Thomas Sowel Quotes

While today‘s American children would of course think it wrong to take other people‘s lands by force, the American Indians had no such conception and took one another‘s lands by force long before they ever laid eyes on a white man. -- P. 269

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

History as a balm for wounded egos is likewise suspect. -- P. 252

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

The peculiarities of ghetto speech, often imitated even among contemporary black middle-class youth, are said to derive from African speech patterns, when in fact most of those very same words and phrases were part of the speech patterns in those parts of Britain from which Southerners came, centuries ago. -- P. 225

Freedom must be distinguished from democracy, with which it is often confused. -- P. 91

The story of how human beings treat other human beings when they have unbridled power over them is seldom a pretty story or even a decent story, regardless of the color of the people involved. -- P. 138

In the United States, for example, many of the social problems of the contemporary black underclass are almost automatically attributed to 'a legacy of slavery.' The prevalence of fatherless families in the black ghettos, for example, has been widely explained to the lack of legally constituted families under slavery. But if one proceeds beyond plausibility and guilt to actually seek out the facts, an entirely different picture emerges. -- P. 16

Back in 1973, the equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a sex discrimination lawsuit against Sears, based solely on statistical disparities, rather than on any women who claimed that a man of lower qualifications than her own was hired or promoted when she was not...The court pointed out that the EEOC 'did not present in evidence even one specific instance of discrimination' in a company with hundreds of stores from coast to coast. -- P. 81

When people are presented with the alternatives of hating themselves for their failures or hating others for their success, they seldom choose to hate themselves. -- P. 77

When increased voluntary spending is called 'rising costs,' and becomes a basis for raising tuition, seeking more taxpayer money, or even dipping into the principal of endowments, then the kinds of economic constraints faced by competing business enterprises are clearly not operating in the academic world. -- P. 110

According to this vision (constrained) wars are a perfectly rational activity from the standpoint of those who anticipate gain for themselves, their class, or their nation, whether or not these anticipations are often mistaken, as all human calculations may be. -- P. 143

-female academics have been common far longer than black academics, reaching a peak proportion of all academics back in 1879 that was not equaled again in the next ninety years...Women with doctorates have for years received those degrees from prestigious institutions about as often as men have, so that they have long been in the so-called 'old boy network' of academic recruitment just like male Ph.D.s. -- P. 82 - 83

The thuggish gutter words and brutal hoodlum lifestyle of 'gangsta rap' musicians are not merely condoned but glorified by many white intellectuals- and 'understood' by others lacking the courage to take responsibility for siding with savagery....Even such a modern ghetto creation as gangsta rap echoes the violence, arrogance, loose sexuality, and self dramatization common for centuries in white redneck culture and speaks in exaggerated cadences common in the oratory of rednecks in both the antebellum South and those parts of Britain from which their ancestors came. -- P. 55 / 59

The era in which trends in crime, drunkenness, and other social degeneracy were turned around was of course the era of 'Victorian morality,' so much distained by the anointed of later times. -- P. 86

Given the unique- and uniquely oppressive- history of blacks, it would follow almost inevitably from the civil rights vision that blacks would today suffer far more than other groups from low income, broken homes, and the whole litany of social pathologies. But like so many things that follow from the civil rights vision, it happens not to be true in fact...Both the domestic and the international examples suggest that what is most dramatic, most historic, or most morally revolting need not coincide with what is most economically determining. In short, the historical uniqueness of blacks has not translated into a contemporary uniqueness in incomes, occupations, I.Q., unemployment, female headed households, alcoholism, or welfare dependency, however much blacks may differ from the mythical national average in these respects. All of these represent serious difficulties (sometimes larger calamities) for blacks, and indirectly for the larger society, but the question here is the cause. If that cause is either a unique history or a unique genetics, blacks would differ not only from the national average but also from other groups that share neither that history nor the same genetic background. -- P. 74 - 75

Just as primitive peoples have tended to attribute such things as the swaying of trees in the wind to some intentional action by an invisible spirit, rather than to such systemic causes as variations in atmospheric pressure, so there is a tendency toward intentional explanations of systemic events in the economy, when people are unaware of the basic principles. -- P. 39

Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good. In area after area - crime, education, housing, race relations - the situation has gotten worse after the bright new theories were put into operation. The amazing thing is that this history of failure and disaster has neither discouraged the social engineers nor discredited them.

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

-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