Thomas Sowel Quotes

If a footrace is conducted under fair conditions, then the result is just, whether that result is the same person winning again and again or a different winner each time. Results do not define justice in the constrained vision. -- P. 89

In short, no matter what happens, the vision of the anointed always succeeds, if not by the original criteria, then by criteria extemporized later-and if not by empirical evidence, then by criteria sufficiently subjective to escape even the possibility of refutation. Evidence becomes Irrelevant. -- P. 15

What is called 'planning' in political rhetoric is the government‘s suppression of other people‘s plans by superimposing on them a collective plan, created by third parties, armed with the power of government and exempted from paying the costs that these collective plans impose on others. -- P. 32

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

To say that a shoe shine boy earns 'too little' or a surgeon 'too much' is to say that third parties should have the right to preempt the decisions of those who elected to spend their money on shoes or surgery. -- P. 212

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

(in 1969) Harvard economist Richard Freeman compared blacks and whites whose homes included newspapers, magazines, and library cards, and who had also gone on to obtain the same number of years of schooling. There was no difference in the average income of these whites compared to these blacks. -- P. 80

One of the most important questions about any proposed course of actions is whether we know how to do it. Policy A may be better than policy B, but that does not matter if we simply do not know how to do Policy A. Perhaps it would be better to rehabilitate criminals, rather than punish them, if we knew how to do it. Rewarding merit might be better than rewarding results if we knew how to do it. But one of the crucial differences between those with the tragic vision and those with the vision of the anointed is in what they respectively assume that we know how to do. Those with the vision of the anointed are seldom deterred by any question as to whether anyone has the knowledge required to do what they are attempting. — P. 109

One factor in the loss of British economic pre-eminence in the world was Britain‘s earlier development of strong and widespread labor unions, which were able to restrict the application of new technology, both directly and by appropriating a sufficient share of technology‘s economic benefits to reduce the incentives for further technological investment. -- P. 44

Ironically, many of the bitter-end defenders of the current public school system and its educational dogmas are also in favor of preferential admissions of minority students to colleges and universities. In other words, having denied minority children an opportunity to develop the kinds of intellectual skills that would make lower admissions standards for them unnecessary, they then send minority students on to institutions where they are less likely to meet course standards designed for better prepared students- and where most minority students do not last long enough to graduate. -- P. 244

Just as primitive peoples have tended to attribute such things as the swaying of trees in the wind to some intentional action by an invisible spirit, rather than to such systemic causes as variations in atmospheric pressure, so there is a tendency toward intentional explanations of systemic events in the economy, when people are unaware of the basic principles. -- P. 39

Clinging to a counterproductive culture in the name of group pride and avoiding changes because they could be labeled 'self-hate' are patterns that have no track record that would justify optimism. -- P. 263

The charge is often made against the intelligentsia and other members of the anointed that their theories and the policies based on them lack common sense. But the very commonness of common sense makes it unlikely to have any appeal to the anointed. How can they be wiser and nobler than everyone else while agreeing with everyone else? — P. 248

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

To say that women are paid 60 percent of what men receive for doing the same work is to say that employers can afford to pay two male workers more than they pay three female workers- the women producing 50 percent more output- and still survive economically in a system so competitive that most businesses go under inside of a decade. -- P. 187

mathematics, is that many students are confident incompetents, whether discussing social issues, world events, or other subjects. -- P. 5

Over the past two decades, in every field surveyed by the Council of Graduate Schools, the proportion of graduate degrees in the United States going to Americans has declined. -- P. 269

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

Letters from teachers continue to confirm the incompetence which they deny. A teacher in Montana says that my criticisms of teachers are "nieve." No, that wasn't a typographical error. He spelled it that way twice.

While the pay of such workers is often low by comparison with that of workers in more affluent industrial societies, so too is their productivity. An international consulting firm determined that the average labor productivity in the modern sectors in India is 15 percent of that in the United States. In other words, if you hired an average Indian worker and paid him one-fifth of what you paid an average American worker, it would cost you more to get a given amount of work done in India than in the United States. -- P. 41