Thomas Sowell from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Sun, 24 Jul 2016 03:13:40 -0700 Thomas Sowell from Creators Syndicate f7bab0bf9005d1272ddeb15b21f36b24 The Dumbest Idea for 07/19/2016 Tue, 19 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>If there were a contest for the most stupid idea in politics, my choice would be the assumption that people would be evenly or randomly distributed in incomes, institutions, occupations or awards, in the absence of somebody doing somebody wrong.</p> <p>Political crusades, bureaucratic empires and lucrative personal careers as grievance mongers have been built on the foundation of that assumption, which is almost never tested against any facts.</p> <p>A recent article in the New York Times saw as a problem the fact that females are greatly under-represented among the highest rated chess players. Innumerable articles, TV stories and political outcries have been based on an "under-representation" of women in Silicon Valley, seen as a problem that needs to be solved.<p>Updated: Tue Jul 19, 2016</p> 17e4890acad8150d1c38cd4d681ab168 The War on Cops for 07/12/2016 Tue, 12 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>There was never a more appropriately named book than "The War on Cops" by Heather Mac Donald, published a few weeks ago, on the eve of the greatest escalation of that war by the ambush murders of five policemen in Dallas.</p> <p>Nor is this war against the police confined to Dallas. It is occurring across the country. Who is to blame?</p> <p>There is a ton of blame, more than enough to go around to the wide range of people and institutions that have contributed to these disasters. In addition to the murderers who have killed people they don't even know, there are those who created the atmosphere of blind hatred in which such killers flourish.<p>Updated: Tue Jul 12, 2016</p> 5070d30c9cc267c6bb9537cc6318143f The War on Cops: Part II for 07/12/2016 Tue, 12 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Even in this age of runaway emotions, there are still some people who want to know the facts. Nowhere are facts more important, or more lacking, than in what has been aptly called "The War on Cops," the title of a devastating new book by Heather Mac Donald.</p> <p>Few, if any, of the most fashionable notions about the police, minorities and the criminal justice system can withstand an examination of hard facts. Yet those fashionable notions continue to dominate discussions in the media, in politics and in academia. But Ms. Mac Donald's book of documented facts demolishes many fashionable notions.</p> <p>Consider one of the big talking points of politicians and others who claim that the harsher penalties for people selling crack cocaine than for people selling powder cocaine show racism, since crack cocaine is more likely to be used by blacks.<p>Updated: Tue Jul 12, 2016</p> 5269fbc0fdf6e731bc8cc074dc4481f2 What Are We Celebrating? for 07/05/2016 Tue, 05 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>There was a time when the Fourth of July meant something more than a three-day weekend. Speeches, writings and commemorative ceremonies reminded us of the origins and greatness of America. No matter where in the world our ancestors came from, we today are almost invariably better off because they came to America.</p> <p>Independence Day signified much more than one country announcing its independence from another on July 4, 1776. It represented a new form of government &#8212; freer and more accountable to its own people than the monarchies common around the world for centuries.</p> <p>What happened in America did not stay in America. The example of freedom inspired other peoples in other lands. As a famous poem put it, it was America's "embattled farmers," fighting for their own freedom and independence, who "fired the shot heard round the world."<p>Updated: Tue Jul 05, 2016</p> ebcfe455f2b46baa32eaefb5a1dc1507 The Fraud Goes On for 06/28/2016 Tue, 28 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Last week the Supreme Court of the United States voted that President Obama exceeded his authority when he granted exemptions from the immigration laws passed by Congress.</p> <p>But the Supreme Court also exceeded its own authority by granting the University of Texas an exemption from the Constitution's requirement of "equal protection of the laws," by voting that racial preferences for student admissions were legal.</p> <p>Supreme Court decisions in affirmative action cases are the longest running fraud since the 1896 decision upholding racial segregation laws in the Jim Crow South, on grounds that "separate but equal" facilities were consistent with the Constitution. Everybody knew that those facilities were separate but by no means equal. Nevertheless, this charade lasted until 1954.