What you can and can’t say
Random thoughts on the passing scene:
When President Obama keeps talking about “violent extremists” in the abstract, you might wonder whether Presbyterians are running amok.
The mainstream media seem desperate to try to find something to undermine Republican governor Scott Walker’s rise in the polls. The worst they have come up with is that he didn’t finish college. Neither did Bill Gates or Michael Dell. The Wright brothers didn’t finish high school. Neither did Abraham Lincoln or George Washington.
Have you noticed that there seem to be an ever-growing number of things that we are not supposed to say in public?
Given the Obama administration’s repeatedly failed policies in the Middle East and the lost credibility of the president’s glib pronouncements, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress may be many Americans’ first chance to get a realistic assessment of the Middle East situation and its potential for international catastrophe.
Attempts to bring order out of the chaos in the paper jungle of my office usually get nowhere until I finally break everything down into just two categories: (1) urgently needed and (2) trash to be thrown out.
It is going to take time to secure the border, and it ought to take time for Congress to explore the facts about immigrants from different countries before voting on new immigration legislation. Both processes can be going on at the same time. But those who want border security laws and immigration laws passed together—“comprehensive immigration reform”—are for denying us that time. Why?
State Department official Marie Harf said, “We cannot win this war by killing them” but instead we need to get to the “root causes” of jihads by providing “job opportunities.” We tried getting at the “root causes” of crime back in the 1960s — and crime rates skyrocketed. But we stopped the Nazis in World War II by killing them, instead of setting up a jobs program in Germany.
The old advertising slogan, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” may or may not have been true. But surely the West should know by now that what happens in the Middle East does not stay in the Middle East. Throwing Israel to the wolves and signing agreements with Iran will not buy “peace in our time” and allow us to further shrink the military and expand the welfare state.
Academics often defend tenure, despite its many negative consequences, on grounds that it allows academic freedom for independent minds. Yet there are few places in America with more taboos and intellectual intolerance than academic campuses. The young are indoctrinated with demographic “diversity” that contrasts with a squelching of diversity of ideas on social issues.
It is remarkable how the Internal Revenue Service has been “losing” e-mails that Congressional investigators want to see and how “global warming” researchers have been “losing” the raw data on which their dire predictions have been based. In the social sciences, people just frankly refuse to allow their raw data to be seen by critics of such sacred cow policies as affirmative action.
The radical feminist movement, so ready to go ballistic at any little remark that can be twisted to mean something offensive to women, has been strangely silent while ISIS has been raping women and even little girls wholesale, and selling them as sex slaves. Is the silence of the radical feminists just political expediency or moral bankruptcy? Or both?
Secretary of State John Kerry says that there is less violence than usual in the world right now. Meanwhile the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, says the opposite, that terrorism is more violent and dangerous than ever. Since Clapper is Director of National Intelligence, maybe Kerry should have the title Director of National Stupidity.
We should never again put a first-term Senator in the White House. But, of the three Republican first-term Senators who are prospective candidates for the 2016 nomination for president, Marco Rubio is one of the very few politicians of either party to publicly admit that he was wrong on a major issue — immigration. He may well be ready for the White House in 2020.
Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305.