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To: haqihana who wrote (19064)5/16/2007 11:00:03 PM
From: Peter Dierks
   of 70161
 
The Lay of the Land
A new report is likely to disappoint those who believe the electorate took a sharp left turn in 2006.
by Matthew Continetti
05/16/2007 12:00:00 AM


A NEW REPORT from the centrist group Third Way complicates one's understanding of the 2006 midterm elections. There are already several competing theories of why last Election Day turned out the way it did. The storyline popular on liberal blogs is that in 2006 Democrats were true to liberal principles, fought back against the Bush machine, opposed the war in Iraq, and as a result the electorate woke up and took Congress away from the GOP.

Another storyline that's popular among conservatives says Republicans lost control of both Houses for the first time since 1994 because the party strayed from the true Reaganite path and forgot its small-government principles. And a third storyline is that the unpopularity of the Iraq war, the corruption of the GOP Congress, and the vanishing credibility of President Bush all combined to produce narrow Democratic majorities in the House (233 to 202) and Senate (51 to 49).

That's about how things look to Jim Kessler, Anne Kim, and Mark Donnell, who wrote Looking Red, Voting Blue: An Analysis of the 2006 Election. They took the National Exit Poll surveys for 2004 and 2006 and "normalized" the results so that turnout was the same in both years. What they discovered will probably disappoint those who argue that the electorate took a sharp left turn in 2006. According to the report, the reason the Democrats took Congress in 2006 wasn't because they had "energized the base." Nor was it because the American electorate embraced their center-left policy agenda. It
was because typically Republican voters wanted change.

The authors found that between 2004 and 2006 the Democrats gained 4.7 million votes. If you take a look at the demographic profile of these new Democrats, you see that--all things being equal--they ought to be Republicans. Almost all of them are men. All of them are married. Most are white and live in households making more than $100,000 a year. The Third Way researchers also found that close to 3 million new Democratic votes came from people who attend church at least once a week.

In 2006 all things were not equal, however. The study finds that these new Democratic voters had three things on their minds: Iraq, corruption, and Bush. The share of voters who disapproved of the Iraq war went from 46.2 percent in 2004 to a majority 56.6 percent in 2006. All these new antiwar votes went Democratic. Of the 74 percent of voters in 2006 who said corruption was "extremely" or "very" important in deciding for whom to vote, 56.5 percent voted for Democrats and 43.5 voted for Republicans. And Bush's drag on the GOP is no secret. According to the Third Way study, the number of voters who said they disapproved of the president increased by 8 million between 2004 and 2006.

One storyline from 2006 that ought to be put to rest is that economic instability or the "Great Risk Shift" produced Democratic gains. This is the sort of thing that neopopulists like Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and James Webb of Virginia like to bring up. The problem is that it doesn't comport with reality. A recent Congressional Budget Office study found that income volatility has remained more or less the same since the Reagan presidency. And the Third Way report concludes that most of the Democratic gains in 2006 came from well-off voters who in general felt positive about the economy. The electorate may not have as great an appetite for Democratic policies on taxes, trade, entitlements, and health care as the neopopulists like to imagine.


As the authors of the Third Way report note, these results ought to give pause to those in the political class who have all but guaranteed a Democratic victory in 2008. The reason for this is that two of the three things on voters' minds in 2006 won't be a factor in 2008. The GOP congressmen implicated in the "culture of corruption" have all been voted out of office. If congressional corruption is an issue, it will be a Democratic Congress that takes the blame. And neither George W. Bush nor Vice President Richard Cheney will be on the ballot.

That leaves Iraq. If the voters in 2006 wanted a change in Bush's policy, they got it. The political market is efficient. Bush fired Donald Rumsfeld, chose a new commander in Gen. David Petraeus, and rejected the Rumsfeld-Abizaid-Casey war strategy of force protection, Iraqification, and counterterrorism in favor of Petraeus's counterinsurgency approach.

The Petraeus strategy has barely been implemented--today only four out of five additional combat brigades are in theater--but already Democrats are calling for a return to the old strategy, or a drastic reduction in American forces, or cutting off funding for the war altogether. Bush and Congress will continue to fight over war policy throughout the 2008 election cycle. No one knows what twists and turns are ahead. We do know, however, that the terms of the Iraq debate on Election Day 2008 will not be the same as those on Election Day 2006.

