Thomas Sowel Quotes

It was the Africans who enslaved their fellow Africans, selling some of these slaves to Europeans or to Arabs and keeping others for themselves. Even at the peak of the Atlantic slave trade, Africans retained more slaves for themselves than they sent to the Western Hemisphere. -- P. 120

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

To the anointed, their vision and reality are one and the same. Yet the world inside their minds has few of the harsh constraints of the world inhabited by millions of other human beings... The world of the anointed is a very tidy place- or, put differently, every deviation of the real world from the tidiness of their vision is considered to be someone‘s fault. -- P. 24

Judge-made innovations are, in effect, ex post facto laws, which are expressly forbidden by the Constitution and abhorrent to the very concept of the rule of law. -- P. 170

In the case of immigrants from Ireland, the massive efforts of the Catholic Church in the nineteenth century to Americanize Irish immigrants are seldom mentioned among the reasons why the 'No Irish Need Apply' signs faded away during the twentieth century. The picture too often presented might lead one to believe that it was all just a matter of prejudice and bigotry in American society that lead to such signs in the first place, leaving their disappearance in later times unexplained, except by some generality as 'progress' or by the efforts of the enlightened to dispel such prejudices and bigotry. -- P. 252

Many Americans who supported the initial thrust of civil rights, as represented by the Brown v. Board of Education decision and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, later felt betrayed as the original concept of equal opportunity evolved toward the concept of equal group results. -- P. 37

Africa itself used large numbers of slaves in all sorts of agricultural, domestic, military, and even commercial and governmental enterprises. -- P. 188

Given the unique- and uniquely oppressive- history of blacks, it would follow almost inevitably from the civil rights vision that blacks would today suffer far more than other groups from low income, broken homes, and the whole litany of social pathologies. But like so many things that follow from the civil rights vision, it happens not to be true in fact...Both the domestic and the international examples suggest that what is most dramatic, most historic, or most morally revolting need not coincide with what is most economically determining. In short, the historical uniqueness of blacks has not translated into a contemporary uniqueness in incomes, occupations, I.Q., unemployment, female headed households, alcoholism, or welfare dependency, however much blacks may differ from the mythical national average in these respects. All of these represent serious difficulties (sometimes larger calamities) for blacks, and indirectly for the larger society, but the question here is the cause. If that cause is either a unique history or a unique genetics, blacks would differ not only from the national average but also from other groups that share neither that history nor the same genetic background. -- P. 74 - 75

If a thousand children die from a new drug allowed into the market with less testing and ten thousand would die while more testing was going on, the public outcry over the deaths of those thousand children would bring the wrath of the whole political system down on the heads of those officials who permitted the drug to be approved with “inadequate” testing. But then if a hundred times as many people die while prolonged testing goes on, there will be few, if any stories about those people in the media. — P.91

One of the ways to promote the ideology of equality is by defining various inequalities of performance out of existence. This cultural relativism refuses to classify some societies as civilized and others as backward or primitive. Whether comparing nations or subgroups within nations, cultural relativists proclaim all cultures and subcultures to be 'equally valid' and entitled to 'equal respect' as we 'celebrate diversity'... The bitter irony is that all this philosophical self-indulgence widens the empirical gap in the name of narrowing it. -- P. 74 - 75

The family is inherently an obstacle to schemes for central control of social processes. Therefore the anointed necessarily find themselves repeatedly on a collision course with the family. It is not a matter of any subjective animus on their part against families. The anointed may in fact be willing to shower government largess upon families, as they do other social entities. But the preservation of the family as an autonomous decision- making unit is incompatible with the third-party decision making that is at the heart of the vision of the anointed. -- P. 62

Many Southern religious gatherings were not held in churches but at outdoor 'camp meetings'- a style that went back to practices of these Southerners‘ ancestors in Britain. So too did the oratorical style of Southern preachers and the behavior of their congregations, whether in churches or outdoors...While many of those listened to hellfire-and-damnation sermons were moved to extreme emotional reactions of fear, confession, and repentance, many others took these services as dramatic performances or spectacles, and the young women and men often treated these religious gatherings as occasions for socializing and preludes to romantic encounters later. -- P. 25 - 26

Nevertheless, most Americans earn their livings by renting their time and talents-and live much better than peoples in many other countries where most adults own their own land and work only for themselves. -- P. 127

The fact that the Chinese have long prospered outside of China, and Indians outside of India, undermines the multicultural view that Western prosperity in general is not due to any superior features of Western institutions. -- P. 255

In reality, the entire population of the world today could be housed in the state of Texas, in a single-story, single-family houses-four to a house-and with a typical yard around each home. -- P. 67

As for the racism of whites as an explanation of black educational deficiencies, there are enough black-run schools, colleges, and universities where there would be dramatically better results than white-run institutions, if racism were the explanation. But no such dramatic differences are visible. -- P. 227

Advocates of diversity in a race or gender sense are often quite hostile to ideological diversity, when it includes traditional or 'conservative' values and beliefs. -- P. 95

Despite many depictions of the elderly as people struggling to get by, households headed by people aged 70 to 74 have the highest average wealth of any age bracket in American society. -- P. 136

People who pride themselves on their "complexity" and deride others for being "simplistic" should realize that the truth is often not very complicated. What gets complex is evading the truth.

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