<p>Updated: Tue Jun 28, 2016</p> 88e6c6f581e12cad46f6028fcc6b2d05 The Gun Control Farce for 06/21/2016 Tue, 21 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Surely murder is a serious subject, which ought to be examined seriously. Instead, it is almost always examined politically in the context of gun control controversies, with stock arguments on both sides that have remained the same for decades. And most of those arguments are irrelevant to the central question: Do tighter gun control laws reduce the murder rate?</p> <p>That is not an esoteric question, nor one for which no empirical evidence is available. Think about it. We have 50 states, each with its own gun control laws, and many of those laws have gotten either tighter or looser over the years. There must be tons of data that could indicate whether murder rates went up or down when either of these things happened.</p> <p>But have you ever heard any gun control advocate cite any such data? Tragically, gun control has become one of those fact-free issues that spawn outbursts of emotional rhetoric and mutual recriminations about the National Rifle Association or the Second Amendment.<p>Updated: Tue Jun 21, 2016</p> e9262119a05c3ab390c53563af0ede16 Will Orlando Change Anything? for 06/14/2016 Tue, 14 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>However great the shock of the massacre in Orlando, it is only a matter of time before we start hearing again the fact-free dogma that "diversity is our strength."</p> <p>If there is any place in the Guinness Book of World Records for words repeated the most often, over the most years, without one speck of evidence, "diversity" should be a prime candidate.</p> <p>Is diversity our strength? Or anybody's strength, anywhere in the world? Does Japan's homogeneous population cause the Japanese to suffer? Have the Balkans been blessed by their heterogeneity &#8212; or does the very word "Balkanization" remind us of centuries of strife, bloodshed and unspeakable atrocities, extending into our own times?<p>Updated: Tue Jun 14, 2016</p> 9c77d3c2e3c3efdaaaea041ebc295ba2 Is Personal Responsibility Obsolete? for 06/07/2016 Tue, 07 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Among the many disturbing signs of our times are conservatives and libertarians of high intelligence and high principles who are advocating government programs that relieve people of the necessity of working to provide their own livelihoods.</p> <p>Generations ago, both religious people and socialists were agreed on the proposition that "he who does not work, neither shall he eat." Both would come to the aid of those unable to work. But the idea that people who simply choose not to work should be supported by money taken from those who are working was rejected across the ideological spectrum.</p> <p>How we got to the present situation is a long story, but the painful fact is that we are here now. Among the leading minds of our times, including Charles Murray today and the late and great Milton Friedman earlier, there have been proposals for ways of subsidizing the poor without the suffocating distortions of the government's welfare state bureaucracy.<p>Updated: Tue Jun 07, 2016</p> 65cd744ec35e33c1d9dbbe0127800243 Is Personal Responsibility Obsolete?: Part II for 06/07/2016 Tue, 07 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Too many social problems are conceived of in terms of what "we" can do for "them." After decades of massive expansions of the welfare state, the answer seems to range from "not very much" to "making matters worse."</p> <p>Undaunted, people in a number of countries are coming up with new proposals that are variations on the theme of government-provided income &#8212; which amounts to relieving people from personal responsibility.</p> <p>Yet even some conservatives and libertarians are coming up with proposals for more "efficient" versions of the welfare state &#8212; namely direct cash grants for life to virtually all adults, instead of the current hodgepodge of overlapping bureaucratic programs.<p>Updated: Tue Jun 07, 2016</p> 1bd2fae5a45a335ae16caf5f445cdcb0 Socialism for the Uninformed for 05/31/2016 Tue, 31 May 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Socialism sounds great. It has always sounded great. And it will probably always continue to sound great. It is only when you go beyond rhetoric, and start looking at hard facts, that socialism turns out to be a big disappointment, if not a disaster.