Sowell is a proponent of libertarianism and laissez-faire economics. He won the Francis Boyer Award in 1990, Sydney Hook Award in 1998, and received the National Humanities Medal in 2002. Currently, Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. He has published more than thirty books and numerous essays and articles.
Thomas Sowell Quotes
If the battle for civilization comes down to the wimps versus the barbarians, the barbarians are going to win.
Whenever people talk glibly of a need to achieve educational “excellence,” I think of what an improvement it would be if our public schools could just achieve mediocrity.
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.
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.
No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems. They are trying to solve their own problems – of which getting elected and re-elected are number one and number two. Whatever is number three is far behind.
Weighing benefits against costs is the way most people make decisions – and the way most businesses make decisions, if they want to stay in business. Only in government is any benefit, however small, considered to be worth any cost, however large.
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.
The real minimum wage is zero.
Life has many good things. The problem is that most of these good things can be gotten only by sacrificing other good things. We all recognize this in our daily lives. It is only in politics that this simple, common sense fact is routinely ignored.
Activism is a way for useless people to feel important, even if the consequences of their activism are counterproductive for those they claim to be helping and damaging to the fabric of society as a whole.
We seem to be moving steadily in the direction of a society where no one is responsible for what he himself did but we are all responsible for what somebody else did, either in the present or in the past.
What is called ‘capitalism’ might more accurately be called consumerism. It is the consumers who call the tune, and the capitalists who want to remain capitalists have to learn to dance to it.
If you are not prepared to use force to defend civilization, then be prepared to accept barbarism.
Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.
Since this is an era when many people are concerned about “fairness” and “social justice,” what is your “fair share” of what someone else has worked for?
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.
Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late.
Most people who read “The Communist Manifesto” probably have no idea that it was written by a couple of young men who had never worked a day in their lives, and who nevertheless spoke boldly in the name of “the workers.” Similar offspring of inherited wealth have repeatedly provided the leadership of radical movements, with similar pretenses of speaking for “the people.”
I wish that some way could be found to add up all the staggering costs imposed on millions of ordinary people, just so a relative handful of self-righteous environmental cultists can go around feeling puffed up with themselves.
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.
Too much of what is called “education” is little more than an expensive isolation from reality.
Experience trumps brilliance.
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.
The welfare state is not really about the welfare of the masses. It is about the egos of the elites.
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.
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 reelected. That is not social justice or any other kind of justice.
When your response to everything that is wrong with the world is to say, ‘there ought to be a law,’ you are saying that you hold freedom very cheap.
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.
The real goal should be reduced government spending, rather than balanced budgets achieved by ever rising tax rates to cover ever rising spending.
Asking liberals where wages and prices come from is like asking six-year-olds where babies come from.
The biggest myth about labor unions is that unions are for the workers. Unions are for unions, just as corporations are for corporations and politicians are for politicians.
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.