Fifty Brilliant Thomas Sowell Reflections

Fifty Brilliant Thomas Sowell Reflections, by Kerry Picket.

Economist and conservative public intellectual Thomas Sowell announced his retirement in his final column Tuesday [at age 86].

Here are some of Sowell’s pithy thoughts:

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.

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.

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.

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.

Despite a voluminous and often fervent literature on ‘income distribution,’ the cold fact is that most income is not distributed: It is earned.

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?”

Competition does a much more effective job than government at protecting consumers.

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.

Life does not ask what we want. It presents us with options.

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.

Read it all for the remainder of the fifty insights.

If you have a few minutes, this is a Sowell at his zenith in 1987, arguing against judicial activism in the US: