Friday, January 1, 2010

From Thomas Sowell

Don't forget. His new book, Intellectuals and Society is out this Tuesday.

Key quotes his book, Visions Of The Anointed.

Be it ever so humble, someone has to build a home, which requires work, skills, material resources, and financial risks for those whose investments underwrite the operation. To say that someone has a "right" to any kind of housing is to say that others have an obligation to expend all these efforts on his behalf, without his being reciprocally obligated to compensate them for it. Rights from government interference -- "Congress shall make no law," as the Constitution says regarding religion, free speech, etc.--may be free, but rights to anything mean that someone else has been yoked to your service involuntarily, with no corresponding responsibility on your part to provide for yourself, to compensate others, or even to behave decently or responsibly. Here the language of equal rights is conscripted for service in defense of differential privileges. p. 100

Given this perspective, systemic processess which depend upon the direct experiences and revealed preferences of millions of human beings, whether expressed in prices in the marketplace or through social self-selection of various sorts, are all treated as mere nuisances to be swept aside by public policy when these systemic processes impede the carrying out the vision of the annointed. Even formalized and solemnized committments, such as the Constitution of the United States, are treated as mere obstacles to be circumvented by flexible interpretation. Other people's decisions, through whatever processes those decisions have been made, are to be preempted by the decisions of the annointed. p.116

And one more to start off the new year. This quote from historians Will and Ariel Durant:

"Out of every hundred new ideas ninety-nine or more will probably be inferior to the traditional responses which they propose to replace. No one man, however brilliant or well-informed, can come in one lifetime to such fullness of understanding as to safely judge and dismiss the customs or institutions of society, for these are the wisdom of generations after centuries of experiment in the laboratory of history." p.112, Will and Ariel Durant, The Lessons of History (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1968), p. 35

Remember this from Barack Obama: "We are five days away from fundamentally transforming America" not only presumptuous and arrogant, but chilling in its intent.

Big thanks to Lisa. She did the legwork to make this pretty much cut and paste.

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