A brilliant man

31 Aug

One of the smartest political essayists around is Dr. Thomas Sowell, who happens to be a black man who grew up attending public schools in Harlem.  You can read a short biography here.  I recently watc?hed a video interview discussing his recent book, Dismantling America.  The video is about 30 minutes long, but fascinating and worth the watch.  I’ve pulled out a few quotes to share here.

Regarding judges essentially superceding our laws through their “opinions,”

The most important decision is always, who makes the decision?

In other words, are we the people collectively making these decisions in the voting booth or is it the individual judge on the bench?
Regarding “expert” testimony,

I could give you an impressive list of people who have said absurd things.  In fact, if you were to make a list of all the absurd things said by brilliant people, it would be longer than the Encyclopedia Brittanica.
Regarding the mortgage loan crisis,
The fundamental reason for the crisis was that the mortgages were not paid; and the fundamental reason they were not paid is that they were made under conditions that made them unlikely they would ever be repaid.  You knew that going in.
They discussed the fact that Sowell grew up in the 1940’s Harlem, a pleasant and safe place, which later degenerated into a sort of Hell.  The host points out that Harlem has recently enjoyed revitalization, so this should be a cause for hope for Dr. Sowell, who replied:
I never denied the possibility of renewal and rebirth.  In fact, I say in my book that the one good thing is that nothing is inevitable until it happens.  But I also point out that there was a series of improvements as the Roman Empire moved towards its last days.
Dr. Sowell talks a lot about personal responsibility.  He claims that FDR’s New Deal initiated the breakdown in this long-held sense of independence.
Personal responsibility is more or less passe. … There was a time, I think, most Americans would have felt insulted to have it thought that they wanted somebody else to pay their medical bills.  They don’t feel so insulted anymore.

Dr. Sowell feels it is the absolute duty of the President of the United States to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons, else the Western world may be doomed.  But what about deterrance that worked during the Cold War?  Sowell points out a distinct difference:

The Russians did not want us to blast Moscow off the map.  The Iranians have said themselves … that their top priority is not Iran, but Allah.  And so, if they get into a war in which Iran is knocked out, but they then strike a blow for Allah–they’re happy with that.
So, if the US doesn’t act, should Israel strike?

Oh, absolutely.  But think how pathetic this is that the fate of the United States of America will be in the hands of a country smaller than Lake Michigan.

Sowell laments that we don’t stand up and defend ourselves, for example:

We have to accommodate people who move here.  The old saying was, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”  The new one is, “When in Rome, tell the Romans what to do.”  And we’re going along with it!

The host asks one final question, “If you could offer one sentence of counsel to the president of the United States, what would you say, Tom?”  Sowell quickly replies, “Resign.”

HA!  Well, the host says he can’t quit on that, so he asks what counsel would Tom give to the young college student today?  Sowell begs them to please research the facts before voting, saying:

It doesn’t matter how smart you are unless you stop and think.
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One Response to “A brilliant man”

  1. Felipe September 7, 2010 at 12:55 pm #

    This is one smart cookie.

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