August 10, 2011
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A hundred years ago, anyone who might have predicted in 1913 the monumental, man-made catastrophes that would occur in the rest of the 20th century would have been considered warped, if not completely mentally deranged.
Someone called politics “the art of the possible.” But, in the era of the modern welfare state, politics is largely the art of the impossible.
Ideological clashes over particular laws, policies and programs often go far deeper. Those with opposing views of what is desirable for the future also tend to differ equally sharply as to what the reality of the present is. In other words, they envision two very different worlds.
In Don Marquis' classic satirical book, "Archy and Mehitabel," Mehitabel the alley cat asks plaintively, "What have I done to deserve all these kittens?"
Too many policies and institutions are judged by what they are supposed to do, rather than by what they actually do.
Life has many good things. The problem is that most of these good things can be gotten only by sacrificing other good things. We all recognize this in our daily lives. It is only in politics that this simple, common sense fact is routinely ignored.
When Donald Rumsfeld was Secretary of Defense, he coined some phrases about knowledge that apply far beyond military matters.- Thomas Sowell, syndicated columnist