- Ever Wonder Why?: and Other Controversial Essays.
- Ever Wonder Why? And Other Controversial Essays.
- "I think, therefore I'll think" ~ Ayn Rand.
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Ever Wonder Why?: and Other Controversial Essays - Thomas Sowell - Google книги
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Ever Wonder Why? and Other Controversial Essays
How else could we meet these objectives? What can we do by telephone or online? Remember, seven people round a table is the gold standard…there are other options! Some people think the issue is whether the glass is half empty or half full. More fundamentally, the question is whether the glass started out empty or started out full. Those who are constantly looking for the "root causes" of poverty, of crime, and of other national and international problems, act as if prosperity and law-abiding behavior were so natural that it is their absence which has to be explained.
But a casual glance around the world today, or back through history, would dispel any notion that good things just happen naturally, much less inevitably. The United States of America is the exception, not the rule.
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Once we realize that America is an exception, we might even have a sense of gratitude for having been born here, even if gratitude has become un-cool in many quarters. At the very least, we might develop some concern for seeing that whatever has made this country better off is not lost or discarded — or eroded away, bit by bit, until it is gone. Those among us who are constantly rhapsodizing about "change" in vague and general terms seem to have no fear that a blank check for change can be a huge risk in a world where so many other countries that are different are also far worse off.
Chirping about "change" may produce a giddy sense of excitement or of personal exaltation but, as usual, the devil is in the details. Even despotic countries that have embraced sweeping changes have often found that these were changes for the worse.
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The czars in Russia, the shah of Iran, the Batista regime in Cuba, were all despotic. But they look like sweethearts compared to the regimes that followed. For example, the czars never executed as many people in half a century as Stalin did in one day. 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. To be for or against "change" in general is childish. Everything depends on the specifics. To be for generic "change" is to say that what we have is so bad that any change is likely to be for the better. Such a pose may make some people feel superior to others who find much that is worth preserving in our values, traditions and institutions.
The status quo is never sacrosanct but its very existence proves that it is viable, as seductive theoretical alternatives may not turn out to be. Most Americans take our values, traditions and institutions so much for granted that they find it hard to realize how much all these things are under constant attack in our schools, our colleges, and in much of the press, the movies and literature.
Ever Wonder Why?
There is a culture war going on within the United States — and in fact, within Western civilization as a whole — which may ultimately have as much to do with our survival, or failure to survive, as the war on terrorism. There are all sorts of financial, ideological, and psychic rewards for undermining American society and its values. Unless some of us realize the existence of this culture war, and the high stakes in it, we can lose what cost those Americans before us so much to win and preserve.
If you think there is a limit to how much childishness there is among Californians, you may want to reconsider — especially for Californians in academic communities. Recently a mountain lion was discovered up in a tree in Palo Alto, a residential community adjacent to Stanford University.
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This was at about the time of day when a nearby school was getting ready to let out. There had already been an incident of a horse being found mauled by some animal on Stanford land, and some thought it might have been a mountain lion that did it. Fearing that the mountain lion might find one of the local school children a tempting target, the police shot and killed the animal.
"I think, therefore I'll think" ~ Ayn Rand
Outrage against the police erupted up and down the San Francisco peninsula and as far away as Marin County, on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge, more than 30 miles away. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, "The police agency has been flooded with outraged calls and e-mails from people inflamed by TV news videotape of the lion lolling peacefully in a tree just before an officer shot it to death with a high-powered rifle. Yes, the mountain lion was sitting peacefully.
That is what cats do before they pounce — usually very swiftly.