Thomas Sowel Quotes

Social rules are as central to the constrained vision as unfettered individual judgment and individual conscience are at the heart of the unconstrained vision. -- P. 81

In policy terms, making it easier for people born in less fortunate circumstances to acquire the knowledge and skills to become brain surgeons is very different from simply decreeing that pay differentials between brain surgeons and carpenters be reduced or eliminated. -- P. 171

If the temperature has risen by 10 degrees since dawn today, an extrapolation will show that we will all be burned to a crisp before the end of the month, if this trend continues. Extrapolations are the last refuge of a groundless argument. -- P. 568

Perfect students with perfect parents in a perfect society cannot learn things that they are not being taught- and that includes an increasing number of basic things in our public schools. -- P. 217

The thuggish gutter words and brutal hoodlum lifestyle of 'gangsta rap' musicians are not merely condoned but glorified by many white intellectuals- and 'understood' by others lacking the courage to take responsibility for siding with savagery....Even such a modern ghetto creation as gangsta rap echoes the violence, arrogance, loose sexuality, and self dramatization common for centuries in white redneck culture and speaks in exaggerated cadences common in the oratory of rednecks in both the antebellum South and those parts of Britain from which their ancestors came. -- P. 55 / 59

Edward, for example, was a popular name in Virginia and in Wessex, from which many Virginians emigrated, but the first forty classes of undergraduates at Harvard College included only one student named Edward. It would be nearly two centuries before Harvard admitted anyone named Patrick, though this was a common name in western Pennsylvania, where the Scotch-Irish were settled. -- P. 82

end in divorce, based on such statistics, would be like saying that half of the population died last year id deaths were half as large as births. -- P. 59

-exploration of the vision of the anointed will begin with its greatest achievement and its greatest danger which are one and the same: That vision has become self-contained and self-justifying- which is to say, independent of empirical evidence. That is what makes it dangerous, not because a particular set of policies may be flawed or counterproductive, but because insulation from evidence virtually guarantees a never ending supply of policies and practices fatally independent from reality. This self contained and self justifying vision has become a badge of honor and a proclamation of identity: To affirm it is to be one of us and to oppose it is to be one of them. Moreover, the pervasiveness of the vision of the anointed at all levels of the American educational system ensures future supplies of people indoctrinated with this vision and also convinced that they should 'make a difference,'- that public policy is seen as ego gratification from imposing one‘s vision on other people through the power of government. -- P. 241

-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

Among these claims is that laws limiting growth are necessary in order in order to preserve fast disappearing open space from being paved over. But, as noted earlier, only about 5 percent of the land in the United States has been developed. In other words, if every city and town in America doubled in size- which could take generations- that would still leave 90percent of the land undeveloped. -- P. 49

Not only did many of the groups who settled the South distain business as a career, as their ancestors had in parts of Britain from which they came, they typically lacked the kinds of habits necessary to be successful in business. -- P. 18

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

Alternatives to a market economy may express nobler sentiments but the bottom line is whether this in fact leads to better behavior in terms of serving their fellow human being. -- P. 25

During World War I, for example, black soldiers from Ohio, Illinois, New York, and Pennsylvania scored higher on mental tests than did white soldiers from Georgia, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Mississippi, even though whites nationwide scored higher than blacks nationwide. -- P. 371

-the cultural capital of a people is crucial to their economic and social advancement, whether that people is a racial minority, a nation-state, or a whole civilization. -- P. 368

-criminal activity in general has tended to vary inversely with the risk of imprisonment. -- P. 48

-within Western civilization, the principle impetus for the abolition of slavery came first from very conservative religious activists- people who would today be called 'the religious right.' -- P. 116

Where discrimination is distinguished from differences in life chances, the empirical question is whether individuals of similar qualifications have similar prospects of employment, college admission, and other benefits when they come from different groups. Where there are substantial differences in qualifying characteristics among groups, as there often are, the question then becomes: What of those particular individuals who have the same qualifying characteristics as members of other groups? Do they have the same prospects or results? -- P. 180

Initially, the Ottoman Empire was one of the more tolerant states towards those with different religions- certainly more tolerant than contemporary medieval Europe was toward Jews or toward Christians with heterodox views...Only after the later conquests of the sixteenth century did the Ottoman Empire have a Moslem majority and it was then that intolerance toward non-Moslems developed...In this earlier, expanding, and all- conquering era, the Ottoman Empire was confident in its mission to spread Islam, its superiority as a culture, and its military invincibility...Long disdainful of European civilization, whose more backward regions it encountered in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, The Ottoman Empire made no real effort to stay abreast of developments in Western Europe and was consequently surprised and shocked when the Western Europeans eventually overtook them in both cultural and military terms...It was in this atmosphere of defeat, danger, and disillusionment that the Ottomans turned against their own subjects, whom they now resented as political traitors. -- P. 193 - 194

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