Thomas Sowel Quotes

“Another way of verbally masking elite preemption of other people’s decisions is to use the word ‘ask’–as in ‘We are just asking everyone to pay their fair share.’ But of course governments do not ask, they tell. The Internal Revenue Service does not ‘ask’ for contributions. It takes.” — P. 197

-motor vehicle death rates per million passenger miles fell over the years from 17.9 in 1925 to 5.5 in 1965, the year Unsafe at Any Speed was published, and this trend continued at a rate of 4.9 five years later...In short, the era of corporate greed and the presumably ignorant and helpless consumer saw dramatic improvements in safety, before the anointed came to the rescue. -- P. 73

Freedom has cost too much blood and agony to be relinquished at the cheap price of rhetoric. Chapter: Political Trade-Offs

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

Paradoxically, while feasibility is seldom addressed when proposing public policy, severe limitations on what is feasible by others are often assumed by those with the vision of the anointed and pushed to the point of determinism, with a corresponding denial of personal responsibility. Since the bottom line of the prevailing vision is that anointed are moral surrogates to make decisions for other people, these other people must be seen as incapable of making the right decisions for themselves. -- P. 189

New England Puritans differed not only from the backwater people of the South, but also from the Southern tidewater aristocracy, who settled on the coastal plains of the American eastern seaboard and who originated largely in southern and western parts of England with a long tradition of very hierarchical societies, including, during the early middle ages, slavery. -- P. 80

To say that someone has a 'right' to any kind of housing is to say others have an obligation to expend all these efforts on his behalf, without his being reciprocally obligated to compensate them for it. -- P. 100

-moral equivalence- whatever form it takes- is moral self-exaltation. -- P. 137

Where discrimination is distinguished from differences in life chances, the empirical question is whether individuals of similar qualifications have similar prospects of employment, college admission, and other benefits when they come from different groups. Where there are substantial differences in qualifying characteristics among groups, as there often are, the question then becomes: What of those particular individuals who have the same qualifying characteristics as members of other groups? Do they have the same prospects or results? -- P. 180

In the case of immigrants from Ireland, the massive efforts of the Catholic Church in the nineteenth century to Americanize Irish immigrants are seldom mentioned among the reasons why the 'No Irish Need Apply' signs faded away during the twentieth century. The picture too often presented might lead one to believe that it was all just a matter of prejudice and bigotry in American society that lead to such signs in the first place, leaving their disappearance in later times unexplained, except by some generality as 'progress' or by the efforts of the enlightened to dispel such prejudices and bigotry. -- P. 252

-unlike God at the dawn of Creation, we cannot simply say, 'let there be equality!' or 'let there be justice!' We must begin with the universe that we were born into and weigh the costs of making any specific change in it to achieve a specific end. We cannot simply 'do something' whenever we are morally indignant while disdaining to consider the costs entailed.' -- P. 8

In the 1820‘s, 6000 Greeks were sent to Egypt as slaves and, half a century later, a report to the British Parliament noted that both white and black slaves were still being traded in Egypt and Turkey, years after blacks had been emancipated in the United States. -- P. 187

Power lies at the end of a spectrum of causal factors which include influence, individual discretion, and systemic interactions whose actual outcomes were not planned or controlled by anyone. -- P. 151

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

quantity or quality or because the individual was especially resistant- are the sources of antisocial behavior, of which crime is only one form. -- P. 150

Social rules are as central to the constrained vision as unfettered individual judgment and individual conscience are at the heart of the unconstrained vision. -- P. 81

programs, is met by further claims that this shows the signs of racism of the larger society overflowing into the schools. -- P. 84 - 85

Nevertheless, most Americans earn their livings by renting their time and talents-and live much better than peoples in many other countries where most adults own their own land and work only for themselves. -- P. 127

In the west, racism was promoted by slavery, rather than vice versa. -- P. 195

Since no group of human beings has been without sin, anecdotal evidence for various accusations will never be lacking, even when these sins are less of an explanatory factor than a fatal distraction from the hard work needed to acquire the human capital needed to turn poverty to prosperity. -- P. 338