This could mean even more Republicans will cross the
aisle and vote Democratic. But there's a chance--just a chance--that the Republicans who left the GOP in 2006 will have reason to return to the fold.

Matthew Continetti is associate editor of THE WEEKLY STANDARD and author of The K Street Gang: The Rise and Fall of the Republican Machine.



weeklystandard.com 

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To: Peter Dierks who wrote (19985)5/16/2007 11:00:52 PM
From: calgal
   of 70161
 
Good find!

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From: calgal5/16/2007 11:08:13 PM
   of 70161
 
Great quote!!:)

The man who regards life...as meaningless

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To: PROLIFE who wrote (19710)5/16/2007 11:12:34 PM
From: Peter Dierks
   of 70161
 
Was Osama Right?
Islamists always believed the U.S. was weak. Recent political trends won't change their view.

BY BERNARD LEWIS
Wednesday, May 16, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

During the Cold War, two things came to be known and generally recognized in the Middle East concerning the two rival superpowers. If you did anything to annoy the Russians, punishment would be swift and dire. If you said or did anything against the Americans, not only would there be no punishment; there might even be some possibility of reward, as the usual anxious procession of diplomats and politicians, journalists and scholars and miscellaneous others came with their usual pleading inquiries: "What have we done to offend you? What can we do to put it right?"

A few examples may suffice. During the troubles in Lebanon in the 1970s and '80s, there were many attacks on American installations and individuals--notably the attack on the Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983, followed by a prompt withdrawal, and a whole series of kidnappings of Americans, both official and private, as well as of Europeans. There was only one attack on Soviet citizens, when one diplomat was killed and several others kidnapped. The Soviet response through their local agents was swift, and directed against the family of the leader of the kidnappers. The kidnapped Russians were promptly released, and after that there were no attacks on Soviet citizens or installations throughout the period of the Lebanese troubles.





These different responses evoked different treatment. While American policies, institutions and individuals were subject to unremitting criticism and sometimes deadly attack, the Soviets were immune. Their retention of the vast, largely Muslim colonial empire accumulated by the czars in Asia passed unnoticed, as did their propaganda and sometimes action against Muslim beliefs and institutions.
Most remarkable of all was the response of the Arab and other Muslim countries to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979. Washington's handling of the Tehran hostage crisis assured the Soviets that they had nothing to fear from the U.S. They already knew that they need not worry about the Arab and other Muslim governments. The Soviets already ruled--or misruled--half a dozen Muslim countries in Asia, without arousing any opposition or criticism. Initially, their decision and action to invade and conquer Afghanistan and install a puppet regime in Kabul went almost unresisted. After weeks of debate, the U.N. General Assembly finally was persuaded to pass a resolution "strongly deploring the recent armed intervention in Afghanistan." The words "condemn" and "aggression" were not used, and the source of the "intervention" was not named. Even this anodyne resolution was too much for some of the Arab states. South Yemen voted no; Algeria and Syria abstained; Libya was absent; the nonvoting PLO observer to the Assembly even made a speech defending the Soviets.

One might have expected that the recently established Organization of the Islamic Conference would take a tougher line. It did not. After a month of negotiation and manipulation, the organization finally held a meeting in Pakistan to discuss the Afghan question. Two of the Arab states, South Yemen and Syria, boycotted the meeting. The representative of the PLO, a full member of this organization, was present, but abstained from voting on a resolution critical of the Soviet action; the Libyan delegate went further, and used this occasion to denounce the U.S.

The Muslim willingness to submit to Soviet authority, though widespread, was not unanimous. The Afghan people, who had successfully defied the British Empire in its prime, found a way to resist the Soviet invaders. An organization known as the Taliban (literally, "the students") began to organize resistance and even guerilla warfare against the Soviet occupiers and their puppets. For this, they were able to attract some support from the Muslim world--some grants of money, and growing numbers of volunteers to fight in the Holy War against the infidel conqueror. Notable among these was a group led by a Saudi of Yemeni origin called Osama bin Laden.

