Thomas Sowel Quotes

The battle for civil rights was fought and won- at great cost- many years ago. Like any fundamental human achievement, these rights cannot be taken for granted and must be safeguarded. But civil rights are not protected or enhanced by the growing practice of calling every issue raised by 'spokesmen' for minority, female, elderly, or other groups, 'civil rights' issues...Equal treatment does not mean equal results. Everything desirable is not a civil right. -- P. 109

In general, warfare between whites and Indians was less common during the colonial era than warfare among the Indians, fighting with one another for access to European settlements. -- P. 296

When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.

China in centuries past has been described as 'one of the largest and most comprehensive markets for the exchange of human beings in the world.' Slavery was also common in India, where it has been estimated that there were more slaves than in the entire Western Hemisphere- and the original Thugs kidnapped children for the purpose of enslavement. -- P. 112

The only clear-cut winners in the quest for cosmic justice are those who believe in the vision it projects- a vision in which believers are so morally and/or intellectually superior to others that their own relentless pursuit of this vision is seen as all that offers some modicum of hope to those who would otherwise be victims of the lesser people who make up the rest of society. It is a very flattering vision- and hence one not easily given up. -- P. 43

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

What can any society hope to gain by having some babies in that society born into the world with a priori grievances against other babies born into that same society on the same day? -- P. 251

Processes designed to create greater equality cannot be judged by that goal but must be examined in terms of the processes created in pursuit of that goal. -- P. 51

Much of the cultural pattern of Southern rednecks became the cultural heritage of Southern blacks, more so than survivals of African cultures, with which they had not been in contact for centuries...Moreover, such cultural traits followed blacks out of the Southern countrysides and into the urban ghettos- North and South- where many settled. The very way of talking, later to be christened 'black English,' closely followed the dialects brought over from those parts of Britain from which many white Southerners came. -- P. 27

A slave in the United States in the mid-nineteenth century cost thirty times what he cost on the coast of Africa. American slave-owners were very reluctant to lose this kind of investment- so much so that they often hired Irish immigrants to do work considered too dangerous for slaves. -- P. 160

Even in the twenty-first century, 'two-thirds of the world‘s illiterate adults are women,' according to the Economist magazine. However, at the other end of the educational spectrum, women in the most industrially advanced countries are going on to higher education in numbers comparable to men- and, in some countries, more often than men. -- P. 56

Some countries have had disastrous famines, not from a lack of food, but from a lack of distribution of food. People have literally died from starvation in the interior while food supplies rotted on the docks in port cities. In other economies, both production and consumption suffer from a lack of credit. More to the point, mass expulsions of supposedly 'parasitic' middleman minorities have created shortages, higher prices, and rising interest rates, in a number of countries and in a number of periods in history. -- P. 83

The Soviet Union did not lack resources, but was in fact one of the most richly endowed nations on earth. What it lacked was an efficient economic system that made efficient use of scarce resources. -- P. 12

To apply the same rules to everyone requires no prior knowledge of anyone‘s childhood, cultural heritage, philosophical (or sexual) orientation, or the innumerable historical influences to which he or his forebears may have subjected. -- P. 16

More generally, political attempts to 'solve' various 'problems' seriatim ignore the costs created by each 'solution' and how that exacerbates other problems...Much of the political rhetoric is concerned with presenting issues as isolated problems to be solved- not as trade –offs within an overall system constrained by inherent limitations of resources, knowledge, etc. -- P. 137

The percentage of employed blacks who were professional and technical workers rose less in the five years following the Civil Rights Act of 1964 than in the five years preceding it. -- P. 49

Studies from more recent times have shown that the education of black students has been negatively affected by the presence of large numbers of other black students. -- P. 223

The liberal vision of black‘s fate as being almost wholly in the hands of whites is a debilitating message for those blacks who take it seriously, however convenient it may be for those who are receptive to an alibi. -- P. 63

Differing incidences of malnutrition, alcohol and drug usage, cigarette smoking, and other behavioral of mothers during pregnancy can lead to babies with the same genetic potential at the moment of conception entering the world at birth already differing biologically in their mental capacities. -- P. 369

Calls for 'forgiveness' of loans to Third World governments are frequently heard and heeded, as if rewarding financial irresponsibility by officials doing the borrowing is going to lift poor countries out of poverty. -- P. 212