The first excerpt is by Thomas Sowell, the second one is about him:
The theme that most seemed to rouse the enthusiasm of delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte was that we are all responsible for one another — and that Republicans don’t want to help the poor, the sick and the helpless.
All of us should be on guard against beliefs that flatter ourselves. At the very least, we should check such beliefs against facts.
Yet the notion that people who prefer economic decisions to be made by individuals in the market are not as compassionate as people who prefer those decisions to be made collectively by politicians is seldom even thought of as a belief that should be checked against facts.
Nor is this notion confined to Democrats in America today. Belief in the superior compassion of the political left is a worldwide phenomenon that goes back at least as far as the 18th century. But in all that time, and in all those places, there has been little, if any, effort on the left to check this crucial assumption against facts.
The great Ronald Reagan famously said (and I am paraphrasing, since I do not remember the exact phrase) that the most dangerous words in the English language were “I am from Washington and I am here to help you.”
Those are very wise words, especially when we think of the damage politicians have done because of their impulse to “do something” when the economy stumbles. The problem is not that there is nothing that needs to be fixed. The problem is that the crowd in Washington is far more likely to make things worse rather than better.
And who better to explain this than Thomas Sowell.
Sowell starts his most recent column by explaining that politicians who want to “do something” almost always want to expand the burden of government spending, but he notes that this approach has meant deeper recessions and more economic suffering.