Thomas Sowel Quotes

One of the most chilling lessons of the twentieth century is how deceptive domestic tranquility can be in a multi-ethnic society, when it takes only the right circumstances and the right demagogue to turn neighbor murderously against neighbor. -- P. 289

Frederick Law Olmsted‘s response to the claim that blacks were no more capable of being educated than animals were was to ask why there were no laws forbidding animals from being educated. The very need for such a law undermined the belief that was used to justify the law. -- P. 168

A more tendentious definition of racism has emerged in the late twentieth century to exempt racial minorities themselves from the charge. Racism was now said to require power, which minorities themselves do not have, so that even the most anti-white, anti- Jewish, or anti-Asian statements (including those asserting a genetic basis for depravity) were automatically exempt from the charge of racism. -- P. 368

-both poverty and dependency were declining for years prior to the Johnson administration‘s 'war on poverty.' Black income was rising, not only absolutely but relative to rising white income. In the five years prior to passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, blacks were rising into professional and other high-level positions at a rate greater than the five years following passage of the Act. Nationwide, Scholastic Aptitude Test scores were rising, venereal diseases were declining sharply, and the murder rate was at an all-time low. This was the 'hopelessness' from which the anointed came to rescue us. -- P. 218

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

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

The vision of the anointed is one in which such ills as poverty, irresponsible sex, and crime derive primarily from 'society,' rather than from individual choices and behavior. To believe in personal responsibility would be to destroy the whole special role of the anointed, whose vision casts them in the role of rescuers of people treated unfairly by 'society.' -- P. 203

A society in which some authorities can weigh millions of their fellow human beings in balance, determine their worth, and unilaterally dispense their livelihoods as largess from the government is a profoundly different kind of society from that created and maintained in the United States of America for more than two centuries. -- P. 72

Some of the worst poverty in the world today can be found in thinly-populated regions like sub-Saharan Africa. Meanwhile, population density is several times higher in much more prosperous Japan. There are also densely populated poor countries, such as Bangladesh, but there are even more densely populated places like Switzerland and Singapore, with far higher standards. -- P. 215

Differing incidences of malnutrition, alcohol and drug usage, cigarette smoking, and other behavioral of mothers during pregnancy can lead to babies with the same genetic potential at the moment of conception entering the world at birth already differing biologically in their mental capacities. -- P. 369

Wishing to see a poor but meritorious man win a lottery is radically different from insisting government redistributive policies...we reward productivity rather than merit, for the perfectly valid reason that we know how to do it. -- P. 23

The notion that ghetto black was the authentic black not only spread among both white and black intellectuals, it had social repercussions far beyond the intellectual community. Rooting black identity in a counterproductive culture, it cut off those within that culture from other blacks who had advanced beyond it, who might otherwise have been sources of examples, knowledge, and experience that could have been useful to those less fortunate. -- P. 58

-sweeping dismissals of the past are more than just a passing fashion or a personal vanity. They are a dangerous destruction of the hard-earned experience of millions of human beings, living through centuries of struggle with the tragedy of the human condition, and the replacement of this rich legacy with unsubstantiated and self-flattering fancies. -- P. 253

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

Where separate group identities are government-subsidized-often under the general label of 'multiculturalism' in Australia, Britain, Canada, and the United States-an artificial Balkanization is fostered, in utter disregard of the tragic historic consequences of Balkanization in many parts of Asia and Africa, as well as in the Balkans themselves. -- P. 31

The normal weighing of costs against benefits, which causes more urgent things to be done ahead of less important things when prices ration scarce resources, is less effective when costs are paid by someone other than the actual decision-makers. -- P. 74

New England Puritans differed not only from the backwater people of the South, but also from the Southern tidewater aristocracy, who settled on the coastal plains of the American eastern seaboard and who originated largely in southern and western parts of England with a long tradition of very hierarchical societies, including, during the early middle ages, slavery. -- P. 80

In the west, racism was promoted by slavery, rather than vice versa. -- P. 195

Where weak, corrupt and capricious indigenous governments have been supplanted by stronger and more dependable colonial governments, immigration has often increased, even when those who immigrated were never accorded the same rights as the imperial race or even the conquered native population. -- P. 17

For much of the media- and often even in academia- it is sufficient to find inter-group differences in outcomes to conclude that there has been discrimination. This happens, however, only when the conclusion fits existing preconceptions. -- P. 184