Thomas Sowel Quotes

It is difficult to survey the history of racial or ethnic relations without being appalled by the inhumanity, brutality, and viciousness of it all. But there are no more futile or dangerous efforts than attempts to redress the wrongs of history. . . This may be frustrating and galling, but that is no justification for taking out those frustrations on living human beings-or for generating new strife by creating privileges for those who are contemporary reminders of historical guilt. -- P. 251

For businesses in general, whether large or small, the availability of other people‘s money is often crucial. Without property rights, lenders are reluctant to lend to people who do not have the cash to pay then back- and whose homes or other assets are not recognized as theirs by the legal system, and therefore cannot be used as collateral that can be foreclosed and transferred to the lender in case of default. -- P. 202

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

Freedom has cost too much blood and agony to be relinquished at the cheap price of rhetoric. Chapter: Political Trade-Offs

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

For those with the vision of the anointed, it is not sufficient to discredit or denigrate proponents of the tragic vision. The general public must also be discredited, as well as the social processes through which the public‘s desires are expressed, individually or collectively, such as a market economy or social traditions. -- P. 119

Even in the absence of differences in toil or reward, the seeming conjuring of wealth out of thin air, apparently by 'overcharging' others or making them pay back more money than was lent, has been seen as parasitic activity, rather than as a contribution to the well- being of the community. -- P. 70

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

-unlike God at the dawn of Creation, we cannot simply say, 'let there be equality!' or 'let there be justice!' We must begin with the universe that we were born into and weigh the costs of making any specific change in it to achieve a specific end. We cannot simply 'do something' whenever we are morally indignant while disdaining to consider the costs entailed.' -- P. 8

The general orientation of white liberals has been one of 'what can we do for them?' What blacks can do for themselves has not only been of lesser interest, much of what blacks have in fact already done for themselves has been overshadowed by liberal attempts to get them special dispensations- whether affirmative action, reparations for slavery, or other race-based benefits- even when the net effect of these dispensations has been much less than the effects of black‘s own self-advancement. -- P. 55

If crime is a product of poverty and discrimination as they say endlessly, why was there so much less of it when poverty and discrimination were much worse than today? -- P. 85

Is this then 'racism' or 'behaviorism'? That is, is race or behavior and attitudes that are being condemned? -- P. 367

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

The 'futility of war' is an exhilarating set of sounds rather than a serious statement to be tested seriously against facts. -- P. 112

People who pride themselves on their "complexity" and deride others for being "simplistic" should realize that the truth is often not very complicated. What gets complex is evading the truth.

Despite the impression created by Roots, during the era of the massive slave trade from West Africa, a white man was more likely to catch malaria in Africa than to catch slaves himself. -- P. 121

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

Another feature of middleman minorities cited by various scholars has been their tendency to invest in highly mobile capital- intellectual skills being the ultimate in portability- rather than fixtures that could not move. -- P. 107

While slavery was referred to in antebellum America as a 'peculiar institution,' in an international perspective and in the long view of history it was not this institution that was peculiar but the principles of American freedom, with which slavery was in such obvious and irreconcilable conflict. -- P. 127

When people are presented with the alternatives of hating themselves for their failures or hating others for their success, they seldom choose to hate themselves. -- P. 77