Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Replacing What Works

 

“Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good.” – Thomas Sowell

Sowell made this statement over a decade ago, so it should be updated to four decades, maybe five. And now the fruit of replacing what worked with what sounded good is ripe for harvest.

It is a poisonous crop. Criminals running free in New York state and Maryland. The streets of California filled with vagrants and human feces. Unaffordable housing on the Pacific Coast. The state of Virginia attempting to criminalize a large section of their law-abiding population with unconstitutional (and therefore unlawful) gun-rights restrictions.

And yet those who are replacing what worked with what sounded good are doubling down, and insisting that it has to work because it sounds good.

Published in Domestic Policy
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  1. Arahant Member

    Seawriter: And yet those who are replacing what worked with what sounded good are doubling down, and insisting that it has to work because it sounds good.

    Results don’t matter because our intentions are good.

    • #1
    • January 18, 2020, at 5:49 AM PST
    • 18 likes
  2. Stad Thatcher

    Seawriter: And yet those who are replacing what worked with what sounded good are doubling down, and insisting that it has to work because it sounds good.

    It’s the same thing with socialism:

    “The wrong people were in charge.”

    Never mind the fact the system is the problem. Eventually, even well-intentioned people will turn the system against uncooperative citizens, by force if necessary . . .

    • #2
    • January 18, 2020, at 7:01 AM PST
    • 17 likes
  3. Vectorman Thatcher

    Stad (View Comment):
    Never mind the fact the system is the problem. Eventually, even well-intentioned people will turn the system against uncooperative citizens, by force if necessary . . .

     Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.


    Join other Ricochet members by submitting a Quote of the Day post, the easiest way to start a fun conversation. There are many days available on the February Signup Sheet. We even include tips for finding great quotes, so choose your favorite quote and sign up today!

    • #3
    • January 18, 2020, at 7:17 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  4. Songwriter Member
    Songwriter Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Seawriter: And yet those who are replacing what worked with what sounded good are doubling down, and insisting that it has to work because it sounds good.

    And in the face of irrefutable evidence that they have from the start been wrong, they continue to think themselves smarter than everyone else.

    • #4
    • January 18, 2020, at 7:17 AM PST
    • 15 likes
  5. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    I can even remember my rudimentary political philosophy. I was 18 and a college freshman when Eisenhower defeated Stevenson in 1956. I can remember thinking, “If the world could vote in our election, they would vote for Stevenson.” I was no doubt correct. Four years later, I voted for Nixon to the consternation of my family which claimed a distant relationship with JFK. The difference was that I had taken an Economics class.

    • #5
    • January 18, 2020, at 7:22 AM PST
    • 13 likes
  6. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpring Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    That is a great quote! I think you could pick a random sentence from any of Sowell’s books and it would qualify for a QOTD.

    • #6
    • January 18, 2020, at 7:30 AM PST
    • 19 likes
  7. Vectorman Thatcher

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):
    I was no doubt correct. Four years later, I voted for Nixon to the consternation of my family which claimed a distant relationship with JFK. The difference was that I had taken an Economics class.

    To be fair to JFK, he did cut marginal taxes. But he did Federalize the unions, etc. Ignoring Lyndon Johnson, all subsequent Democrat Presidents (Carter, Clinton, Obama) had Communist sympathies.

    • #7
    • January 18, 2020, at 7:42 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  8. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    Kennedy today would be a Republican although the fall of the Soviet Union has given Democrats more room for frivolity. Only a wealthy society could afford the nonsense that passes for political thought these days,

    • #8
    • January 18, 2020, at 8:34 AM PST
    • 14 likes
  9. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Seawriter: And yet those who are replacing what worked with what sounded good are doubling down, and insisting that it has to work because it sounds good.

    Results don’t matter because our intentions are good.

    Those two sentences sum up The Great Society; all promise and no delivery.

    • #9
    • January 18, 2020, at 9:10 AM PST
    • 13 likes
  10. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Seawriter: And yet those who are replacing what worked with what sounded good are doubling down, and insisting that it has to work because it sounds good.

    Results don’t matter because our intentions are good.

    Isn’t there an ancient but reliable proverb about the road to hell… ?

    • #10
    • January 18, 2020, at 12:57 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  11. Arahant Member

    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret (View Comment):
    Isn’t there an ancient but reliable proverb about the road to hell… ?

