Thomas Sowel Quotes

Centuries before 'black pride' became a fashionable phrase, there was cracker pride- and it was very much the same kind of pride. It was not pride in any particular achievement or set of behavioral standards or moral principles adhered to. It was instead a touchiness about anything that might be even remotely construed as a personal slight, much less an insult, combined with a willingness to erupt into violence over it. -- P. 7

What a student can judge is how well the professor conveyed the information in the course- how clearly the material was presented and how interesting it seemed- but what the student is not equipped to judge is what information and conflicting analysis was left out. -- P. 96

Freedom began to emerge where governments were too fragmented, too poorly organized, or too much in need of voluntary cooperation to prevent its emergence. -- P. 353

Empirical evidence strongly indicates that racial discrimination tends to be greater when the costs are lower and lower when the costs are greater. -- P. 142

The peculiarities of ghetto speech, often imitated even among contemporary black middle-class youth, are said to derive from African speech patterns, when in fact most of those very same words and phrases were part of the speech patterns in those parts of Britain from which Southerners came, centuries ago. -- P. 225

When people are presented with the alternatives of hating themselves for their failure or hating others for their success, they seldom choose to hate themselves. -- P. 77

morality, or courage...This there are no 'solutions' in the tragic vision, but only trade- offs that still leave many desires unfulfilled and much unhappiness in the world. -- P. 113

-power is the ability to restrict people‘s options and freedom is an exemption from having one‘s options restricted in such matters as religion or the expression of ideas. -- P. 176

The rule of law- 'a government of laws and not of men'- implies rules known in advance, applied generally, and constraining the rulers as well as the ruled. Freedom implies exemptions from the power of the rulers and a corresponding limitation on the scope of all laws, even those of democratically elected governments. -- P. 151

Processes designed to create greater equality cannot be judged by that goal but must be examined in terms of the processes created in pursuit of that goal. -- P. 51

The battle for civil rights was fought and won- at great cost- many years ago. Like any fundamental human achievement, these rights cannot be taken for granted and must be safeguarded. But civil rights are not protected or enhanced by the growing practice of calling every issue raised by 'spokesmen' for minority, female, elderly, or other groups, 'civil rights' issues...Equal treatment does not mean equal results. Everything desirable is not a civil right. -- P. 109

More generally, political attempts to 'solve' various 'problems' seriatim ignore the costs created by each 'solution' and how that exacerbates other problems...Much of the political rhetoric is concerned with presenting issues as isolated problems to be solved- not as trade –offs within an overall system constrained by inherent limitations of resources, knowledge, etc. -- P. 137

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

Among Western Hemisphere nations, racial oppression was at its worst in the United States, especially in the former slave states of the South. Lynchings of Negroes peaked at 161 per year in 1892 in the United States. While this phenomenon remained unknown in Latin America and the Caribbean...Haitian blacks, having been the most independent of whites for more than two centuries, should be the most prosperous in the hemisphere and American blacks the poorest, if racial oppression accounts for poverty, but in fact their respective economic positions are directly the reverse- again suggesting that human capital has a greater effect than racial oppression. -- P. 168 - 169

Many Southern religious gatherings were not held in churches but at outdoor 'camp meetings'- a style that went back to practices of these Southerners‘ ancestors in Britain. So too did the oratorical style of Southern preachers and the behavior of their congregations, whether in churches or outdoors...While many of those listened to hellfire-and-damnation sermons were moved to extreme emotional reactions of fear, confession, and repentance, many others took these services as dramatic performances or spectacles, and the young women and men often treated these religious gatherings as occasions for socializing and preludes to romantic encounters later. -- P. 25 - 26

If the politicization of race could lead to barbarism and genocide among Germans, no other peoples or society can be presumed to be immune. However catastrophic the politicization of race may be in the long run, from the point of view of individual leaders it is a highly successful way to rise from obscurity to prominence and power. -- P. 35

-those who deliver tons of life-sustaining food to supermarkets are not engaged in 'public service,' as the anointed use the term. -- P. 184

The general orientation of white liberals has been one of 'what can we do for them?' What blacks can do for themselves has not only been of lesser interest, much of what blacks have in fact already done for themselves has been overshadowed by liberal attempts to get them special dispensations- whether affirmative action, reparations for slavery, or other race-based benefits- even when the net effect of these dispensations has been much less than the effects of black‘s own self-advancement. -- P. 55

In Britain, as elsewhere in medieval Europe, a 'market' meant a specifically authorized gathering place for selling on days specified by the authorities, in places specified by the authorities, and at prices specified by authorities...As large scheduled markets and fairs gave way to innumerable, smaller, scattered, and continuously-operating shops and stores, official control of prices and conditions became much more tenuous as a practical matter...It was in the wake of these erosions of economic controls that intellectual challenges were then made to the role of government in the economy, first by the Physiocrats in France, who coined the term 'laissez-faire,' and then by Adam Smith in Britain, who became its leading champion. By the mid-nineteenth century, widespread support of 'free trade' internationally, and of freeing the domestic economy from many political controls, were on the ascendancy in Britain. -- P. 33 - 34

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