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70+ Incredible Thomas Sowell Quotes

70+ Incredible Thomas Sowell Quotes

Thomas Sowell is an American economist and a social theorist. He is also a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover association. Thomas writes on history, education, decision making, social policy on race, economics, ethnicity, and the history of ideas. He also served as a faculty member of several universities and was also part of a think tank called Urban Institute.

Born in North Carolina, he was the first in his family to study beyond grade 6. His father died shortly after his birth. In 1951 he dropped the school and served in the US Marine Corps during the Korean war. He became a Marine Corps photographer. He did his bachelor’s from Harvard University in 1958 and a master’s degree in 1959 from the University of Columbia. In 1968 he got his doctrine degree from the University of Chicago.

Thomas wrote 46 books, 3 monographs, 10 books of collected writings, numerous book reviews, articles, and essays in periodicals. Thomas was honored with National Humanities Medal in 2002 and Bradley Prize for Intellectual Achievement in 2003.

He got married to Mary Ash in 1981 and has two children.

Let’s dig into Thomas Sowell’s quotes to know his perspective of life, religion, economics, children psychology, racism, and more.

16 Thomas Sowell Vision of Political Left

  1. “That people on the political left have a certain set of opinions, just as people do in other parts of the ideological spectrum, is not surprising. What is surprising, however, is how often the opinions of those on the left are accompanied by hostility and even hatred.” – Thomas Sowell

  2. “Anyone who studies the history of ideas should notice how much more often people on the political left, more so than others, denigrate and demonize those who disagree with them — instead of answering their arguments.” – Thomas Sowell

  3. “In a sense, the political left’s attempts to silence ideas they cannot, or will not, debate are a confession of intellectual bankruptcy.” – Thomas Sowell

  4. “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.” – Thomas Sowell

  5. “The political left has never understood that, if you give the government enough power to create ‘social justice,’ you have given it enough power to create despotism. Millions of people around the world have paid with their lives for overlooking that simple fact.” – Thomas Sowell

  6. “The whole political vision of the left, including socialism and communism, has failed by virtually every empirical test, in countries all around the world. But this has only led leftist intellectuals to evade and denigrate empirical evidence.” – Thomas Sowell

  7. “The vision of the left, full of envy and resentment, takes its worst toll on those at the bottom — whether black or white — who find in that paranoid vision an excuse for counterproductive and ultimately self-destructive attitudes and behavior.” – Thomas Sowell

  8. “No one can really understand the political left without understanding that they are about making themselves feel superior, however much they may talk piously about what they are going to do to help others.” – Thomas Sowell

  9. “Facts are seldom allowed to contaminate the beautiful vision of the left. What matters to the true believers are the ringing slogans, endlessly repeated? Darwinian adaptation to environment applies not only to nature but also to society. Just as you don’t find eagles living in the ocean or fish living on mountain tops, so you don’t find leftists concentrated where their ideas have to stand the test of performance.” – Thomas Sowell

  10. “Wherever you get enough far-left people in power, you can find a similar willingness to force everyone into collectivist conformity at all costs.” – Thomas Sowell

  11. “The left is not necessarily aiming at totalitarianism. But their know-it-all mindset leads repeatedly and pervasively in that direction, even if by small steps, each of which might be called ‘micro-totalitarianism.” – Thomas Sowell

  12. “What socialism, fascism and other ideologies of the left have in common is an assumption that some very wise people—like themselves—need to take decisions out of the hands of lesser people, like the rest of us, and impose those decisions by government fiat.” – Thomas Sowell

  13. “Although the big word on the left is ‘compassion,’ the big agenda on the left is dependency. The more people who are dependent on government handouts, the more votes the left can depend on for an ever-expanding welfare state.” – Thomas Sowell

  14.  ”The greatest moral claim of the political left is that they are for the masses in general and the poor in particular. That is also their greatest fraud. It even fools many leftists themselves.” – Thomas Sowell