To accomplish their purpose, they did not disdain to turn to the U.S. for help, which they got. In the Muslim perception there has been, since the time of the Prophet, an ongoing struggle between the two world religions, Christendom and Islam, for the privilege and opportunity to bring salvation to the rest of humankind, removing whatever obstacles there might be in their path. For a long time, the main enemy was seen, with some plausibility, as being the West, and some Muslims were, naturally enough, willing to accept what help they could get against that enemy. This explains the widespread support in the Arab countries and in some other places first for the Third Reich and, after its collapse, for the Soviet Union. These were the main enemies of the West, and therefore natural allies.

Now the situation had changed. The more immediate, more dangerous enemy was the Soviet Union, already ruling a number of Muslim countries, and daily increasing its influence and presence in others. It was therefore natural to seek and accept American help. As Osama bin Laden explained, in this final phase of the millennial struggle, the world of the unbelievers was divided between two superpowers. The first task was to deal with the more deadly and more dangerous of the two, the Soviet Union. After that, dealing with the pampered and degenerate Americans would be easy.

We in the Western world see the defeat and collapse of the Soviet Union as a Western, more specifically an American, victory in the Cold War. For Osama bin Laden and his followers, it was a Muslim victory in a jihad, and, given the circumstances, this perception does not lack plausibility.





From the writings and the speeches of Osama bin Laden and his colleagues, it is clear that they expected this second task, dealing with America, would be comparatively simple and easy. This perception was certainly encouraged and so it seemed, confirmed by the American response to a whole series of attacks--on the World Trade Center in New York and on U.S. troops in Mogadishu in 1993, on the U.S. military office in Riyadh in 1995, on the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, on the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000--all of which evoked only angry words, sometimes accompanied by the dispatch of expensive missiles to remote and uninhabited places.
Stage One of the jihad was to drive the infidels from the lands of Islam; Stage Two--to bring the war into the enemy camp, and the attacks of 9/11 were clearly intended to be the opening salvo of this stage. The response to 9/11, so completely out of accord with previous American practice, came as a shock, and it is noteworthy that there has been no successful attack on American soil since then. The U.S. actions in Afghanistan and in Iraq indicated that there had been a major change in the U.S., and that some revision of their assessment, and of the policies based on that assessment, was necessary.

More recent developments, and notably the public discourse inside the U.S., are persuading increasing numbers of Islamist radicals that their first assessment was correct after all, and that they need only to press a little harder to achieve final victory. It is not yet clear whether they are right or wrong in this view. If they are right, the consequences--both for Islam and for America--will be deep, wide and lasting.

Mr. Lewis, professor emeritus at Princeton, is the author, most recently, of "From Babel to Dragomans: Interpreting the Middle East" (Oxford University Press, 2004).

opinionjournal.com 

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To: calgal who wrote (19986)5/16/2007 11:15:11 PM
From: Peter Dierks
   of 70161
 
Thanks. It is important.

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To: calgal who wrote (19818)5/16/2007 11:37:01 PM
From: Peter Dierks
   of 70161
 
Top 10 Highest State and Local Tax Burdens for 2007
Posted: 05/16/2007

In its annual report on state and local tax burdens, the Tax Foundation says that “state and local taxes will consume a record-setting 11% of the nation’s income in 2007.” Below are the 10 states in which the state-local tax burden as a percentage of income is greatest. The Tax Foundation compares state and local tax burdens by “combining the different levels of government, counting every tax and comparing those totals” to a measure of income. The entire report is available on the Tax Foundation Website.

