Posts By Author » Thomas Sowell
Sex and the Military
12 Jun 2013 12:02 am
The headline on the front page of the New York Times said it all: “Women in the Senate Confront the Military on Sex Assaults.”
In a triumphalist article showcasing the growing numbers of women on the Senate Armed Services Committee, “one of the Senate’s most testosterone-driven panels,” the story line presents female Senators attacking male military officials over charges of sexual assaults against women in the armed forces.
Us-against-them stories are great for generating excitement in the media and in politics. But whether any of this political theater will actually reduce sexual …View More...
Economics vs. ‘Need’
11 Jun 2013 12:08 am
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?”
“Need?” Alchian said loudly, in a cutting tone that clearly …
5 Jun 2013 12:02 am
It is not really news that Victor Davis Hanson has written another outstanding and eye-opening book. He has done that before and repeatedly, on a variety of subjects.
The subject of his latest book, “The Savior Generals” is given in the subtitle: “How Five Great Commanders Saved Wars That Were Lost– From Ancient Greece to Iraq.”
As both a military historian and a classicist scholar, Victor Davis Hanson is one of the few people qualified to cover such a wide sweep of history. As someone whose depth of knowledge and insight are …View More...
4 Jun 2013 12:08 am
One of the many sad signs of our times is the way current immigration issues are discussed. A hundred years ago, the immigration controversies of that era were discussed in the context of innumerable facts about particular immigrant groups. Many of those facts were published in a huge, multi-volume 1911 study by a commission headed by Senator William P. Dillingham.
That and other studies of the time presented hard data on such things as which groups’ children were doing well in school and which were not; which groups had high crime …View More...
The Bullying Pulpit
28 May 2013 12:08 am
We have truly entered the world of “Alice in Wonderland” when the CEO of a company that pays $16 million a day in taxes is hauled up before a Congressional subcommittee to be denounced on nationwide television for not paying more.
Apple CEO Tim Cook was denounced for contributing to “a worrisome federal deficit,” according to Senator Carl Levin — one of the big-spending liberals in Congress who has had a lot more to do with creating that deficit than any private citizen has.
Because of “gimmicks” used by businesses to reduce …
Undoing the Brainwashing
22 May 2013 12:02 am
This time of year, as college students return home for the summer, many parents may notice how many politically correct ideas they have acquired on campus. Some of those parents may wonder how they can undo some of the brainwashing that has become so common in what are supposed to be institutions of higher learning.
The strategy used by General Douglas MacArthur so successfully in the Pacific during World War II can be useful in this very different kind of battle. General MacArthur won his victories while minimizing his casualties — …View More...
Wimps Versus Barbarians
21 May 2013 12:08 am
An all too familiar scene was enacted on the campus of Swarthmore College during a meeting on May 4th to discuss demands by student activists for the college to divest itself of its investments in companies that dealt in fossil fuels.
As a speaker was beginning a presentation to show how many millions of dollars such a disinvestment would cost the college, student activists invaded the meeting, seized the microphone and shouted down a student who rose in the audience to object.
Although there were professors and administrators in the room — …
Looking Back — and Forward
15 May 2013 12:04 am
A hundred years ago, anyone who might have predicted in 1913 the monumental, man-made catastrophes that would occur in the rest of the 20th century would have been considered warped, if not completely mentally deranged.
Who would have believed that the continent of Europe, which had not had a major war in nearly a hundred years since Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo, would set off two World Wars that were incomparably worse than any wars before, anywhere in the world?
Who would have believed that an authoritarian and militaristic regime in Germany, …
Lies About Libya
14 May 2013 12:08 am
There can be honest differences of opinion on many subjects. But there can also be dishonest differences. Last week’s testimony under oath about events in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 makes painfully clear that what the Obama administration told the American people about those events were lies out of whole cloth.
What we were told repeatedly last year by the President of the United States, the Secretary of State, and the American ambassador to the U.N., was that there was a protest demonstration in Benghazi against an anti-Islamic video produced by …View More...
Words That Replace Thought
8 May 2013 12:04 am
If there is ever a contest for words that substitute for thought, “diversity” should be recognized as the undisputed world champion.
You don’t need a speck of evidence, or a single step of logic, when you rhapsodize about the supposed benefits of diversity. The very idea of testing this wonderful, magical word against something as ugly as reality seems almost sordid.
