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The Great Escape (Thomas Sowell)
Creators Syndicate ^ | August 25, 2009 | Thomas Sowell

Posted on 08/24/2009 9:08:28 PM PDT by jazusamo

Many of the issues of our times are hard to understand without understanding the vision of the world that they are part of. Whether the particular issue is education, economics or medical care, the preferred explanation tends to be an external explanation— that is, something outside the control of the individuals directly involved.

Education is usually discussed in terms of the money spent on it, the teaching methods used, class sizes or the way the whole system is organized. Students are discussed largely as passive recipients of good or bad education.

But education is not something that can be given to anybody. It is something that students either acquire or fail to acquire. Personal responsibility may be ignored or downplayed in this "non-judgmental" age, but it remains a major factor nevertheless.

After many students go through a dozen years in the public schools, at a total cost of $100,000 or more per student— and emerge semi-literate and with little understanding of the society in which they live, much less the larger world and its history— most discussions of what is wrong leave out the fact that many such students may have chosen to use school as a place to fool around, act up, organize gangs or even peddle drugs.

The great escape of our times is escape from personal responsibility for the consequences of one's own behavior. Differences in infant mortality rates provoke pious editorials on a need for more prenatal care to be provided by the government for those unable to afford it. In other words, the explanation is automatically assumed to be external to the mothers involved and the solution is assumed to be something that "we" can do for "them."

While it is true that black mothers get less prenatal care than white mothers and have higher infant mortality rates, it is also true that women of Mexican ancestry also get less prenatal care than white women and yet have lower infant mortality rates than white women. But, once people with the prevailing social vision see the first set of facts, they seldom look for any other facts that might go against the explanation that fits their vision of the world.

No small part of the current confusion between "health care" and medical care comes from failing to recognize that Americans can have the best medical care in the world without having the best health or longevity because so many people choose to live in ways that shorten their lives.

There can be grave practical consequences of a dogmatic insistence on external explanations that allow individuals to escape personal responsibility. Americans can end up ruining the best medical care in the world in the vain hope that a government takeover will give us better health.

Economic issues are approached in the same way. People with low incomes are seen as a problem for other people to solve. Studies which follow the same individuals over time show that the vast majority of working people who are in the bottom 20 percent of income earners at a given time end up rising out of that bracket.

Many are simply beginners who get beginners' wages but whose pay rises as they acquire more skills and experience. Yet there is a small minority of workers who do not rise and a large number of people who seldom work and who— surprise!— have low incomes as a result.

Seldom is there any thought that people who choose to waste years of their own time (and the taxpayers' money) in school need to change their own behavior— or to visibly suffer the consequences, so that their fate can be a warning to others coming after them, not to make that same mistake.

It is not just the "non-judgmental" ideology of the intelligentsia but also the self-interest of politicians that leads to so much downplaying of personal responsibility in favor of external explanations and external programs to "solve" the "problem."

On these and other issues, government programs are far less likely to solve the country's problems than to solve the politicians' problem of getting the votes of those whose think the answer to every problem is for the government to "do something."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Government
KEYWORDS: sowell; thomassowell

1 posted on 08/24/2009 9:08:29 PM PDT by jazusamo
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To: abigail2; Amalie; American Quilter; arthurus; awelliott; Bahbah; bamahead; Battle Axe; ...
*PING*
Thomas Sowell

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Recent columns
Whose Medical Decisions?: Part IV
Whose Medical Decisions?: Part III
Whose Medical Decisions?: Part II
Whose Medical Decisions?

Please FReepmail me if you would like to be added to, or removed from, the Thomas Sowell ping list…

2 posted on 08/24/2009 9:09:33 PM PDT by jazusamo (But there really is no free lunch, except in the world of political rhetoric,.: Thomas Sowell)
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To: All
Please bump the Freepathon and donate if you haven’t done so!

3 posted on 08/24/2009 9:10:29 PM PDT by jazusamo (But there really is no free lunch, except in the world of political rhetoric,.: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo
thanks, for the information / ping.

4 posted on 08/24/2009 9:14:32 PM PDT by skinkinthegrass (Zer0 to the voter: "Welcome to 'MY' DeathCARE ® Plan"...Sucker! ...now just die. :^)
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To: jazusamo

Good God. Every single time I read something by Dr. Sowell, it occurs to me that there is a voice of reason. With all this insanity, reading his analysis reassures me that there is at least one man in this country who can speak calmly, reasonably, and most of all, truthfully.

