Thomas Sowell’s 11 Best Quotes

Last night we learned of another celebrity loss in 2016: Thomas Sowell.

He didn’t pass away, but he did announce that he’d be retiring from his column at age 86, Throughout his career, the man has published over 30 books and thousands of op-eds. I (Matt Palumbo) personally owe my interest in economics to Dr. Sowell. Had it not been for him, I likely would’ve followed my initial plan of entering college as a Political Science major (yikes).

When I was a junior in high school I was shopping for Christmas presents for my father at the local Barnes & Noble, and Sowell’s “Dismantling America” was among the books I picked up for him, having had it recommended to me.

I had been completely unfamiliar with Sowell up to that point, and while I was skimming the book, ahead of wrapping it, I found it to be the most profound explanation of conservative and libertarian principles that I had yet laid my eyes on. That book ended up being a Christmas present for myself (don’t tell dad), and I’ve accrued quite the Sowell collection since then…

As Sowell fades out of the public eye, here are his eleven best quotes (or as a clickbait headline would call them: TRUTH BOMBS), courtesy of the Conservative Review:

1. On taxes:

“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.”

2. On Obamacare:

“If we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceutical drugs now, how can we afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceutical drugs in addition to a new federal bureaucracy to administer a government-run medical system?”

3. On welfare:

“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.”

4. On social justice:

“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.”

5. On political correctness:

“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?”

6. On liberals in academia:

“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.”

7. On higher education:

“When words trump facts, you can believe anything. And the liberal groupthink taught in our schools and colleges is the path of least resistance.”

8. On diversity:

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

9. On the rule of law:

“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.”

10. On truth:

“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.”

11. A farewell note:

“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.”

Sowell may not be producing any new content, but he’s left behind more than enough writing to keep us preoccupied in the years to come.

Farewell, Dr. Sowell.

1 Comment

  1. Very sorry to read this news -though the man certainly deserves a retirement…-whenever he chooses. America could sorely use this man to help run our nations affairs. If it were up to me, I would interview him and ask him where he could do the most good, -and run with that. God speed sir, enjoy your retirement. And thank you.


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