To ask whether institutions that promote diversity 24/7 end up with better or worse relations between the races than institutions that pay no attention to it is only to get yourself …
Bouncing Ball Politics
7 May 2013 12:08 am
If you are driving along and suddenly see a big red rubber ball come bouncing out into the street, you might want to put your foot on the brake pedal, because a small child may well come running out into the street after it.
We all understand that an inexperienced young child who has his mind fixed on one thing may ignore other things that are too dangerous to be ignored. Unfortunately, too much of what is said and done in politics is based on the same tunnel vision pursuit of …View More...
Is Thinking Obsolete?
30 Apr 2013 12:08 am
While it is not possible to answer all the e-mails and letters from readers, many are thought-provoking, whether those thoughts are positive or negative.
An e-mail from one young man simply asked for the sources of some facts about gun control that were mentioned in a recent column. It is good to check out the facts — especially if you check out the facts on both sides of an issue.
By contrast, another man simply denounced me because of what was said in that column. He did not ask for my sources …
Immigration Gambles: Part II
25 Apr 2013 12:02 am
Whose interests are immigration laws supposed to serve — and whose interests do current immigration reform proposals actually serve?
In order to have any immigration policy serve any purpose, the border must first be secured. Otherwise American immigration policy exists only on paper, and is mocked by what happens on the ground, as masses of people cross the border illegally, in disregard of whatever policies are embodied in our laws.
Moreover, all the people who cross the border from Mexico are not Mexican. They can easily include Middle East terrorists. The fact …
24 Apr 2013 12:03 am
Britain’s late Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said it all when she wrote that the world has “never ceased to be dangerous,” but the West has “ceased to be vigilant.”
Nothing better illustrates her point than the fact that the West has imported vast numbers of people who hate our guts and would love to slit our throats. Political correctness has replaced self-preservation. The Boston Marathon killer who set a bomb down right next to an eight-year-old child is only the latest in an on-going series of such people.
Senator Patrick Leahy has …
Genes and Racism
23 Apr 2013 12:08 am
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.
It was genes that were the preferred explanation in the early decades of that century …
17 Apr 2013 12:02 am
Most laws are meant to stop people from doing something, and to penalize those who disregard those laws. More generally, laws are meant to protect the society from the law breakers.
But our immigration laws are different. Here the whole focus is on the “plight” of those who have broken the laws, and on what can be done to lift the stigma and ease the pressures they feel, so that they can “come out of the shadows” and “normalize” their lives.
Merely using the word “illegal” to describe their breaking the law …View More...
16 Apr 2013 12:08 am
Amid all the heated, emotional advocacy of gun control, have you ever heard even one person present convincing hard evidence that tighter gun control laws have in fact reduced murders?
Think about all the states, communities within states, as well as foreign countries, that have either tight gun control laws or loose or non-existent gun control laws. With so many variations and so many sources of evidence available, surely there would be some compelling evidence somewhere if tighter gun control laws actually reduced the murder rate.
And if tighter gun control …
Tests and Tiger Moms
10 Apr 2013 12:03 am
New York City’s Stuyvesant High School is one of those all too rare public schools for intellectually outstanding students. Such students are often bored to death in schools where the work is geared to the lowest common denominator, and it is by no means uncommon for very bright students to become behavior problems.
Recent statistics on the students who passed the examination to get into Stuyvesant High School raise troubling questions that are unlikely to receive the kind of serious answers they deserve.
These successful applicants included 9 black students, 24 Latino …
9 Apr 2013 12:08 am
Since when has it been considered smart to tell your enemies what your plans are?
Yet there on the front page of the April 8th New York Times was a story about how unnamed “American officials” were planning a “proportional” response to any North Korean attack. This was spelled in an example: If the North Koreans “shell a South Korean island that had military installations” then the South Koreans would retaliate with “a barrage of artillery of similar intensity.”
Whatever the merits or demerits of such a plan, what conceivable purpose can …
Middle East ‘Democracy’
2 Apr 2013 12:08 am
The Obama administration treated the creation of “democracy” in the Middle East as a Good Thing. Ironically, those who created the United States of America viewed democracy with fear– and created a Constitutional republic instead.
Everything depends on how you define democracy. In its most basic sense, democracy means majority rule. But there can be majority rule in a free country or in a country with an authoritarian or even a dictatorial government.
In this age of sloppy uses of words, many people include freedom in their conception of democracy. But whether …