Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Posts Tagged ‘Thomas Sowell’

Pseudo-education?

Posted by sanityinjection on October 6, 2009

I commend to your attention today’s column by conservative commentator Thomas Sowell. Sowell, while brilliant and a fine writer, can be a bit of a crank sometimes, and this piece is no exception. He writes about his dismay in receiving a letter form a fifth-grader whose assignment was to ask a “famous person” how they would solve an important problem such as the economy:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/10/06/a_letter_from_a_child_98592.html

Sowell’s main point is that the child’s teacher should be encouraging him to think for himself rather than looking to celebrities for received wisdom – and also choosing age-appropriate subject matter. After my recent post on the cult of intelligence, Sowell draws attention to the even more pervasive cult of celebrity:

Getting students used to looking to so-called “famous” people for answers is the antithesis of education as a preparation for making up one’s own mind as citizens of a democracy, rather than as followers of “leaders.”

Nearly two hundred years ago, the great economist David Ricardo said: “I wish that I may never think the smiles of the great and powerful a sufficient inducement to turn aside from the straight path of honesty and the convictions of my own mind.”

  Although I do take some hope in the fact that a fifth grader from Michigan actually knows who Sowell is.

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Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , | 10 Comments »

Questioning the sacred cows of health care reform

Posted by sanityinjection on July 22, 2009

Thomas Sowell weighs in on the health care debate with a typically well-reasoned piece questioning some of the basic assumptions behind the Administration’s push for health care reform:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/07/21/medical_care_confusion_97543.html

I don’t think I’ve encountered anyone who thinks that our health care system is perfect the way it is. But as Sowell notes, the fact that there are things that need to be improved is not necessarily sufficient to hand the Administration a blank check for generic “change”. Democrats’ proposals for health care reform are an exercise in doublethink because they would have us believe that we can simultaneously expand coverage and cut costs at the same time, which defies logic. In fact, they know better: they are paying lip service to the idea of reducing costs in order to win support for universal public health care which is what they have wanted all along – to give the federal and state governments complete control over every aspect of the medical care of all Americans.

The health care reform I could support would focus instead on reducing the cost of medical care so that Americans can afford to purchase health insurance. That could involve several ingredients including malpractice liability reform, promotion of catastrophic as opposed to comprehensive health insurance, taking the burden of the free care pool off the backs of hospitals, and an end to pharmaceutical and medical tech companies profiteering off of no-strings-attached government R&D funding. If you’re wondering why you haven’t heard about *any* of these ideas being talked about in the current health care reform debate – good! So am I.

Instead, we’re going to get another dose of the line of arguing that gave us the trillion dollar stimulus package: “Our solution is the only solution so it’s either this or nothing at all. And we have to do it immediately so there’s no time for discussion. Either you support doing it our way, right now, or you’re part of the problem.” To the extent that this has become the operating dynamic of politics in the Obama era, it is a most unwelcome change. So much for reducing partisanship and reaching across the aisle.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , | 7 Comments »