  15. “No government of the left has done as much for the poor as capitalism has. Even when it comes to the redistribution of income, the left talks the talk but the free market walks the walk. What do the poor most need? They need to stop being poor. And how can that be done, on a mass scale, except by an economy that creates vastly more wealth? Yet the political left has long had a remarkable lack of interest in how wealth is created. As far as they are concerned, wealth exists somehow and the only interesting question is how to redistribute it.” – Thomas Sowell

  16. “One of the most pervasive political visions of our time is the vision of liberals as compassionate and conservatives as less caring.” – Thomas Sowell

4 Thomas Sowell Quote on Economics

  1. “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 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. When politicians discover some group that is being vocal about not having as much as they want, the “solution” is to give them more. Where do politicians get this “more”? They rob Peter to pay Paul. After a while, of course, they discover that Peter doesn’t have enough. Bursting with compassion, politicians rush to the rescue. Needless to say, they do not admit that robbing Peter to pay Paul was a dumb idea in the first place. On the contrary, they now rob Tom, Dick, and Harry to help Peter. ” – Thomas Sowell

  2. “Economics is a study of cause-and-effect relationships in an economy. It’s purpose is to discern the consequences of various ways of allocating resources which have alternative uses. It has nothing to say about philosophy or values, anymore than it has to say about music or literature.” – Thomas Sowell

  3. “All the political angst and moral melodrama about getting ‘the rich’ to pay ‘their fair share’ is part of a big charade. This is not about economics; it is about politics.” – Thomas Sowell

  4. “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.” – Thomas Sowell

7 Thomas Sowell Quotes on Racism

  1. “The word ‘racism’ is like ketchup. It can be put on practically anything – and demanding evidence makes you a ‘racist.’” – Thomas Sowell

    Thomas Sowell Quotes about racism-black lives matter

    Thomas Sowell Quotes about racism-black lives matter

  2. “The black family survived centuries of slavery and generations of Jim Crow, but it has disintegrated in the wake of the liberals’ expansion of the welfare state.” – Thomas Sowell

  3. “The poverty rate among black married couples has been in single digits ever since 1994. You would never learn that from most of the media. Similarly, if you look at those blacks that have gone on to college or finished college, the incarceration rate is some tiny fraction of what it is among those blacks who have dropped out of high school. So it’s not being black; it’s a way of life. Unfortunately, the way of life is being celebrated not only in rap music, but among the intelligentsia, is a way of life that leads to a lot of very big problems for most people.” – Thomas Sowell

  4. “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

  5. “Racism has never done this country any good, and it needs to be fought against, not put under new management for different groups.” – Thomas Sowell

  6. “Over the generations, black leaders have ranged from noble souls to shameless charlatans.” – Thomas Sowell

  7. “Despite widespread misconceptions in the United States today that the institution of slavery was based on race, for most of the thousands of years in which slavery existed around the world, it was based on whoever was vulnerable to enslavement and within striking distance. Thus Europeans enslaved other Europeans, just as Asians enslaved other Asians and Africans enslaved other Africans, while Polynesians enslaved other Polynesians and the indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere enslaved other indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere. The very word “slave” derived from the word for Slavs, who were enslaved by fellow Europeans for centuries before Africans began to be brought in chains to the Western Hemisphere. Africans were not singled out by a race for ownership by Europeans, they were resorted to after the rise of nation-states with armies and navies in other parts of the world which reduced the number of places that could be raided for slaves without great costs and risks. Slave-raiding continued in Africa, primarily by Africans enslaving other Africans and then, in West Africa, selling some of their slaves to whites to take to the Western Hemisphere. Meanwhile, the growing range of ships and the growing wealth of nations eventually made economically feasible the transportation of vast numbers of slaves from one continent to another, creating racial differences between the enslaved and their owners as a dominant pattern in the Western Hemisphere. Such a pattern was by no means limited to Europeans owning non-Europeans, however. There were many examples of the reverse, quite aside from vast regions of the earth where neither the slaves nor their owners were either black or white.” – Thomas Sowell