1. Vermont—State-Local Tax Burden: 14.1%
Per Capita Tax Burden: $5,387
Per Capita Income: $38,306

2. Maine—State-Local Tax Burden: 14.0%
Per Capita Tax Burden: $5,045
Per Capita Income: $36,117

3. New York—State-Local Tax Burden: 13.8%
Per Capita Tax Burden: $6,522
Per Capita Income: $47,176

4. Rhode Island—State-Local Tax Burden: 12.7%
Per Capita Tax Burden: $5,291
Per Capita Income: $41,809

5. Ohio—State-Local Tax Burden: 12.4%
Per Capita Tax Burden: $4,597
Per Capita Income: $37,020

6. Hawaii—State-Local Tax Burden: 12.4%
Per Capita Tax Burden: $5,014
Per Capita Income: $40,455

7. Wisconsin—State-Local Tax Burden: 12.3%
Per Capita Tax Burden: $4,736
Per Capita Income: $38,639

8. Connecticut—State-Local Tax Burden: 12.2%
Per Capita Tax Burden: $6,756
Per Capita Income: $55,536

9. Nebraska—State-Local Tax Burden: 11.9%
Per Capita Tax Burden: $4,549
Per Capita Income: $38,373

10. New Jersey—State-Local Tax Burden: 11.6%
Per Capita Tax Burden: $5,991
Per Capita Income: $51,605

humanevents.com 

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To: Mr. Palau who wrote (19966)5/16/2007 11:40:10 PM
From: Peter Dierks
3 Recommendations   of 70161
 
The Most Ethical Congress In History"
And Other Myths
By Pejman Yousefzadeh Posted in Congress | Featured Stories — Comments (4) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
Via Democracy in America, we learn that the priorities of the Congressional majority have drastically changed:


House Democrats suddenly are balking at the tough lobbying reforms they touted to voters last fall as a reason for putting them in charge of Congress.

Now that they are running things, many Democrats want to keep the big campaign donations and lavish parties that lobbyists put together for them. They're also having second thoughts about having to wait an extra year before they can become high-paid lobbyists themselves should they retire or be defeated at the polls.

The growing resistance to several proposed reforms threatens passage of a bill that once seemed on track to fulfill Democrats' campaign promise of cleaner fundraising and lobbying practices.

"The longer we wait, the weaker the bill seems to get," said Craig Holman of Public Citizen, which has pushed for the changes. "The sense of urgency is fading," he said, in part because scandals such as those involving disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, California Republican, have given way to other news.


Imagine that. The campaign commercials practically write themselves.


redstate.com 

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To: Neeka who wrote (19329)5/16/2007 11:44:48 PM
From: Peter Dierks
   of 70161
 
Jerry Falwell -- Say Hello to Ronald Reagan!
by Ann Coulter (More by this author)

Posted: 05/16/2007
No man in the last century better illustrated Jesus' warning that "All men will hate you because of me" than the Rev. Jerry Falwell, who left this world on Tuesday. Separately, no man better illustrates my warning that it doesn't pay to be nice to liberals.

Falwell was a perfected Christian. He exuded Christian love for all men, hating sin while loving sinners. This is as opposed to liberals, who just love sinners. Like Christ ministering to prostitutes, Falwell regularly left the safe confines of his church to show up in such benighted venues as CNN.

He was such a good Christian that back when we used to be on TV together during Clinton's impeachment, I sometimes wanted to say to him, "Step aside, reverend -- let the mean girl handle this one." (Why, that guy probably prayed for Clinton!)

For putting Christ above everything -- even the opportunity to make a humiliating joke about Clinton -- Falwell is known as "controversial." Nothing is ever as "controversial" as yammering about Scripture as if, you know, it's the word of God or something.

From the news coverage of Falwell's death, I began to suspect his first name was "Whether You Agree With Him or Not."

Even Falwell's fans, such as evangelist Billy Graham and former President Bush, kept throwing in the "We didn't always agree" disclaimer. Did Betty Friedan or Molly Ivins get this many "I didn't always agree with" qualifiers on their deaths? And when I die, if you didn't always agree with me, would you mind keeping it to yourself?

Let me be the first to say: I ALWAYS agreed with the Rev. Falwell.

Actually, there was one small item I think Falwell got wrong regarding his statement after 9/11 that "the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians -- who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle -- the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.'"

First of all, I disagreed with that statement because Falwell neglected to specifically include Teddy Kennedy and "the Reverend" Barry Lynn.

Second, Falwell later stressed that he blamed the terrorists most of all, but I think that clarification was unnecessary. The necessary clarification was to note that God was at least protecting America enough not to allow the terrorists to strike when a Democrat was in the White House.