</p> <p>While throngs of young people are cheering loudly for avowed socialist Bernie Sanders, socialism has turned oil-rich Venezuela into a place where there are shortages of everything from toilet paper to beer, where electricity keeps shutting down, and where there are long lines of people hoping to get food, people complaining that they cannot feed their families.</p> <p>With national income going down, and prices going up under triple-digit inflation in Venezuela, these complaints are by no means frivolous. But it is doubtful if the young people cheering for Bernie Sanders have even heard of such things, whether in Venezuela or in other countries around the world that have turned their economies over to politicians and bureaucrats to run.<p>Updated: Tue May 31, 2016</p> cbeca20d33040123d898b310a13a0818 Commencement Season for 05/24/2016 Tue, 24 May 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>This is the season of college Commencement speeches &#8212; an art form that has seldom been memorable, but has increasingly become toxic in recent times.</p> <p>Two themes seem to dominate Commencement speeches. One is shameless self-advertising by people in government, or in related organizations supported by the taxpayers or donors, saying how nobler it is to be in "public service" than working in business or other "selfish" activities.</p> <p>In other words, the message is that it is morally superior to be in organizations consuming output produced by others than to be in organizations which produce that output. Moreover, being morally one-up is where it's at.<p>Updated: Tue May 24, 2016</p> f780952bc869f8ee1fad7495adb26fee Grim Choices for 05/17/2016 Tue, 17 May 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>We must frankly face the fact that the front runners in both political parties represent a new low, at a time of domestic polarization and unprecedented nuclear dangers internationally. This year's general election will offer a choice between a thoroughly corrupt liar and an utterly irresponsible egomaniac.</p> <p>The Republican establishment, whose serial betrayals of their supporters created the setting for a Donald Trump to arise, must now decide how best to deal with the apparent inevitability of his candidacy.</p> <p>Choosing among various unpalatable options may require some tricky maneuvering on their part, but they have been used to tricky maneuvering before, which is how they find themselves in this predicament in the first place.<p>Updated: Tue May 17, 2016</p> 5b555679f3d246c37745ae7b7652c74d Dry Rot in Academia for 05/10/2016 Tue, 10 May 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Jason Riley has now joined the long and distinguished list of people invited &#8212; and then disinvited &#8212; to give a talk on a college campus, in this case Virginia Tech. </p> <p>Mr. Riley is a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal and, perhaps most relevantly, author of a very insightful book titled "Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed."</p> <p>In short, Jason Riley's views on race are different from the views that prevail on most college campuses. At one time, 50 years ago or earlier, exposing students to a different viewpoint was considered to be a valuable part of their education. But that was before academia &#8212; and the education system in general &#8212; became virtually a monopoly of the political left. <p>Updated: Tue May 10, 2016</p> 91006dcbcde48a3c0c2c346cca0a5436 An Unmitigated Disaster for 05/05/2016 Thu, 05 May 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Republican party leaders may have worried that Donald Trump would not only lose the general election for the presidency, but would so poison the image of the party as to cause Republican candidates for Congress and for state and local offices to also lose. Now they seem to be trying to patch things up, in order to present an image of unity before the general elections this fall.</p> <p>Regardless of how that attempt at patching up an image turns out, Trump's candidacy could be not only a current political setback for Republicans, but an enduring affliction in future elections. </p> <p>For decades after Republican President Herbert Hoover was demonized because the Great Depression of the 1930s began on his watch, Democrats warned repeatedly, in a series of later presidential elections, that a vote for the Republican candidate was a vote to return to the days of Herbert Hoover. <p>Updated: Thu May 05, 2016</p> 94bcf9c74d036324b43ebb0f60c3dcd8 Random Thoughts for 05/03/2016 Tue, 03 May 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Random thoughts on the passing scene:</p> <p>One of the problems with being a pessimist is that you can never celebrate when you are proven right.