Thomas Sowel Quotes

When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.

The instrumental nature of justice and its consequent subordination at times to other social imperatives, is a recurring theme in the constrained vision. Implicit in this subordination of justice to order in the constrained vision is the conclusion that man will suffer more by the breakdown of order-even an unjust order-than by some injustices. -- P. 174

Black-owned banks in the United States have tended to have high rates of failure and the surviving black banks have tended to invest outside their community even more than white banks. . .Here too, often 'the poor pay more' because they live in neighborhoods with higher costs of providing those goods and services. -- P. 111 - 112

Orwellian use of the word 'harassment' to cover situations in which no one approached, addressed, or even notices the supposed target of this 'harassment: has enabled colleges and universities to punish behavior to which the only real objection is ideological. -- P. 189

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

People who talk incessantly about "change" are often dogmatically set in their ways. They want to change other people.

Much discussion of the decisions of businessmen in general by intellectuals proceeds as if employers, landlords, and others operating under the systemic pressures of the marketplace are free to make arbitrary and capricious decisions based on prejudice and misinformation–as if they were intellectuals sitting around a seminar table–and pay no price for being mistaken. — P. 188

Despite the popularity of the phrase 'income distribution,' most income is earned- not distributed. -- P. 151

Everyone is a 'progressive' by his own lights. That the anointed believe that this label differentiates themselves from other people is one of a number of symptoms of their naïve narcissism. -- P. 95

There has been a huge accumulation of evidence on the correlation between test scores and subsequent performances, not only for the general population but also for particular racial and ethnic minorities. Repeatedly it has been demonstrated that the standard mental tests do not underestimate the subsequent performance of low scoring minorities. They have in fact a slight tendency to do the opposite-to predict for low scoring minorities a higher subsequent performance than that actually achieved. This pattern has been persistent over time and is international in scope. -- P. 173

For much of the media- and often even in academia- it is sufficient to find inter-group differences in outcomes to conclude that there has been discrimination. This happens, however, only when the conclusion fits existing preconceptions. -- P. 184

One of the grand fallacies of our time is that something beneficial should be subsidized. -- Chapter: "Cutting the Budget"

Blacks may 'all look alike' to racists, but there are profound internal cultural differences among blacks...-West Indian family incomes are 94 percent of the U.S. national average, while the family incomes of blacks as a group are only 62 percent of the national average. West Indian 'representation' in professional occupations is double that of blacks, and slightly higher than that of the U.S. population as a whole. -- P. 77

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 normal weighing of costs against benefits, which causes more urgent things to be done ahead of less important things when prices ration scarce resources, is less effective when costs are paid by someone other than the actual decision-makers. -- P. 74

In short, (for politicians) 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 politicians’ 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

Whether moving people into government housing projects, giving them vouchers to subsidize their living in middle –class neighborhoods, or moving large numbers of them from one city to another, the evidence is clear that changing peoples location does not change their behavior. -- P. 45

In policy terms, making it easier for people born in less fortunate circumstances to acquire the knowledge and skills to become brain surgeons is very different from simply decreeing that pay differentials between brain surgeons and carpenters be reduced or eliminated. -- P. 171

Empirically, political activity and political success have been neither necessary nor sufficient for economic advancement... It would perhaps be easier to find an inverse correlation between political activity and economic success than a direct correlation. Groups that have the skills for other things seldom concentrate in politics. Moreover, politics has special advantages for ethnic minority groups, however much it may benefit individual ethnic leaders. Public displays of ethnic solidarity and/or chauvinism are the life blood of ethnic politics. Yet chauvinism almost invariably provokes counter chauvinism. -- P. 32