(If you still think it isn't Christ whom liberals hate, remember: They hate Falwell even more than they hate me.)

I note that in Falwell's list of Americans he blamed for ejecting God from public life, only the gays got a qualifier. Falwell referred to gays and lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle.

No Christian minister is going to preach that homosexuality is godly behavior, but Falwell didn't add any limiting qualifications to his condemnation of feminists, the ACLU or People for the American Way.

There have always been gay people -- even in the prelapsarian '50s that Jerry Falwell and I would like to return to, when God protected America from everything but ourselves.

What Falwell was referring to are the gay activists -- the ones who spit the Eucharist on the floor at St. Patrick's Cathedral, blamed Reagan for AIDS, and keep trying to teach small schoolchildren about "fisting."

Also the ones who promote the gay lifestyle in a children's cartoon.

Beginning in early 1998, the news was bristling with stories about a children's cartoon PBS was importing from Britain that featured a gay cartoon character, Tinky Winky, the purple Teletubbie with a male voice and a red handbag.

People magazine gleefully reported that Teletubbies was "aimed at Telebabies as young as one year. But teenage club kids love the products' kitsch value, and gay men have made the purse-toting Tinky Winky a camp icon."

In the Nexis archives for 1998 alone, there are dozens and dozens of mentions of Tinky Winky being gay -- in periodicals such as Newsweek, The Toronto Star, The Washington Post (twice!), The New York Times and Time magazine (also twice).

In its Jan. 8, 1999, issue, USA Today accused The Washington Post of "outing" Tinky Winky, with a "recent Washington Post In/Out list putting T.W. opposite Ellen DeGeneres and Anne Heche, essentially 'outing' the kids' show character."

Michael Musto of The Village Voice boasted that Tinky Winky was "out and proud," noting that it was "a great message to kids -- not only that it's OK to be gay, but the importance of being well accessorized."

All this appeared before Falwell made his first mention of Tinky Winky.

After one year of the mainstream media laughing at having put one over on stupid bourgeois Americans by promoting a gay cartoon character in a TV show for children, when Falwell criticized the cartoon in February 1999, that same mainstream media howled with derision that Falwell thought a cartoon character could be gay.

Teletubbies producers immediately denounced the suggestion that Tinky Winky was gay -- though they admitted that he was once briefly engaged to Liza Minnelli. That's what you get, reverend, for believing what you read in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Time magazine and Newsweek. Of course, Falwell also thought the show "Queer as Folk" was gay, so obviously the man had no credibility.

Despite venomous attacks and overwhelming pressure to adopt the fashionable beliefs of cafe society, Falwell never wavered an inch in acknowledging Jesus before men. Luckily, Jesus' full sentence, quoted at the beginning of this column is: "All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ann Coulter is Legal Affairs Correspondent for HUMAN EVENTS and author of "High Crimes and Misdemeanors," "Slander," ""How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must)," and most recently, "Godless."

humanevents.com 

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To: longnshort who wrote (19807)5/16/2007 11:47:43 PM
From: Peter Dierks
1 Recommendation   of 70161
 
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming - a $27.95 value!

Although Al Gore and his cronies among the media elites and UN globalists endlessly bleat that "global warming" is an unprecedented global crisis, they really think of it as a dream come true. It's the ideal reason for a scare campaign by those who are doing all they can to secure strict control over society, business, and the minutest details of individual life.

Now, in his new book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming, Christopher Horner details how the global warming crowd uses strong-arm legal tactics – and worse – against those who dare to point out the weakness of their arguments for global warming. He explodes ten top global warming myths, carefully examines the evidence to determine how much warming there really is and what is actually causing it. He exposes the lies that the environmental lobby routinely tells to make its case, the ways in which it is trying to impose initiatives such as the Kyoto Accords on an unwilling American public, and much more – such as the green lobby's favorite politicians, a rogue's gallery including John Kerry, John McCain, Joe Lieberman and others.

No Al, the sky is not falling...

