Thomas Sowel Quotes

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

The United States has been ethnically diverse for more than a century. Yet, successive massive waves of immigrants have arrived on these shores and become Americans without any such programs as have been proposed by the multiculturalists. -- P. 72

One of the grand fallacies of our time is that something beneficial should be subsidized. -- Chapter: "Cutting the Budget"

Competition does a much more effective job than government at protecting consumers.-- Chapter: "Bogeyman Economics"

Even though educators consider themselves to be thinking people,' there is a remarkable absence of substantive arguments in their response to critics. These responses include evading the specifics of the criticisms and arbitrarily attributing Utopian beliefs to critics. -- P. 249

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

Just as primitive peoples have tended to attribute such things as the swaying of trees in the wind to some intentional action by an invisible spirit, rather than to such systemic causes as variations in atmospheric pressure, so there is a tendency toward intentional explanations of systemic events in the economy, when people are unaware of the basic principles. -- P. 39

Starting with a certain presupposition, one may say 'aha!' when encountering statistics consonant with that presupposition. Often, however, one could just as easily have started with the opposite presupposition and found occasion to say 'aha!' from the same set of data. -- P. 257

Widespread personification of ‘society’ is another verbal tactic that evades issues of personal responsibility. Such use of the term ‘society’ is a more sophisticated version of the notion that ‘the devil made me do it.’ Like much of the rest of the special vocabulary of the anointed, it is used as a magic word to make choice, behavior, and performance vanish into thin air. — P. 199

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

-when your salary depends on what other people are willing to pay you, you can be the greediest person on earth and that will not raise your pay by one dime. -- P. 141

-moral equivalence- whatever form it takes- is moral self-exaltation. -- P. 137

Since the United States contains several times as many billionaires as any other country, ordinary Americans would be among the most poverty-stricken people in the world if the wealth of the wealthy derives from the poverty of the poor. -- P. 134

Moreover, it is only the To explain slavery as being a consequence of certain ideas leading to bondage for African‘s is to ignore the glaring fact that slavery extended in time and space far beyond Europeans and Africans, and far beyond those who shared particular European ideas. -- P. 189

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.

Letters from teachers continue to confirm the incompetence which they deny. A teacher in Montana says that my criticisms of teachers are "nieve." No, that wasn't a typographical error. He spelled it that way twice.

In American society, achievement is what ultimately brings respect, including self respect. -- P. 63

Such are the ways of politics, where the crusade of the hour often blocks out everything else, at least until another crusade comes along and takes over the same monopoly of our minds. -- P. 210

Those who believe that "basic necessities" should belong to people as a matter of right ignore the implication -- that people are to work only for amenities, frivolities, and ego. Will that mean more work or less work? And if less, where are all those "basic necessities" coming from that the government is supposed to hand out?

Following the kind of reasoning used by those who say it is futile to build more roads to cope with traffic congestion, it would be possible to say that it is 'futile' to deal with hunger by eating because people just get hungry again later on. -- P. 19