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A collection of quotes and thoughts by Thomas Sowell on race, politics, liberals, truth, economics, simplicity, society, economy, freedom and socialism.

76 Inspiring Quotes By Thomas Sowell, The Inordinate Living Economist

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Economist

Born On
30 June 1930 AD

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Gastonia, North Carolina

Age
88

Thomas Sowell is an author, political theorist, intellectual and economist from the U.S. He is counted among the most influential purveyors of libertarian conservatism and supply side economics in the world. Sowell discontinued his school education in order to join the US Marine Corps at the time of the Korean War. However, upon returning he went back to education and attended Harvard University, before acquiring his post graduate degree from Columbia University. He went on to earn his doctoral degree in economics from University of Chicago in 1968. Over the past decades, Sowell has taught at some of the most prestigious universities in the United States and has also been associated with leading think tanks. Sowell has been working for the Hoover Institution at Stanford University since 1980 and over the years, he has become one of the most important advocates of conservative politics in the United States. As an African-American, Sowell has also written extensively on racial politics in the United States and his views are markedly different from most. He has often been described as a ‘black conservative’ but Sowell refuses to acknowledge that label. He is one of the foremost intellectuals of the modern era. The below collection of Thomas Sowell’s most famous quotes have been excerpted from his writings, papers, books and thoughts. We bring to you a collection of sayings and quotes by Thomas Sowell on education, intellectual, wages, jobs, class, poverty, greed and racism.

I have never understood why it is "greed" to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else's money.

- Barbarians inside the Gates and Other Controversial Essays, Thomas Sowell

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.

- Thomas Sowell

It’s amazing how much panic one honest man can spread among a multitude of hypocrites.

- Thomas Sowell

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

- Thomas Sowell

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.

- Thomas Sowell

Some of the biggest cases of mistaken identity are among intellectuals who have trouble remembering that they are not God.

- Thomas Sowell

The fact that the market is not doing what we wish it would do is no reason to automatically assume that the government would do better.

- Thomas Sowell

Despite a voluminous and often fervent literature on "income distribution," the cold fact is that most income is not distributed: It is earned.

- Thomas Sowell

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.

- Thomas Sowell

Racism does not have a good track record. It's been tried out for a long time and you'd think by now we'd want to put an end to it instead of putting it under new management.

- Thomas Sowell

Intellect is not wisdom.

- Intellectuals and Society, Thomas Sowell

Bailing out people who made ill-advised mortgages makes no more sense that bailing out people who lost their life savings in Las Vegas casinos.

- Thomas Sowell

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

- Knowledge And Decisions, Thomas Sowell

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

- Thomas Sowell

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

- The Thomas Sowell Reader, Thomas Sowell

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?

- Thomas Sowell

Competition does a much more effective job than government at protecting consumers.

- Compassion Versus Guilt, Thomas Sowell

What is history but the story of how politicians have squandered the blood and treasure of the human race?

- Thomas Sowell

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

- Thomas Sowell

Rhetoric is no substitute for reality.

- Thomas Sowell

If politicians stopped meddling with things they don't understand, there would be a more drastic reduction in the size of government than anyone in either party advocates.

- Thomas Sowell

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.

- Thomas Sowell

It doesn't matter how smart you are unless you stop and think.

- Thomas Sowell

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.

- Thomas Sowell

Life does not ask what we want. It presents us with options

- Thomas Sowell

Don't you get tired of seeing so many "non-conformists" with the same non-conformist look?

- Ever Wonder Why? and Other Controversial Essays, Thomas Sowell

Everyone may be called "comrade," but some comrades have the power of life and death over other comrades.

- Knowledge And Decisions, Thomas Sowell

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

- Knowledge And Decisions, Thomas Sowell

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.

- Thomas Sowell

What then is the intellectual advantage of civilization over primitive savagery? It is not necessarily that each civilized man has more knowledge but that he requires far less.

- Knowledge And Decisions, Thomas Sowell

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 Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy, Thomas Sowell

Whatever we wish to achieve in the future, it must begin by knowing where we are in the present- not where we wish we were, or whee we wish others to think we are, but where we are in fact.

- Economic Facts and Fallacies, Thomas Sowell

For the anointed, traditions are likely to be seen as the dead hand of the past, relics of a less enlightened age, and not as the distilled experience of millions who faced similar human vicissitudes before.

- Thomas Sowell

Clearly, only very unequal intellectual and moral standing could justify having equality imposed, whether the people want it or not, as Dworkin suggests, and only very unequal power would make it possible.

- A Conflict Of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles, Thomas Sowell

When people get used to preferential treatment, equal treatment seems like discrimination.

- Thomas Sowell

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.

- Thomas Sowell

As an entrepreneur in India put it: 'Indians have learned from painful experience that the state does not work on behalf of the people. More often than not, it works on behalf of itself.

