Thomas Sowel Quotes

Anyone can be wrong about the future...Being wrong about the past is something else. -- P. 79

In general, the expansion of the white settlers into Indian territory in North America was directed primarily toward taking over the land itself, rather than acquiring Indians as subjects of the government or as vassals of white landowners or of European ecclesiastical establishments, as happened in much of Spanish America. -- P. 298 - 299

While today‘s American children would of course think it wrong to take other people‘s lands by force, the American Indians had no such conception and took one another‘s lands by force long before they ever laid eyes on a white man. -- P. 269

Unionization drove out blacks in two ways: (1) directly through discriminatory rules and policies, and (2) indirectly, by artificially raising the wage rates and making them uniform. -- P. 89

institutions, laws, and policies to get those prices paid by somebody else. For society as a whole, there is no somebody else. Yet few of those in politics seem prepared to face that fact. Economists may say that there is no such thing as a free lunch but politicians get elected by promising free lunches. -- P. 93

Those with the vision of the anointed are seldom deterred by any question as to whether anyone has the knowledge required to do what they are attempting...the question for the anointed is not knowledge but compassion, commitment, and other such subjective factors which supposedly differentiate themselves from other people. The refrain from the anointed is we already know the answers, there‘s no need for more studies, and the kinds of questions raised by those with other views are just stalling and obstructing progress. 'Solutions' are out there waiting to be found, like eggs at an Easter egg hunt. -- P. 110

-the same story can be told of reformers who decry 'sweatshop labor' in Third World countries who export their products to the United States to be sold in American stores. Nothing is easier than to take cheap shots at those stores for 'exploiting' Third World people- and nothing will hurt those Third World people more surely than losing one of their few meager opportunities to earn incomes by producing at lower costs than more fortunate people in more industrial countries. -- P. 130

What is truly surprising- and relatively ignored- is the economic impact of affirmative action on the disadvantaged, for whom it is most insistently invoked. The relative position of disadvantaged individuals within the groups singled out for preferential treatment has generally declined under affirmative action. -- P. 51

-the inherent conflict between equal rules and equal results has been recognized in theory for at least two centuries, even though many of our contemporaries proclaim, as if it were some new discovery or deeper insight of theirs, that laws that are 'formally' equal may affect different groups differently. From this they conclude that 'real' equality must supersede merely formal equality- which is to say that cosmic justice must trump traditional justice. -- P. 153

-if everybody is greedy, then the word is virtually meaningless. -- P. 322

Each group trails the long shadow of its own history and culture, which influences its habits, priorities, and social patterns, which in turn affect its fate...Lamenting the vagaries of fate may leave us with a galling sense of helpless frustration, which many escape by transforming the tragedy of the human condition into the specific sins of specific societies. This turns the insoluble problem of cosmic justice into an apparently more manageable issue of social justice. -- P. 264

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

Some people consider it a valid criticism of corporations that they are 'just in the business to make profits.' By this kind of reasoning, workers are just working to earn their pay. -- P. 332

The indigenous population of the Western Hemisphere was all but exterminated by their sudden exposure to the diseases of Europe and Africa-far more so than by the military campaigns which occupy so much of history. -- P. 78

reach the top ten percent in individual income required an income of $87,300 in 2004. -- P. 138

When people are presented with the alternatives of hating themselves for their failures or hating others for their success, they seldom choose to hate themselves. -- P. 77

Black-owned banks in the United States have tended to have high rates of failure and the surviving black banks have tended to invest outside their community even more than white banks. . .Here too, often 'the poor pay more' because they live in neighborhoods with higher costs of providing those goods and services. -- P. 111 - 112

The peculiarities of ghetto speech, often imitated even among contemporary black middle-class youth, are said to derive from African speech patterns, when in fact most of those very same words and phrases were part of the speech patterns in those parts of Britain from which Southerners came, centuries ago. -- P. 225

By ingredients they mean physical ingredients, which are usually inexpensive, rather than the knowledge ingredient which is usually astronomically expensive because of years of research, including much trial and error. -- P. 82

The language of politics, and especially of ideological politics, is often categorical language about 'rights,' about eliminating certain evils, guaranteeing certain benefits, or protecting certain habitats and species...Indirectly but inexorably, this language says that the preferences of the anointed are to supersede the preferences of everyone else. -- P. 142