Thomas Sowel Quotes

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

-many of these same advocates of land use restrictions would also proclaim their concern over a need for 'affordable housing.' -- P. 107

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 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

Complex phenomena may, of course, also have complex causes. But the a priori dogma that they cannot have simple causes is part of the 'complex' complex. It is one more way of seeming to argue, without actually making any argument. It is also one more example of the presumption of superior wisdom and/or virtue that is at the heart of the vision of the anointed. As a tactical matter, this dogma enables them to deny, on purely a priori grounds, that the various 'compassionate' interventions in legal, economic, or social systems could have been responsible for the many counterproductive consequences which have so often followed. -- P. 88

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

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

Moral principles cannot be separated from their consequences in a given context. -- P. 155

reach the top ten percent in individual income required an income of $87,300 in 2004. -- P. 138

American universities are usually ranked among the best in the world, based primarily on having some of the best scholars in the world on their faculties- even if many of these top scholars are from other countries. -- P. 87

When the anointed say that there is a crisis this means that something must be done–and it must be done simply because the anointed want it done. This word becomes one of many substitutes for evidence or logic. — P. 182

With blacks as with whites, the redneck culture has been a less achieving culture. Moreover, that culture has affected a higher proportion of the black population than of the white population, since only one-third of all whites lived in the antebellum South, while nine-tenths of all blacks did. -- P. 33

In its pursuit of justice for a segment of society, in disregard of the consequences for society as a whole, what is called 'social justice' might more accurately be called anti- social justice, since what consistently gets ignored or dismissed are precisely the costs to society. -- P. 10

One of the ironic consequences of regarding property rights as simple benefits enjoyed by more fortunate people- rather than as fundamental checks on government power- was that affluent and wealthy communities could now restrict the ability of moderate-income and low-income people to move into their communities. -- P. 32

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

Social reformers, seeking to unsort people who have sorted themselves, often assume that housing segregation patterns will endure indefinitely, through inertia, without outside intervention. History and logic undermine that belief. -- P. 106

The term 'affirmative action' was first used in a racial discrimination context in President John F. Kennedy‘s Executive Order No. 10,925 in 1961...'take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin.' -- P. 39

Implicit in much discussion of a need to rectify social inequities is the notion that some segments of society, through no fault of their own, lack things which others receive as windfalls gains, through no virtue of their own. True as this may be, the knowledge required to sort this out intellectually, much less rectify it politically, is staggering and superhuman. -- P. 13

-hundreds of black chemists were employed in private industry before World War II, when not a single major university had a black professor of chemistry. -- P. 123

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