Happy Birthday, Thomas Sowell

 

“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.”

The man can turn a phrase. Let’s make a thread of other Sowell quotes.

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  1. Quintus Sertorius Coolidge
    Quintus Sertorius
    @BillGollier

    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.

     

    Happy Birthday Doctor Sowell….the most important economist of the last 100 years…..

     

    I was driven from teaching because I attempted to teach his biography by Jason Riley….but hey…there is no culture war right Noah Rothman….right Jonah Goldberg…….

    • #1
  2. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    “It is usually futile to try to talk facts and analysis to people who are enjoying a sense of moral superiority in their ignorance”

    • #2
  3. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Happy 92nd, Dr. S.

    Socialism sounds great. It has always sounded great. And it will probably always continue to sound great. It is only when you go beyond rhetoric, and start looking at hard facts, that socialism turns out to be a big disappointment, if not a disaster.

    • #3
  4. Misthiocracy has never Member
    Misthiocracy has never
    @Misthiocracy

    “I suspect that most conservatives would prefer to live in the kind of world envisioned by liberals, rather than in the kind of world envisioned by conservatives. Unfortunately, the only kind of world that any of us can live in is the world that actually exists.”

    • #4
  5. Misthiocracy has never Member
    Misthiocracy has never
    @Misthiocracy

    “One of the best peace speeches I ever read was one delivered back in the 1930s — by Adolf Hitler.”

    • #5
  6. Misthiocracy has never Member
    Misthiocracy has never
    @Misthiocracy

    Thomas Sowell is a big reason why I started caring about etymology: “Fundamentally, rational means the ability to make a ratio — that is, to weigh one thing against another.”

    (The other was Robert Royal: “Forget about being nice. It doesn’t work. Be gentlemen. Be kind. But forget nice. As learned Latinists, you no doubt know that the word comes from nescius, which means ignorant. It came, early in modern languages, to mean foolish.”)

    • #6
  7. Misthiocracy has never Member
    Misthiocracy has never
    @Misthiocracy

    “When people want the impossible, only liars can satisfy them.”

    • #7
  8. Misthiocracy has never Member
    Misthiocracy has never
    @Misthiocracy

    “The first lesson of economics is scarcity. There is never enough of anything to fully satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.”

    • #8
  9. Lawst N. Thawt Coolidge
    Lawst N. Thawt
    @LawstNThawt

    “From an economic standpoint, some education has great value, some has no value and some can even have a negative value.”

    • #9
  10. Lawst N. Thawt Coolidge
    Lawst N. Thawt
    @LawstNThawt

    “Seldom do people think things through foolishly. More often, they do not bother to think things through at all, so that even highly intelligent individuals can reach untenable conclusions because their brainpower means little if it is not deployed and applied.”

    • #10
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    “The relative importance of process costs has continued, over the centuries, to distinguish the constrained and the unconstrained visions. Modern defenders of legal technicalities which allow criminals to escape punishment who declare, ‘That is the price we pay for freedom’  or defenders of revolutions who say, ‘You can’t make omelettes without breaking eggs,’ are contemporary exemplars of an unconstrained vision which has historically treated process costs as secondary. At the other end of the philosophical spectrum are those who in essence repeat Adam Smith’s view of process costs: ‘The peace and order of society is of more importance than even the relief of the miserable.’ The continuing battle between ideals and the costs of achieving them is only one part of the ongoing conflict of visions.”

    • #11
  12. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    “The relative importance of process costs has continued, over the centuries, to distinguish the constrained and the unconstrained visions. Modern defenders of legal technicalities which allow criminals to escape punishment who declare, ‘That is the price we pay for freedom’ or defenders of revolutions who say, ‘You can’t make omelettes without breaking eggs,’ are contemporary exemplars of an unconstrained vision which has historically treated process costs as secondary. At the other end of the philosophical spectrum are those who in essence repeat Adam Smith’s view of process costs: “The peace and order of society is of more importance than even the relief of the miserable.’ The continuing battle between ideals and the costs of achieving them is only one part of the ongoing conflict of visions.”

    Geez, do you have that memorized?

    • #12
  13. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    “The relative importance of process costs has continued, over the centuries, to distinguish the constrained and the unconstrained visions. Modern defenders of legal technicalities which allow criminals to escape punishment who declare, ‘That is the price we pay for freedom’ or defenders of revolutions who say, ‘You can’t make omelettes without breaking eggs,’ are contemporary exemplars of an unconstrained vision which has historically treated process costs as secondary. At the other end of the philosophical spectrum are those who in essence repeat Adam Smith’s view of process costs: “The peace and order of society is of more importance than even the relief of the miserable.’ The continuing battle between ideals and the costs of achieving them is only one part of the ongoing conflict of visions.”

