Thomas Sowel Quotes

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

No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems. They are trying to solve their own problems — of which getting elected and re-elected are number one and number two. Whatever is number three is far behind.

If one goes through enough numbers, one will eventually come upon some statistics that seem to fit one‘s vision. These are what might be called 'Aha!' statistics. Other statistics which suggest opposite conclusions bring no 'Aha!' but are more likely to be glided over and forgotten. -- P. 34

It is not visions that are dangerous. What is dangerous are insulated visions. -- P. 141

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

Where separate group identities are government-subsidized-often under the general label of 'multiculturalism' in Australia, Britain, Canada, and the United States-an artificial Balkanization is fostered, in utter disregard of the tragic historic consequences of Balkanization in many parts of Asia and Africa, as well as in the Balkans themselves. -- P. 31

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

The charge is often made against the intelligentsia and other members of the anointed that their theories and the policies based on them lack common sense. But the very commonness of common sense makes it unlikely to have any appeal to the anointed. How can they be wiser and nobler than everyone else while agreeing with everyone else? — P. 248

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

Political movements and even whole nations have been seized by a vision of the idle rich exploiting the toiling masses, of people mired in grinding poverty from birth to death, and of labor unions or socialist or communist movements as the only forlorn hope for those otherwise economically doomed. -- P. 169

Anyone can be wrong about the future...Being wrong about the past is something else. -- P. 79

A more tendentious definition of racism has emerged in the late twentieth century to exempt racial minorities themselves from the charge. Racism was now said to require power, which minorities themselves do not have, so that even the most anti-white, anti- Jewish, or anti-Asian statements (including those asserting a genetic basis for depravity) were automatically exempt from the charge of racism. -- P. 368

One of the most important questions about any proposed course of actions is whether we know how to do it. Policy A may be better than policy B, but that does not matter if we simply do not know how to do Policy A. Perhaps it would be better to rehabilitate criminals, rather than punish them, if we knew how to do it. Rewarding merit might be better than rewarding results if we knew how to do it. But one of the crucial differences between those with the tragic vision and those with the vision of the anointed is in what they respectively assume that we know how to do. Those with the vision of the anointed are seldom deterred by any question as to whether anyone has the knowledge required to do what they are attempting. — P. 109

The notion that ghetto black was the authentic black not only spread among both white and black intellectuals, it had social repercussions far beyond the intellectual community. Rooting black identity in a counterproductive culture, it cut off those within that culture from other blacks who had advanced beyond it, who might otherwise have been sources of examples, knowledge, and experience that could have been useful to those less fortunate. -- P. 58

As far back as 1969, black males who came from homes where there were newspapers, magazines, and library cards had the same incomes as whites from similar homes and with the same number of years of schooling. In the 1970‘s black husband-and-wife families outside the South earned as much as white husband-and-wife families outside the South. By 1981, for the country as a whole, black husband-and-wife families where both were college educated and both working earned slightly more than white families of the same description. -- P. 57

For businesses in general, whether large or small, the availability of other people‘s money is often crucial. Without property rights, lenders are reluctant to lend to people who do not have the cash to pay then back- and whose homes or other assets are not recognized as theirs by the legal system, and therefore cannot be used as collateral that can be foreclosed and transferred to the lender in case of default. -- P. 202

One of the hallmarks of many Third World countries, especially those with otherwise favorable economic prospects in terms of natural resources or other favorable geographic factors, has been ineffective, capricious, or corrupt law enforcement. -- P. 200

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

As for the racism of whites as an explanation of black educational deficiencies, there are enough black-run schools, colleges, and universities where there would be dramatically better results than white-run institutions, if racism were the explanation. But no such dramatic differences are visible. -- P. 227

A society in which some authorities can weigh millions of their fellow human beings in balance, determine their worth, and unilaterally dispense their livelihoods as largess from the government is a profoundly different kind of society from that created and maintained in the United States of America for more than two centuries. -- P. 72