    Sort of. It is not as ancient in its current form as we think, only about 1855 in that form. An earlier version was, “L’enfer est plein de bonnes volontés ou désirs.”

    • #11
    • January 18, 2020, at 1:06 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  12. Manny Member

    Excellent quote.

    • #12
    • January 18, 2020, at 6:11 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  13. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Seawriter: And yet those who are replacing what worked with what sounded good are doubling down, and insisting that it has to work because it sounds good.

    Sea,

    Yup, if we just scream a little louder and believe a little more blindly and spend say 95 trillion dollars then surely everything will just be Wunderbar. Stupidity is just so cool!

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #13
    • January 18, 2020, at 9:03 PM PST
    • 9 likes
  14. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Seawriter

    “Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good.” – Thomas Sowell

    Sowell made this statement over a decade ago, so it should be updated to four decades, maybe five. And now the fruit of replacing what worked with what sounded good is ripe for harvest.

    This is not a phenomena that goes back a mere four or five decades. It is as old as human history.

    • #14
    • January 18, 2020, at 9:11 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  15. Kozak Member
    Kozak Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Not so long ago civilization stood on a 3 legged stool.

    Family- Religion- Civic/Community.

    We’ve been busily sawing off the Family and Religion legs and extending the power of the third.

    Not the makings of a stable situation.

    • #15
    • January 19, 2020, at 5:20 AM PST
    • 9 likes
  16. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter

    Kozak (View Comment):

    We’ve been busily sawing off the Family and Religion legs and extending the power of the third.

    Not the makings of a stable situation.

    Kipling’s comment on one-legged stools:

    My Father’s Chair

    Parliaments of Henry III., 1265

    THERE are four good legs to my Father’s Chair–
    Priests and People and Lords and Crown.
    I sits on all of ’em fair and square,
    And that is reason it don’t break down.

    I won’t trust one leg, nor two, nor three,
    To carry my weight when I sets me down.
    I wants all four of ’em under me–
    Priests and People and Lords and Crown.

    I sits on all four and favours none–
    Priests, nor People, nor Lords, nor Crown:
    And I never tilts in my chair, my son,
    And that is the reason it don’t break down.

    When your time comes to sit in my Chair,
    Remember your Father’s habits and rules,
    Sit on all four legs, fair and square,
    And never be tempted by one-legged stools

    • #16
    • January 19, 2020, at 5:26 AM PST
    • 10 likes
  17. I Walton Member

    They know it doesn’t work, but they think it will work for them, the leaders, and it frequently does.

    • #17
    • January 19, 2020, at 5:42 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  18. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    I Walton (View Comment):

    They know it doesn’t work, but they think it will work for them, the leaders, and it frequently does.

    It comes to that; you can’t run things if you don’t promise to fix things. 

    • #18
    • January 19, 2020, at 9:33 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  19. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    WillowSpring (View Comment):

    That is a great quote! I think you could pick a random sentence from any of Sowell’s books and it would qualify for a QOTD.

    Oh yes!

    And, Thomas Sowell’s most excellent twitter feed provides daily quotes. Highly recommended.

    • #19
    • January 19, 2020, at 10:17 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  20. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Vectorman (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):
    Never mind the fact the system is the problem. Eventually, even well-intentioned people will turn the system against uncooperative citizens, by force if necessary . . .

    Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    “Power corrupts. Absolute power… is kind of neat.” — John Lehman

    • #20
    • January 19, 2020, at 10:26 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  21. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    I Walton (View Comment):

    They know it doesn’t work, but they think it will work for them, the leaders, and it frequently does.

    It almost always works for the leaders and their closest appointees. Once in a while, some grifter of a leader gets caught, but usually they don’t.

    I mean, just try and talk to a Leftie about Hillary’s 2010 Uranium One deal, and you are told, “But that is ancient history.”

    A half hour later that Leftie is saying, “Trump needs to release his 1990 tax returns.”

    • #21
    • January 19, 2020, at 11:33 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  22. Saint Augustine Member

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

    WillowSpring (View Comment):

    That is a great quote! I think you could pick a random sentence from any of Sowell’s books and it would qualify for a QOTD.

    Oh yes!

    And, Thomas Sowell’s most excellent twitter feed provides daily quotes. Highly recommended.

    Best argument ever for joining that Twitter thing.

