not been so much by whispering words of advice into the ears of political overlords as by contributing to the vast and powerful currents of conceptions and misconceptions that sweep human action along.
Military pay has been allowed to lag behind to the point where career enlisted men with families to feed have been forced to resort to food stamps.
People who identify themselves as conservatives donate money to charity more often than people who identify themselves as liberals. They donate more money and a higher percentage of their incomes.
We never really know and the very fact that there are such words in the language as disappointment, regret, etc., is testimony to the pervasiveness and persistence of this feature of the human condition.
What is especially disturbing about the political left is that they seem to have no sense of the tragedy of the human condition. Instead, they tend to see the problems of the world as due to other people not being as wise or as noble as themselves.
Apparently the only people who are supposed to be responsible are the taxpayers -- and they are increasingly made responsible for other people's irresponsibility.
So many idealistic political movements for a better world have ended in mass-murdering dictatorships. Giving leaders enough power to create 'social justice' is giving them enough power to destroy all justice, all freedom, and all human dignity.
The fashionable idiocy that haters must have justifications is one of those ideas that George Orwell said only an intellectual could believe -- because no one else could be such a fool.
Our fate is matched by the total freedom we have to react to our fate. It is as if we were dealt a hand of card. Once we have them, we are free to play them as we choose.
Some of the people on death row today might not be there if the courts had not been so lenient on them when they were first offenders.
We cannot allow the defense of American lives to be held hostage by the United Nations -- which has already given Saddam Hussein a final warning, and now wants to give him another final warning. And, if he doesn't heed that, they will threaten him with yet another warning.
'Global warming' is just the latest in a long line of hysterical crusades to which we seem to be increasingly susceptible.
It is precisely those members of Congress who have had the most to do with creating the risks that led to the current economic crisis who are making the most noise against others, and summoning people before their committee to be browbeaten and humiliated on nationwide television.
American society in recent years has been imitating behavior patterns that have produced negative -- and sometimes catastrophic -- consequences in many other countries around the world.
The key fallacy of so called gun control laws is that such laws do not in fact control guns. They simply disarm law abiding citizens, while people bent on violence find firearms readily available.
Morality, like other inputs into the social process, follows the law of diminishing returns- meaning ultimately, negative returns. People can be too moral.
The government does not have some magic wand that can 'bring down the cost of health care.' It can buy a smaller quantity or lower quality of medical care, as other countries with government-run medical care do.
Both history and contemporary data show that countries prosper more when there are stable and dependable rules, under which people can make investments without having to fear unpredictable new government interventions before these investments can pay off.
There is no talent so ardently supported, nor generously rewarded, as the ability to convince parasites they are victims.
No society ever thrived because it had a large and growing class of parasites living off those who produce.
Just as any moron can destroy a priceless Ming vase, so the shallow and ill-educated people who run our schools can undermine and destroy from within a great civilization that took centuries of dedicated effort to create and maintain.
Bailing out people who made ill-advised mortgages makes no more sense that bailing out people who lost their life savings in Las Vegas casinos.
No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems. They are trying to solve their own problems -- of which getting elected and re-elected are number one and number two. Whatever is number three is far behind.
The New York times' long-standing motto, 'All the News That's Fit to Print,' should be changed to reflect today's reality: 'Manufacturing News to Fit an Ideology.'
It is a way to take people's wealth from them without having to openly raise taxes. Inflation is the most universal tax of all.
Unbounded morality ultimately becomes counterproductive even in terms of the same moral principles being sought. The law of diminishing returns applies to morality.
One of the painfully sobering realizations that come from reading history is the utter incompetence that is possible among leaders of whole nations and empires -- and the blind faith that such leaders can nevertheless inspire among the people who are enthralled by their words or their posturing.
Money goes out first to pay expenses and then comes back as profits later -- if at all. The high rate of failure of new businesses makes painfully clear that there is nothing inevitable about the money coming back.
In medicine, it has long been recognized that even a quack remedy that is harmless in itself can be fatal when it substitutes for an effective medication or treatment. The time is overdue for that same recognition to apply to politics.
The time is long overdue to stop looking for progress through racial or ethnic leaders. Such leaders have too many incentives to promote polarizing attitudes and actions that are counterproductive for minorities and disastrous for the country.
Why the transfer of decisions from those with personal experience and a stake in the outcome to those with neither can be expected to lead to better decisions is a question seldom asked, much less answered.
To believe in personal responsibility would be to destroy the whole special role of the anointed, whose vision casts them in the role of rescuers of people treated unfairly by society.
The great escape of our times is escape from personal responsibility for the consequences of one's own behavior.
The left's obsession with the high incomes of corporate executives never seems to extend to equally high -- or higher -- incomes of professional athletes, entertainers, or best-selling authors like Danielle Steel.
