Thomas Sowel Quotes

As far back as 1980, college-educated black married couples earned slightly more than white college-educated married couples...By 1989, blacks, whites, and Hispanics in the United States of the same age (29) and with the same IQ (100) all had annual incomes within a thousand dollars of one another when they worked year-round. -- P. 174

The language of politics, and especially of ideological politics, is often categorical language about 'rights,' about eliminating certain evils, guaranteeing certain benefits, or protecting certain habitats and species...Indirectly but inexorably, this language says that the preferences of the anointed are to supersede the preferences of everyone else. -- P. 142

Some of the worst poverty in the world today can be found in thinly-populated regions like sub-Saharan Africa. Meanwhile, population density is several times higher in much more prosperous Japan. There are also densely populated poor countries, such as Bangladesh, but there are even more densely populated places like Switzerland and Singapore, with far higher standards. -- P. 215

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

-many of these same advocates of land use restrictions would also proclaim their concern over a need for 'affordable housing.' -- P. 107

Wishing to see a poor but meritorious man win a lottery is radically different from insisting government redistributive policies...we reward productivity rather than merit, for the perfectly valid reason that we know how to do it. -- P. 23

There may be a curriculum listed in the college catalogue but it can mean little if there are many disparate options for meeting a particular curriculum requirement- if, for example, a course on the history of motion pictures can be used to satisfy a social science requirement instead of a course on leading nations or empires of the world. Thus a student may graduate from some of the most prestigious colleges in the country fundamentally ignorant of history and all the insights and implications of history. -- P. 93

In the summer of 1959, I worked as a clerk-typist in the headquarters of the U.S. Public Health Service in Washington. The people I worked for were very nice and I grew to like them. One day, a man had a heart attack at around 5 PM, on the sidewalk outside the Public Health Service. He was taken inside to the nurse's room, where he was asked if he was a government employee. If he were, he would have been eligible to be taken to a medical facility there. Unfortunately, he was not, so a phone call was made to a local hospital to send an ambulance. By the time this ambulance made its way through miles of Washington rush-hour traffic, the man was dead. He died waiting for a doctor, in a building full of doctors. Nothing so dramatized for me the nature of a bureaucracy and its emphasis on procedures, rather than results.

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

If one is 'politically correct,' being factually incorrect doesn‘t matter. -- P. 66

-a polemical tactic has developed which enables virtually any general statement, however true, to be flatly denied, simply because it is not 100 percent true in all circumstances. -- P. 91

Where weak, corrupt and capricious indigenous governments have been supplanted by stronger and more dependable colonial governments, immigration has often increased, even when those who immigrated were never accorded the same rights as the imperial race or even the conquered native population. -- P. 17

A 'fair fight' is one in which both combatants observe the rules, regardless of whether that leads to a draw or a one sided battle. -- P. 9

Efficiency is the difference between having the necessities, comforts and amenities of high income countries and suffering the hunger and deprivations too often found in poor countries. -- P. 117

Edward, for example, was a popular name in Virginia and in Wessex, from which many Virginians emigrated, but the first forty classes of undergraduates at Harvard College included only one student named Edward. It would be nearly two centuries before Harvard admitted anyone named Patrick, though this was a common name in western Pennsylvania, where the Scotch-Irish were settled. -- P. 82

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

The covert methods by which affirmative action has been foisted on a society that rejects it, the vengeful manner in which busing has been imposed without regard for the welfare of children, and the lofty contempt of a remote and insulated elite for the mass of citizens whose feelings and interests are treated as expendable, or dismissed as mere 'racism,' provide the classic ingredients of blindness and hubris that have produced so many human tragedies. However much history may be invoked in support of these policies, no policy can apply to history but can only apply to the present or the future. The past may be many things, but it is clearly irrevocable. Its sins can no more be purged than its achievements can be expunged. Those who suffered in centuries past are as much beyond our help as those who sinned are beyond our retribution. To dress up present-day people in the costumes and labels of history and symbolically try to undo the past is to surpass Don Quixote and jeopardize reality in the name of visions. To do so in ways that harm the already disadvantaged is to skirt the boundaries of sanity and violate the very claims of compassion used to justify it. -- P. 119

Contrary to the notion that deficits have resulted from tax receipts by the federal government, those receipts in fact reached new record highs during the Reagan administration...By the last year of the Reagan administration in1988, the federal government collected over $391 billion more than during any year of the Carter administration-in percentage terms, the government took in 76 percent more that year than it had ever collected in any year of any other administration. -- P. 83

All the while, people in such places speak of a need for 'diversity' and 'affordable housing'- neither of which that have or are likely to get, as their populations become whiter and older with rising prices. -- P. 109

The anointed do not simply happen to have a distain for the public. Such distain is an integral part of their vision, for the central feature of that vision is preemption of the decisions of others. -- P. 124