    • #22
    • January 19, 2020, at 1:55 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  23. Phil Turmel Coolidge

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

    WillowSpring (View Comment):

    That is a great quote! I think you could pick a random sentence from any of Sowell’s books and it would qualify for a QOTD.

    Oh yes!

    And, Thomas Sowell’s most excellent twitter feed provides daily quotes. Highly recommended.

    Best argument ever for joining that Twitter thing.

    You don’t have to join. Just make that a bookmark.

    • #23
    • January 19, 2020, at 2:46 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  24. Saint Augustine Member

    Phil Turmel (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

    WillowSpring (View Comment):

    That is a great quote! I think you could pick a random sentence from any of Sowell’s books and it would qualify for a QOTD.

    Oh yes!

    And, Thomas Sowell’s most excellent twitter feed provides daily quotes. Highly recommended.

    Best argument ever for joining that Twitter thing.

    You don’t have to join. Just make that a bookmark.

    I basically never use bookmarks. But a good idea, and a good point.

    • #24
    • January 19, 2020, at 2:49 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  25. Old Bathos Moderator

    By implication, the First Commandment requires that we use the gift of cognition to understand and affirm the gift of reality. When we reject reality in favor of an imaginary mental regime we try to impose on the world and each other then that is a form of idolatry no different than making a golden calf.

    • #25
    • January 19, 2020, at 5:39 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  26. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Amity Shlaes has a new book out (last Sept.) titled Great Society: A New History. Jon Gabriel just interviewed her on the Conservatarian podcast (here). It is quite critical of Johnson’s “Great Society” programs, and from the interview (and another that I saw on YouTube), Shlaes appears to make the same argument as Sowell, but with greater detail.

    Her recent book is a companion to The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression, published in 2007, which applied the same argument to the Depression policies of both Hoover and FDR.

    I haven’t yet read the books. From the recent interviews that I saw, they seem to be well worth reading.

    • #26
    • January 20, 2020, at 7:36 AM PST
    • 1 like
  27. Old Bathos Moderator

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Amity Shlaes has a new book out (last Sept.) titled Great Society: A New History. Jon Gabriel just interviewed her on the Conservatarian podcast (here). It is quite critical of Johnson’s “Great Society” programs, and from the interview (and another that I saw on YouTube), Shlaes appears to make the same argument as Sowell, but with greater detail.

    Her recent book is a companion to The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression, published in 2007, which applied the same argument to the Depression policies of both Hoover and FDR.

    I haven’t yet read the books. From the recent interviews that I saw, they seem to be well worth reading.

    Both books are outstanding. In the new book, the level of detail and the personalities behind the big policy moves on the 1960s-70s are impressive.

    • #27
    • January 20, 2020, at 8:06 AM PST
    • 1 like
  28. JamesSalerno Coolidge

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Amity Shlaes has a new book out (last Sept.) titled Great Society: A New History. Jon Gabriel just interviewed her on the Conservatarian podcast (here). It is quite critical of Johnson’s “Great Society” programs, and from the interview (and another that I saw on YouTube), Shlaes appears to make the same argument as Sowell, but with greater detail.

    Her recent book is a companion to The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression, published in 2007, which applied the same argument to the Depression policies of both Hoover and FDR.

    I haven’t yet read the books. From the recent interviews that I saw, they seem to be well worth reading.

    I just picked up Great Society (half off at Barnes and Noble in-store!) and can’t wait to dig into it as I really enjoyed her Coolidge book. I own the graphic novel edition of Forgotten Man and really enjoyed that one too. 

    • #28
    • January 20, 2020, at 8:30 AM PST
    • 1 like
  29. JamesSalerno Coolidge

    WillowSpring (View Comment):

    That is a great quote! I think you could pick a random sentence from any of Sowell’s books and it would qualify for a QOTD.

    True! I’ve been turning my younger brother onto Sowell. I showed him my bookshelf and started pulling down Sowell books at random. I would open to a random page and blindly point to a line and sure enough, every single time it was an amazing piece of info. There needs to be a Thomas Sowell page-a-day calendar!

    • #29
    • January 20, 2020, at 8:33 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  30. Arahant Member

    JamesSalerno (View Comment):
    There needs to be a Thomas Sowell page-a-day calendar!

    Indeed.

    • #30
    • January 20, 2020, at 8:46 AM PST
    • 1 like