Wednesday, May 11, 2005

But Seriously Folks

I like Thomas Sowell a lot. I've read one of his books and plan to read most of the others, and I try to read his column as often as possible. He's an older guy and very serious, and he refuses to appear on TV as a talking head because he got burned a few times by unprincipled shows (that probably includes all of them), and that's really a shame because what TV opinion shows are missing is smart, no-bullshit people who don't cater to the nonsensical bullshitters who rule that part of the media. Check out today's column:

Recently a friend described a meeting with a nasty-tempered leftist who was from a rich family. Unfortunately, there are a lot of leftists who were born with a silver spoon in their mouth -- and, instead of being grateful, are venomous against American society.

Conversely, there are people like yours truly who were born on the other end of the economic scale and think this is a great country. No one has really explained either of these phenomena.

Maybe a painful confrontation with the facts of life early on makes it harder in later years to get all worked up over abstract issues that seem to preoccupy the left.

Once you have ever had to go hungry, it is hard to get worked up over the fact that some people can only afford pizza while others can afford caviar. Once you have ever had to walk to work from Harlem to a factory south of the Brooklyn Bridge, the difference between driving a Honda and driving a Lexus seems kind of petty as well.

And later:

Environmentalism is another of the playgrounds of the affluent and the wealthy. "Nature" is wonderful when you can look out on it from your luxury cabin in the woods or from your upscale digs at the shore.

Roughing it in the wild is great when you know that, if something goes wrong, a helicopter can come in and lift you to safety or to a hospital, as the case may be. This is what might be called artificial nature or the illusion of nature.

Real nature can be pretty ugly, as the pioneers discovered, and as the bleached bones of their animals or themselves on the old trails can attest. Even in more recent times, anyone who has had to get up on cold mornings, all winter long, to start a fire in the fireplace to heat the house is unlikely to regard it as a romantic experience.

You can find Mr. Sowell's work here, and you should make it your business to do so.

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