Thomas Sowell / b. 1930 / North Carolina, USA / Economist, Political Philosopher
Civil rights used to be about treating everyone the same. But today some people are so used to special treatment that equal treatment is considered to be discrimination.
ECONOMICS vs. POLITICS
The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.Source: Is Reality Optional?, and Other Essays (Hoover Institution Press, 1993).
Ours may become the first civilization destroyed not by the power of our enemies, but by the ignorance of our teachers and the dangerous nonsense they are teaching our children.
The next time some academics tell you how important diversity is, ask how many conservatives there are in their sociology department.
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.Source: “Random Thoughts,” Townhall.com, April 8, 2008.
I have never understood why it is “greed” to want to keep the money you’ve earned, but not greed to want to take somebody else’s money.Source: Barbarians Inside the Gates and Other Controversial Essays (Hoover Institution Press, 1999).
People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything.Source: Ever Wonder Why?, and Other Controversial Essays (Hoover Institution Press, 2006).
No society ever thrived because it had a large and growing class of parasites living off those who produce.Source: The Thomas Sowell Reader (Basic Books, 2011).
What exactly is your “fair share” of what “someone else” has worked for?
One of the sad signs of our times is that we have demonized those who produce, subsidized those who refuse to produce, and canonized those who complain.Source: The Thomas Sowell Reader (Basic Books, 2011).
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.
PRAGMATISM AND PIPEDREAMS
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.Source: Is Reality Optional?, and Other Essays (Hoover Institution Press, 1993).
The question is not what anybody deserves. The question is who is to take on the God-like role of deciding what everybody else deserves. You can talk about ‘social justice’ all you want. But what death taxes boil down to is letting politicians take money from widows and orphans to pay for goodies that they will hand out to others, in order to buy votes to get re-elected. That is not social justice or any other kind of justice.Source: Controversial Essays (2002).
We seem to be getting closer and closer to a situation where nobody is responsible for what they did but we are all responsible for what somebody else did.
Signs of the Times
One of the sad signs of our times is that we have demonized those who produce, subsidized those who refuse to produce, and canonized those who complain.Source: Ever Wonder Why?, and Other Controversial Essays (Hoover Institution Press, 2006).
SKIN IN THE GAME
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.Source: “Wake Up, Parents,” Jewish World Review, August 18, 2000.
The welfare state is the oldest con game in the world. First you take people’s money away quietly and then you give some of it back to them flamboyantly.