I Finally Disagree with Thomas Sowell

Anyone who reads these pages knows I have always admired Thomas Sowell. On matters of economics, and most political matters, he’s typically on the money.

Not this time.

He starts out with a proper analysis of our upcoming election choices:

Now that the two parties have finally selected their presidential candidates, it is time for a sober — if not grim — assessment of where we are.

Not since 1972 have we been presented with two such painfully inadequate candidates.

That would be correct. Nixon-McGovern was national suicide. In retrospect, the fallout should have been predictable: even without Watergate, Nixon was a terrible President, a disgrace to conservatism, Then again, next to McGovern, he might as well have been a Bircher.

Today, we have what appears to be a race between a first-term hyperliberal Senator from Illinois and an aging faux conservative Senator from Arizona.

Barack Obama (D-IL) brags about his anti-war position on Iraq, but promises to protect Israel, laments our endless war in Iraq but talks of invading Pakistan, opposes invading Iran but also opposes their nuclear aspirations, promotes an economic policy every bit as disastrous as Bush’s, has said nothing that shows he understands the economic fallout of our energy policies, and has done nothing to hold the Federal Reserve accountable their horrible monetary policy.

John McCain (R-AZ), on the other hand, talks of 100 years of war in Iraq, provides ambivalence with respect to Iran, has waffled on economic policy, has said nothing that shows he understands the economic fallout of our energy policies, and also has done nothing to hold the Federal Reserve to account for their horrible monetary policy.

They may disagree on a few social issues–Obama is pro-abortion and anti-gun whereas McCain is sorta anti-abortion, sorta pro-gun, and very much against free speech–but they both are a disaster for military, diplomacy, fiscal, and monetary policy.

On social security and medicare reform, both are clueless.

Back to Sowell.

The point when they get that bomb will be the point of no return. Iran’s nuclear bomb will be the terrorists’ nuclear bomb — and they can make 9/11 look like child’s play.

All the options that are on the table right now will be swept off the table forever. Our choices will be to give in to whatever the terrorists demand — however outrageous those demands might be — or to risk seeing American cities start disappearing in radioactive mushroom clouds.

Oh come on, Dr. Sowell. Do you really think the Iranians would do that, given that any American President could incinerate the entire Middle East by picking up the red phone? Do you really believe that Iran wants war with the United States, given that such a war would hurt them far worse than it would hurt us?

Just as the Nazis did not find it enough to simply kill people in their concentration camps, but had to humiliate and dehumanize them first, so we can expect terrorists with nuclear weapons to both humiliate us and force us to humiliate ourselves, before they finally start killing us.

They have already telegraphed their punches with their sadistic beheadings of innocent civilians, and with the popularity of videotapes of those beheadings in the Middle East.

They have already telegraphed their intention to dictate to us with such things as Osama bin Laden’s threats to target those places in America that did not vote the way he prescribed in the 2004 elections. He could not back up those threats then but he may be able to in a very few years.

If the terrorist groups acquire nuclear weapons–which they eventually will–it won’t be from Iran. Why? As an economist, Sowell should understand this: the marginal cost to the Iranians of giving nuclear technology to the terrorists, outweighs any marginal benefit.

Fact is, the terrorist groups have a greater chance of getting such weaponry from North Korea, or one of the breakaway republics from the former Soviet Union, than from Iran.

One of these candidates will determine what we are going to do to stop Iran from going nuclear— or whether we are going to do anything other than talk, as Western leaders talked in the 1930s.

The larger question is whether it is our job to stop another nation from going nuclear. Trouble is, stopping a nation from acquiring nukes is as futile as gun control.

We can’t even stop psyschopaths from getting assault rifles; how are we going to stop a nation from acquiring nuclear weapons? At the end of the day, we are better off letting the Iranians have their nukes, placing emphasis on collaborating to ensure security of nuclear technology.

Senator John McCain has been criticized in this column many times. But, when all is said and done, Senator McCain has not spent decades aiding and abetting people who hate America.

On the contrary, he has paid a huge price for resisting our enemies, even when they held him prisoner and tortured him. The choice between him and Barack Obama should be a no-brainer.

I applaud McCain for his fine service to our country, and yes the choice is a no-brainer.

Bob Barr, the Libertarian candidate, is my choice.

SingleMind.net Welcomes Cubbie

A longtime friend of mine–Cubbie–a practicing attorney who will soon be joining the ranks of United States Patent Examiners, has joined the ranks of authors for SingleMind.net. He will be blogging on various issues from time to time. I have added a bio page for him.

A fair warning: He is one of the smartest people on two legs. He is capable of talking intelligently about matters from mathematics to chemistry to sports to law to world history.

More Proof: Why It’s Not Right to Blame Men for Vices of Women (or Vice Versa)

24-year-old Noelle Nicolai is a really good case in point here.

Since 24-year-old Noelle Nicolai got engaged in early January, she’s been surprised that no one has asked about her plans for “happily ever after” or the details of the engagement. Instead, all the questions have revolved around one topic: what she’s going to look like on her wedding day.

“I’ve fielded a barrage of ‘What are you going to do with your short hair?’ ‘Do you have a dress?’ ‘What will your makeup be like?’,” says the Utah native. Although Nicolai has long prided herself on her ability to resist what she calls society’s “aesthetic obsession,” she says that less than a day after becoming engaged she found herself writing a to-do list of “shallow” goals that included teeth whitening, monthly facials, waxings, hair shine treatments and tanning. She went to a dermatologist for a regime of antibiotics, creams and cleaners to guarantee a blemish-free face by her wedding day at the end of June. She even pulled out her retainers from her high-school years to get her teeth back in “post-braces alignment.” At the top of her list: knocking 12 pounds off her already thin frame. (She’s got a Body Mass Index of 20—the lower end of the normal weight range.)

Good grief! She’s got a BMI of only 20, which is excellent (18.5 is the breakpoint for being underweight). Why does she need to lose more weight???

(Putting this in perspective: my BMI is 23–right in the middle of the normal range–and my body fat is teetering at 5%, which is almost too low in spite of my efforts to put weight on. So she’s pretty darn lean if her BMI is only 20!)

Her fiance is a better man than I, as, knowing only what I know from the article, I would run–not walk–from her. She is almost certainly a perfectionist, and–once she is married to me–nothing I do for her will ever be good enough.

And notice here that it is not her fiance’ who is bothering Noelle about her weight; she is the only one putting pressure on herself on that front. And if she loses 12 pounds, I’d bet money that she’d be underweight, which will only complicate her health issues later in life.

I mention this because a common mantra of the male-bashers to blame men for the prevalence of bulimia and other female obsessions with weight and figure.

Of course, regular readers of these pages know that my contention is that such things–eating disorders–are vices that are predominant in women, just as there are vices–such as porn–that are predominant in men.

Depravity is an equal-opportunity affliction.