Thomas Sowel Quotes

Ideals are weighed against the cost of achieving them in the constrained vision. But in the unconstrained vision, every closer approximation to the ideal should be preferred. Costs are regrettable, but by no means decisive. -- P. 34

The indigenous population of the Western Hemisphere was all but exterminated by their sudden exposure to the diseases of Europe and Africa-far more so than by the military campaigns which occupy so much of history. -- P. 78

The vision of the anointed is one in which ills as poverty, irresponsible sex, and crime derive primarily from ‘society,’ rather than from individual choices and behavior. To believe in personal responsibility would be to destroy the whole special role of the anointed, whose vision casts them in the role of rescuers of people treated unfairly by ‘society’. — P. 203

If everything were made affordable, there would still not be any more to go around then when things were prohibitively expensive. -- P. 46

The rise of blacks into professional and other high-level occupations was greater in the years preceding passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 than the years following passage of that act. -- P. 241

World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, between them, gave the Ivory Coast 26 'structural adjustment loans' during the decades of the 1980s and 1990s, while per capita income declined and the country collapsed into civil war. -- P. 212

One factor in the loss of British economic pre-eminence in the world was Britain‘s earlier development of strong and widespread labor unions, which were able to restrict the application of new technology, both directly and by appropriating a sufficient share of technology‘s economic benefits to reduce the incentives for further technological investment. -- P. 44

In policy terms, making it easier for people born in less fortunate circumstances to acquire the knowledge and skills to become brain surgeons is very different from simply decreeing that pay differentials between brain surgeons and carpenters be reduced or eliminated. -- P. 171

-evidence is too dangerous- politically, financially and psychologically- for some people to allow it to become a threat to their interests or to their sense of themselves. -- P. 2

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

Calls for 'forgiveness' of loans to Third World governments are frequently heard and heeded, as if rewarding financial irresponsibility by officials doing the borrowing is going to lift poor countries out of poverty. -- P. 212

Another and very different kind of bias is based on favoritism for one‘s own group, which may exist independently of any belief, presumption, or bias about inferior abilities in other groups. -- P. 166

While, in the late twentieth century, an absolute majority of those black families with no husband present lived in poverty, more than four-fifths of black husband-wife families did not. -- P. 164

As far back as 1969, black males who came from homes where there were newspapers, magazines, and library cards had the same incomes as whites from similar homes and with the same number of years of schooling. In the 1970‘s black husband-and-wife families outside the South earned as much as white husband-and-wife families outside the South. By 1981, for the country as a whole, black husband-and-wife families where both were college educated and both working earned slightly more than white families of the same description. -- P. 57

Initially, the Ottoman Empire was one of the more tolerant states towards those with different religions- certainly more tolerant than contemporary medieval Europe was toward Jews or toward Christians with heterodox views...Only after the later conquests of the sixteenth century did the Ottoman Empire have a Moslem majority and it was then that intolerance toward non-Moslems developed...In this earlier, expanding, and all- conquering era, the Ottoman Empire was confident in its mission to spread Islam, its superiority as a culture, and its military invincibility...Long disdainful of European civilization, whose more backward regions it encountered in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, The Ottoman Empire made no real effort to stay abreast of developments in Western Europe and was consequently surprised and shocked when the Western Europeans eventually overtook them in both cultural and military terms...It was in this atmosphere of defeat, danger, and disillusionment that the Ottomans turned against their own subjects, whom they now resented as political traitors. -- P. 193 - 194

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.

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

Affective education is not to be confused with effective education. Indeed, it is one of the many agendas which distract schools from effective education. The emotionalizing of education not only takes time away from intellectual development; it also cast teachers in the role of amateur psychologists. -- P. 17

After the soaring rhetoric and optimistic expectations at the beginning of independence were followed by bitter disappointments and painful retrogressions that reached into virtually every aspect of African life, the immediate political response was not so much a re-evaluation of the assumptions and policies which lead to such disastrous results, but instead a widespread blaming of the departed imperialists, or racial minorities such as the Indians, or even the United States, which has had relatively little role in African history, for good or ill. -- P. 120

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