Thomas Sowel Quotes

In reality, the proportion of women in the professions and other higher level positions was greater during the first decades of the twentieth century than in the middle of the twentieth century- and all of this was before either anti-discrimination laws or the rise of the feminist movement. -- P. 58

Where a particular group culture is itself a handicap impeding the acquisition of the education, skills, and experience required for economic and other advancement, group solidarity can have huge and lifelong consequences with staggering costs...Group solidarity may not only seal them off from the larger surrounding society, it may seal them off from the truth about the internal causes of their own problems, making a solution more remote. -- P. 285

It is misleading to speak of 'planned' and 'unplanned' communities as it is to speak of planned versus unplanned economies...What government planning means in practice is the suppression of individual plans and the imposition of a politically or bureaucratically determined collective plan instead. -- P. 48

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.

-some professors at various colleges and universities have openly admitted to selecting textbooks on the basis of bonuses paid to them by the publishers of particular books. -- P. 90

Language is thus the epitome of an evolved complex order, with its own systemic characteristics, inner logic, and external social consequences-but without having been deliberately designed by any individual or council. Its rationality is systemic, not individual-an evolved pattern rather than an excogitated blueprint. -- P. 69

-in the vision of the anointed, the absence of precision becomes an authorization for substitution of the imagination. -- P. 94

The most dangerous kind of ignorance is the ignorance of the educated. -- P. 102

To believe that their knowledge and understanding are grossly inadequate for what they are attempting- even if everyone else‘s knowledge is also grossly inadequate for such ambitious social engineering- would be to bring their whole world crashing down around them...Utter certainty has long been the hallmark of the anointed. -- P. 204

Freedom must be distinguished from democracy, with which it is often confused. -- P. 91

A free market economy is as much dependent on property rights as the political system is on free speech rights. -- P. 164

In short, the special role of the 'thinking people' or of 'the brightest and the best' has for centuries been a central theme of the unconstrained vision. -- P. 47

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

In the United States, for example, many of the social problems of the contemporary black underclass are almost automatically attributed to 'a legacy of slavery.' The prevalence of fatherless families in the black ghettos, for example, has been widely explained to the lack of legally constituted families under slavery. But if one proceeds beyond plausibility and guilt to actually seek out the facts, an entirely different picture emerges. -- P. 16

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

In Chicago, as late as 1910, more than two-thirds of the black population liven in neighborhoods where most residents were white but, after the mass migrations of blacks from the South, attempts by blacks to move into white neighborhoods in Chicago were met with violence, including bombings. -- P. 48

they have already earned-never to those wanting to take other people‘s money in taxes or to those wishing to live on the largess dispenses from such taxation. -- P. 186

Where separate group identities are government-subsidized-often under the general label of 'multiculturalism' in Australia, Britain, Canada, and the United States-an artificial Balkanization is fostered, in utter disregard of the tragic historic consequences of Balkanization in many parts of Asia and Africa, as well as in the Balkans themselves. -- P. 31

-those who deliver tons of life-sustaining food to supermarkets are not engaged in 'public service,' as the anointed use the term. -- P. 184

-over the centuries, somewhere in the neighborhood of 11 million people were shipped across the Atlantic as slaves, and another 14 million African slaves were sent to the Islamic nations of the Middle East and North Africa. On both routes, many died in transit. Moreover, these 25 million people were not the only African victims of slavery, for Africa itself used large numbers of slaves in many agricultural, domestic, military, and even commercial and governmental enterprises. -- P. 111