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He is the master at succinctly getting to the heart of it.

"Freedom...refer[s] to a social relationship among people -- namely, the absence of force as a prospective instrument of decision making. Freedom is reduced whenever a decision is made under threat of force, whether or not force actually materializes or is evident in retrospect."

"Nobody is equal to anybody. Even the same man is not equal to himself on different days."

"No matter how disastrously some policy has turned out, anyone who criticizes it can expect to hear: 'But what would you replace it with?' When you put out a fire, what do you replace it with?"

"What is history but the story of how politicians have squandered the blood and treasure of the human race."

"Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what has worked with what sounded good. In area after area -- crime, education, housing, race relations -- the situation has gotten worse after the bright new theories were put into operation. The amazing thing is that this history of failure and disaster has neither discouraged the social engineers nor discredited them."

"Implicit in the activist conception of government is the assumption that you can take the good things in a complex system for granted, and just improve the things that are not so good. What is lacking in this conception is any sense that a society, an institution, or even a single human being, is an intricate system of fragile inter-relationships, whose complexities are little understood and easily destabilized.

"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."

"The assumption that spending more of the taxpayer's money will make things better has survived all kinds of evidence that it has made things worse. The black family -- which survived slavery, discrimination, poverty, wars and depressions -- began to come apart as the federal government moved in with its well-financed programs to 'help.'"

"It is precisely those things which belong to 'the people' which have historically been despoiled -- wild creatures, the air, and waterways being notable examples. This goes to the heart of why property rights are socially important in the first place. Property rights mean self-interested monitors. No owned creatures are in danger of extinction. No owned forests are in danger of being leveled. No one kills the goose that lays the golden egg when it is his goose."

"What is politically defined as economic 'planning' is the forcible superseding of other people's plans by government officials.”

"Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it."


All quotes - Thomas Sowell
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