Thomas Sowel Quotes

There are no solutions; there are only trade-offs. — P. 142

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

Aside from work and discipline, the various successful schools for minority children have had little in common with one another- and even less in common with the fashionable educational theories of our times. -- P. 221

“Four things have almost invariably followed the imposition of controls to keep prices below the level they would reach under supply and demand in a free market: (1) increased use of the product or service whose price is controlled, (2) Reduced supply of the same product or service, (3) quality deterioration, (4) black markets.” — P.93

The case for the political left looks more plausible on the surface but is harder to keep believing in as you become more experienced. -Chapter: "Left Vs. Right"

Some countries have had disastrous famines, not from a lack of food, but from a lack of distribution of food. People have literally died from starvation in the interior while food supplies rotted on the docks in port cities. In other economies, both production and consumption suffer from a lack of credit. More to the point, mass expulsions of supposedly 'parasitic' middleman minorities have created shortages, higher prices, and rising interest rates, in a number of countries and in a number of periods in history. -- P. 83

In Britain, as elsewhere in medieval Europe, a 'market' meant a specifically authorized gathering place for selling on days specified by the authorities, in places specified by the authorities, and at prices specified by authorities...As large scheduled markets and fairs gave way to innumerable, smaller, scattered, and continuously-operating shops and stores, official control of prices and conditions became much more tenuous as a practical matter...It was in the wake of these erosions of economic controls that intellectual challenges were then made to the role of government in the economy, first by the Physiocrats in France, who coined the term 'laissez-faire,' and then by Adam Smith in Britain, who became its leading champion. By the mid-nineteenth century, widespread support of 'free trade' internationally, and of freeing the domestic economy from many political controls, were on the ascendancy in Britain. -- P. 33 - 34

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

While, in the late twentieth century, an absolute majority of those black families with no husband present lived in poverty, more than four-fifths of black husband-wife families did not. -- P. 164

It is misleading to speak of 'planned' and 'unplanned' communities as it is to speak of planned versus unplanned economies...What government planning means in practice is the suppression of individual plans and the imposition of a politically or bureaucratically determined collective plan instead. -- P. 48

One of the most remarkable feats of those with the vision of the anointed has been the maintenance of their reputations in the face of repeated predictions that proved to be wrong by miles. -- P. 64

Despite such favoritism and scandal , most top-level (division I-A) football and basketball players do not graduate...Then, when the student‘s eligibility eventually runs out, he finds himself out on the street with no skills, no degree, and perhaps no character. -- P. 243 - 244

The Soviet Union did not lack resources, but was in fact one of the most richly endowed nations on earth. What it lacked was an efficient economic system that made efficient use of scarce resources. -- P. 12

Why Britain became the first industrial nation and retained its preeminence for a century is one of the great questions of history-...What the British had earlier than many other peoples was a framework of law and government that facilitated economic transactions. -- P. 32

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

No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems. They are trying to solve their own problems — of which getting elected and re-elected are number one and number two. Whatever is number three is far behind.

The percentage of employed blacks who were professional and technical workers rose less in the five years following the Civil Rights Act of 1964 than in the five years preceding it. -- P. 49

Efficiency is the difference between having the necessities, comforts and amenities of high income countries and suffering the hunger and deprivations too often found in poor countries. -- P. 117

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

The presumed irrationality of the public is a pattern running through many, if not most or all, of the great crusades of the anointed in the twentieth century–regardless of the subject matter of the crusade or the field in which it arises. Whether the issue has been ‘overpopulation,’ Keynesian economics, criminal justice, or natural resource exhaustion, a key assumption has been that the public is so irrational that the superior wisdom of the anointed must be imposed, in order to avert disaster. The anointed do not simply happen to have a disdain for the public. Such disdain is an integral part of their vision, for the central feature of that vision is preemption of the decisions of others. — P. 123-124