It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.
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 it.
Elections should be held on April 16th – the day after we pay our income taxes. That is one of the few things that might discourage politicians from being big spenders.
Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.
The next time some academics tell you how important diversity is, ask how many Republicans there are in their sociology department.
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.
The first lesson of economics is scarcity: there is never enough of anything to fully satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.
The word ‘racism’ is like ketchup. It can be put on practically anything – and demanding evidence makes you a ‘racist.’
Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late.
Talkers are usually more articulate than doers, since talk is their specialty.
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.
The problem isn’t that Johnny can’t read. The problem isn’t even that Johnny can’t think. The problem is that Johnny doesn’t know what thinking is; he confuses it with feeling.
All too often when liberals cite statistics, they forget the statisticians’ warning that correlation is not causation.
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.
What ‘multiculturalism’ boils down to is that you can praise any culture in the world except Western culture – and you cannot blame any culture in the world except Western culture.
Immigration laws are the only laws that are discussed in terms of how to help people who break them.
Groups that rose from poverty to prosperity seldom did so by having their own racial or ethnic leaders to follow.
Both free speech rights and property rights belong legally to individuals, but their real function is social, to benefit vast numbers of people who do not themselves exercise these rights.
Imagine a political system so radical as to promise to move more of the poorest 20% of the population into the richest 20% than remain in the poorest bracket within the decade? You don’t need to imagine it. It’s called the United States of America.
Inflation is a way to take people’s wealth from them without having to openly raise taxes. Inflation is the most universal tax of all.
Even if the government spends itself into bankruptcy and the economy still does not recover, Keynesians can always say that it would have worked if only the government had spent more.
Like a baseball game, wars are not over till they are over. Wars don’t run on a clock like football. No previous generation was so hopelessly unrealistic that this had to be explained to them.
Wishful thinking is not idealism. It is self-indulgence at best and self-exaltation at worst. In either case, it is usually at the expense of others. In other words, it is the opposite of idealism.
Prices are important not because money is considered paramount but because prices are a fast and effective conveyor of information through a vast society in which fragmented knowledge must be coordinated.
A shortage is a sign that somebody is keeping the price artificially lower than it would be if supply and demand were allowed to operate freely.
If the battle for civilization comes down to the wimps versus the barbarians, the barbarians are going to win.
There are only two ways of telling the complete truth – anonymously and posthumously.
A moral monopoly is the antithesis of a marketplace of ideas.
What sense would it make to classify a man as handicapped because he is in a wheelchair today, if he is expected to be walking again in a month and competing in track meets before the year is out? Yet Americans are given ‘class’ labels on the basis of their transient location in the income stream. If most Americans do not stay in the same broad income bracket for even a decade, their repeatedly changing ‘class’ makes class itself a nebulous concept.
There are few talents more richly rewarded with both wealth and power, in countries around the world, than the ability to convince backward people that their problems are caused by other people who are more advanced.
The poverty rate among black married couples has been in single digits ever since 1994. You would never learn that from most of the media. Similarly if you look at those blacks that have gone on to college or finished college, the incarceration rate is some tiny fraction of what it is among those blacks who have dropped out of high school. So it’s not being black; it’s a way of life. Unfortunately, the way of life is being celebrated not only in rap music, but among the intelligentsia, is a way of life that leads to a lot of very big problems for most people.
Life has many good things. The problem is that most of these good things can be gotten only by sacrificing other good things. We all recognize this in our daily lives. It is only in politics that this simple, common sense fact is routinely ignored.
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.
We seem to be moving steadily in the direction of a society where no one is responsible for what he himself did, but we are all responsible for what somebody else did, either in the present or in the past.
For the anointed, traditions are likely to be seen as the dead hand of the past, relics of a less enlightened age, and not as the distilled experience of millions who faced similar human vicissitudes before.
The charge is often made against the intelligentsia and other members of the anointed that their theories and the policies based on them lack common sense. But the very commonness of common sense makes it unlikely to have any appeal to the anointed. How can they be wiser and nobler than everyone else while agreeing with everyone else?
There are no solutions; there are only trade-offs.
People who think that they are being “exploited” should ask themselves whether they would be missed if they left, or whether people would say: “Good riddance”?
What the welfare system and other kinds of governmental programs are doing is paying people to fail. Insofar as they fail, they receive the money; insofar as they succeed, even to a moderate extent, the money is taken away.
Nothing could be more jolting and discordant with the vision of today’s intellectuals than the fact that it was businessmen, devout religious leaders and Western imperialists who together destroyed slavery around the world. And if it doesn’t fit their vision, it is the same to them as if it never happened.
Intellectuals may like to think of themselves as people who “speak truth to power” but too often they are people who speak lies to gain power.
Some of the biggest cases of mistaken identity are among intellectuals who have trouble remembering that they are not God.
Too often what are called “educated” people are simply people who have been sheltered from reality for years in ivy-covered buildings. Those whose whole careers have been spent in ivy-covered buildings, insulated by tenure, can remain adolescents on into their golden retirement years.
Competition does a much more effective job than government at protecting consumers.
When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.
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.
People who pride themselves on their “complexity” and deride others for being “simplistic” should realize that the truth is often not very complicated. What gets complex is evading the truth.
Those who believe that “basic necessities” should belong to people as a matter of right ignore the implication — that people are to work only for amenities, frivolities, and ego. Will that mean more work or less work? And if less, where are all those “basic necessities” coming from that the government is supposed to hand out?
Many of the dangerous things that drivers do are not likely to save them even 10 seconds. When you bet your life against 10 seconds, that is giving bigger odds than you are ever likely to get in Las Vegas.
Most problems do not get solved. They get superseded by other concerns.
People who talk incessantly about “change” are often dogmatically set in their ways. They want to change other people.
Maturity is not a matter of age. You have matured when you are no longer concerned with showing how clever you are, and give your full attention to getting the job done right. Many never reach that stage, no matter how old they get.
One of the most ridiculous defenses of foreign aid is that it is a very small part of our national income. If the average American set fire to a five-dollar bill, it would be an even smaller percentage of his annual income. But everyone would consider him foolish for doing it.
Letters from teachers continue to confirm the incompetence which they deny. A teacher in Montana says that my criticisms of teachers are “nieve.” No, that wasn’t a typographical error. He spelled it that way twice.
Some of the people on death row today might not be there if the courts had not been so lenient on them when they were first offenders.
If you don’t believe in the innate unreasonableness of human beings, just try raising children.
Time was when people used to brag about how old they were — and I am old enough to remember it.
In the summer of 1959, I worked as a clerk-typist in the headquarters of the U.S. Public Health Service in Washington. The people I worked for were very nice and I grew to like them. One day, a man had a heart attack at around 5 PM, on the sidewalk outside the Public Health Service. He was taken inside to the nurse’s room, where he was asked if he was a government employee. If he were, he would have been eligible to be taken to a medical facility there. Unfortunately, he was not, so a phone call was made to a local hospital to send an ambulance. By the time this ambulance made its way through miles of Washington rush-hour traffic, the man was dead. He died waiting for a doctor, in a building full of doctors. Nothing so dramatized for me the nature of a bureaucracy and its emphasis on procedures, rather than results.