34 Great Thomas Sowell Quotes

34 Great Thomas Sowell Quotes

by / Comments Off / 85 View / Dec 4, 2014

Thomas Sowell is a author and political philosopher from North Carolina. He earned his Doctorate in Economics in 1968 at the University of Chicago. He now works as Senior Fellow at Stanford University in the Hoover Institution. One of his most popular works is his book Basic Economics.

“As far as party primaries are concerned, both Republican and Democratic Party primaries are dominated by the most zealous voters, whose views may not reflect the views of most members of
their own respective parties, much less the views of those who are going to vote in the November general election.”

“Both history and contemporary data show that countries prosper more when there are stable and dependable rules, under which people can make investments without having to fear unpredictable
new government interventions before these investments can pay off.”

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

“Given that some social processes must convey inherent constraints, the choice is among various mixtures of persuasion, force, and cultural inducement. The less of one, the more of the
others. The degree of freedom that is possible is therefore tied to the extent to which people respond to persuasion or inducement.”

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

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

“If you don’t believe in the innate unreasonableness of human beings, just try raising children.”

“If you have been voting for politicians who promise to give you goodies at someone else’s expense, then you have no right to complain when they take your money and give it to someone else,
including themselves.”

“Intellectuals may like to think of themselves as people who “speak truth to power” but too often they are people who speak lies to gain power.”

“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.”

“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. Know-it-alls in the
school system do not lose one dime or one hour’s sleep if their bright ideas turn out to be all wrong, or even disastrous, for the child.”

“It may be expecting too much to expect most intellectuals to have common sense, when their whole life is based on their being uncommon — that is, saying things that are different from what
everyone else is saying. There is only so much genuine originality in anyone. After that, being uncommon means indulging in pointless eccentricities or clever attempts to mock or shock.”

“Most wars are started by well-fed people with time on their hands to dream up half-baked ideologies or grandiose ambitions, and to nurse real or imagined grievances.”

“Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good. In area after area – crime, education, housing, race
relations – the situation has gotten worse after the bright new theories were put into operation. The amazing thing is that this history of failure and disaster has neither discouraged the
social engineers nor discredited them.”

“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.”

“One of the consequences of such notions as “entitlements” is that people who have contributed nothing to society feel that society owes them something, apparently just for being nice enough
to grace us with their presence.”

“One of the most ridiculous defenses of foreign aid is that it is a very small part of our national income. If the average American set fire to a five-dollar bill, it would be an even
smaller percentage of his annual income. But everyone would consider him foolish for doing it.”

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

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

“People who think that they are being “exploited” should ask themselves whether they would be missed if they left, or whether people would say: “Good riddance”?”

“Republicans won big, running as Republicans, in 2004. But once they took control of Congress, they started acting like Democrats and lost big. There is a lesson in that somewhere but
whether Republicans will learn it is another story entirely.”

“Social values in general are incrementally variable: neither safety, diversity, rational articulation, nor morality is categorically a good thing to have more of, without limits. All are
subject to diminishing returns, and ultimately negative returns.”

“Some of the people on death row today might not be there if the courts had not been so lenient on them when they were first offenders.”

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

“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.”

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

“There are few things more dishonorable than misleading the young.”

“Time was when people used to brag about how old they were — and I am old enough to remember it.”

“Too often what are called “educated” people are simply people who have been sheltered from reality for years in ivy-covered buildings. Those whose whole careers have been spent in ivy-
covered buildings, insulated by tenure, can remain adolescents on into their golden retirement years.”

“Virtually no idea is too ridiculous to be accepted, even by very intelligent and highly educated people, if it provides a way for them to feel special and important. Some confuse that
feeling with idealism.”

“What the welfare system and other kinds of governmental programs are doing is paying people to fail. In so far as they fail, they receive the money; in so far as they succeed, even to a
moderate extent, the money is taken away.”

“When we hear about rent control or gun control, we may think about rent or guns but the word that really matters is ‘control.’ That is what the political left is all about, as you can see
by the incessant creation of new restrictions in places where they are strongly entrenched in power, such as San Francisco or New York.”

“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.”

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