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Quotes of the day: Thomas Sowell
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Published Monday, June 29, 2015 @ 2:37 PM EDT
Jun 29 2015

Thomas Sowell (b. June 30, 1930) is an American economist, social theorist, political philosopher, and author. He is currently Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Sowell was born in North Carolina, but grew up in Harlem, New York. He dropped out of high school and served in the United States Marine Corps during the Korean War. He received a Bachelor's degree, graduating magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1958 and earned a Master's degree from Columbia University in 1959. In 1968, he received his Doctorate in Economics from the University of Chicago. Sowell has served on the faculties of several universities, including Cornell University and University of California, Los Angeles. He has also worked for think tanks such as the Urban Institute. Since 1980, he has worked at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He writes from a conservative and classical liberal perspective, advocating free market economics, and has written more than thirty books. He is a National Humanities Medal recipient. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)

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

Facts do not 'speak for themselves.' They speak for or against competing theories. Facts divorced from theory or visions are mere isolated curiosities.

For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert; but for every fact there is not necessarily an equal and opposite fact.

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

If the battle for civilization comes down to the wimps versus the barbarians, the barbarians are going to win.

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

If you don't believe in the innate unreasonableness of human beings, just try raising children.

It has long been my belief that the sight of a good-looking woman lowers a man's IQ by at least 20 points. A man who doesn't happen to have 20 points to spare can be in big trouble.

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.

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.

Maturity is not a matter of age. You have matured when you are no longer concerned with showing how clever you are, and give your full attention to getting the job done right. Many never reach that stage, no matter how old they get.

Most problems do not get solved. They get superceded by other concerns.

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.

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.

One of the most fashionable notions of our times is that social problems like poverty and oppression breed wars. Most wars, however, are started by well-fed people with time on their hands to dream up half-baked ideologies or grandiose ambitions, and to nurse real or imagined grievances.

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.

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.

People who pride themselves on their 'complexity' and deride others for being 'simplistic' should realize that the truth is often not very complicated. What gets complex is evading the truth.

People who think that they are being 'exploited' should ask themselves whether they would be missed if they left, or whether people would say: 'Good riddance'?

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

Some full professors could more accurately be described as empty professors.

Some of the most vocal critics of the way things are being done are people who have done nothing themselves, and whose only contributions to society are their complaints and moral exhibitionism.

Sound bites are usually very unsound.

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.

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

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

Time was when people used to brag about how old they were- and I am old enough to remember it.

Too much of what is called 'education' is little more than an expensive isolation from reality.

Whatever you may think about the death penalty, it has the lowest recidivism rate of any of the ways of fighting crime.

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.

You can call yourself anything you want, including the queen of Sheba, but that does not give you the right to force other people to call you the queen of Sheba.

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(June 30 is also the birthday of Lena Horne.)


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