Thomas Sowel Quotes

institutions, laws, and policies to get those prices paid by somebody else. For society as a whole, there is no somebody else. Yet few of those in politics seem prepared to face that fact. Economists may say that there is no such thing as a free lunch but politicians get elected by promising free lunches. -- P. 93

-what successively removed various peoples of the world from the ranks of those vulnerable to being enslaved was the long process of consolidation of state power, whether their own or that of European imperialist nations. -- P. 13

The case for upholding legal principles, known and relied upon by others, is precisely that it can be done, and done while preserving a free society, whereas playing cases by ear requires far more knowledge than anyone possesses and is incompatible with the rule of law and the freedom which depends on that rule. -- P. 169

Social rules are as central to the constrained vision as unfettered individual judgment and individual conscience are at the heart of the unconstrained vision. -- P. 81

In the case of immigrants from Ireland, the massive efforts of the Catholic Church in the nineteenth century to Americanize Irish immigrants are seldom mentioned among the reasons why the 'No Irish Need Apply' signs faded away during the twentieth century. The picture too often presented might lead one to believe that it was all just a matter of prejudice and bigotry in American society that lead to such signs in the first place, leaving their disappearance in later times unexplained, except by some generality as 'progress' or by the efforts of the enlightened to dispel such prejudices and bigotry. -- P. 252

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

and to impose them on others is not education but intimidation, violating the very 'mutual respect' that is supposedly being promoted. -- P. 253

It was the Africans who enslaved their fellow Africans, selling some of these slaves to Europeans or to Arabs and keeping others for themselves. Even at the peak of the Atlantic slave trade, Africans retained more slaves for themselves than they sent to the Western Hemisphere. -- P. 120

In the unconstrained vision, where much of the malaise of the world is due to existing institutions and existing beliefs, those least habituated to those institutions and beliefs are readily seen as especially valuable for making needed social changes. -- P. 63

-moral equivalence- whatever form it takes- is moral self-exaltation. -- P. 137

An estimated 1 to 2 percent of the babies born to plantation slave women were fathered by white men, compared to nearly half in the cities. Southern cities had a chronic surplus of white men over white women and a chronic surplus of black women over black men. Similar sexual imbalances have led to mixed offspring in many other times and societies, so the antebellum South was not exceptional in this. If most of the slave women who gave birth to racially mixed babies were simply raped by their owners, then such babies would be undoubtedly have been more common on the plantations, where white control was greatest, rather than in the cities, where it was more lax. -- P. 207

Complex phenomena may, of course, also have complex causes. But the a priori dogma that they cannot have simple causes is part of the 'complex' complex. It is one more way of seeming to argue, without actually making any argument. It is also one more example of the presumption of superior wisdom and/or virtue that is at the heart of the vision of the anointed. As a tactical matter, this dogma enables them to deny, on purely a priori grounds, that the various 'compassionate' interventions in legal, economic, or social systems could have been responsible for the many counterproductive consequences which have so often followed. -- P. 88

States that spend more per pupil in the public schools do not generally have any better educational performance to show for it. -- P. 11

Despite the depiction of property rights as mere protections those who own substantial property, it has often been the affluent and the wealthy who have abridged property rights through the political process, in order to keep working class and other less affluent people from coming into their communities and changing its character via the developers and the financial institutions which supply developers the capital to bid away land from existing owners. -- P. 106

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

Three small republics clustered together on the Baltic Sea- Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia- have populations that are collectively not as large as that of Tokyo. Yet these three little nations began the process of secession which ultimately dismembered the largest nation on earth. The formal decision was made by the presidents of the three Slavic republics- Russia, Ukraine, and Byelorussia- without the participation of the dozen other republics or of Mikhail Gorbachev, president of the union that now disappeared under him. -- P. 236

Processes designed to create greater equality cannot be judged by that goal but must be examined in terms of the processes created in pursuit of that goal. -- P. 51

The case for the political left looks more plausible on the surface but is harder to keep believing in as you become more experienced. -Chapter: "Left Vs. Right"

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

Doctors and the producers of modern pharmaceutical drugs have been rhetorically transformed into villains by those who would present themselves as our rescuers in politics or in the courtrooms. -- P. 94