Thomas Sowel Quotes

When increased voluntary spending is called 'rising costs,' and becomes a basis for raising tuition, seeking more taxpayer money, or even dipping into the principal of endowments, then the kinds of economic constraints faced by competing business enterprises are clearly not operating in the academic world. -- P. 110

Implicit in much discussion of a need to rectify social inequities is the notion that some segments of society, through no fault of their own, lack things which others receive as windfalls gains, through no virtue of their own. True as this may be, the knowledge required to sort this out intellectually, much less rectify it politically, is staggering and superhuman. -- P. 13

-it was during the 1960s that crime rates began skyrocketing among both blacks and whites, and it was precisely after the historic civil rights laws were passed that blacks began rioting in cities across the country. -- P. 167

Despite the popularity of the phrase 'income distribution,' most income is earned- not distributed. -- P. 151

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

In every aspect of our lives, we all stand on the shoulders of giants, and all those giants were not in the past. The principles of aerodynamics were not discovered by the Wright brothers. They were simply the first to get a plane off the ground. -- P. 84

Europeans became mass traders of African slaves largely by purchase from Africa‘s more powerful tribes and empires. -- P. 195

For history to contribute to human understanding, its own integrity as history must be respected...A search of the past for group image-enhancement cannot be called history either, nor can a record of the past purged of whatever may be currently embarrassing or whatever is vetoed by contemporary group spokesmen, for whatever reason. -- P. 251

Complex phenomena may, of course, also have complex causes. But the a priori dogma that they cannot have simple causes is part of the 'complex' complex. It is one more way of seeming to argue, without actually making any argument. It is also one more example of the presumption of superior wisdom and/or virtue that is at the heart of the vision of the anointed. As a tactical matter, this dogma enables them to deny, on purely a priori grounds, that the various 'compassionate' interventions in legal, economic, or social systems could have been responsible for the many counterproductive consequences which have so often followed. -- P. 88

-the choice as to which outsiders to enslave was not a matter of racial ideology, but was based on pragmatic considerations as to availability, including both the military and legal obstacles to their enslavement. -- P. 193

Sometimes a variety of favorable geographical features exist in combination within a given region, as in northwestern Europe, and sometimes virtually all are lacking, as in much of tropical Africa, while still other parts of the world have some of these favorable features but not others. The consequences include not only large variations in economic well being, but more fundamentally, large variations in the skills and experiences- the human capital- of the people themselves. -- P. 209

Where weak, corrupt and capricious indigenous governments have been supplanted by stronger and more dependable colonial governments, immigration has often increased, even when those who immigrated were never accorded the same rights as the imperial race or even the conquered native population. -- P. 17

Many who have dismissed the anti-slavery words of the founders of the American republic as just rhetoric have not bothered to check the facts of history. Washington, Jefferson, and other founders did not just talk, they acted. -- P. 145

People sort themselves out residentially around the world, not only by race and ethnicity but also by income, education, lifestyle, and other characteristics. . . Observers who presuppose that a random distribution of people is desirable often see residential sorting as a 'problem' to be 'solved,' usually by governmental action. Often this view is accompanied by an assumption that housing segregation is irrational or can be an expression of prejudice or animosity toward another group. -- P. 104

There may be a curriculum listed in the college catalogue but it can mean little if there are many disparate options for meeting a particular curriculum requirement- if, for example, a course on the history of motion pictures can be used to satisfy a social science requirement instead of a course on leading nations or empires of the world. Thus a student may graduate from some of the most prestigious colleges in the country fundamentally ignorant of history and all the insights and implications of history. -- P. 93

Where a group is less in demand (whether because of lower skill levels, less energetic or less conscientious work, or because of others‘ aversion to associating with them), an artificially imposed wage-rate increase tends to increase their unemployment rate more than the unemployment rate of the general population, or of other workers in the same population.-- P. 95

Since slaves had no voice whatever in the selection of Southern Congressman, counting the slave population at full strength would have given white Southerners a stronger pro- slavery contingent in Congress...It should also be noted that in the Constitution‘s distinction in counting people for representation in Congress was between slave and free, not black and white. Free blacks were counted the same as whites- and free blacks existed before the Constitution existed. -- P. 155

Power lies at the end of a spectrum of causal factors which include influence, individual discretion, and systemic interactions whose actual outcomes were not planned or controlled by anyone. -- P. 151

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

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