9 Thomas Sowell Quotes on Liberalism, Idealism, and Conservatives.

  1. “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

  2. “The next time some academics tell you how important diversity is, ask how many Republicans there are in their sociology department.” – Thomas Sowell

  3. “In liberal logic, if life is unfair then the answer is to turn more tax money over to politicians, to spend in ways that will increase their chances of getting reelected.” – Thomas Sowell

  4. “Liberalism is totalitarianism with a human face.” – Thomas Sowell

  5. “There is no question that liberals do an impressive job of expressing concern for blacks. But do the intentions expressed in their words match the actual consequences of their deeds?” – Thomas Sowell

  6. “Wishful thinking is not idealism. It is self-indulgence at best and self-exaltation at worst. In either case, it is usually at the expense of others. In other words, it is the opposite of idealism.” – Thomas Sowell

  7. “Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.” – Thomas Sowell

  8. “People who identify themselves as conservatives donate money to charity more often than people who identify themselves as liberals. They donate more money and a higher percentage of their incomes.” – Thomas Sowell

  9. “Socialism is a wonderful idea. It is only as a reality that it has been disastrous. Among people of every race, color, and creed, all around the world, socialism has led to hunger in countries that used to have surplus food to export…. Nevertheless, for many of those who deal primarily in ideas, socialism remains an attractive idea — in fact, seductive. Its every failure is explained away as due to the inadequacies of particular leaders.” – Thomas Sowell

21 Thomas Sowell Interesting Quotes

  1. “Age gives you an excuse for not being very good at things that you were not very good at when you were young.” – Thomas Sowell

    Thomas Sowell quotes about age is not an excuse

    Thomas Sowell quotes about age is not an excuse

  2. “Ronald Reagan had a vision of America. Barack Obama has a vision of Barack Obama.” – Thomas Sowell

  3. “Extrapolations are the last refuge of a groundless argument.” – Thomas Sowell

  4. “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.” – Thomas Sowell

  5. “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 where we wish others to think we are, but where we are in fact.” – Thomas Sowell

  6. “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

  7. “People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything.” – Thomas Sowell

    Thomas Sowell Quotes about people who enjoy meetings should not be in charge

    Thomas Sowell Quotes about people who enjoy meetings should not be in charge

  8. “Slippery use of the word “privilege” is part of a vogue of calling achievements “privileges”—a vogue which extends far beyond educational issues, spreading a toxic confusion in many other aspects of life.” – Thomas Sowell

  9. “The only people I truly envy is those who can play a musical instrument and those who can eat anything they want without gaining weight.” – Thomas Sowell

  10. “What is called an educated person is often someone who has had a dangerously superficial exposure to a wide spectrum of subjects.” – Thomas Sowell

  11. “Reality does not go away when it is ignored.” – Thomas Sowell

    Thomas Sowell Quotes about ignorance & reality

    Thomas Sowell Quotes about ignorance & reality

  12. “The essence of bigotry is denying others the same rights you claim for yourself. Green bigots are a classic example.” – Thomas Sowell

  13. “When people are presented with the alternatives of hating themselves for their failure or hating others for their success, they seldom choose to hate themselves.” – Thomas Sowell

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

  15. “Justice at all costs’ is not justice.” – Thomas Sowell

    Thomas Sowell Quotes about Justice at all cost is not justice

    Thomas Sowell Quotes about Justice at all cost is not justice

  16. “It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of our own ignorance.” – Thomas Sowell

  17. “No-one is equal to anything. Even the same man is not equal to himself on different days.” – Thomas Sowell

  18. “Suppose you are wrong? How would you know? How would you test for that possibility?” – Thomas Sowell

  19. “Many on the political left are so entranced by the beauty of their vision that they cannot see the ugly reality they are creating in the real world.” – Thomas Sowell

  20. “Where beliefs are not checked against facts, but instead facts must meet the test of consonance with the prevailing vision, we are in the process of sealing ourselves off from feedback from reality. Heedless of the past, we are flying blind into the future.” – Thomas Sowell

