Thomas Sowel Quotes

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

Whenever A can get B to do what A wishes, then A has "power" over B, according to the results-oriented definition of the unconstrained vision...But if B is in a process in which he has at least as many options as he had before A came along, then A has not "restricted" B‘s choices, and so has no "power" over him, by the process definition used by Bauer and characteristic of the constrained vision. -- P. 160

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

Of the chief executive officers of the 50 largest American corporations surveyed in 2006, only four had Ivy League degrees and just over half graduated from state colleges, or a community college. -- P. 105

The vision of the anointed is one in which such 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

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

It is not visions that are dangerous. What is dangerous are insulated visions. -- P. 141

Equal opportunity' laws and policies require that individuals be judged on their qualifications as individuals, without regard to race, sex, age, etc. 'Affirmative action' requires that they be judged with regard to such group membership, receiving preferential or compensatory treatment in some cases to achieve a more proportional 'representation' in various institutions and occupations. -- P. 38

History is the memory of a nation- and that memory is being erased by historians enthralled by the vision of the anointed...This erasing of the national memory, and the recording of a preferred vision over it, is yet another expression of the notion that reality is optional. -- P. 252

One of the most heartening lesson of history is that poor and primitive peoples have, more than once, not only caught up with those more fortunate, but have even advanced to the forefront of human achievement. -- P. 334

Recycling is not categorically justified or unjustified, but is incrementally either worth or not worth the costs...-studies of government-imposed recycling programs in the United States have shown that what they salvage is usually worth less than the cost of salvaging it. -- P. 14 - 15

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

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

To the anointed, their vision and reality are one and the same. Yet the world inside their minds has few of the harsh constraints of the world inhabited by millions of other human beings... The world of the anointed is a very tidy place- or, put differently, every deviation of the real world from the tidiness of their vision is considered to be someone‘s fault. -- P. 24

Racism has scarred and bloodied the histories of lands around the world, but Northern Ireland, India, and the Middle East are contemporary reminders of the enduring and lethal hatreds that have revolved around religion. History‘s Crusades, pogroms, Jihads, and Inquisitions underscore the point. Secular religions or ideologies have likewise claimed their millions of victims, from the 'killing fields' of Kampuchea to the Soviet Gulags. (Race has been a major enduring factor in some conquests, but can claim no monopoly as a cause of man‘s inhumanity to man.) -- P. 16

Moral rights in the unconstrained vision are rights to results. -- P. 201

In short, however politically useful public concern about teenage pregnancy and access to a captive audience in the public schools, the real goal was to change students‘ attitudes- put bluntly, to brainwash them with the vision of the anointed, in order to supplant the values they had been taught at home. -- P. 19

Some people consider it a valid criticism of corporations that they are 'just in the business to make profits.' By this kind of reasoning, workers are just working to earn their pay. -- P. 332

One of the most chilling lessons of the twentieth century is how deceptive domestic tranquility can be in a multi-ethnic society, when it takes only the right circumstances and the right demagogue to turn neighbor murderously against neighbor. -- P. 289

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