- Basic Economics: A Citizen's Guide to the Economy, Thomas Sowell

Extrapolations are the last refuge of a groundless argument.

- The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy, Thomas Sowell

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.

- Thomas Sowell

Age gives you an excuse for not being very good at things that you were not very good at when you were young.

- The Thomas Sowell Reader, Thomas Sowell

One of the first things taught in introductory statistics textbooks is that correlation is not causation. It is also one of the first things forgotten.

- The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy, Thomas Sowell

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

- Thomas Sowell

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.

- Thomas Sowell

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.

- Thomas Sowell

The fact that so many successful politicians are such shameless liars is not only a reflection on them, it is also a reflection on us. When the people want the impossible, only liars can satisfy.

- Thomas Sowell

The New York Times’ long-standing motto, “All the News That’s Fit to Print” should be changed to reflect today’s reality: “Manufacturing News to Fit an Ideology.

- Dismantling America, Thomas Sowell

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.

- Thomas Sowell

To believe in personal responsibility would be to destroy the whole special role of the anointed, whose vision casts them in the role of rescuers of people treated unfairly by “society”.

- The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy, Thomas Sowell

There are no solutions. There are only trade-offs.

- A Conflict Of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles, Thomas Sowell

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 50 years ago, a liberal 25 years ago and a racist today.

- Thomas Sowell

Ronald Reagan had a vision of America. Barack Obama has a vision of Barack Obama.

- Dismantling America, Thomas Sowell

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.

- Thomas Sowell

No matter how much people on the left talk about compassion, they have no compassion for the taxpayers.

- The Thomas Sowell Reader, Thomas Sowell

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

- A Conflict Of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles, Thomas Sowell

As history has also shown, especially in the twentieth century, one of the first things an ideologue will do after achieving absolute power is kill.

- The Quest for Cosmic Justice, Thomas Sowell

The only people I truly envy are those who can play a musical instrument and those who can eat anything they want without gaining weight.

- Thomas Sowell

Minimum wage laws appear to give low-income workers something for nothing—and appearances are what count in politics. Realities can be left to others, so long as appearances get votes.

- Dismantling America, Thomas Sowell

…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?

- The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy, Thomas Sowell

It would be very heard, for example, a basketball owner, no matter how racist he was, to try to operate without Blacks. It would be suicidal.

- Thomas Sowell

Suppose you are wrong? How would you know? How would you test for that possibility?

- The Thomas Sowell Reader, Thomas Sowell

Much of what is taught in our schools and colleges today seeks to break down traditional values, and replace them with more fancy and fashionable notions, of which “a duty to die” is just one.

- The Thomas Sowell Reader, Thomas Sowell

Differences in habits and attitudes are differences in human capital, just as much as differences in knowledge and skills—and such differences create differences in economic outcomes.

- Wealth, Thomas Sowell

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

- Thomas Sowell

Free-loading at emergency rooms—mandated by government—makes being uninsured a viable option.

- Dismantling America, Thomas Sowell

Teachers who pander to minority students by turning their courses into rap sessions and ethnic navel-gazing exercises capture their interest and allegiance.

- The Thomas Sowell Reader, Thomas Sowell

The next time you see a bum leaving drug needles in a park where children play or urinating in the street, you are seeing your tax dollars at work and the end result of the vision of the anointed.

- The Thomas Sowell Reader, Thomas Sowell

What is called an educated person is often someone who has had a dangerously superficial exposure to a wide spectrum of subjects.

- Ever Wonder Why? and Other Controversial Essays, Thomas Sowell

Have you gone crazy, Lefty?” “No. On the contrary, I have become educated.” “Sometimes that’s worse, these days.

- The Thomas Sowell Reader, Thomas Sowell

Government “planning” is not an alternative to chaos. It is a pre-emption of other people’s plans.

- The Thomas Sowell Reader, Thomas Sowell

Failure is part of the natural cycle of business. Companies are born, companies die, capitalism moves forward. Fortunemagazine{115}

- Basic Economics, Thomas Sowell

Isolation is a recurring factor in poverty and backwardness around the world, whether that is physical isolation or cultural isolation, for any number of particular reasons

- Wealth, Thomas Sowell

As George J. Stigler said of some of his fellow Nobel Laureates, they “issue stern ultimata to the public on almost a monthly basis, and sometimes on no other basis.

- Intellectuals and Society, Thomas Sowell

I am so old that I can remember when other people’s achievements were considered to be an inspiration, rather than a grievance.

- Thomas Sowell

In short, numbers are accepted as evidence when they agree with preconceptions, but not when they don’t.

- The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy, Thomas Sowell

The essence of bigotry is denying others the same rights you claim for yourself. Green bigots are a classic example.

- The Thomas Sowell Reader, Thomas Sowell

Languages as Asians, who outnumber them nearly four to one.121 Linguistic diversity is not only a sign of cultural isolation and fragmentation, it contributes to the barriers

- Wealth, Thomas Sowell