>Proof: media hype and deceptive Al Gore slide shows notwithstanding, greenhouse gas concentrations demonstrably do not determine temperatures
>More proof: The hole in the ozone layer – the 1980s manmade environmental crisis – was caused by the Antarctic atmosphere's being too cold
>How environmentalists throughout modern history have instilled fear over one looming "crisis" or another with the aim of increasing government control over things big and small
>Why the environmental alarmists do whatever they can to avoid actual debate
>Green lunacy run amok: how even respectable political figures (and Slick Willie) say that the environmental damage caused by American industry is a greater threat than terrorism
>Recent studies that have shown that the environment is actually flourishing – and how the greens have turned even these into evidence of our imminent doom


Get your copy free:
members.humaneventsonline.com 

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From: Peter Dierks5/17/2007 12:10:39 AM
1 Recommendation   of 70161
 
Presumptions Of The Left
by Thomas Sowell (More by this author)

Posted: 05/16/2007
Radically different conclusions about a whole range of issues have been common for centuries. Many have tried to explain these differences by differences in conflicting economic interests. Others, like John Maynard Keynes, have argued that ideas -- even intellectually discredited ideas that political leaders still believe in -- trump economic interests.

My own view is that differences in bedrock assumptions underlying ideas play a major role in determining how people differ in what policies, principles or ideologies they favor.
If you start from a belief that the most knowledgeable person on earth does not have even one percent of the total knowledge on earth, that shoots down social engineering, economic central planning, judicial activism and innumerable other ambitious notions favored by the political left.

If no one has even one percent of the knowledge currently available, not counting the vast amounts of knowledge yet to be discovered, the imposition from the top of the notions favored by elites convinced of their own superior knowledge and virtue is a formula for disaster.

Sometimes it is economic disaster, which central planning turned out to be in so many countries around the world that even most governments run by socialists and communists began freeing up their markets by the end of the 20th century.

That is when the economies of China and India, for example, began having rapidly increasing growth rates.

But economic disasters, important as they are, have not been the worst consequences of people with less than one percent of the world's knowledge superimposing the ideas prevailing in elite circles on those subject to their power -- that is, on the people who together have the other 99 percent of knowledge.

Millions of human beings died of starvation, and of diseases related to severe malnutrition, when the economic ideas of Stalin in the Soviet Union and Mao in China were inflicted on the population living -- and dying -- under their iron rule.

In both cases, the deaths exceeded the deaths caused by Hitler's genocide, which was also a consequence of ignorant presumptions by those with totalitarian power.

Many on the left may protest that they do not believe in the ideas or the political systems that prevailed under Hitler, Stalin or Mao. No doubt that is true.

Yet what the political left, even in democratic countries, share is the notion that knowledgeable and virtuous people like themselves have both a right and a duty to use the power of government to impose their superior knowledge and virtue on others.

They may not impose their presumptions wholesale, like the totalitarians, but retail in innumerable restrictions, ranging from economic and nanny state regulations to "hate speech" laws.

If no one has even one percent of all the knowledge in a society, then it is crucial that the other 99 percent of knowledge -- scattered in tiny and individually unimpressive amounts among the population at large -- be allowed the freedom to be used in working out mutual accommodations among the people themselves.

These innumerable mutual interactions are what bring the other 99 percent of knowledge into play -- and generate new knowledge.

That is why free markets, judicial restraint, and reliance on decisions and traditions growing out of the experiences of the many -- rather than the groupthink of the elite few -- are so important.

Elites are all too prone to over-estimate the importance of the fact that they average more knowledge per person than the rest of the population -- and under-estimate the fact that their total knowledge is so much less than that of the rest of the population.

They over-estimate what can be known in advance in elite circles and under-estimate what is discovered in the process of mutual accommodations among millions of ordinary people.
Central planning, judicial activism, and the nanny state all presume vastly more knowledge than any elite have ever possessed.

The ignorance of people with Ph.D.s is still ignorance, the prejudices of educated elites are still prejudices, and for those with one percent of a society's knowledge to be dictating to those with the other 99 percent is still an absurdity.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dr. Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and "Applied Economics" and "Black Rednecks and White Liberals."

humanevents.com 

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