Many people, including some conservatives, have been very impressed with how brainy the president and his advisers are. But that is not quite as reassuring as it might seem.
The more adaptability exists for a given kind of decision, the less risky it is to make plans for the future, and therefore the more likely it is that more people will make more plans in such areas.
Creating whole departments of ethnic, gender, and other 'studies' was part of the price of academic peace. All too often, these 'studies' are about propaganda rather than serious education.
Someone once said that the most important knowledge is knowledge of our own ignorance. Our schools are depriving millions of students of that kind of knowledge by promoting self-esteem and encouraging them to have opinions on things of which they are grossly ignorant, if not misinformed.
Those who want to spread the wealth almost invariably seek to concentrate the power. It happens too often, and in too many different countries around the world, to be a coincidence. Which is more dangerous, inequalities of wealth or concentrations of power?
Government cannot solve all our problems, even in normal times, much less during a catastrophe of nature that reminds man how little he is, despite all his big talk.
The sad and tragic fact is that the civil rights movement, despite its honorable and courageous past, has over the years degenerated into a demagogic hustle, promoting the mindless racism they once fought against.
As a rule of thumb. Congressional legislation that is bipartisan is usually twice as bad as legislation that is partisan.
You cannot take any people, of any color, and exempt them from the requirements of civilization -- including work, behavioral standards, personal responsibility, and all the other basic things that the clever intelligentsia disdain -- without ruinous consequences to them and to society at large.
Everyone may be called comrade, but some comrades have the power of life and death over other comrades.
Knowledge can be enormously costly, and is often scattered in widely uneven fragments, too small to be individually usable in decision making. The communication and coordination of these scattered fragments of knowledge is one of the basic problems- perhaps the basic problem- of any society.
One of the first things taught in introductory statistics textbooks is that correlation is not causation. It is also one of the first things forgotten.
Economic policies need to be analyzed in terms of the incentives they create, rather than the hopes that inspired them.
In various countries and times, leaders of groups that lagged behind, economically and educationally, have taught their followers to blame all their problems on other people -- and to hate those other people.
What makes it possible for politicians to do so many things that are economically counterproductive is that neither the public nor the media know enough of the basics to understand what's wrong with what they're saying.
Activism is a way for useless people to feel important, even if the consequences of their activism are counterproductive for those they claim to be helping and damaging to the fabric of society as a whole.
The difference between a policy and a crusade is that a policy is judged by its results, while a crusade is judged by how good it makes its crusaders feel.
The real culprits are those who created a system that makes it dangerous to work and safe to loaf.
What does 'economic justice' mean, except that you want something that someone else produced, without having to produce anything yourself in return?
The whole idea of equal justice under law is completely incompatible with the idea of judges deciding cases according to empathy.
The media are less a window on reality, than a stage on which officials and journalists perform self-scripted, self-serving fictions.
The most politically painless way to hand out goodies, without taking responsibility for their costs, is to pass a law saying that somebody else must provide those goodies at their expense, while the politicians take credit for generosity and compassion.
Nothing is more complex than avoiding the obvious.
If we become a people who are willing to give up our money and our freedom in exchange for rhetoric and promises, then nothing can save us.
The first rule of economics is that there is an infinite number of desires chasing a finite number of goods, services and resources. The first rule of politics is to ignore the first rule of economics.
What is politically defined as economic planning is the forcible superseding of other people's plans by Government officials.
Those government officials who want more power are not going to stop unless they get stopped.
Affirmative action in the United States has made blacks...who have largely lifted themselves out of poverty, look like people who owe their rise to affirmative action and other government programs.
The great allure of government programs in general for many people is that these programs allow decisions to be made without having to worry about the constraints of prices, which confront people at every turn in a free market.
American prosperity and American free enterprise are both highly unusual in the world, and we should not overlook the possibility that the two are connected.
Barack Obama's vision of America is one in which a President of the United States can fire the head of General Motors, tell banks how to bank, control the medical system and take charge of all sorts of other activities for which neither he nor other politicians have any expertise or experience.
We are... living in a free society without the faith that built that society -- and without the conviction and dedication needed to sustain it... We still have the cathedral of freedom but how long will it last without the faith?
Compassion is the use of public funds to buy votes.
Envy is always referred to by its political alias, 'social justice.
You need to be empathetic in your own personal life and we help our neighbors and our friends out who are struggling in our neighborhoods. But we don't make bad decisions based on empathy.
Sometimes it seems as if I have spent the first half of my life refusing to let white people define me and the second half refusing to let black people define me.
Much of the world today, including the United States, is still living in the social, cultural, and political aftermath of Britain's cultural achievements, its industrial revolution, its government of checks and balances, and its conquests around the world.
If you truly believe in the brotherhood of man, then you must believe that blacks are just as capable of being racists as whites are.
One of the bitter ironies of the 20th century was that communism, which began as an egalitarian doctrine accusing capitalism of selfishness and calloused sacrifices of others, became in power a system whose selfishness and callousness toward others made the sins of capitalism pale.
Government central planning means over-riding other people's plans.
