Thomas Sowel Quotes

Some of the worst poverty in the world today can be found in thinly-populated regions like sub-Saharan Africa. Meanwhile, population density is several times higher in much more prosperous Japan. There are also densely populated poor countries, such as Bangladesh, but there are even more densely populated places like Switzerland and Singapore, with far higher standards. -- P. 215

What is called 'smart growth' in some places is government imposition of the preferences of observers, critics, activists, or 'experts' to over-ride the desires of he people themselves, as expressed in what they are willing to spend their own money to buy or rent. -- P. 48

-what successively removed various peoples of the world from the ranks of those vulnerable to being enslaved was the long process of consolidation of state power, whether their own or that of European imperialist nations. -- P. 13

With all of its intellectual and material accomplishments, Mayan civilization could hardly be considered humanitarian. One of its central priorities was war and one of its chief priorities in war was the capture, torture, and slaughter of enemy soldiers and leaders...While atrocities have occurred around the world, this was a society in which such behavior was not simply accepted, but systematized and celebrated. -- P. 267

-numerous empirical studies by economists over the past few decades have repeatedly concluded that minimum wage laws have their most devastating impact on black teenagers. -- P. 87

What is called 'planning' in political rhetoric is the government‘s suppression of other people‘s plans by superimposing on them a collective plan, created by third parties, armed with the power of government and exempted from paying the costs that these collective plans impose on others. -- P. 32

Race is used as a sorting device for decision-makers, even by people who are not racists. -- P. 172

-many of the problems of very poor countries are internal, however politically unpalatable that may be to the inhabitants of those countries or to those on the Western world who prefer other explanations. This conclusion is reinforced by the history of very poor countries that rose rapidly to higher economic levels, such as Scotland in the eighteenth century, Japan in the nineteenth century and China in the twentieth century. In all cases, they raised themselves economically through internal changes, brought on by recognition that such internal changes were necessary. -- P. 215

Frederick Law Olmsted‘s response to the claim that blacks were no more capable of being educated than animals were was to ask why there were no laws forbidding animals from being educated. The very need for such a law undermined the belief that was used to justify the law. -- P. 168

In the unconstrained vision, where much of the malaise of the world is due to existing institutions and existing beliefs, those least habituated to those institutions and beliefs are readily seen as especially valuable for making needed social changes. -- P. 63

Law evolved as an expression of the natural feelings and experiences of human beings in general, not the articulated rationality of intellectual or moral leaders. -- P. 180

By and large, it pays Americans to junk their cars, refrigerators, trolleys, and other capital equipment in a shorter time than it would pay people in poorer countries to do so. Nor is this a matter of being able to afford 'waste.' It would be a waste to keep repairing this equipment, when the same efforts elsewhere in the American economy would produce more than enough wealth to buy replacements. -- P. 146

What the rednecks or crackers brought with them across the ocean was a whole constellation of attitudes, values, and behavior patterns that might have made sense in the world which they had lived for centuries, but which would prove to be counterproductive in the world to which they were going- and counterproductive to the blacks who would live in their midst for centuries before emerging into freedom and migrating to the urban centers of the United States, taking with them similar values. -- P. 6

Much of the story of the human race has been a story of the massive cultural borrowings, which have created a modern world technology, as much at home in Japan as in Europe or the United States. -- P. 61

Green (v. County School Board of New Kent County) was in many ways as decisive a case as Brown...-it was a substitution of a very different process- one in which children were to be assigned to schools by race instead of without regard to race. -- P. 68

Freedom began to emerge where governments were too fragmented, too poorly organized, or too much in need of voluntary cooperation to prevent its emergence. -- P. 353

Teaching is both one of the hardest and one of the easiest jobs in the world, depending on how conscientiously it is done. It is also one of the noblest and one of the most corrupt occupations- again, depending on how it is done... Cheap popularity, ego trips, and ideological indoctrination are just some of the pitfalls of teaching. -- P. 202 - 203

When facts about racial or ethnic groups that are both known and relevant are deliberately suppressed because they would undermine a particular vision, doctrine, or agenda, then history is prostituted and cannot serve as a check against visions, because facts have been subordinated to visions. -- P. 277

The normal weighing of costs against benefits, which causes more urgent things to be done ahead of less important things when prices ration scarce resources, is less effective when costs are paid by someone other than the actual decision-makers. -- P. 74

Freedom must be distinguished from democracy, with which it is often confused. -- P. 91