Thomas Sowel Quotes

The battle for civil rights was fought and won- at great cost- many years ago. Like any fundamental human achievement, these rights cannot be taken for granted and must be safeguarded. But civil rights are not protected or enhanced by the growing practice of calling every issue raised by 'spokesmen' for minority, female, elderly, or other groups, 'civil rights' issues...Equal treatment does not mean equal results. Everything desirable is not a civil right. -- P. 109

Although slavery in the United States was referred to as a 'peculiar institution, slavery was in fact one of the oldest and most widespread institutions on Earth. -- P. 186

For the anointed, traditions are likely to be seen as the dead hand of the past, relics of a less enlightened age, and not as the distilled experience of millions who faced similar human vicissitudes before. — P. 118

-sweeping Jim Crow laws were used in the South to keep blacks 'in their place' precisely because of the futility of trying to do so in a competitive market. -- P. 112

Even though educators consider themselves to be thinking people,' there is a remarkable absence of substantive arguments in their response to critics. These responses include evading the specifics of the criticisms and arbitrarily attributing Utopian beliefs to critics. -- P. 249

When the government creates some new program, nothing is easier than to show whatever the benefits that program produces. Indeed, those who run the program will be more than cooperative in bringing those benefits to the attention of the media. But it is virtually impossible to trace the taxes that paid for the program back to their source and to show the alternative uses of that same money that could have been far more beneficial. -- P. 257

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

Most of the white population of the American South as a whole came from not only what has been loosely called the 'Celtic fringe,' but also from that fringe at a particular time and a particular time and a particular stage of its cultural evolution...The fringe of British civilization from which they came was notable not only for its poverty and backwardness, but also for its lawlessness and violence...In short, the pattern of ruthless violence directed by Southern whites against blacks originated long before there were any racial differences involved and in fact before the people of the Southern backcountry had boarded the ships in Britain which took them to their new homes in the American South. -- P. 76 - 77

The general decline in educational performance that began in the 1960s encompassed elementary and secondary education, as well as education at the college level...The most widely known decline was in the scores on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)...Significantly, this era of declining academic performance has also been a period of rising grades...These two trends- grade inflation and declining test scores- are by no means unconnected. Without the systematic deception of parents and the public by rising grades, it is highly unlikely that the decline in performance could have continued so long. - P. 1 - 2

quantity or quality or because the individual was especially resistant- are the sources of antisocial behavior, of which crime is only one form. -- P. 150

The tendency to dismiss all unfavorable conclusions about any group as racism or as prejudice, stereotypes, or other manifestations of ignorance overlooks the fact that often those with the most unfavorable opinion of a group are in closest contact with them, while those with a more favorable view know them lass well and often from a greater distance. -- P. 365

money from donors seeking to support academic programs, but in fact supporting lavish spending on coaches and an athletic empire. -- P. 234

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

Perhaps the purest example of an argument without an argument is to say that something is 'inevitable'. This is an inherently irrefutable argument, so long as any time remains in the future. -- P. 101

If something went wrong, someone was to blame, preferably someone with a 'deep Pocket' from which to pay damages. Often these deep pockets were nothing more than an aggregation of much shallower pockets, whether of taxpayers or of stockholders. -- P. 172

Aside from work and discipline, the various successful schools for minority children have had little in common with one another- and even less in common with the fashionable educational theories of our times. -- P. 221

-exploration of the vision of the anointed will begin with its greatest achievement and its greatest danger which are one and the same: That vision has become self-contained and self-justifying- which is to say, independent of empirical evidence. That is what makes it dangerous, not because a particular set of policies may be flawed or counterproductive, but because insulation from evidence virtually guarantees a never ending supply of policies and practices fatally independent from reality. This self contained and self justifying vision has become a badge of honor and a proclamation of identity: To affirm it is to be one of us and to oppose it is to be one of them. Moreover, the pervasiveness of the vision of the anointed at all levels of the American educational system ensures future supplies of people indoctrinated with this vision and also convinced that they should 'make a difference,'- that public policy is seen as ego gratification from imposing one‘s vision on other people through the power of government. -- P. 241

With all of its intellectual and material accomplishments, Mayan civilization could hardly be considered humanitarian. One of its central priorities was war and one of its chief priorities in war was the capture, torture, and slaughter of enemy soldiers and leaders...While atrocities have occurred around the world, this was a society in which such behavior was not simply accepted, but systematized and celebrated. -- P. 267

People were enslaved because they were vulnerable, not because of how they looked. -- P. 113

Slavery is one of the oldest and most universal of all human institutions. Slavery has existed among peoples around the world, as far back as recorded history goes, and archaeological explorations suggest that it existed before human beings learned how to write. No one knows when slavery began. It is the idea of freedom for the great masses of ordinary people that is relatively new, as history is measured — and this idea is by no means universally accepted around the world, even today. — P.31