Thomas Sowell Quotes on Greed, Socialism, Racism, and More - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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“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. In area after area—crime, education, housing, race relations—the situation has gotten worse after the bright new theories were put into operation. The amazing thing is that this history of failure and disaster has neither discouraged the social engineers nor discredited them.”

“There a three questions that I think would destroy most of the arguments on the left. The first is, ‘Compared to what?’ The second is, ‘At what cost?’ And the third is, ‘What hard evidence do you have?’”

“The assumption that spending more of the taxpayers’ money will make things better has survived all kinds of evidence that it has made things worse.”

“Most people living in officially defined poverty in the 21st century have things like cable television, microwave ovens and air-conditioning. Most Americans did not have such things, as late as the 1980s. People whom the intelligentsia continue to call the ‘have-nots’ today have things that the ‘haves’ did not have, just a generation ago.”

“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.”

“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 either lose their jobs or fail to find jobs when they enter the labor force.”

“Immigration laws are the only laws that are discussed in terms of how to help people who break them.”

“Scarcity is the first lesson of economics. Now the first lesson of politics is to forget the first lesson of economics.”

“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.”

“When I see the worsening degeneracy in our politicians, our media, our educators, and our intelligentsia, I can’t help wondering if the day may yet come when the only thing that can save this country is a military coup.”

“People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything.”

“When we hear about rent control or gun control, we may think about rent or guns but the word that really matters is ‘control.’ That is what the political left is all about, as you can see by the incessant creation of new restrictions in places where they are strongly entrenched in power, such as San Francisco or New York.”

“One of the most ridiculous defenses of foreign aid is that it is a very small part of our national income. If the average American set fire to a five-dollar bill, it would be an even smaller percentage of his annual income. But everyone would consider him foolish for doing it.”

“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.”

“Barack Obama’s political genius is his ability to say things that will sound good to people who have not followed the issues in any detail — regardless of how obviously fraudulent what he says may be to those who have.”

“When President Obama keeps talking about ‘violent extremists’ in the abstract, you might wonder whether Presbyterians are running amok.”

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

“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.”

“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.”

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

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

“The blacks, say, in the West Indies had all sorts of experiences growing their own food, selling the surplus in the market, and, in fact, being responsible for budgeting what they had. Blacks in the United States were deliberately kept from having that. Dependence was seen as the key to holding the slaves down. It’s ironic that that same principle comes up in the welfare state 100 years later.”

“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. Most black children grew up in homes with two parents during all that time but most grow up with only one parent today.”

“I haven’t been able to find a single country in the world where the policies that are being advocated for blacks in the United States have lifted any people out of poverty.”

“Nothing could be more jolting and discordant with the vision of today’s intellectuals than the fact that it was businessmen, devout religious leaders and Western imperialists who together destroyed slavery around the world. And if it doesn’t fit their vision, it is the same to them as if it never happened.”

“What ‘multiculturalism’ boils down to is that you can praise any culture in the world except Western culture – and you cannot blame any culture in the world except Western culture.”

“Are we to indulge in absolute fantasy and say that statistical ‘diversity’ promotes better intergroup relations, against blatant evidence that it is poisoning people against one another?”

“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.”

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

“‘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.”

“Its economic disasters have afflicted virtually every industry. In its Communist version, it killed far more innocent civilians in peacetime than Hitler killed in his death camps during World War II.”

“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.”

“Many of the intelligentsia remain convinced that if only there had been better leaders — people like themselves, for example — it would all have worked out fine, according to plan.”

“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 them, and only in the short run.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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 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.”

“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 Quotes on Greed, Socialism, Racism, and More originally appeared on Thought Grenades, the blog on Libertas Bella
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Saeko wrote:“Barack Obama’s political genius is his ability to say things that will sound good to people who have not followed the issues in any detail — regardless of how obviously fraudulent what he says may be to those who have.”

Ironically, this is a perfect description of Thomas Sowell himself.

I would say that 90% of the quotes are spot on. You are clever and pasted the worst quote of Sowell. I like the man because he is logical.
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Saeko wrote:“Barack Obama’s political genius is his ability to say things that will sound good to people who have not followed the issues in any detail — regardless of how obviously fraudulent what he says may be to those who have.”

Ironically, this is a perfect description of Thomas Sowell himself.

It's a perfect description of pretty much every politician, whether of the left or the right. Any politician who didn't talk like that would have a political career whose duration could be measured in nanoseconds.

Ironically, Thomas Sowell's words are more of a criticism of Thomas Sowell himself. After all, the whole point of having political commentators is precisely because they don't have to talk like that. And if they do, then what is the point of them? They're just wannabe politicians without the skills or the willingness to take risks needed to actually become successful politicians.
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Saeko wrote:“Barack Obama’s political genius is his ability to say things that will sound good to people who have not followed the issues in any detail — regardless of how obviously fraudulent what he says may be to those who have.”

