Thomas Sowel Quotes

The official ideology that race did not matter under Communism, that all were one 'Soviet people,' was ultimately exposed as a bitter mockery when the easing of central government control in the late 1980s released lethal inter-ethnic violence in Soviet Georgia, in Azerbaijan, and in Central Asia...The final irony was that racial, ethnic, and nationality clashes- all regarded as passing anachronisms by Marxist theory, and as having been abolished by Soviet practice- not only persisted, but themselves played a major role in abolishing the Soviet Union. -- P. 246

National and group pride and identity have often been assumed to be positive, if not essential, factors in advancement. Yet some of the most remarkable examples of rapid advancement have come from peoples painfully aware of their own backwardness and ashamed of it. -- P. 341

Striking changes in productivity among peoples can be traced to transfers of cultural capital from others- -- P. 333

Calls for 'forgiveness' of loans to Third World governments are frequently heard and heeded, as if rewarding financial irresponsibility by officials doing the borrowing is going to lift poor countries out of poverty. -- P. 212

As early as 1950, black female college graduates earned 91 percent of the income of white female college graduates, and by 1960 were earning 2 percent more. Even when black and white women in general hold the same job currently, black women average more continuous experience on a given job- 38 percent more...In short, here again the ordinary labor market considerations seem to explain pay differences better than the civil rights vision. Indeed, the ability of black women to overtake white women in the marketplace is a very serious embarrassment to the civil rights vision. -- P. 102

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?

and to impose them on others is not education but intimidation, violating the very 'mutual respect' that is supposedly being promoted. -- P. 253

If food were categorically more important than music, then we would never reach a point where we were prepared to sacrifice resources that could be used to produce food in order to produce music...A world where food had categorical priority over music would be a world of 300-pound people, whose brief lives would never be brightened by a song or a melody. -- P. 138

An estimated 1 to 2 percent of the babies born to plantation slave women were fathered by white men, compared to nearly half in the cities. Southern cities had a chronic surplus of white men over white women and a chronic surplus of black women over black men. Similar sexual imbalances have led to mixed offspring in many other times and societies, so the antebellum South was not exceptional in this. If most of the slave women who gave birth to racially mixed babies were simply raped by their owners, then such babies would be undoubtedly have been more common on the plantations, where white control was greatest, rather than in the cities, where it was more lax. -- P. 207

Centuries before 'black pride' became a fashionable phrase, there was cracker pride- and it was very much the same kind of pride. It was not pride in any particular achievement or set of behavioral standards or moral principles adhered to. It was instead a touchiness about anything that might be even remotely construed as a personal slight, much less an insult, combined with a willingness to erupt into violence over it. -- P. 7

Teenage pregnancy was declining, over a period of more than a dozen years, before so- called 'sex education' programs spread rapidly through American schools in the 1970s. Teenage pregnancies then rose sharply, along with federal expenditures on 'sex education' programs and 'family-planning' clinics, many located in schools. -- P. 63

Empirically, political activity and political success have been neither necessary nor sufficient for economic advancement... It would perhaps be easier to find an inverse correlation between political activity and economic success than a direct correlation. Groups that have the skills for other things seldom concentrate in politics. Moreover, politics has special advantages for ethnic minority groups, however much it may benefit individual ethnic leaders. Public displays of ethnic solidarity and/or chauvinism are the life blood of ethnic politics. Yet chauvinism almost invariably provokes counter chauvinism. -- P. 32

Affective education is not to be confused with effective education. Indeed, it is one of the many agendas which distract schools from effective education. The emotionalizing of education not only takes time away from intellectual development; it also cast teachers in the role of amateur psychologists. -- P. 17

Orwellian use of the word 'harassment' to cover situations in which no one approached, addressed, or even notices the supposed target of this 'harassment: has enabled colleges and universities to punish behavior to which the only real objection is ideological. -- P. 189

While slavery was referred to in antebellum America as a 'peculiar institution,' in an international perspective and in the long view of history it was not this institution that was peculiar but the principles of American freedom, with which slavery was in such obvious and irreconcilable conflict. -- P. 127

The ideas that government intervention improves the situation is a notion which has been repeated innumerable times in many ways, but endless repetition is not a coherent argument, much less proof...It is precisely government intervention in housing markets which has made previously affordable housing unaffordable. -- P. 23

Freedom began to emerge where governments were too fragmented, too poorly organized, or too much in need of voluntary cooperation to prevent its emergence. -- P. 353

In its pursuit of justice for a segment of society, in disregard of the consequences for society as a whole, what is called 'social justice' might more accurately be called anti- social justice, since what consistently gets ignored or dismissed are precisely the costs to society. -- P. 10

Much discussion of the decisions of businessmen in general by intellectuals proceeds as if employers, landlords, and others operating under the systemic pressures of the marketplace are free to make arbitrary and capricious decisions based on prejudice and misinformation–as if they were intellectuals sitting around a seminar table–and pay no price for being mistaken. — P. 188

Anyone who saw East Berlin and West Berlin during the years when communism prevailed in the eastern part of the city and a market economy in the rest of it could not help noticing the sharp contrast between the prosperity of West Berlin and the poverty in East Berlin. -- P. 118