An e-mail from a reader says that liberals like to take the moral high ground, even though their own moral relativism means that there is no moral high ground.
You need only visit campuses where whole departments feature soft courses preaching a sense of victimhood and resentment, and see the consequences in racial and ethnic polarization on campus.
How a man who holds the entire population of a country as his prisoners, and punishes the families of those who escape, can be admired by people who call themselves liberals is one of the many wonders of the human mind's ability to rationalize. Yet such is the case with Fidel Castro.
The curse of the intelligentsia is their ability to rationalize and re-define. Ordinary people, lacking that gift, are forced to face reality.
As history has also shown, especially in the twentieth century, one of the first things an ideologue will do after achieving absolute power is kill.
Another way of verbally masking elite preemption of other people's decisions is to use the word 'ask'-as in 'We are just asking everyone to pay their fair share.' But of course governments do not ask, they: tell. The Internal Revenue Service does not 'ask' for contributions. It takes.
Lunches don't get free just because you don't see the prices on the menu. And economists don't get popular by reminding people of that.
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 buildings.
'Fair' is one of the most dangerous concepts in politics. Since no two people are likely to agree on what is 'fair,' this means that there must be some third party with power -- the government -- to impose its will. The road to despotism is paved with 'fairness'.
We know -- or should know -- what lies at the end of the road of racial polarization. A 'race card' is not something to play, because race is a very dangerous political plaything.
Seldom is the claim made that black Americans alive at this moment are worse off than if their ancestors had been left in Africa. Any attempt to make that case with statistics on income, life expectancy, or numerous other variables would collapse like a house of cards.
Like so many before him who have ruined countries around the world, Obama has a greatly inflated idea of his own capabilities and the capabilities off what can be accomplished by rhetoric or even by political power.
Nowhere in the world do you find this evenness that people use as a norm. And I find it fascinating that they will hold up as a norm something that has never been seen on this planet, and regard as an anomaly something that is seen in country after country.
Some people say that taxes are the price we pay for civilization. But the runaway taxes of our time are the price we pay for being gullible.
If increased government spending with borrowed or newly created money is a 'stimulus,' then the Weimar Republic should have been stimulated to unprecedented prosperity, instead of runaway inflation and widespread economic desperation that ultimately brought Adolf Hitler to power.
In politics, throwing the taxpayers' money at disasters is supposed to show your compassion. But robbing Peter to pay Paul is not compassion. It is politics.
Even the Soviet Union, with its huge nuclear arsenal, was a threat that could be deterred by the prospect of retaliation. But suicide bombers cannot be deterred. They can only be annihilated -- preemptively and unilaterally, if necessary.
What then is the intellectual advantage of civilization over primitive savagery? It is not necessarily that each civilized man has more knowledge but that he requires far less.
Much of the self-righteous nonsense that abounds on so many subjects cannot stand up to three questions: (1) Compared to what? (2) At what cost? and (3) What are the hard facts?.
Whenever someone refers to me as someone who happens to be black, I wonder if they realize that both my parents are black. If I had turned out to be Scandinavian or Chinese, people would have wondered what was going on.
When a highly successful leader retires after a long career, it is very unlikely that his successor will be of comparable caliber. Anyone of similar ability and drive would have gone somewhere else, instead of waiting in the wings for years for a chance to show his own leadership.
I wish that some way could be found to add up all the staggering costs imposed on millions of ordinary people, just so a relative handful of self-righteous environmental cultists can go around feeling puffed up with themselves.
It is far easier to concentrate power than to concentrate knowledge. That is why so much social engineering backfires and why so many despots have led their countries into disasters.
If you start from a belief that the most knowledgeable person on earth does not have even one percent of the total knowledge on earth, that shoots down social engineering, economic central planning, judicial activism, and innumerable other ambitious notions favored by the political left.
One of the most fashionable notions of our times is that social problems like poverty and oppression breed wars. Most wars, however, are started by well-fed people with the time on their hands to dream up half-baked ideologies or grandiose ambitions, and to nurse real or imagined grievances.
Someone once defined a social problem as a situation in which the real world differs from the theories of intellectuals. To the intelligentsia, it follows, as the night follows the day, that it is the real world that is wrong and which needs to change.
If facts, logic, and scientific procedures are all just arbitrarily socially constructed notions, then all that is left is consensus -- more specifically peer consensus, the kind of consensus that matters to adolescents or to many among the intelligentsia.
Our economic problems worry me much less than our political solutions, which have a far worse track record.
Women can say anything they want to men, or blacks to whites, with impunity. But strong words in the other direction can bring down on students the wrath of the campus thought police -- as well as punishments that can extend to suspension or expulsion.
Capitalism is not an 'ism.' It is closer to being the opposite of an 'ism,' because it is simply the freedom of ordinary people to make whatever economic transactions they can mutually agree to.
