Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell (born June 30, 1930) is an American economist, turned social theorist, political philosopher, and author. He is currently Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. 

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Elections should be held on April 16th- the day after we pay our income taxes. That is one of the few things that might discourage politicians from being big spenders.

One of the common failings among honorable people is a failure to appreciate how thoroughly dishonorable some other people can be and how dangerous it is to trust them.

The march of science and technology does not imply growing intellectual complexity in the lives of most people. It often means the opposite.

It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.

One of the most pervasive political visions of our time is the vision of liberals as compassionate and conservatives as less caring.

It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors hospitals and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors hospitals medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it.

Prices are important not because money is considered paramount but because prices are a fast and effective conveyor of information through a vast society in which fragmented knowledge must be coordinated.

Mistakes can be corrected by those who pay attention to facts, but dogmatism will not be corrected by those who are wedded to a vision.

If the battle for civilization comes down to the wimps versus the barbarians the barbarians are going to win.

Actually lowering the cost of insurance would be accomplished by such things as making it harder for lawyers to win frivolous lawsuits against insurance companies.

People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything.

The welfare state is not really about the welfare of the masses. It is about the egos of the elites.

Life in general has never been even close to fair so the pretense that the government can make it fair is a valuable and inexhaustible asset to politicians who want to expand government.

The simplest and most psychologically satisfying explanation of any observed phenomenon is that it happened that way because someone wanted it to happen that way.

You will never understand bureaucracies until you understand that for bureaucrats procedure is everything and outcomes are nothing.

Freedom has cost too much blood and agony to be relinquished at the cheap price of rhetoric.

Imagine a political system so radical as to promise to move more of the poorest 20% of the population into the richest 20% than remain in the poorest bracket within the decade? You don't need to imagine it. It's called the United States of America.

Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good.

What 'multiculturalism' boils down to is that you can praise any culture in the world except Western culture - and you cannot blame any culture in the world except Western culture.

Like a baseball game wars are not over till they are over. Wars don't run on a clock like football. No previous generation was so hopelessly unrealistic that this had to be explained to them.

If you have always believed that everyone should play by the same rules and be judged by the same standards that would have gotten you labeled a radical 60 years ago a liberal 30 years ago and a racist today.

Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians who must be civilized before it is too late.

People who identify themselves as conservatives donate money to charity more often than people who identify themselves as liberals. They donate more money and a higher percentage of their incomes.

If people in the media cannot decide whether they are in the business of reporting news or manufacturing propaganda it is all the more important that the public understand that difference and choose their news sources accordingly.

Many people including some conservatives have been very impressed with how brainy the president and his advisers are. But that is not quite as reassuring as it might seem.

Talkers are usually more articulate than doers since talk is their specialty.

The most basic question is not what is best but who shall decide what is best.

There are few things more dishonorable than misleading the young.

Do countries with strong gun control laws have lower murder rates? Only if you cherry-pick the data.

Stopping illegal immigration would mean that wages would have to rise to a level where Americans would want the jobs currently taken by illegal aliens.

The word 'racism' is like ketchup. It can be put on practically anything - and demanding evidence makes you a 'racist.'

Facts do not speak for themselves. They speak for or against competing theories. Facts divorced from theories or visions are mere isolated curiosities.

The problem isn't that Johnny can't read. The problem isn't even that Johnny can't think. The problem is that Johnny doesn't know what thinking is, he confuses it with feeling.

Too much of what is called "education" is little more than an expensive isolation from reality.

Mystical references to society and its programs to help may warm the hearts of the gullible but what it really means is putting more power in the hands of bureaucrats.

Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.

The next time some academics tell you how important diversity is ask how many Republicans there are in their sociology department.

The people made worse off by slavery were those who were enslaved. Their descendants would have been worse off today if born in Africa instead of America. Put differently the terrible fate of their ancestors benefitted them.

Liberalism is totalitarianism with a human face.

People who have time on their hands will inevitably waste the time of people who have work to do.

The first lesson of economics is scarcity: there is never enough of anything to fully satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.

If you are not prepared to use force to defend civilization then be prepared to accept barbarism.

Capitalism knows only one color: that color is green, all else is necessarily subservient to it hence race gender and ethnicity cannot be considered within it.

Brainy folks were also present in Lyndon Johnson's administration especially in the Pentagon where Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara's brilliant 'whiz kids' tried to micro-manage the Vietnam war with disastrous results.

As for gun control advocates, I have no hope whatever that any facts whatever will make the slightest dent in their thinking - or lack of thinking.

It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.

The real minimum wage is zero.

The most fundamental fact about the ideas of the political left is that they do not work. Therefore we should not be surprised to find the left concentrated in institutions where ideas do not have to work in order to survive.

Both free speech rights and property rights belong legally to individuals but their real function is social to benefit vast numbers of people who do not themselves exercise these rights.

Wishful thinking is not idealism. It is self-indulgence at best and self-exaltation at worst. In either case it is usually at the expense of others. In other words it is the opposite of idealism.

Would you bet your paycheck on a weather forecast for tomorrow? If not then why should this country bet billions on global warming predictions that have even less foundation?

Balanced budget requirements seem more likely to produce accounting ingenuity than genuinely balanced budgets.

The big divide in this country is not between Democrats and Republicans or women and men but between talkers and doers.

Tariffs that save jobs in the steel industry mean higher steel prices which in turn means fewer sales of American steel products around the world and losses of far more jobs than are saved.

The real goal should be reduced government spending rather than balanced budgets, achieved by ever rising tax rates to cover ever rising spending.

The least productive people are usually the ones who are most in favor of holding meetings.

In liberal logic if life is unfair then the answer is to turn more tax money over to politicians to spend in ways that will increase their chances of getting reelected.

What is ominous is the ease with which some people go from saying that they don't like something to saying that the government should forbid it. When you go down that road don't expect freedom to survive very long.

Liberals seem to assume that if you don't believe in their particular political solutions then you don't really care about the people that they claim to want to help.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology accepts blacks in the top ten percent of students, but at MIT this puts them in the bottom ten percent of the class.

There are only two ways of telling the complete truth - anonymously and posthumously.