Observations, Meditations And Other Stray Thoughts

RANDOM thoughts on the passing scene:

Advice to the young: You don't have to listen to anybody. You can learn everything from your own personal experience. Of course, you will be at least 50 years old by the time you know what you need to know at 25.

If they ever catch the Unabomber, can you imagine all the shrinks who will be coming to his rescue?

Environmentalism is not about the environment. It is about ego trips for busybodies.

A distinguished historian recently described Woodrow Wilson as "one of the great jerks of all time." That had long been my impression, but I didn't know enough history to say it confidently. However, Wilson will always be a hero to those people who judge by the wonderful words that are spoken, rather than by the disasters that follow.

One of the mysteries of human beings is why some people will never pass on the message you leave. They must either abbreviate it, rephrase it, or otherwise change it. The mischief this can create never seems to occur to them.

There are two kinds of people in this world - those who are "going to" do something and those who actually do it.

Leaving everything to the eleventh hour and hoping that everything goes according to plan is a sure-fire recipe for disaster - repeated disasters for those who never learn.

If it were up to me, the age of adulthood would never have been lowered from 21 to 18. It would have been raised to 30. In recent decades, people have been taking longer and longer to mature - and increasing numbers never make it.

People who are lax about their personal security should realize that burglars and muggers make a living off other people's carelessness.

I never cease to be amazed at the people who want to make your decision for you, instead of supplying you with the information you need to make your own decision.

When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.

Many of the dangerous things that drivers do are not likely to save them even 10 seconds. When you bet your life against 10 seconds, that is giving bigger odds than you are ever likely to get in Las Vegas.

One of the ironies of "diversity" policies is that they seem to be based on an assumption that there is no diversity within groups, that their thinking can be stereotyped. Thus there is supposed to be a given black viewpoint, a women's viewpoint, and other group viewpoints, which can only be balanced by having physical representation of these different groups.

The best illustration of media bias that I have heard was this: Someone said that if Ronald Reagan had walked on water, all the way across the Potomac, the next day's Washington Post headline would read, "Reagan Can't Swim."

Self respect is the most important thing. Without it, the world's adulation rings hollow. And with it, even venomous attacks are like water off a duck's back.

Most problems do not get solved. They get superseded by other concerns.

"No justice, no peace" is yet another of the many clever but shallow and irresponsible phrases of our time. No situation in any society of human beings is likely to be regarded as justice by everyone. Does that mean that everlasting violence is justified?

The last thing you want to do is promote tribalism when you are one of the smaller tribes. Yet minority "leaders" do this because it promotes their individual self-interest, regardless of what bad effects this will have on others, including their followers.

Some of the poorest countries give travelers the hardest time getting in. On a recent trip through Europe, I found that the only place requiring a visa was Russia. Over the years, the most officious and obnoxious customs officials I encountered were those in India.

We pay our public officials too much for what they are and too little for what we want them to be.

I hate to get reassurances when I ask for information. "No problem" and "You can't miss it" are no substitute for hard facts.

One of the most insane ideas of our times is the notion that some people are somehow entitled to a share of what other people produce, even when they refuse to produce anything themselves.

(Copyright, 1995, Creators Syndicate, Inc.)

Thomas Sowell's column appears Wednesday on editorial pages of The Times.