Thomas Sowel Quotes

Centuries before the first African was carried in bondage to the Western Hemisphere, Slavs were being enslaved on a massive scale-...Slaves were so widely sold into bondage that the very word for slave was derived from the word for Slave in a number of Western European languages, as well as in Arabic. -- P. 190 - 191

What is called 'smart growth' in some places is government imposition of the preferences of observers, critics, activists, or 'experts' to over-ride the desires of he people themselves, as expressed in what they are willing to spend their own money to buy or rent. -- P. 48

People do not change their vision of the world the way they change cloths or replace light bulbs. But change they must if they mean to survive. No individual (or group) is going to capture all of reality in his vision. If the only reaction to other visions- or uncomfortable evidence- is blind mudslinging, then the limitations that are common to all human beings become, for them, ideological prisons. -- P. 140

By the middle of the nineteenth century most 'free persons of color' in the United States could read and write and, half a century after emancipation, so could more than half the entire Negro population of the country. This has been called 'an accomplishment seldom seen in human history.' -- P. 170

Whenever A can get B to do what A wishes, then A has "power" over B, according to the results-oriented definition of the unconstrained vision...But if B is in a process in which he has at least as many options as he had before A came along, then A has not "restricted" B‘s choices, and so has no "power" over him, by the process definition used by Bauer and characteristic of the constrained vision. -- P. 160

In effect, the college athlete in big-time sports is buying a lottery ticket and paying for it with his body and with four years of his life. He may also pay for it through the corrosive cynicism generated by participating in the various shabby tricks designed to maintain his eligibility to play, pretending to be a student while avoiding the demands of real education. -- P. 241

Understanding the limitations of human beings is the beginning of wisdom. -- Chapter: "Police Shootings"

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

-many of the problems of very poor countries are internal, however politically unpalatable that may be to the inhabitants of those countries or to those on the Western world who prefer other explanations. This conclusion is reinforced by the history of very poor countries that rose rapidly to higher economic levels, such as Scotland in the eighteenth century, Japan in the nineteenth century and China in the twentieth century. In all cases, they raised themselves economically through internal changes, brought on by recognition that such internal changes were necessary. -- P. 215

Life does not ask what we want. It presents us with options. Economics is just one of the ways of trying to make the most of those options. -- P. 4

Widespread personification of ‘society’ is another verbal tactic that evades issues of personal responsibility. Such use of the term ‘society’ is a more sophisticated version of the notion that ‘the devil made me do it.’ Like much of the rest of the special vocabulary of the anointed, it is used as a magic word to make choice, behavior, and performance vanish into thin air. — P. 199

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

Letters from teachers continue to confirm the incompetence which they deny. A teacher in Montana says that my criticisms of teachers are "nieve." No, that wasn't a typographical error. He spelled it that way twice.

As many have warned in the past, freedom is unlikely to be lost all at once and openly. It is far more likely to be eroded away, bit by bit, amid glittering promises and expressions of noble ideas. -- P. 184

Since the United States contains several times as many billionaires as any other country, ordinary Americans would be among the most poverty-stricken people in the world if the wealth of the wealthy derives from the poverty of the poor. -- P. 134

In American society, achievement is what ultimately brings respect, including self respect. -- P. 63

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

-the same story can be told of reformers who decry 'sweatshop labor' in Third World countries who export their products to the United States to be sold in American stores. Nothing is easier than to take cheap shots at those stores for 'exploiting' Third World people- and nothing will hurt those Third World people more surely than losing one of their few meager opportunities to earn incomes by producing at lower costs than more fortunate people in more industrial countries. -- P. 130

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

In short, however politically useful public concern about teenage pregnancy and access to a captive audience in the public schools, the real goal was to change students‘ attitudes- put bluntly, to brainwash them with the vision of the anointed, in order to supplant the values they had been taught at home. -- P. 19