Thomas Sowel Quotes

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

The instrumental nature of justice and its consequent subordination at times to other social imperatives, is a recurring theme in the constrained vision. Implicit in this subordination of justice to order in the constrained vision is the conclusion that man will suffer more by the breakdown of order-even an unjust order-than by some injustices. -- P. 174

The anointed do not simply happen to have a distain for the public. Such distain is an integral part of their vision, for the central feature of that vision is preemption of the decisions of others. -- P. 124

Another feature of middleman minorities cited by various scholars has been their tendency to invest in highly mobile capital- intellectual skills being the ultimate in portability- rather than fixtures that could not move. -- P. 107

Letters from teachers continue to confirm the incompetence which they deny. A teacher in Montana says that my criticisms of teachers are "nieve." No, that wasn't a typographical error. He spelled it that way twice.

The source of moral outrage over corporate compensation is by no means obvious. If it is based on a belief that individuals are overpaid for their contribution to the corporation, then there would be even more outrage toward people who receive hundreds of millions of dollars for doing nothing at all, since they simply inherited money.-- P. 143

Everything fails by irrelevant standards. -- P. 207

Where a particular group culture is itself a handicap impeding the acquisition of the education, skills, and experience required for economic and other advancement, group solidarity can have huge and lifelong consequences with staggering costs...Group solidarity may not only seal them off from the larger surrounding society, it may seal them off from the truth about the internal causes of their own problems, making a solution more remote. -- P. 285

-the cultural capital of a people is crucial to their economic and social advancement, whether that people is a racial minority, a nation-state, or a whole civilization. -- P. 368

Economic development has been one of the most successful anti-poverty programs. -- P. 47

One of the hallmarks of many Third World countries, especially those with otherwise favorable economic prospects in terms of natural resources or other favorable geographic factors, has been ineffective, capricious, or corrupt law enforcement. -- P. 200

For much of the media- and often even in academia- it is sufficient to find inter-group differences in outcomes to conclude that there has been discrimination. This happens, however, only when the conclusion fits existing preconceptions. -- P. 184

Much discussion of the decisions of businessmen in general by intellectuals proceeds as if employers, landlords, and others operating under the systemic pressures of the marketplace are free to make arbitrary and capricious decisions based on prejudice and misinformation–as if they were intellectuals sitting around a seminar table–and pay no price for being mistaken. — P. 188

In the west, racism was promoted by slavery, rather than vice versa. -- P. 195

The general orientation of white liberals has been one of 'what can we do for them?' What blacks can do for themselves has not only been of lesser interest, much of what blacks have in fact already done for themselves has been overshadowed by liberal attempts to get them special dispensations- whether affirmative action, reparations for slavery, or other race-based benefits- even when the net effect of these dispensations has been much less than the effects of black‘s own self-advancement. -- P. 55

If you don't believe in the innate unreasonableness of human beings, just try raising children.

-money is not wealth. It is just a way to transfer wealth or to give people incentives to produce wealth. -- P. 224

If the temperature has risen by 10 degrees since dawn today, an extrapolation will show that we will all be burned to a crisp before the end of the month, if this trend continues. Extrapolations are the last refuge of a groundless argument. -- P. 568

A 1996 study found that four-fifths of all the American millionaires studied earned their fortunes within their own lifetimes. -- P. 53

If nothing else, history can help dissolve the provincialism of time and place, and the hypocrisy of selective moral indignation. -- P. 224