Thomas Sowel Quotes

A California farmer can always show the television audience the abundant crop he has been able to grow because of federal water projects. But no one can videotape the crops that would have been grown elsewhere, at less cost to the economy, if there were no federal subsidies to encourage the use of water delivered at great cost into the California desert instead of water delivered free from the clouds elsewhere. — P. 257

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

What is called 'capitalism' might more accurately be called consumerism. It is the consumers who call the tune, and those capitalists who want to remain capitalists have to learn to dance to it. -- P. 122

The anointed do not simply happen to have a distain for the public. Such distain is an integral part of their vision, for the central feature of that vision is preemption of the decisions of others. -- P. 124

The source of moral outrage over corporate compensation is by no means obvious. If it is based on a belief that individuals are overpaid for their contribution to the corporation, then there would be even more outrage toward people who receive hundreds of millions of dollars for doing nothing at all, since they simply inherited money.-- P. 143

Since the United States contains several times as many billionaires as any other country, ordinary Americans would be among the most poverty-stricken people in the world if the wealth of the wealthy derives from the poverty of the poor. -- P. 134

The political battles of the day are a potpourri of special interests, mass emotions, personality clashes, corruption, and numerous other factors. Yet the enduring historic trends have a certain consistency that reflects certain visions. -- P. 17

Rights in the sense of exemptions from the power of government are very different from rights to things that can be provided only by incurring costs. Your right to free speech does not require someone else to pay for broadcasting what you say or to publish it in a newspaper or magazine. But if you have a right to water, then others are forced to pay the inescapable costs of getting it for you. -- P. 28

It was the Africans who enslaved their fellow Africans, selling some of these slaves to Europeans or to Arabs and keeping others for themselves. Even at the peak of the Atlantic slave trade, Africans retained more slaves for themselves than they sent to the Western Hemisphere. -- P. 120

-specialists are not solipsists. They are simply aware of the limitations of the human mind, and of the implications of those limitations, as the anointed so often are not. -- P. 205

It is difficult to survey the history of racial or ethnic relations without being appalled by the inhumanity, brutality, and viciousness of it all. But there are no more futile or dangerous efforts than attempts to redress the wrongs of history. . . This may be frustrating and galling, but that is no justification for taking out those frustrations on living human beings-or for generating new strife by creating privileges for those who are contemporary reminders of historical guilt. -- P. 251

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

The degree of freedom has been correlated with the rate of economic growth for nations in general. -- P. 173

In the first half of the century, the great unions were in mining, automobiles, steel, and trucking. But as the twentieth century drew to a close, the large and growing unions were those of government employees. -- P. 164

The judge‘s moral duty is to faithfully carry out the law he was sworn to uphold, not sincerely change the law to produce better results as he sees them. -- P. 59

For the anointed, traditions are likely to be seen as the dead hand of the past, relics of a less enlightened age, and not as the distilled experience of millions who faced similar human vicissitudes before. — P. 118

A child raised in a home where physical prowess is valued more than intellectual prowess is unlikely to have the same goals and priorities as a child raised in a home where the reverse is true. -- P. 146

People do not change their vision of the world the way they change cloths or replace light bulbs. But change they must if they mean to survive. No individual (or group) is going to capture all of reality in his vision. If the only reaction to other visions- or uncomfortable evidence- is blind mudslinging, then the limitations that are common to all human beings become, for them, ideological prisons. -- P. 140

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

Perhaps the purest example of an argument without an argument is to say that something is 'inevitable'. This is an inherently irrefutable argument, so long as any time remains in the future. -- P. 101