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Random thoughts on the passing scene:

Let’s face it: Most of us are not half as smart as we may sometimes think we are – and for intellectuals, not one-tenth as smart.

One of the biggest obstacles to economic recovery is that politicians and the media are both focused on how government can make the economy recover, rather than on how it can let the economy recover. One of the biggest deterrents to investments, and the jobs they could create, is uncertainty as to what new bright idea will come out of Washington to change the rules in midstream.

Is there some reason why football helmets have to be hard? Wouldn’t a thick rubber helmet provide protection without being itself an injury-producing weapon?

The History Channel has some very good programs when it sticks to history. But it keeps going off on tangents, with all kinds of contemporary activities and even weird speculations that are not history.

One of the telling signs carried in a tea-party demonstration said: “Spread my work ethic, not my wealth.” It may be better to teach people how to fish, rather than giving them fish, but too many politicians give them fish, in order to get their votes.

Thomas Sowell shows how the values and institutions that have sustained the nation have eroded, in his latest book, “Dismantling America”

Among the things that have come out in the WikiLeaks documents is that the king of Saudi Arabia has a more realistic understanding of the enormous dangers of an Iranian nuclear bomb than does the president of the United States.

Before this National Football League season began, I wished that my favorite team, the Dallas Cowboys, would fire Wade Phillips as head coach and replace him with Mike Singletary of the San Francisco 49ers. Fortunately, only one of my two wishes came true.

An amazing example of invincible ignorance is the widespread assumption that lower tax rates automatically mean lower tax revenues. Tax-rate cuts have often been followed by higher tax revenues, not only in the United States, but also in India, Iceland and 19th century German principalities, among other places.

A chilling account of how the Justice Department operates in the Obama administration appeared in the November issue of The American Spectator, under the title “Justice, Denied.” It should open the eyes of all but the true believers in the Obama cult.

Many of those in the so-called “helping professions” are helping people to be irresponsible and dependent on others.

University students rioting against tuition increases on both sides of the Atlantic are painful signs of the degeneracy of our times. The idea that taxpayers owe it to you to pay for what you want suggests that much of today’s education fails to instill reality, and instead panders to a self-centered sense of entitlement to what other people have earned.

Neither the Bible, the Torah nor the Quran mentions Christmas trees. Yet some secular zealots try to ban Christmas trees on government property, based on the doctrine of “separation of church and state” – a doctrine found nowhere in the Constitution.

More disturbing than any of the issues of our time are the many people who debate those issues as contests in talking points, rather than as attempts to get at the truth. Too many people debate as if the point is to show who is smarter, rather than which conclusion is correct.

When the attempt to get wholesale amnesty for illegal immigrants through Congress failed, that just led to new legislation seeking to get retail amnesty, for selected sets of illegals, under the so-called “Dream Act.” In other words, we are now supposed to buy disaster on the installment plan.

Many parents of college-bound students wonder whether there are still any places where most of the professors are teaching instead of indoctrinating. Actually, there are more than 50 colleges with a “green light” rating on that score in the huge college guide, “Choosing the Right College.”

When arguing against the tax compromise, Sen. Bernie Sanders castigated “the rich,” asking “When is enough enough?” and saying that “reckless uncontrollable greed is like a disease.” Such statements are far more applicable to government big spenders and big taxers, who confiscate not only the earnings of today’s citizens, but the earnings of generations yet unborn, who will be left a record-breaking national debt.

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