We each have favorite writers, those whose thoughts and opinion we value for their relevance and truthful insight. While tastes will vary because of ideologies, especially the radical beliefs, I've always been drawn to those who espouse common sense backed by undeniable wisdom.
That's why I've always favored the wisdom of the late Will Rogers and Mark Twain.
An elderly sage who can more than hold his own with them today also is among my favorites, economist and professor Dr. Thomas Sowell, who retired from column writing but remains an intellectual Godzilla as a senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution.
Sowell was educated at Harvard, Columbia and Chicago and has been a professor at Cornell, Brandeis, and UCLA.
With that kind of background, most of us would expect this black American to be a radicalized flaming leftist on an intolerant campus where free speech and a reasonable exchange of ideas are under attack. Yet this free-thinking, truth-telling 87-year-old conservative is anything but.
I consider him America's philosopher and unapologetic conscience who has difficulty suffering fools and foolish thinking. Some of my Sowell favorites:
"The first lesson of economics is scarcity. There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics."
"People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything."
"The next time some academics tell you how important diversity is, ask how many Republicans there are in their sociology department."
"Too much of what is called 'education' is little more than an expensive isolation from reality."
"The welfare state is the oldest con game in the world. First, you take the people's money quietly and then you give some of it back to them flamboyantly."
"Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good."
"It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong."
"One of the consequences of such notions as 'entitlements' is that people who have contributed nothing to society feel that society owes them something, apparently just for being nice enough to grace us with their presence."
"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."
"The problem isn't that Johnny can't read. The problem isn't even that Johnny can't think. The problem is Johnny doesn't know what thinking is; he confuses it with feeling."
"The word 'racism' is like ketchup. It can be put on practically anything--and demanding evidence makes you a 'racist'."
"It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance."
"Stopping illegal immigration would mean that wages would have to rise to a level where Americans would want the jobs currently taken by illegal aliens."
"It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer 'universal health care'."
"Immigration laws are the only laws that are discussed in terms of how to help people who break them."
"If you have always believed that everyone should play by the same rules and be judged by the same standards, that would have gotten you labeled a radical 50 years ago, a liberal 25 years ago and a racist today."
"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."
"The black family survived centuries of slavery and generations of Jim Crow, but it has disintegrated in the wake of the liberals' expansion of the welfare state."
"Life in general has never been even close to fair, so the pretense that the government can make it fair is a valuable and inexhaustible asset to politicians who want to expand government."
"Helping those who have been struck by unforeseeable misfortunes is fundamentally different from making dependency a way of life."
"What is ominous is the ease with which some people go from saying they don't like something to saying that the government should forbid it. When you go down that road, don't expect freedom to survive very long."
"The more people who are dependent on government handouts, the more votes the left can depend on for an ever-expanding welfare state."
"The old adage about giving a man a fish versus teaching him how to fish has been updated ... : Give a man a fish and he will ask for tartar sauce and French fries! Moreover, some politician who wants his vote will declare all these things to be among his 'basic rights'."
"You will never understand bureaucracies until you understand that for bureaucrats procedure is everything and outcomes are nothing."
"Sometimes it seems as if there are more solutions than problems. On closer scrutiny, it turns out that many of today's problems are a result of yesterday's solutions."
"Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it."
Mike Masterson is a longtime Arkansas journalist. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editorial on 05/20/2018
Print Headline: Radiating Sowell