He is an adult on the political scene filled with many children.


5 posted on 08/24/2009 9:15:24 PM PDT by rlmorel ("The Road to Serfdom" by F.A.Hayek - Read it...today.)
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To: jazusamo

bookmark


6 posted on 08/24/2009 9:16:29 PM PDT by Pajamajan ( Pray for our nation. Thank the Lord for everything you have. Ask His forgiveness. Don't wait.)
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To: rlmorel

thats true


7 posted on 08/24/2009 9:20:03 PM PDT by GeronL (Toward the TOTUS State-Nightmare in Obamaland .. http://tyrannysentinel.blogspot.com)
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To: rlmorel

A voice of reason describes Dr. Sowell perfectly.


8 posted on 08/24/2009 9:20:22 PM PDT by jazusamo (But there really is no free lunch, except in the world of political rhetoric,.: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo

There is just so much that schools don’t even attempt to teach days its sad. And its amazing how many turn out okay too.


9 posted on 08/24/2009 9:20:50 PM PDT by GeronL (Toward the TOTUS State-Nightmare in Obamaland .. http://tyrannysentinel.blogspot.com)
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To: jazusamo

This guy needs to be President. Why couldn’t the first black President have been a staunch American and conservative like Mr. Sowell?


10 posted on 08/24/2009 9:24:51 PM PDT by calex59
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To: GeronL

Agreed on both parts. A solid family helps a great deal but there are many who succeed without that too.


11 posted on 08/24/2009 9:25:11 PM PDT by jazusamo (But there really is no free lunch, except in the world of political rhetoric,.: Thomas Sowell)
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To: calex59

Our country and all of us would have been so much better off if only had that been the case.


12 posted on 08/24/2009 9:27:35 PM PDT by jazusamo (But there really is no free lunch, except in the world of political rhetoric,.: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo

Thanks for taking the personal responsibility of pinging me to another accurate and interesting article by the one and only Dr. Thomas Sowell jaz. I appreciate it.


13 posted on 08/24/2009 9:30:14 PM PDT by rockinqsranch (Dems, Libs, Socialists...Call 'em What you Will, They ALL have Fairies Living In Their Trees.)
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To: jazusamo

All I can say is - Amen!

Sowell hits it on the head again.

The democrats and leftists goal is a society that absolves individuals of the consequences of their actions.


14 posted on 08/24/2009 9:31:16 PM PDT by aquila48
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To: aquila48
The democrats and leftists goal is a society that absolves individuals of the consequences of their actions.

Only certain people and only certain actions. Rats and Leftists are not anarchists.

15 posted on 08/24/2009 9:32:54 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Barack Obama is a political suicide bomber and the Rats are political arsonists.)
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To: rlmorel

“... there is at least one man in this country who can speak calmly, reasonably, and most of all, truthfully.”

There may be only one. ;>)


16 posted on 08/24/2009 9:33:20 PM PDT by Gator113 (It's about stupidity, stupid. IMPEACH HERE, IMPEACH NOW.)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

“Only certain people and only certain actions. Rats and Leftists are not anarchists.”

I don’t follow your comment about “anarchists”. Anarchism (no government) would be just the opposite of what the dems push for. Under anarchism there would be no government to ease the consequences of anyone’s actions.


17 posted on 08/24/2009 9:39:44 PM PDT by aquila48
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To: jazusamo

Excellent! Dr. Sowell is always a breath of fresh air in an often too cynical world.


18 posted on 08/24/2009 9:40:55 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: aquila48

That’s the point. The old morality is getting replaced with a new one. The new one is capable of at least as much harshness as the hated old one was, and it is considerably more capricious.


19 posted on 08/24/2009 9:42:47 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Barack Obama is a political suicide bomber and the Rats are political arsonists.)
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To: calex59

Because to be President today, one has to sell their soul, and Dr. Sowell won’t do that.


20 posted on 08/24/2009 9:52:08 PM PDT by Republic of Texas (Socialism Always Fails)
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To: Republic of Texas

There is a place and time for everything. I would not be surprised if we get another black president in our lifetime, except that this one will be much more sensible than Obama and will hail from the GOP.