You may scoff at the Tooth Fairy if you like. But the Tooth Fairy's approach has gotten more politicians elected than any economist's analysis.
The real goal should be reduced government spending, rather than balanced budgets achieved by ever rising tax rates to cover ever rising spending.
Those parts of history that would undermine the vision of the Left -- which prevails in our education system from elementary school to postgraduate study -- are not likely to get much attention.
Fundamentalist religion is the most pervasive vision of central planning, though many fundamentalists may oppose human central planning as a usurpation or playing God.This is consistent with the fundamentalist vision of an unconstrained God and a highly constrained man.
Weighing benefits against costs is the way most people make decisions -- and the way most businesses make decisions, if they want to stay in business. Only in government is any benefit, however small, considered to be worth any cost, however large.
People have a vested interest in promoting one set of polices rather than finding out what the truth is.
There are no dead-end jobs. There are no dead-end jobs. There are only dead-end people. Our current social philosophy, and the welfare state apparatus based on it, are creating more dead-end people.
The welfare state is the oldest con game in the world. First you take people's money away quietly, and then you give some of it back to them flamboyantly.
The welfare state shields people from the consequences of their own mistakes, allowing irresponsibility to continue and to flourish among ever wider circles of people.
Not since the days of slavery have there been so many people who feel entitled to what other people have produced as there are in the modern welfare state, whether in Western Europe or on this side of the Atlantic.
We need laws written by people who have confronted life in the real world, not in the sheltered world of trust fund recipients of the insulated cocoon of academia.
You can always create a fraction by putting one variable upstairs and another variable downstairs, but that soes not establish any causal relationship between them, nor does the resulting quotient have any necessary relationship to anything in the real world.
Wishful thinking is not idealism. It is self-indulgence at best and self-exaltation at worst. In either case, it is usually at the expense of others. In other words, it is the opposite of idealism.
Young people in general -- and young women in particular -- need to understand that they cannot retrieve in their forties the opportunities they threw away in their twenties.
One of the many disservices done to young people by our schools and colleges is giving them the puffed up notion that they are in a position to pass sweeping judgments on a world that they have barely begun to experience.
Despite a voluminous and often fervent literature on income distribution, the cold fact is that most income is not distributed: It is earned.
If politicians stopped meddling with things they don't understand, there would be a more drastic reduction in the size of government than anyone in either party advocates.
People who know nothing about advertising, nothing about pharmaceuticals, and nothing about economics have been loudly proclaiming that the drug companies spend too much on advertising -- and demanding that the government pass laws based on their ignorance.
Liberals are very broadminded: they are always willing to give careful consideration to both sides of the same side.
Few professors would dare to publish research or teach a course debunking the claims made in various ethnic, gender, or other 'studies' courses.
Contrary to the vision of the left, it was the free market which produced affordable housing -- before government intervention made housing unaffordable.
Study after study, not only here but in other countries, show that the most affordable housing is where there has been the least government interference with the market -- contrary to rhetoric.
One of the most pervasive political visions of our time is the vision of liberals as compassionate and conservatives as less caring.
The promotion of self-esteem in our schools has been so successful that people feel free to spout off about all sorts of things -- and see no reason why their opinions should not be taken as seriously as the views of people who actually know what they are talking about.
Even if her children or grandchildren are willing to spend their own money to keep grandma alive, when bureaucrats control the necessary technology or medication they may decide that it is not for sale.
Ego trips by coteries of self-exalting people are treated in the media as idealism, rather than the petty tyranny it is.
Racism does not have a good track record. It's been tried out for a long time and you'd think by now we'd want to put an end to it instead of putting it under new management.
Virtually no idea is too ridiculous to be accepted, even by very intelligent and highly educated people, if it provides a way for them to feel special and important. Some confuse that feeling with idealism.
The idea that money is corrupting innocent politicians would be laughable if it did not lead to such dangerous legislation.
When I see the worsening degeneracy in our politicians, our media, our educators, and our intelligentsia, I can't help wondering if the day may yet come when the only thing that can save this country is a military coup.
Our schools and colleges are turning out people who cannot feel fulfilled unless they are telling other people what to do.
Most of the founders of this country had day jobs for years. They were not career politicians. ... We need leaders with experience in the real world, not experience in the phony world of politics.
I'm always embarrassed when people say that I'm courageous. Soldiers are courageous. Policemen are courageous. Firemen are courageous. I just have a thick hide and disregard what silly people say.
The law of diminishing returns means that even the most beneficial prinicple will become harmful if carried far enough.
ANYONE who studies the history of ideas should notice how much more often people on the political left, more so than others, denigrate and demonize those who disagree with them -- instead of answering their arguments.
In this era of political correctness, some people seem unaware that being squeamish about words can mean being blind to realities.
It is so easy to be wrong-and to persist in being wrong-when the costs of being wrong are paid by others.