Thomas Sowel Quotes

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

Phrases like 'the peace movement,' used to describe disarmament advocates, preempt the whole momentous question as to whether peace is more likely to be achieved through disarmament or through military deterrence. With untold millions of lives depending on the answer to that question, something more substantive than a presumption that some people like peace more than others might be expected. -- P. 184

Those with the vision of the anointed often advocate the settlement of international differences through ‘diplomacy’ and ‘negotiation’ rather than by ‘force’–as if diplomacy and negotiation were not dependent on a surrounding set of incentives, of which the credible threat of military force is crucial.” — P. 130-131

One of the ways to promote the ideology of equality is by defining various inequalities of performance out of existence. This cultural relativism refuses to classify some societies as civilized and others as backward or primitive. Whether comparing nations or subgroups within nations, cultural relativists proclaim all cultures and subcultures to be 'equally valid' and entitled to 'equal respect' as we 'celebrate diversity'... The bitter irony is that all this philosophical self-indulgence widens the empirical gap in the name of narrowing it. -- P. 74 - 75

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 any given country, a particular minority may be hated for any of a number of reasons peculiar to that country or that group. However, in a worldwide perspective, the most hated kinds of minorities are often not defined by race, color, religion, or national origin. Often they are generically 'middleman minorities,' who can be of any racial or ethnic background, and in fact are of many. -- P. 65

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

observers in both the American South an in those parts of Britain from which Southerners had come. -- P. 23 - 24

Edward, for example, was a popular name in Virginia and in Wessex, from which many Virginians emigrated, but the first forty classes of undergraduates at Harvard College included only one student named Edward. It would be nearly two centuries before Harvard admitted anyone named Patrick, though this was a common name in western Pennsylvania, where the Scotch-Irish were settled. -- P. 82

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

Others who share a similarly secular view are often driven to personify 'society' in order to re-introduce concepts of moral responsibility and justice into the cosmos, seeking to rectify the tragic misfortunes of individuals and groups through collective action in the name of 'social justice.' -- P. 5

Economics is not about the financial fate of individuals. It is about the material well- being of society as a whole. -- P. 3

Europeans became mass traders of African slaves largely by purchase from Africa‘s more powerful tribes and empires. -- P. 195

While the pay of such workers is often low by comparison with that of workers in more affluent industrial societies, so too is their productivity. An international consulting firm determined that the average labor productivity in the modern sectors in India is 15 percent of that in the United States. In other words, if you hired an average Indian worker and paid him one-fifth of what you paid an average American worker, it would cost you more to get a given amount of work done in India than in the United States. -- P. 41

If food were categorically more important than music, then we would never reach a point where we were prepared to sacrifice resources that could be used to produce food in order to produce music...A world where food had categorical priority over music would be a world of 300-pound people, whose brief lives would never be brightened by a song or a melody. -- P. 138

The most fundamental fact about the ideas of the political left is that they do not work. Therefore we should not be surprised to find the left concentrated in institutions where ideas do not have to work in order to survive. — Chapter: "The Survival of the Left"

-killing the goose that lays the golden egg is a viable political strategy, so long as the goose does not die before the next election and no one traces the politician‘s fingerprints on the murder weapon. -- P. 8

The central assumption behind busing was perhaps no where better expressed than by Los Angeles Judge Paul V. Egly, when he declared that minority students would be 'irreparably damaged' if busing were even delayed, and that his task was to 'make the most efficient use of increasingly scarce white students as possible' by spreading them around for the benefit of the many minority youngsters who constituted a majority of the city‘s school children. 'Kipling‘s doctrine of 'the white man‘s burden' was now transformed into a judicial doctrine of the white child‘s burden- a doctrine that came very close to fighting racism with racism. -- P. 69

In a country without property rights, or with the food being owned 'by the people,' there was no given individual with sufficient incentives to ensure that this food did not spoil needlessly before it reached the consumers. -- P. 243

Politics offers attractive solutions but economics can offer only trade-offs. For example, when laws are proposed to restrict the height of apartment buildings in a community, politics presents the issue in terms of whether we prefer tall buildings or buildings of a more modest height in our town. Economics asks what you are prepared to trade off in order to keep the height of buildings below some specified level. In places where land costs may equal or even exceed the cost of the apartment buildings themselves, the difference between allowing ten-story buildings to be built and allowing a maximum of five stories may be that rents will be twice as high in the shorter buildings. The question then is not simply whether you prefer shorter buildings but how much do you prefer shorter buildings and what price are you prepared to pay to mandate height restrictions in your community. A doubling of rents and three additional highway fatalities per yet? A tripling of rents and six additional highway fatalities per year? Economics cannot answer such questions. It can only make you aware of a need to ask them. — P.127