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

8 Thomas Sowell Controversial Quotes about Barrack Obama

  1. “One of Obama’s great gifts is the ability to say things that are absolutely absurd and make them sound not only plausible, but inspiring.” – Thomas Sowell

  2. “Ronald Reagan had a vision of America. Barack Obama has a vision of Barack Obama.” – Thomas Sowell

  3. “President Obama keeps telling us that he is “creating jobs.” But more and more Americans have no jobs. The unemployment rate has declined slightly, but only because many people have stopped looking for jobs. You are only counted as unemployed if you are still looking for a job.” – Thomas Sowell

  4. “While the Obama administration in Washington is not the root cause of the ominous dangers that face this country, at home and abroad, it is the embodiment, the personification and the culmination of dangerous trends that began decades ago. Moreover, it has escalated those dangers to what may be a point of no return. The specifics of the missteps and the misdeeds of this administration are among the things chronicled, here and there, in the essays that follow, which were first published as my syndicated newspaper columns.” – Thomas Sowell

  5. “I think this man(Obama) really does believe that he can change the world, and people like that are infinitely more dangerous than mere crooked politicians.” – Thomas Sowell

  6. “Whether Barack Obama is completely incompetent as President or he has some hidden agenda to undermine this country, at home and abroad, he has nearly everything he needs to ruin America, including a fool for a vice president.” – Thomas Sowell

  7. “Barack Obama has done more than anybody else to promote the dangerous illusion that we can choose whether to have a war or not. But our enemies have already made that choice.” – Thomas Sowell

  8. “Barack Obama has not only said he is out to change America, the people he has been associated with for years have expressed in words and deeds their hostility to the values, the principles and the people of this country.” – Thomas Sowell

7 Thomas Sowell Inspirational Quotes about Children

  1. “Our children and grandchildren may yet curse the day we began hyping race and ethnicity. There are countries where that has led to slaughters in the streets but you cannot name a country where it has led to greater harmony.” – Thomas Sowell

  2. “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. In an age of artificial intelligence, they are creating artificial stupidity.” – Thomas Sowell

  3. “How are children supposed to learn to act like adults, when so much of what they see on television shows adults acting like children?” – Thomas Sowell

  4. “Apparently almost anyone can do a better job of educating children than our so-called ‘educators’ in the public schools. Children who are home-schooled by their parents also score higher on tests than children educated in the public schools. … Successful education shows what is possible, whether in charter schools, private schools, military schools or home-schooling. The challenge is to provide more escape hatches from failing public schools, not only to help those students who escape, but also to force these institutions to get their act together before losing more students and jobs.” – Thomas Sowell

  5. “If politicians were serious about day care for children, instead of just sloganizing about it, nothing they could do would improve the quality of child care more than by lifting the heavy burden of taxation that forces so many families to have both parents working.” – Thomas Sowell

  6. “Hilary Clinton said you know, it takes a village to raise a child and somebody said it takes a village idiot to believe that … it is part of the whole thing of third parties wanting to make decisions for which they pay no price for when they’re wrong.” – Thomas Sowell

  7. “Do all children have some inherent right to live in America if they have done nothing wrong? If not, then why should the children of illegal immigrants have such a right?” – Thomas Sowell



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Thomas Sowell is a giant intellect. He has gained the experience of life through constant struggle. He breaks the barriers of society and has overcome the hardships of life to achieve his goals of life. His quotations are enlightening and being influential, are also followed by millions. The man himself is a life well-lived. Which is your favorite quotation of Thomas Sowell, do you agree with his views about Barack Obama?

Margaret Hess

Friday 16th of April 2021

........and in every classroom. I am never so intellectually awake as when I read Thomas Sowell or G. K. Chesterton.

Doreen Moore

Monday 1st of February 2021

I’m dismayed that I have just discovered the great intellect and wisdom of Thomas Sowell! He needs to be broadcast from every loudspeaker on Capital Hill!