- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 11, 2009



Random thoughts on the passing scene: I am so old that I can remember when music was musical.

Now that the federal government says it will stand behind the warranties on General Motors Corp.’s automobiles, does that make you more likely or less likely to buy a car from GM? If you were a rising young executive with a promising future, would you be more likely or less likely to go to work for a company where politicians can fire you?

We have become such suckers for words that politicians can spend our tax money like drunken sailors, provided they call it “investment.” At least the drunken sailor is spending his own money, but people look down on him because he doesn’t call it “investment.”

President Obama seems determined to repeat every disastrous mistake of the 1930s, at home and abroad. He has already repeated Herbert Hoover’s policy of raising taxes on high-income earners, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s policy of trying to micromanage the economy and Neville Chamberlain’s policy of seeking dialogues with hostile nations while downplaying the dangers they represent.

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.

The famous editorial cartoonist Herblock could write as well as draw. In one of his books, he said something like: “You too can have the soothing feeling of nature’s own baby-soft wool being pulled gently over your resting eyes.” I think of that every time I see Mr. Obama talking.

It has long been said that uncertainty is the hardest thing to which a market can adjust. No one can generate uncertainty as much as the government, which can change the rules in midstream or come out with some new bright idea at any time, as the current administration has already demonstrated.

We have now reached the truly dangerous point where we cannot even be warned about the lethal, fanatical and suicidal hatred of our society by Islamist extremists because to do so would be politically incorrect and, in some European countries, would violate the law against inciting hostility to groups.

Perhaps the scariest aspect of our time is how many people think in talking points rather than in terms of real-world consequences.

Mr. Obama’s favorable reception during his tour in Europe may be the most enthusiastic international acclaim for a democratic government leader since British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain returned from Munich in 1938 proclaiming “peace in our time.”

How a man who holds the entire population of a country as his prisoners and punishes the families of those who escape can be admired by people who call themselves liberals is one of the many wonders of the human mind’s ability to rationalize. Yet such is the case with Fidel Castro.

What does “economic justice” mean, except that you want something that someone else produced without having to produce anything yourself in return?

Perhaps Mr. Obama will reduce the deficit by making more presidential appointments of people who will pay the back taxes they owe in order to get confirmed by the Senate.

Liberals seem to think they are doing lagging groups a favor by making excuses for counterproductive and self-destructive behavior. The poor do not need press agents. They need the truth. No one ever said, “Press agents will make you free.”

If I were Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, I would not sign any long-term lease on a home in Washington.

Socialists believe in government ownership of the means of production. Fascists believed in government control of privately owned businesses, which is much more the style of this government. That way, politicians can intervene whenever they feel like it and then, when their interventions turn out badly, summon executives from the private sector before Congress and denounce them on nationwide television.

Thomas Sowell is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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