21 posted on 08/24/2009 9:55:21 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Barack Obama is a political suicide bomber and the Rats are political arsonists.)
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To: jazusamo

Someone could create a website that could fill in the gaps.... that would be interesting. Just a short reading assignment, a few questions and audio/video and some “links to explore”. Maybe just one day one hour every week.

Saturday School I guess.

Now I got myself thinking. I bet there’s a homeschool forum with a lot of people who could get er done. Of course the site would mainly be for the public school kids. It would definitely be a project.


22 posted on 08/24/2009 9:57:08 PM PDT by GeronL (Toward the TOTUS State-Nightmare in Obamaland .. http://tyrannysentinel.blogspot.com)
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To: jazusamo

Absolutely right.


23 posted on 08/24/2009 10:18:35 PM PDT by Rocky (OBAMA: Succeeding where bin Laden failed.)
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To: jazusamo

Government has tried to erase the consequences of foolish actions. In doing so they have assured themselves of obtaining the fool’s vote. It’s working VERY well.


24 posted on 08/25/2009 3:39:03 AM PDT by listenhillary (We became community organizers and Obama and the Statists get p*ssed off at us?)
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bump


25 posted on 08/25/2009 5:06:13 AM PDT by listenhillary (We became community organizers and Obama and the Statists get p*ssed off at us?)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

“I would not be surprised if we get another black president in our lifetime”
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Before we can get another we must have the first. Obama is not black, he claims a white mother and his father may have been more Arab than black. I went to segregated public schools in South Carolina and we had at least one schoolmate who had far darker skin than Obama does but he was accepted as Caucasian.


26 posted on 08/25/2009 5:21:38 AM PDT by RipSawyer (Change has come to America and all hope is gone.)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

If it’s JC Watts, I’m in!


27 posted on 08/25/2009 5:48:55 AM PDT by Republic of Texas (Socialism Always Fails)
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To: Republic of Texas

I thought he drank Obama koolaid before the election.


28 posted on 08/25/2009 5:50:20 AM PDT by listenhillary (We became community organizers and Obama and the Statists get p*ssed off at us?)
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To: listenhillary

I hadn’t heard that. I hope not, I don’t have much faith left.


29 posted on 08/25/2009 5:56:29 AM PDT by Republic of Texas (Socialism Always Fails)
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To: wintertime

Ping.


30 posted on 08/25/2009 6:04:05 AM PDT by wintertime (People are not stupid! Good ideas win!)
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To: Republic of Texas

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2009/01/ja-watts-obama.html

A Republican in King Obama’s court; J.C. Watts celebrates too
January 20, 2009 | 3:58 am

The Times’ Michelle Maltais caught up with a real, live Republican on Monday night at the celebration of President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration today in Washington.

J.C. Watts, a former Republican congressman from Oklahoma, tells Michelle candidly that on Nov. 4 “the earth moved” with the election of Obama.

The future is hard to predict, he says, but the onetime college football star is hopeful that the past Washington tone of each political party being dedicated to the political destruction of the other will have an opportunity to change.


31 posted on 08/25/2009 6:14:34 AM PDT by listenhillary (We became community organizers and Obama and the Statists get p*ssed off at us?)
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To: listenhillary

brilliant! I am so quoting you without attribution whenever I can work it into the conversation.


32 posted on 08/25/2009 6:20:29 AM PDT by allmendream (Income is EARNED not distributed, so how could it be redistributed?)
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To: allmendream

Feel free. The truth rings loudly without amplification.


33 posted on 08/25/2009 6:25:30 AM PDT by listenhillary (We became community organizers and Obama and the Statists get p*ssed off at us?)
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To: jazusamo
"A voice of reason describes Dr. Sowell perfectly."

I would add 'clarity.' What a treasure that man is.

34 posted on 08/25/2009 7:26:21 AM PDT by VR-21 (If it's a vision of the future you want......)
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To: listenhillary
Government has tried to erase the consequences of foolish actions. In doing so they have assured themselves of obtaining the fool’s vote. It’s working VERY well.

Very well said and dead on the money!

35 posted on 08/25/2009 8:50:12 AM PDT by jazusamo (But there really is no free lunch, except in the world of political rhetoric,.: Thomas Sowell)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

And actually be 100% American and 100% black.


36 posted on 08/25/2009 8:18:12 PM PDT by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue./Technological progress cannot be legislated.)
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