Thomas Sowel Quotes

-it was during the 1960s that crime rates began skyrocketing among both blacks and whites, and it was precisely after the historic civil rights laws were passed that blacks began rioting in cities across the country. -- P. 167

There is also what might be called negative human capital in the form of attitudes which prevent or impede the performance of economic tasks that people are otherwise quite capable of performing, both physically and intellectually... In modern Western welfare states, a whole range of low-level occupations may be left to foreigners, as the native citizens come to consider living off the state less demeaning than doing such work. In some countries, such negative human capital is increased by education, so that those who have been to schools or universities now regard a wider range of occupations as beneath them. -- P. 339

Another major difference between private and governmental institutions is that, no matter how big and successful a private business is, it can always be forced out of business when it is no longer satisfying its customers — whether because of its own inadequacies or because competing firms or alternative technologies can satisfy the customers better. Government agencies, however, can continue on despite demonstrable failures, and the power of government can prevent rivals from arising. — P.13

-cosmic justice attempts to create equal results or equal prospects, with little or no regard for whether the individuals or groups involved are in equal circumstances or have equal capabilities or equal personal drives. To do this, it cannot operate under general rules, the essence of law, but must create categories of people entitled to various outcomes, regardless of their own inputs. -- P. 160

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

by the anointed have been vagrants, criminals and carriers of contagious diseases. -- P. 150

Moral principles cannot be separated from their consequences in a given context. -- P. 155

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

century- even though blacks at the beginning of the twentieth century were just one generation out of slavery. -- P. 34 - 35

As a young man, John Stuart Mill brooded over the fact that there was an ultimate limit to the amount of music that could be produced by using the eight notes of the music scale. But, at that time, Brahms and Tchaikovsky had not yet been born nor jazz yet conceived, and rock music was more than a century away. Ultimate limits alone tell us virtually nothing useful about whether there is or is not a practical problem. -- P. 216

-power is the ability to restrict people‘s options and freedom is an exemption from having one‘s options restricted in such matters as religion or the expression of ideas. -- P. 176

Civilization has been aptly called a ‘thin crust over a volcano’. The anointed are constantly picking at that crust. — P. 250

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

Among Americans in 1980, 31 percent of all black first-born children were born to teenage mothers, compared to only 12 percent among whites. In both races, children born to teenage mothers tended to have lower I.Q.‘s. -- P. 370

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

Equal opportunity' laws and policies require that individuals be judged on their qualifications as individuals, without regard to race, sex, age, etc. 'Affirmative action' requires that they be judged with regard to such group membership, receiving preferential or compensatory treatment in some cases to achieve a more proportional 'representation' in various institutions and occupations. -- P. 38

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

-visions can acquire a tyrannical sway over people‘s minds by offering them an exalted sense of themselves in exchange for their loyalty to the vision through all the vicissitudes of facts to the contrary. -- P. 136

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

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