Archive for the ‘Thomas Sowell’ tag
From an excerpt of Thomas Sowell’s new book Intellectuals and Society at Investors Business Daily:
Another common misconception among the intelligentsia is that individual business entrepreneurs should â€” or could â€” be â€œsocially responsibleâ€ by taking into account the wider consequences of the entrepreneurâ€™s business decisions. This idea goes back at least as far as Woodrow Wilson, another intellectual in our sense, because of his academic career before entering politics:
“We are not afraid of those who pursue legitimate pursuits, provided they link those pursuits in at every turn with the interest of the community as a whole; and no man can conduct a legitimate business if he conducts it in the interest of a single class.”
In other words, it is not considered sufficient if a manufacturer of plumbing fixtures produces high-quality faucets, pipes and bathtubs, and sells them at affordable prices, if this entrepreneur does not also take on the role of philosopher-king and try to decide how this business affects â€œthe interest of the community,â€ however that nebulous notion might be conceived. It is a staggering requirement which few, if any, people in business, academia, politics or other occupations could meet.
John Dewey likewise lamented that workers, like their employers, had â€œno social outlook upon the consequences and meaning of what they are doing.â€ Intellectuals may choose to imagine what are the wider social consequences of their own actions, inside or outside their fields of professional competence, but there is little or no consequential feedback when they are wrong, no matter how wrong or for how long. That both business owners and workers usually avoid taking on such a cosmic task suggests that they may have a more realistic assessment of human limitations.
Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Sowell:
The most fundamental fact about the ideas of the political left is that they do not work. Therefore we should not be surprised to find the left concentrated in institutions where ideas do not have to work in order to survive.
H/T Mike B.
No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems. They are trying to solve their own problems– of which getting elected and re-elected are number one and number two. Whatever is number three is far behind.
Nothing so epitomizes President Obama’s own contempt for American values and traditions like trying to ram two bills through Congress in his first year– each bill more than a thousand pages long– too fast for either of them to be read, much less discussed. That he succeeded only the first time says that some people are starting to wake up. Whether enough people will wake up in time to keep America from being dismantled, piece by piece, is another question– and the biggest question for this generation.
There is usually only a limited amount of damage that can be done by dull or stupid people. For creating a truly monumental disaster, you need people with high IQs.
Such people have been told all their lives how brilliant they are, until finally they feel forced to admit it, with all due modesty. But they not only tend to over-estimate their own brilliance, more fundamentally they tend to over-estimate how important brilliance itself is when dealing with real world problems.
H/T Mike B.
In a country where everything imaginable is bought and paid for on credit, why is it suddenly a national crisis if some people cannot pay cash up front for medical treatment?
Bill Whittle in another excellent segment of Afterburner.
I love that there’s a place where he can have 10 minutes at a time to speak semi-comprehensively about something. It’s not at all like CNN or MSNBC where one barely has time to say, “Wait– no. I’m not a racist. I thought we were talking about– seriously, please stop saying I’m a racist–”
Those who are pushing for legal action against CIA agents may talk about “upholding the law” but they are doing no such thing. Neither the Constitution of the United States nor the Geneva Convention gives rights to terrorists who operate outside the law.
There was a time when everybody understood this. German soldiers who put on American military uniforms, in order to infiltrate American lines during the Battle of the Bulge were simply lined up against a wall and shot– and nobody wrung their hands over it. Nor did the U.S. Army try to conceal what they had done. The executions were filmed and the film has been shown on the History Channel.
Full column here.
No small part of the current confusion between â€œhealth careâ€ and medical care comes from failing to recognize that Americans can have the best medical care in the world without having the best health or longevity because so many people choose to live in ways that shorten their lives.