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

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

The moral justification of the market process rests on the general prosperity and freedom it produces. -- P. 130

The extent to which there are additional costs associated with unsegregated hiring is an empirical question, and no doubt varies from place to place and from time to time. However, even during the Jim Crow era in the American South, blacks were seldom paid less by an employer for doing the same job as white employees. Rather, black were excluded from certain higher paying jobs that would have put them on the same plane as whites. -- P. 87

Far more important than particular reckless policies, even those with such deadly consequences as weakening the criminal law, is a whole mindset in which omnicompetence is implicitly assumed and unhappy social phenomena are presumed to be unjustified morally and remediable intellectually and politically. Inherent constraints of circumstances or people are brushed aside, as are alternative policy approaches which offer no special role for the anointed. The burden of proof is not put on their vision, but on existing institutions. -- P. 110

-there are two competing sets of people who wish to use the same resources in different ways. Property rights allow this competition to take place in the marketplace, while court-sanctioned abridgements of property rights allow the competition to take place through a political process in which only one set of competitors can vote. -- P. 104

In short, while capitalism has a visible cost-profit-that does not exist under socialism, socialism has an invisible cost-inefficiency-that gets weeded out by losses and bankruptcy in capitalism. The fact that more goods are available more cheaply in a capitalist economy implies that profit is less costly than inefficiency. Put differently, profit is a price paid for efficiency. -- P. 75

-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

Patriotism and treason thus become a meaningless distinction at the extremes of the unconstrained vision, while this distinction is one of the most central and most powerful distinctions in the constrained vision. -- P. 81

Just the sight of a forlorn man on death row can be touching. The media cannot show that same man when he was exulting in the savagery of the crime that brought him there, cannot show his sadistic joy when he was raping and torturing a little girl who was tearfully pleading for her life. If they could show that on television, many of those people who gather outside prison to protest his execution might instead be inside volunteering to pull the switch. The dangerous dramatizing of half-truths is the fatal talent of the television or movie camera. -- P. 258

There is a fundamental difference between a society where a ruler can seize the wealth or the wife of any subject and one in which the poorest citizen can refuse to allow the highest official of the land inside their home. -- P. 219

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

Many of the words and phrases used in the media and among academics suggest that things simply happen to people, rather than be being caused by their own choices and behavior. Thus there is said to be an ‘epidemic’ of teenage pregnancy, or of drug usage, as if these things were like the flu that people catch just by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. — P. 198

Much of the story of the human race has been a story of the massive cultural borrowings, which have created a modern world technology, as much at home in Japan as in Europe or the United States. -- P. 61

Mortality rates were even higher among those who were walked across the burning sands of the Sahara than among those subjected to the horrors and dangers of the Atlantic crossing. -- P. 188

Blacks may 'all look alike' to racists, but there are profound internal cultural differences among blacks...-West Indian family incomes are 94 percent of the U.S. national average, while the family incomes of blacks as a group are only 62 percent of the national average. West Indian 'representation' in professional occupations is double that of blacks, and slightly higher than that of the U.S. population as a whole. -- P. 77

Alternatives to a market economy may express nobler sentiments but the bottom line is whether this in fact leads to better behavior in terms of serving their fellow human being. -- P. 25

In short, no matter what happens, the vision of the anointed always succeeds, if not by the original criteria, then by criteria extemporized later-and if not by empirical evidence, then by criteria sufficiently subjective to escape even the possibility of refutation. Evidence becomes Irrelevant. -- P. 15

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

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