Archive | March, 2013

A Gem from Dr. Sowell

19 Mar

From the book, “Intellectuals and Race”, by Thomas Sowell, 2013

Excerpt:  [Bolding is mine; content in brackets [ ] is mine]

“Although economic and social inequalities among racial and ethnic groups have attracted much attention from intellectuals, seldom today has this attention been directed primarily toward how the less economically successful and less socially prestigious groups might improve themselves by availing themselves of the culture of others around them, so as to become more productive and compete more effectively with other groups in the economy. When David Hume urged his fellow eighteenth-century Scots to master the English language, as they did, both he and they were following a pattern very different from the pattern of most minority intellectuals and their respective groups in other countries around the world. The spectacular rise of the Scots in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries – eventually surpassing the English in engineering and medicine, for example – was also an exception, rather than the rule. A much more common pattern has been one in which the intelligentsia have demanded an equality of economic outcomes and of social recognition, irrespective of the skills, behavior or performance of the group to which they belong or on whose behalf they spoke. In some countries today, any claim that intergroup differences in outcomes [result from differences in behavior or performance] are dismissed by the intelligentsia as false “perceptions,” “prejudices,” or “stereotypes,” or else are condemned as “blaming the victim.” Seldom are any of these assertions backed up by empirical evidence or logical analysis that would make them anything more than arbitrary assertions that happen to be in vogue among contemporary intellectual elites.”

[End of excerpt]

Most of you know that Thomas Sowell is a black conservative economist (a rare combination) who is unrelenting in his attempt to expose errors in the thinking of liberals when it comes to race relations.

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File Under “Some Things Never Change”

16 Mar

G.K. Chesterton, in a 1909 essay titled, “On Lying in Bed”.  An excerpt that is as timely (or more timely) today as it was over 100 years ago.  I picked this up from

http://essays.quotidiana.org/chesterton/lying_in_bed/

Excerpt:  (Bolding is mine; content in brackets [ ] is mine

Of all the marks of modernity that seem to mean a kind of decadence, there is none more menacing and dangerous than the exultation of very small and secondary matters of conduct at the expense of very great and primary ones, at the expense of eternal ties and tragic human morality. If there is one thing worse than the modern weakening of major morals, it is the modern strengthening of minor morals. Thus it is considered more withering to accuse a man of bad taste than of bad ethics. Cleanliness is not next to godliness nowadays, for cleanliness is made essential and godliness is regarded as an offence. A playwright can attack the institution of marriage so long as he does not misrepresent the manners of society, and I have met Ibsenite pessimists who thought it wrong to take beer but right to take prussic acid [an industrial compound, seriously poisonous to humans]. .  .  .

It is the great peril of our society that all its mechanisms may grow more fixed while its spirit grows more fickle. A man’s minor actions and arrangements ought to be free, flexible, creative; the things that should be unchangeable are his principles, his ideals. But with us the reverse is true; our views change constantly; but our lunch does not change. Now, I should like men to have strong and rooted conceptions, but as for their lunch, let them have it sometimes in the garden, sometimes in bed, sometimes on the roof, sometimes in the top of a tree. Let them argue from the same first principles, but let them do it in a bed, or a boat, or a balloon. This alarming growth of good habits really means a too great emphasis on those virtues which mere custom can ensure, it means too little emphasis on those virtues which custom can never quite ensure, sudden and splendid virtues of inspired pity or of inspired candour.

[End of excerpt]

The fact that this tendency has been around “forever” may explain why it is so easy to succumb to loosened morals, but very difficult to regain true moral high ground.  What do you think?

Another Great Commentary on Sequestration

7 Mar

Mona Charen has produced a great column titled “Gullible Nation”, in which she cuts right to the core of the sequestration issue and the incompetence in D.C.  Below are the first 5 paragraphs – you can read the entire piece at

http://www.creators.com/opinion/mona-charen/gullible-nation.html

Excerpt:

Responding to the Obama administration’s operatic warnings of catastrophe for Meals on Wheels for the elderly, Head Start, meat inspections, air traffic controllers, and police, fire, and 911 operators if the government reduces the rate of increase of federal spending by 2 percent, radio host Chris Plante offered the following suggestion: “Since this two percent obviously covers all essential government spending, let’s cut the other 98 percent!”

Even if these “draconian cuts” are implemented, the federal government will spend more this year than it did last year.

Another way to think about it is this: In 2007, the government was 40 percent smaller than it is today. Were poor people sleeping under bridges? Were the elderly starving? Were planes grounded? Was food unsafe to eat?

Here’s another question: Are Americans really this gullible? The president’s doom saying is so absurd that a mature country would hoot him off the stage. As it is, the housebroken media credulously report his obviously partisan scare mongering as fact.

As the sequester has loomed, the president and even many Republicans have argued that these “across the board” spending cuts (they’re actually just reductions in the rate of increase) are “stupid” and “destructive” and so forth. This raises (it doesn’t beg) the question: if cutting spending across the board is so stupid, what does that say about the priorities of the congress and president who passed these spending bills in the first place? If our spending priorities are so out of whack that cutting everything equally is unthinkable, why hasn’t the government adjusted those programs before now?

[End of excerpt]

Beautifully said.

When Is A Spending Cut NOT A Spending Cut?

6 Mar

One of John Stossel’s latest, titled “Sequester:  Not Even a Cut” revealing, once again, that the so-called “cuts” are pretty much just a decrease in the rate of increase of government spending.  Excerpts below, but the full item can be found at

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/political_commentary/commentary_by_john_stossel/sequester_not_even_a_cut

Excerpt:

If you’re reading this, you’ve survived the “sequester” cuts!

That may surprise you, since President Obama likened the sequester to taking a “meat cleaver” to government, causing FBI agents to be furloughed, prosecutors to let criminals escape and medical research to grind to a halt!

The media hyped it, too. The NBC Nightly News said, “The sequester could cripple air travel, force firefighter layoffs — even kick preschoolers out of child care!”

The truth is that the terrifying sequester cuts weren’t even cuts. They were merely a small reduction in government’s planned increase in spending. A very small reduction.

After a decade, the federal government will simply spend about $4.6 trillion a year instead of $4.5 trillion (in 2012 dollars).

And still members of Congress, Republicans included, look for ways to delay the cuts, like spreading them out over 10 years instead of making any now. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., asked, “If we cannot do this little bit … how are we ever going to balance the budget?”

After a decade, the federal government will simply spend about $4.6 trillion a year instead of $4.5 trillion (in 2012 dollars).

And still members of Congress, Republicans included, look for ways to delay the cuts, like spreading them out over 10 years instead of making any now. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., asked, “If we cannot do this little bit … how are we ever going to balance the budget?”

[End of excerpt]

I am so ashamed of our elected “leaders” in D.C. that I can barely stand it.  And to add to the shame – apparently they themselves have no shame.  May God help us.

I still don’t get it, though.  Instead of “cuts”, wouldn’t the word (and the action) “freeze” have been a much better way for Republicans to get it across to the American people that we really aren’t cutting anything?  And at the same time, we would have lowered the spending level of the government, instead of just slowing the rate of increase?