Ironically, this is a perfect description of Thomas Sowell himself.


Potemkin wrote:It's a perfect description of pretty much every politician, whether of the left or the right. Any politician who didn't talk like that would have a political career whose duration could be measured in nanoseconds.


This.

Older hands may recall that I frequently describe politics as the 'Sales & Marketing Division' of governance and that's precisely what it is, ably described herein.

Most electors, 'have not followed the issues in any detail', other than what they have read in their sensationalist, tabloid newspapers or partisan websites and are generally disinclined to dig into the detail of most issues. they just look to their politicians to say things that sound good and appear to offer simple solutions to what are in reality multifaceted, complex problems.

A place like this is atypical. Most contributors here do follow the issues in detail - or at least those issues about which they feel passionately - and are therefore marginally less susceptible to political snake oil salesmen.

Unfortunately however, contributors to online politics forums are often so atypical of the average, maleable elector that their views are wedded to particular political philsophies, viewpoints or full-blown ideologies. As a result, even on those rare occasions when a politician or pundit proposes something sensible, if they align (in reality or only notionally) with an opposing philosophy, viewpoint or ideology, they will be deemed to be 'wrong' by default.

I like a lot of what Thomas Sowell says, but as I'm 'non-aligned' I reserve that right. The sad thing is that our political landscape is now so starkly polarised that saying so will automatically 'mark' me according to the philosophy of the reader.

At the end of the day, how we organise and manage society is what's important. The problems are acknowledged by both sides, but the arguments rage over how to solve them. I remain 'non-aligned' because my philosophy is focused on solving - or at least mitigating - the problems rather than on infantile battles over which imperfect, partisan approach should be employed to solve them. No ideology in isolation can solve any problem to the satisfaction of a majority, so in my view no one ideology should be permitted to dominate government, which should exist to serve all its people, not merely a minority (however sizeable) that subscribe to - or simply marginally prefer on balance - one party over the other in a two-party state.
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Saeko wrote:He is not at all logical. He just says absurdities and sophisms in a very calm tone.


“When we hear about rent control or gun control, we may think about rent or guns but the word that really matters is ‘control.’ That is what the political left is all about, as you can see by the incessant creation of new restrictions in places where they are strongly entrenched in power, such as San Francisco or New York.”

“One of the most ridiculous defenses of foreign aid is that it is a very small part of our national income. If the average American set fire to a five-dollar bill, it would be an even smaller percentage of his annual income. But everyone would consider him foolish for doing it.”

“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.”


What is wrong with the above quotes?
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Pants-of-dog wrote:I am not sure they are correct.

For example, his first claim is that gun control in California is due to leftists. Is this true?

From what I remember, it was Reagan.


Reagan was originally a democrat. Gun control is a pain in the as for law abiding gun owners. To reduce crime guns would have to be forbidden and destroyed. However, humans would then kill each other with knives as they do in London.
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Julian658 wrote:Reagan was originally a democrat.

Irrelevant. Reagan introduced gun control in California specifically to stop the Black Panthers from following police officers while armed with rifles in order to 'monitor' their behaviour.

Gun control is a pain in the as for law abiding gun owners.

Reagan saw it as necessary collatoral damage in order to disarm the Black Panthers.
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Potemkin wrote:Irrelevant. Reagan introduced gun control in California specifically to stop the Black Panthers from following police officers while armed with rifles in order to 'monitor' their behaviour.


Reagan saw it as necessary collatoral damage in order to disarm the Black Panthers.

Are you implying racism? I own guns and I see lots of law abiding black people with guns.
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Julian658 wrote:Are you implying racism?

Yes. But Reagan could not pass explicitly racist laws in California at that time. All gun-owners had to take the hit, therefore.

I own guns and I see lots of law abiding black people with guns.

The Black Panthers were also acting within their constitutional rights. So Reagan had to take away those constitutional rights in order to stop them. Gun control laws did the trick nicely.
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Potemkin wrote:Yes. But Reagan could not pass explicitly racist laws in California at that time. All gun-owners had to take the hit, therefore.


The Black Panthers were also acting within their constitutional rights. So Reagan had to take away those constitutional rights in order to stop them. Gun control laws did the trick nicely.


Are you saying that blacks are negatively affected by gun control laws? Or that blacks obey gun control laws?
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Julian658 wrote:Are you saying that blacks are negatively affected by gun control laws? Or that blacks obey gun control laws?

Reagan wasn't targetting "blacks" in general, and he certainly wasn't targetting "whites" in general. He was specifically targetting the Black Panthers, a self-organising group of radical blacks who had taken to following police officers around while armed with rifles in order to 'monitor' their behaviour in black neighbourhoods. They had a constitutional right to do this, but the police wanted it stopped and Reagan wanted it stopped. Gun control laws were their chosen means of stopping it, by taking away their constitutional right to bear arms. Everyone else, black or white, was just collatoral damage.
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