Starting a book like this is a daunting task. Thomas Sowell is one of my favorite writers and I marvel at the ease in which he dissects complex subjects in a very practical and entertaining way. Ever Wonder Why is a collection of past articles and “other controversial essays” covering race relations, taxes, black history month, public education, the media, and much more. Because of the format, none of the articles is more than three pages and sometimes the subject left me wanting more from Sowell.
Mr. Sowell does not just relay on his knowledge, he provides references to support his writings and positions. I have added many books to my wish list based on his recomendations in this book. My son read a few pages and order the book for himself (he is a Kindle guy so he wanted it in that format even though I offered to sell it to him when I was done).
I love my books and loath to mark them as I read so I tend to put “sticky” notes on the pages and my copy has many many notes and the following are some of my favorite passages from Mr. Sowell. I would like to note that this book was published in 2006 which is long before any of us have ever heard of Barack Obama.
On Change – “Even the best countries must make changes and the United States has made many economic, social, and political changes for the better. But that is wholly different from making ‘change’ a mantra.”
On Elitists – “Like the frustrated artists and failed intellectuals who turn to mass movements for fulfillment, rich heirs cannot win the game of comparison of individual achievement. So them must change the game. As zealots for radical movements, they often attack the very things that made their own good fortune possible, as well as undermining the freedom and well-being of other people.”
On Institutes of higher learning [that is not a misspelling]– “In academia, ‘diversity’ in practice too often means simply white leftists, black leftists, female leftists and Hispanic leftists.”
On health care – “Making a government-run medical care system mandatory – ‘universal’ is the pretty word for mandatory – means that we all have no choice but to be caught up in that bureaucratic maze.”
On the United States’ economy – “The Reagan administration was not the New Deal. The economy recovered quickly on its own and kept on growing…It is also worth noting that there are only two economists in Congress and hundreds of lawyers”
On global climate change – “Runaway extrapolations are the last refuge of hysteria mongers when confronted with facts that demolish their lies. Think about it: The temperature has risen about 10 degrees since this morning. If you extrapolate that, we will all be burned to a crisp before the end of the month. Extrapolations prove nothing.”
On health care economics – ” Politicians who claim to be able to ‘bring down the cost of health care’ are talking about bringing down the prices charged. But prices are not costs. Prices are what pay for costs.”
On the ever expanding growth of federal government through the interstate commerce clause – “Back in 1942, the Supreme Court authorized the vastly expanded powers of the federal government under Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration by declaring that a man who grew food for himself on his own land was somehow ‘affecting’ prices of goods in interstate commerce and so the federal government had a right to regulate him.”
On special “rights” – “The essence of bigotry is denying others the same rights you claim for yourself. Green bigots are a classic example. The idea that government is supposed to make your desires override the desires of other citizens has spread from the green bigots to other groups who claim privileges in the name of rights.
On political tactics [lies] – “Everybody is doing it” is a very effective political argument, requiring neither facts nor logic, and widely accepted in this era of dumbed-down education. Focusing on the benefits to some ignoring the costs to others in another tried-and-true political tactic.”
On achievement or the lack there of – “for many people, an excuse is better than an achievement. That is because an achievement, no matter how great, leaves you having to prove yourself again in the future. But an excuse can last for life.” [emphasis added]
On the poor in America – “Imagine that a genie magically appeared and offered to grant you on wish – and, being a decent sort, you wished that everyone’s income would be doubled. That could bring down on you the wrath of the political left, because it would mean that the gap between the rich and the poor had widened. That is basically their complaint against hte American economy.”
These are a few that I found compelling and pertinant. Sowell provides hours of great reading and I recommend this book.