I couldn’t pass up the incredibly rare opportunity to improve on Thomas Sowell’s writing. Okay, okay, it’s not really an improvement, more a condensation.
42) Weighing benefits against costs is the way most people make decisions — and the way most businesses make decisions, if they want to stay in business. Only in government is any benefit, however small, considered to be worth any cost, however large. — Thomas Sowell
I.E., “Diminishing Returns”.
15) 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. — Thomas Sowell
I.E., “Unintended Consequences”.
Any government should be required to formally address those two concepts with every single law it passes and every single thing it does. You could stop worrying about the best form of government—democracy, republic, federation, whatever. A freakin’ monarchy built around “returns and consequences” would be a better government than any mankind has produced to date.
Seriously, what would do more for liberty and prosperity? Force-feeding students years of civics and political science, or grinding the actual rules of existence into their heads?
“At what point do results dwindled enough to warrant stopping your policy? What are the unintended consequences of your law? Get back here, Senator!”
We don’t let “engineers” get away with selling Perpeptual Motion Machines, do we? So why politicians?
Oh, for the record, the list compiler chose this as 2011’s top quote:
1) For God and country — Geronimo, Geronimo, Geronimo. Geronimo. E.K.I.A. Enemy killed in action. — The radio transmission of the SEAL who shot Bin Laden.
And with, hopefully, the coming week’s posts will mostly be science babe-related.