Thomas Sowel Quotes

Where a particular group culture is itself a handicap impeding the acquisition of the education, skills, and experience required for economic and other advancement, group solidarity can have huge and lifelong consequences with staggering costs...Group solidarity may not only seal them off from the larger surrounding society, it may seal them off from the truth about the internal causes of their own problems, making a solution more remote. -- P. 285

The 'futility of war' is an exhilarating set of sounds rather than a serious statement to be tested seriously against facts. -- P. 112

Self-exaltation introduces a bias into consideration of many issues. For example, it creates a vested interest in the incapacity of other people. That is, there is not only a tendency to see people as helpless and not responsible for their actions, there is a tendency toward policies and programs which in fact reduce them to that condition and induce them to accept that image of themselves, while the anointed visionaries play the role of rescuer. -- P. 139

Implicit in much discussion of a need to rectify social inequities is the notion that some segments of society, through no fault of their own, lack things which others receive as windfalls gains, through no virtue of their own. True as this may be, the knowledge required to sort this out intellectually, much less rectify it politically, is staggering and superhuman. -- P. 13

Whatever moral principle each of us believes in, we call justice, so we are only talking in a circle when we say that we advocate justice, unless we specify just what conception of justice we have in mind. -- P. 3

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

While the pay of such workers is often low by comparison with that of workers in more affluent industrial societies, so too is their productivity. An international consulting firm determined that the average labor productivity in the modern sectors in India is 15 percent of that in the United States. In other words, if you hired an average Indian worker and paid him one-fifth of what you paid an average American worker, it would cost you more to get a given amount of work done in India than in the United States. -- P. 41

Only God could have a free choice- and only on the first day of creation, since He would be confronted on the second day by what He had already done on the first. -- P. 223

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?

If a footrace is conducted under fair conditions, then the result is just, whether that result is the same person winning again and again or a different winner each time. Results do not define justice in the constrained vision. -- P. 89

A free market economy is as much dependent on property rights as the political system is on free speech rights. -- P. 164

One third of free colored families in New Orleans owned slaves and 3,000 'free persons of color' joined the Confederate army during the Civil War. Charleston, another exception, had many slave-owning 'free persons of color' from the British West Indies and Santo Domingo. -- P. 161

Some seem to argue as if any historical or contemporary source of unhappiness which a government could have prevented is something for which it should be held morally accountable-regardless of whether the government or the society created the source of unhappiness. -- P. 249

In any given country, a particular minority may be hated for any of a number of reasons peculiar to that country or that group. However, in a worldwide perspective, the most hated kinds of minorities are often not defined by race, color, religion, or national origin. Often they are generically 'middleman minorities,' who can be of any racial or ethnic background, and in fact are of many. -- P. 65

Paradoxically, while feasibility is seldom addressed when proposing public policy, severe limitations on what is feasible by others are often assumed by those with the vision of the anointed and pushed to the point of determinism, with a corresponding denial of personal responsibility. Since the bottom line of the prevailing vision is that anointed are moral surrogates to make decisions for other people, these other people must be seen as incapable of making the right decisions for themselves. -- P. 189

-while man may discriminate against various minorities, nature discriminates against whole nations and continents. -- P. 348

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

Those with the vision of the anointed often advocate the settlement of international differences through ‘diplomacy’ and ‘negotiation’ rather than by ‘force’–as if diplomacy and negotiation were not dependent on a surrounding set of incentives, of which the credible threat of military force is crucial.” — P. 130-131

Others who share a similarly secular view are often driven to personify 'society' in order to re-introduce concepts of moral responsibility and justice into the cosmos, seeking to rectify the tragic misfortunes of individuals and groups through collective action in the name of 'social justice.' -- P. 5

Aside from work and discipline, the various successful schools for minority children have had little in common with one another- and even less in common with the fashionable educational theories of our times. -- P. 221