Friday Filosophy v.05.20.2022
Thomas Sowell (born June 30, 1930) is an American economist, historian, social theorist, and senior fellow at Stanford University‘s Hoover Institution. He is a National Humanities Medal recipient for innovative scholarship which incorporated history, economics, and political science.
Born in poverty in North Carolina, Sowell grew up in Harlem, New York. Due to financial issues and deteriorated home conditions, he dropped out of Stuyvesant High School and served in the Marine Corps during the Korean War. Upon returning to the United States, Sowell enrolled at Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude in 1958. He earned a master’s degree in economics from Columbia University in 1959, and earned his doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago in 1968.
Sowell has served on the faculties of several universities, including Cornell University, Amherst College, University of California, Los Angeles, and, currently, Stanford University. He has also worked at think tanks such as the Urban Institute. Since 1980, he has worked at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, where he serves as the Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow on Public Policy. Sowell writes primarily from a libertarian perspective, though he dislikes being labelled ideologically. Sowell’s libertarian-leaning philosophy made him particularly influential to the new conservative movement during the Reagan Era, influencing fellow economist Walter Williams and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Sowell was offered a presidential position in the Nixon Administration and as Federal Trade Commissioner by the Ford Administration in 1976, but declined both offers. Similarly, he was offered the position as head of the U.S. Department of Education as Secretary of Education under Ronald Reagan, but refused to take the position. Sowell is the author of more than 45 books.
- It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.
- 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.
- 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.
- The word ‘racism’ is like ketchup. It can be put on practically anything – and demanding evidence makes you a ‘racist.’
- It is a way to take people’s wealth from them without having to openly raise taxes. Inflation is the most universal tax of all.
- 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.
- If people in the media cannot decide whether they are in the business of reporting news or manufacturing propaganda, it is all the more important that the public understand that difference, and choose their news sources accordingly.
- What is ominous is the ease with which some people go from saying that they don’t like something to saying that the government should forbid it. When you go down that road, don’t expect freedom to survive very long.
- Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late.
- The people made worse off by slavery were those who were enslaved. Their descendants would have been worse off today if born in Africa instead of America. Put differently, the terrible fate of their ancestors benefitted them.
- 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.
- Stopping illegal immigration would mean that wages would have to rise to a level where Americans would want the jobs currently taken by illegal aliens.
- One of the common failings among honorable people is a failure to appreciate how thoroughly dishonorable some other people can be, and how dangerous it is to trust them.
The Time is Now.