Thomas Sowel Quotes

It is easy to say 'crime does not pay,' but the real question is: Does it pay whom- and compared to what? -- P. 47

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

Yet nothing has been more common in history than for victims to become oppressors when they gain power. -- P. 250

Among the definitions of a 'cracker' in the Oxford dictionary is a 'braggart'- one who 'talks trash' in today‘s vernacular- a wisecracker... What is painfully ironic is that such attitudes and behavior are projected today as aspects of a distinctive 'black identity,' when in fact they are a part of a centuries-old pattern among the whites in whose midst generations of blacks lived in the South. -- P. 12 - 12

Because the situations of husbands and wives have not been symmetrical in traditional families, it is likewise not surprising that marriage has had the opposite effects on the incomes of women and men. -- P. 72

China in centuries past has been described as 'one of the largest and most comprehensive markets for the exchange of human beings in the world.' Slavery was also common in India, where it has been estimated that there were more slaves than in the entire Western Hemisphere- and the original Thugs kidnapped children for the purpose of enslavement. -- P. 112

A succinct summary of the tragic vision was given by historians Will and Ariel Durant: Out of every hundred new ideas ninety-nine or more will probably be inferior to the traditional responses which they propose to replace. No one man, however brilliant or well-informed, can come in one lifetime to such fullness of understanding as to safely judge and dismiss the customs or institutions of his society, for those are the wisdom of generations after centuries of experiment in the laboratory of history. — P. 112

The indigenous population of the Western Hemisphere was all but exterminated by their sudden exposure to the diseases of Europe and Africa-far more so than by the military campaigns which occupy so much of history. -- P. 78

Many racial policies continually add to the pile of combustible material, which only needs the right political arsonist to set it off. -- P. 118

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

-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

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 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

To apply the same rules to everyone requires no prior knowledge of anyone‘s childhood, cultural heritage, philosophical (or sexual) orientation, or the innumerable historical influences to which he or his forebears may have subjected. -- P. 16

-one of the important advantages of a prevailing vision is that it is so easily and unconsciously absorbed from those around us, without our having to take the trouble to think about it. A prevailing vision is, in computer terms, the 'default setting' for our opinions on a whole spectrum of issues. It is what we believe in general when we have no special reason to believe otherwise. -- P. 135

It is not only theoretically possible to have more discrimination where there is less bias or prejudice, and less discrimination where there more bias and prejudice, this has in fact happened in more than one country. The degree to which subjective attitudes are translated into overt acts of discrimination depends on the costs of doing so. Where those costs are very high, even very prejudiced or biased people may engage in little or no discrimination...Personal costs can lead to actions either more adverse or less adverse than the individual‘s own beliefs or feelings. -- P. 168 - 169

by the anointed have been vagrants, criminals and carriers of contagious diseases. -- P. 150

-three-quarters of those Americans whose incomes were in the bottom 20 percent in 1975 were also in the top 40% at some point during the next 16 years. -- P. 135

When facts about racial or ethnic groups that are both known and relevant are deliberately suppressed because they would undermine a particular vision, doctrine, or agenda, then history is prostituted and cannot serve as a check against visions, because facts have been subordinated to visions. -- P. 277

-exploration of the vision of the anointed will begin with its greatest achievement and its greatest danger which are one and the same: That vision has become self-contained and self-justifying- which is to say, independent of empirical evidence. That is what makes it dangerous, not because a particular set of policies may be flawed or counterproductive, but because insulation from evidence virtually guarantees a never ending supply of policies and practices fatally independent from reality. This self contained and self justifying vision has become a badge of honor and a proclamation of identity: To affirm it is to be one of us and to oppose it is to be one of them. Moreover, the pervasiveness of the vision of the anointed at all levels of the American educational system ensures future supplies of people indoctrinated with this vision and also convinced that they should 'make a difference,'- that public policy is seen as ego gratification from imposing one‘s vision on other people through the power of government. -- P. 241