Thomas Sowel Quotes

Property rights create self-monitoring, which tend to be both more effective and less costly than third party monitoring. . . It is things not owned by anybody (air and water for example) which are polluted. -- P. 243

Language is thus the epitome of an evolved complex order, with its own systemic characteristics, inner logic, and external social consequences-but without having been deliberately designed by any individual or council. Its rationality is systemic, not individual-an evolved pattern rather than an excogitated blueprint. -- P. 69

The rise of blacks into professional and other high-level occupations was greater in the years preceding passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 than the years following passage of that act. -- P. 241

Sellers in general maintain the quality of their products and services for fear of losing customers otherwise. But, when price controls create a situation where the amount demanded is greater than the amount supplied — a shortage — fear of losing customers is no longer as strong an incentive. For example, landlords typically reduce painting and repairs when there is rent control, because there is no need to fear vacancies when there are more tenants looking for apartments than there are apartments available. — P.70-71

The era in which trends in crime, drunkenness, and other social degeneracy were turned around was of course the era of 'Victorian morality,' so much distained by the anointed of later times. -- P. 86

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

Facts do not "speak for themselves." They speak for or against competing theories. Facts divorced from theory or visions are mere isolated curiosities.

on making a profit, and the implicit costs of their decisions were paid out of the endowments and donations supplied by others. -- P. 171

In countries around the world, discrimination by government has been greater than discrimination by businesses operating in competitive markets. -- P. 143

According to this vision (constrained) wars are a perfectly rational activity from the standpoint of those who anticipate gain for themselves, their class, or their nation, whether or not these anticipations are often mistaken, as all human calculations may be. -- P. 143

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

While today‘s American children would of course think it wrong to take other people‘s lands by force, the American Indians had no such conception and took one another‘s lands by force long before they ever laid eyes on a white man. -- P. 269

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

It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it. -- Chapter: What Society Expends?

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

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

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

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

A whole new class of intellectuals has arisen to supply a history geared to what people currently wish to believe, rather than to the record of the past. . . To allow those with a purely instrumental view of history to erase the national memory, or to record over it the ideological fashions of the day, is to discard an anchor in reality, and to set sail with light ballast and a reckless optimism. -- P. 227

Race is used as a sorting device for decision-makers, even by people who are not racists. -- P. 172