Perspectives; Thoughts; Comments; Opinions; Discussions

waving flagAuthored by Kerry Picket / Reporter / 12/27/2016

URL of the original posting site: http://dailycaller.com/2016/12/27/fifty-brilliant-thomas-sowell-reflections/

Economist and conservative public intellectual Thomas Sowell announced his retirement in his final column Tuesday.

“Even the best things come to an end. After enjoying a quarter of a century of writing this column for Creators Syndicate, I have decided to stop. Age 86 is well past the usual retirement age, so the question is not why I am quitting, but why I kept at it so long,” Sowell wrote.

Known for his wit and engaging social commentary, Sowell’s words have been quoted by others for decades. Here are 50 of his greatest thoughts that he shared with the public over the years:

  • “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 60 years ago, a liberal 30 years ago and a racist today.”
  • “It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it.”
  • “The biggest and most deadly ‘tax’ rate on the poor comes from a loss of various welfare state benefits—food stamps, housing subsidies and the like—if their income goes up.”
  • “The real minimum wage is zero.”
  • •“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.”
  • “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.”
  • “Helping those who have been struck by unforeseeable misfortunes is fundamentally different from making dependency a way of life.”
  • “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.”
  • “The next time some academics tell you how important diversity is, ask how many Republicans there are in their sociology department.”
  • “The more people who are dependent on government handouts, the more votes the left can depend on for an ever-expanding welfare state.”
  • “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.”
  • “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.”
  • “It’s amazing how much panic one honest man can spread among a multitude of hypocrites. ”
  • “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.”
  • “Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good.”
  • •“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.”
  • “Some of the biggest cases of mistaken identity are among intellectuals who have trouble remembering that they are not God.”
  • “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.”
  •  “Despite a voluminous and often fervent literature on ‘income distribution,’ the cold fact is that most income is not distributed: It is earned.”
  • “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.”
  • “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.”
  • “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. ”
  • “Intellect is not wisdom.”
  • “The old are not really smarter than the young, in terms of sheer brainpower. It is just that we have already made the kinds of mistakes that the young are about to make, and we have already suffered the consequences that the young are going to suffer if they disregard the record of the past.”
  • “Bailing out people who made ill-advised mortgages makes no more sense than bailing out people who lost their life savings in Las Vegas casinos.”
  • “Freedom has cost too much blood and agony to be relinquished at the cheap price of rhetoric.”
  • “There are only two ways of telling the complete truth–anonymously and posthumously.”
  • “Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.”
  • “Can you cite one speck of hard evidence of the benefits of ‘diversity’ that we have heard gushed about for years? Evidence of its harm can be seen — written in blood — from Iraq to India, from Serbia to Sudan, from Fiji to the Philippines. It is scary how easily so many people can be brainwashed by sheer repetition of a word.”
  • “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?”
  • “Unfortunately, the real minimum wage is always zero, regardless of the laws, and that is the wage that many workers receive in the wake of the creation or escalation of a government-mandated minimum wage, because they lose their jobs or fail to find jobs when they enter the labor force. Making it illegal to pay less than a given amount does not make a worker’s productivity worth that amount—and, if it is not, that worker is unlikely to be employed.”
  • “Competition does a much more effective job than government at protecting consumers.”
  • “The most basic question is not what is best, but who shall decide what is best.”
  • “What sense would it make to classify a man as handicapped because he is in a wheelchair today, if he is expected to be walking again in a month, and competing in track meets before the year is out? Yet Americans are generally given ‘class’ labels on the basis of their transient location in the income stream. If most Americans do not stay in the same broad income bracket for even a decade, their repeatedly changing ‘class’ makes class itself a nebulous concept. Yet the intelligentsia are habituated, if not addicted, to seeing the world in class terms.”
  • “Rhetoric is no substitute for reality.”
  • “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.”
  • “What is history but the story of how politicians have squandered the blood and treasure of the human race?”
  • “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.”
  • “One of the consequences of such notions as ‘entitlements’ is that people who have contributed nothing to society feel that society owes them something, apparently just for being nice enough to grace us with their presence.”
  • “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.”
  • “Whenever someone refers to me as someone ‘who happens to be black,’ I wonder if they realize that both my parents are black. If I had turned out to be Scandinavian or Chinese, people would have wondered what was going on.”
  • “Don’t you get tired of seeing so many ‘non-conformists’ with the same non-conformist look?”
  • “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.”
  • “Life does not ask what we want. It presents us with options”
  • “It doesn’t matter how smart you are unless you stop and think.”
  • “Everyone may be called ‘comrade,’ but some comrades have the power of life and death over other comrades.”
  • “If you are not prepared to use force to defend civilization, then be prepared to accept barbarism.”
  • “People who have time on their hands will inevitably waste the time of people who have work to do.”
  • “In an age of artificial intelligence, too many of our schools and colleges are producing artificial stupidity.”
  • 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

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