Economics is a study of cause-and-effect relationships in an economy. It's purpose is to discern the consequences of various ways of allocating resources which have alternative uses. It has nothing to say about philosophy or values, anymore than it has to say about music or literature.
A recent poll shows that a majority of blacks, whites, Asians and Hispanics do not think the Census should be classifying people as black, white, Asian and Hispanic.
The idealism of the left is a very selfish idealism. In their war against 'the rich' and big business, they don't care how much collateral damage there is to workers who end up end up unemployed.
Most people who read The Communist Manifesto probably have no idea that it was written by a couple of young men who had never worked a day in their lives, and who nevertheless spoke boldly in the name of the workers. Thomas Sowell .
If you want to get each individual's honest opinion, you don't want that opinion to be influenced by others who are present, much less allow a group to coordinate what they are going to say.
Right after liberal Democrats, the most dangerous politicians are country club Republicans.
People who believe in evolution in biology often believe in creationism in government. In other words, they believe that the universe and all the creatures in it could have evolved spontaneously, but that the economy is too complicated to operate without being directed by politicians.
In the wake of the housing debacle in California, more people are buying less expensive homes, making bigger down payments, and staying away from 'creative' and risky financing. It is amazing how fast people learn when they are not insulated from the consequences of their decisions.
One of the most ridiculous defenses of foreign aid is that it is a very small part of our national income. If the average American set fire to a five-dollar bill, it would be an even smaller percentage of his annual income. But everyone would consider him foolish for doing it.
However widespread the desire to be free, that is wholly different from a desire to live in a society where others are free.
All too often, we do smart things only after exhausting every conceivable dumb thing we could have done.
The big problem in the long process of dumbing down the schools is that you can reach a point of no return. How are parents who never received a decent education themselves to recognize that their children are not getting a decent education?
The demands of unbounded individualism need to be weighed in the light of inherent social constraints which can only change their form but cannot be eliminated without eliminating civilization.
Geography is not egalitarian.
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.
The grand delusion of contemporary liberals is that they have both the right and the ability to move their fellow creatures around like blocks of wood -- and that the end results will be no different than if people had voluntarily chosen the same action.
The fatal attraction of government is that it allows busybodies to impose decisions on others without paying any price themselves. That enables them to act as if there were no price, even when there are ruinous prices -- paid by others.
Some of the most vocal critics of the way things are being done are people who have done nothing themselves, and whose only contributions to society are their complaints and moral exhibitionism.
How you treat the helpless is the real test of morality. Lots of people are flunking that test big time.
Love is a four-letter word, but you don't hear in nearly as often as you hear some other four-letter words. It may be a sign of our times that everyone talks openly about sex, but we seem to be embarrassed to talk about love.
After the risky mortgage-lending practices fostered by government intervention led to massive defaults and foreclosures that caused financial institutions to collapse or be bailed out, Congressman Frank changed his tune completely.
When government takes away options, it is bound to make some people worse off, even with intrinsicallly good intentions behind that government intervention.
In short, killing the goose that lays the golden egg is a viable political strategy, so long as the goose does not die before the next election and no one traces the politicians' fingerprints on the murder weapon.
The only thing better than hands-on experience is hands-off experience -- enough experience to understand that some things will turn out better if left alone.
Too many people -- some of them judges -- seem to think that freedom of speech means freedom from consequences for what you have said. If you believe that, try insulting your boss when you go to work tomorrow. Better yet, try insulting your spouse before going to bed tonight.
An independent judiciary does not mean judges independent of the Constitution from which they derive their power or independent of the laws that they are sworn to uphold.
Many Americans who supported the initial thrust of civil rights, as represented by the Brown v. Board of Education decision and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, later felt betrayed as the original concept of equal individual opportunity evolved toward the concept of equal group results.
Wise men wrote the Constitution, but clever judges have been destroying it, bit by bit, turning it into an instrument of arbitrary judicial power, instead of a limitation on all government power.
What is history but the story of how politicians have squandered the blood and treasure of the human race?
The biggest myth about labor unions is that unions are for the workers. Unions are for unions, just as corporations are for corporations and politicians are for politicians.
The real problem, both in discussions of mass shootings and in discussions of gun control, is that too many people are too committed to a vision to allow mere facts to interfere with their beliefs, and the sense of superiority that those beliefs give them.
Some of the biggest cases of mistaken identity are among intellectuals who have trouble remembering that they are not God.
The remarkable reversal of public attitudes toward the Japanese over the years -- especially in Australia, Peru and the United States -- suggests that behavior and performance are more effective ways of changing other people's minds than moral crusades or emotional denunciations.
Just as a poetic discussion of the weather is not meteorology, so an issuance of moral pronouncements or political creeds about the economy is not economics. Economics is a study of cause-and-effect relationships in an economy.
The political mirage of something for nothing, from leaders who 'care,' has ruined many a nation.
People who have never run even a modest little business assert with great certainty and indignation that heads of multinational corporations are paid much more than they are worth. People who know nothing about medicine and nothing about economics unhesi.