Thomas Sowel Quotes

Since the United States contains several times as many billionaires as any other country, ordinary Americans would be among the most poverty-stricken people in the world if the wealth of the wealthy derives from the poverty of the poor. -- P. 134

Aside from work and discipline, the various successful schools for minority children have had little in common with one another- and even less in common with the fashionable educational theories of our times. -- P. 221

It is bitter medicine to the fully qualified individual to be denied employment because of the racial, ethnic, or other group to which he belongs. It is economically fallacious, however, to say that the below average earnings of the group as a whole are due to such discrimination. -- P. 89

There has been a huge accumulation of evidence on the correlation between test scores and subsequent performances, not only for the general population but also for particular racial and ethnic minorities. Repeatedly it has been demonstrated that the standard mental tests do not underestimate the subsequent performance of low scoring minorities. They have in fact a slight tendency to do the opposite-to predict for low scoring minorities a higher subsequent performance than that actually achieved. This pattern has been persistent over time and is international in scope. -- P. 173

-trees that newspapers are made from automatically recycled themselves for thousands of years before human being figured out how to plant seeds. -- P. 312

Back in the eighteenth century, Adam Smith, himself a professor, pointed out how the faculty of endowed academic institutions are enabled to indulge themselves in ways that they would not be able to in an enterprise dependent on its performance for its survival. -- P. 88

Research findings have consistently shown black females to have higher IQ test scores, and most other test scores, than black males in the United States. The same was true among Jews when they scored low on mental tests in the past. However, among white- raised black orphans with an average IQ of 106, there was no female advantage, suggesting that the striking predominance of females among high-IQ blacks is an environmental rather than a racial phenomenon. -- P. 171

Economics is not about the financial fate of individuals. It is about the material well- being of society as a whole. -- P. 3

Despite the impression created by Roots, during the era of the massive slave trade from West Africa, a white man was more likely to catch malaria in Africa than to catch slaves himself. -- P. 121

As a young man, John Stuart Mill brooded over the fact that there was an ultimate limit to the amount of music that could be produced by using the eight notes of the music scale. But, at that time, Brahms and Tchaikovsky had not yet been born nor jazz yet conceived, and rock music was more than a century away. Ultimate limits alone tell us virtually nothing useful about whether there is or is not a practical problem. -- P. 216

The case for upholding legal principles, known and relied upon by others, is precisely that it can be done, and done while preserving a free society, whereas playing cases by ear requires far more knowledge than anyone possesses and is incompatible with the rule of law and the freedom which depends on that rule. -- P. 169

Equal opportunity' laws and policies require that individuals be judged on their qualifications as individuals, without regard to race, sex, age, etc. 'Affirmative action' requires that they be judged with regard to such group membership, receiving preferential or compensatory treatment in some cases to achieve a more proportional 'representation' in various institutions and occupations. -- P. 38

When the government creates some new program, nothing is easier than to show whatever the benefits that program produces. Indeed, those who run the program will be more than cooperative in bringing those benefits to the attention of the media. But it is virtually impossible to trace the taxes that paid for the program back to their source and to show the alternative uses of that same money that could have been far more beneficial. -- P. 257

The rule of law- 'a government of laws and not of men'- implies rules known in advance, applied generally, and constraining the rulers as well as the ruled. Freedom implies exemptions from the power of the rulers and a corresponding limitation on the scope of all laws, even those of democratically elected governments. -- P. 151

The era in which trends in crime, drunkenness, and other social degeneracy were turned around was of course the era of 'Victorian morality,' so much distained by the anointed of later times. -- P. 86

Someone once said that an idea that fails repeatedly may possibly be wrong... Sincerity of purpose is not the same as honesty of procedure. -- P. 111 / 120

It was the Africans who enslaved their fellow Africans, selling some of these slaves to Europeans or to Arabs and keeping others for themselves. Even at the peak of the Atlantic slave trade, Africans retained more slaves for themselves than they sent to the Western Hemisphere. -- P. 120

Time by itself accomplishes nothing. In particular, it is a serious mistake, with dangerous consequences, to imagine that time itself improves relations among racial ethnic groups. -- P. xi

American universities are usually ranked among the best in the world, based primarily on having some of the best scholars in the world on their faculties- even if many of these top scholars are from other countries. -- P. 87

Since no group of human beings has been without sin, anecdotal evidence for various accusations will never be lacking, even when these sins are less of an explanatory factor than a fatal distraction from the hard work needed to acquire the human capital needed to turn poverty to prosperity. -- P. 338