</p> <p>If what you want from politicians are quick and easy answers, someone is sure to supply them, regardless of which party you follow. History can tell you where quick and easy answers lead. But, if you don't want to bother reading history, you can just wait and relive its catastrophes.<p>Updated: Tue May 03, 2016</p> ca58991d7857d89e81487da3a08dd900 Conservatives for Trump? for 04/26/2016 Tue, 26 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The sudden appearance of Donald Trump on the political horizon last year may have been surprising, but not nearly as surprising as seeing some conservatives supporting him.</p> <p>Does Trump have conservative principles? Does he have any principles at all, other than promoting Donald Trump? A smorgasbord of political positions &#8212; none of them indicating any serious thought about complicated issues &#8212; is not a principle. Nor is cheering for himself and boasting about all the great things he is going to do as President.</p> <p>Haven't we seen this movie before? Wasn't Barack Obama going to heal the racial divide, end the partisan bickering in Washington, have the most transparent administration ever, lower the cost of health care and let you keep your own doctor?<p>Updated: Tue Apr 26, 2016</p> c59cf6a6defd7ffe3ca9cde2f4ab7967 Winners or Whiners? for 04/19/2016 Tue, 19 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>If there is one pattern that is emerging from this year's political campaigns, it is that rhetoric beats reality &#8212; in both parties.</p> <p>The biggest surprise among the Democrats is Bernie Sanders, and among the Republicans is Donald Trump. Although they are each seeking to be put in charge of the nation's government, does anyone know &#8212; or care &#8212; what their actual track record in government has been?</p> <p>Trump of course has no track record at all in government. If Sanders has anything to show for his many years in Congress, no one seems to know what it is. But both are great at rhetoric.<p>Updated: Tue Apr 19, 2016</p> d4a57654d52cb0872af575ae89a60538 The 'Voice of the People' Fallacy for 04/12/2016 Tue, 12 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>We hear many fallacies in election years. The fallacy that seems to be most popular this year is that, if Donald Trump comes close to getting the 1,237 delegates required to become the Republican nominee, and that nomination goes instead to someone else, then the convention will have ignored "the voice of the people."</p> <p>Supposedly Republican voters would be outraged, many would stay home on election day, and some might even vote for the Democrats' nominee, whether Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.</p> <p>Mr. Trump has more than once made the veiled threat that he would run as a third-party candidate if the Republicans failed to "respect" him. And of course Trump would himself decide what "respect" means.<p>Updated: Tue Apr 12, 2016</p> 374aa760c047df08a49d9f15a17cf0a4 Campaign Lies for 04/12/2016 Tue, 12 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>If you took all the lies out of political rhetoric, how much would be left? Apparently even less than usual this year.</p> <p>The latest, and perhaps biggest, lie &#8212; thus far &#8212; is that Donald Trump was cheated out of delegates in Colorado because the voters did not select the delegates.</p> <p>Two very different questions have gotten confused with each other. One question is whether this is the best way to choose delegates. Most of us would say "No," but most of us don't live in Colorado, and each state is allowed great leeway in how it chooses to pick its delegates.<p>Updated: Tue Apr 12, 2016</p> 773f46def88134530cbd34da7cfbd225 Dangerous Donald Trump for 04/05/2016 Tue, 05 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Donald Trump's victories in the Republican primaries may make him seem like a sure winner. But those victories have been achieved by receiving either somewhat less than 40 percent of the votes or somewhat more than 40 percent, but never a majority.</p> <p>The fragmenting of the Republican vote among many candidates in the primaries made this possible. But victory in the general election for President of the United States in November is going to require a lot more than 40 percent of the votes. And polls consistently show Mr. Trump to be the most negatively regarded of any of the candidates in either party.</p> <p>In some Republican winner-take-all states, 40 percent of the votes can be enough to get 100 percent of the delegates. This leverage might enable Trump to gain a majority of the delegates needed to become the party's nominee.<p>Updated: Tue Apr 05, 2016</p>