    Geez, do you have that memorized?

    Of course not! Was that a requirement? I took it from my copy of “A Conflict of Visions.” Geez. . . 

    • #13
  14. Misthiocracy has never Member
    Misthiocracy has never
    @Misthiocracy

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    “From an economic standpoint, some education has great value, some has no value and some can even have a negative value.”

    In this case, he should have used the word schooling. By definition education always has value. If it has zero or negative value it’s not education.

    I’m just saying is all.

    ;-)

    • #14
  15. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Happy Birthday to one of my favorite thinkers!  Thank you Mr. Sowell for your great work.  It has meant a lot to many.

     

    “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.”

     

    • #15
  16. Ray Gunner Coolidge
    Ray Gunner
    @RayGunner

    There are no solutions; there are only trade-offs. 

    • #16
  17. Ray Gunner Coolidge
    Ray Gunner
    @RayGunner

    “I don’t always read non-fiction.  But when I do, I prefer Thomas Sowell.” 

    • #17
  18. BastiatJunior Member
    BastiatJunior
    @BastiatJunior

    The people I can’t stand are those who strike a delicate balance between logic and absurdity and congratulate themselves for not being extreme.”

    That quote is from one of Mr. Sowell’s “Random Thoughts” columns, from a long time ago, and I used it in a QOTD column a couple of years ago.

    Trouble is, I couldn’t find that quote anywhere on the internet and had to go by memory when writing the post.

    I’m sure it’s very close to what he wrote, because I remember reading the words over and over again because they were so well chosen.

    The good news is that it’s likely I’m the only who will choose this quote in this thread. :-)

    • #18
  19. GFHandle Member
    GFHandle
    @GFHandle

    Paraphrasing here.

    Speaking about the high expectations of his teachers, “I’m glad I went to school before they started liking us.”

     

    • #19
  20. GFHandle Member
    GFHandle
    @GFHandle

    Ray Gunner (View Comment):

    There are no solutions; there are only trade-offs.

    The UR quote.

    • #20
  21. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    “No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems. They are trying to solve their own problems – of which getting elected and re-elected are number one and number two. Whatever is number three is far behind.” – Thomas Sowell 

    • #21
  22. BastiatJunior Member
    BastiatJunior
    @BastiatJunior

    It’s easy to like all the comments in this post, because they contain quotes from Thomas Sowell.  It’s like giving the movie “Amadeus” an award for best music.

    • #22
  23. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    TBA (View Comment):

    “No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems. They are trying to solve their own problems – of which getting elected and re-elected are number one and number two. Whatever is number three is far behind.” – Thomas Sowell

    $$$$$$$$

    • #23
  24. Lawst N. Thawt Coolidge
    Lawst N. Thawt
    @LawstNThawt

    The only thing better than “hands-on” experience is hands-off experience — enough experience to understand that some things will turn out better if left alone.”

    • #24
  25. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    “It is usually futile to try to talk facts and analysis to people who are enjoying a sense of moral superiority in their ignorance”

    It never takes long for a Sowell quote to come to life.  New York Governor Kathy Hochul in one of her latest press conferences:

    Reporter:  Do you have the numbers to show that it’s the concealed carry permit holders that are committing crimes?

    Hochul:  I don’t need to have numbers. I don’t need to have a data point to say this. I know that I have a responsibility for this state to have sensible gun safety laws.

    Never have Sowell’s words been proven so well.  A pompous, know-it-all bureaucrat who is, in truth, a petty dictator.

    • #25
  26. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    “It is usually futile to try to talk facts and analysis to people who are enjoying a sense of moral superiority in their ignorance”

    It never takes long for a Sowell quote to come to life. New York Governor Kathy Hochul in one of her latest press conferences:

    Reporter: Do you have the numbers to show that it’s the concealed carry permit holders that are committing crimes?

    Hochul: I don’t need to have numbers. I don’t need to have a data point to say this. I know that I have a responsibility for this state to have sensible gun safety laws.

    Never have Sowell’s words been proven so well. A pompous, know-it-all bureaucrat who is, in truth, a petty dictator.

    I had a similar thought when I heard the interview. Despicable.

    • #26
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