Thomas Sowell on Intellectuals and Race

Prof Thomas Sowell of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University is an American institution himself. He is arguably one of the finest contemporary intellectuals. An economist by training, his output of books and articles is prodigious. A brilliant mind and an indefatigable warrior against the forces of unreason, ignorance, bigotry, tyranny, the controlling state, and so on and on.

Here are a few quotes from Dr Sowell.  

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Those who believe that “basic necessities” should belong to people as a matter of right ignore the implication — that people are to work only for amenities, frivolities, and ego. Will that mean more work or less work? And if less, where are all those “basic necessities” coming from that the government is supposed to hand out?
  • People who talk incessantly about “change” are often dogmatically set in their ways. They want to change other people.
    [This one strikes me as applicable to Gandhi.] 
  • 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.
  • People who think that they are being “exploited” should ask themselves whether they would be missed if they left, or whether people would say: “Good riddance”?
  • Intellectuals may like to think of themselves as people who “speak truth to power” but too often they are people who speak lies to gain power.
  • One of the painful signs of years of dumbed-down education is how many people are unable to make a coherent argument. They can vent their emotions, question other people’s motives, make bold assertions, repeat slogans — anything except reason.
  • In a country with more than 300 million people, it is remarkable how obsessed the media have become with just one—Donald Trump. What is even more remarkable is that, after seven years of repeated disasters, both domestically and internationally, under a glib egomaniac in the White House, so many potential voters are turning to another glib egomaniac to be his successor.

Fortunately for us, there are scores of YouTube videos of his talks and interviews. Here’s a very brief video that was posted today. 

The above is an excerpt from the full interview of 2013.

2 thoughts on “Thomas Sowell on Intellectuals and Race

  1. What a coincidence man!

    I wanted to ask your thoughts on this indian govt scheme of cheap loans for “affordable” housing.
    
    https://swarajyamag.com/economy/why-indias-next-economic-boom-will-be-led-by-surge-in-affordable-housing
    
    Which reminded me of sowell’s book housing boom and bust. I haven’t read it, but listen to his talks on it. Sounds India is headed there.
    
    And of course he tears down the notion of something being “affordable”!
    

    Like

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