He has given us a lot of wisdom, insight and new information from his research, all of which advance the epistemological frontier. More than that, he has a way with words and more particularly, a gift for a well turned phrase. Sometimes he was more strident than I might have wished but he always stood in defense of Western Civilization for the achievement it represented, while being fully cognizant of its manifold flaws.
Below is a collection of Thomas Sowell gems. It is a small vein in a vast seam.
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.
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 painful signs of years of dumbed-down education is how many people are unable to make a coherent argument. They can vent their emotions, question other people's motives, make bold assertions, repeat slogans-- anything except reason.
Although I am ready to defend what I have said, many people expect me to defend what others have attributed to me.
Many years ago, there was a comic book character who could say the magic word “shazam” and turn into Captain Marvel, a character with powers like Superman’s. Today, you can say the magic word “diversity” and turn reverse discrimination into social justice.
Racism has never done this country any good, and it needs to be fought against, not put under new management for different groups.
Too much of what is called "education" is little more than an expensive isolation from reality.
The first time I traveled across the Atlantic Ocean, as the plane flew into the skies over London, I was struck by the thought that, in these skies, a thousand British fighter pilots fought off Hitler’s air force and saved both Britain and Western civilization. But how many students today will have any idea of such things, with history being neglected in favor of politically correct rhetoric?
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.
When words trump facts, you can believe anything. And the liberal groupthink taught in our schools and colleges is the path of least resistance.
The next time some academics tell you how important diversity is, ask how many Republicans there are in their sociology department.
Facts do not "speak for themselves." They speak for or against competing theories. Facts divorced from theory or visions are mere isolated curiosities.
Understanding the limitations of human beings is the beginning of wisdom.
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.
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.
A generation that jumps to conclusions on the basis of its own emotions, or succumbs to the passions or rhetoric of others, deserves to lose the freedom that depends on the rule of law. Unfortunately, what they say and what they do can lose everyone's freedom, including the freedom of generations yet unborn.
Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late.
Ideas are everywhere, but knowledge is rare.
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.
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.
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.
Liberalism is totalitarianism with a human face.
Despite a voluminous and often fervent literature on 'income distribution,' the cold fact is that most income is not distributed: It is earned.
It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.
We cannot return to the past, even if we wanted to, but let us hope that we can learn something from the past to make for a better present and future.
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.
People who enjoy meeting should not be in charge of anything.
Envy plus rhetoric equals 'social justice'.
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.
If you don't believe in the innate unreasonableness of human beings, just try raising children.
Socialism sounds great. It has always sounded great. And it will probably always continue to sound great. It is only when you go beyond rhetoric, and start looking at hard facts, that socialism turns out to be a big disappointment, if not a disaster.
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.
Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good.
If I could offer one piece of advice to young people thinking about their future, it would be this: Don't preconceive. Find out what the opportunities are.