On December 27, 2016, conservative intellectual Thomas Sowell’s final column “Farewell” was published. Afterwards, the 86 year-old (now 87) made it public that he was putting his pen down.
“During a stay in Yosemite National Park last May, taking photos with a couple of my buddies, there were four consecutive days without seeing a newspaper or a television news program — and it felt wonderful. With the political news being so awful this year, it felt especially wonderful,” he wrote.
He did end up publishing a few columns after the one announcing his retirement, but only at the pace of one every couple months. He used to crank out an article per week (at a minimum). With over 30 books and thousands of articles published throughout his career, it’s needless to say that the man got his point across.
Sowell already confirmed that his 2013 book “Intellectuals and Race” would be his last, and the last article he published was back in May. We may have seen the last of new content from Sowell, but there’s what seems like an endless supply of wisdom available from his current writings. And on that note, here are the man’s most memorable quotes:
1. On taxes: “Elections should be held on April 16th — the day after we pay our income taxes. That is one of the few things that might discourage politicians from being big spenders.”
2. On Obamacare: “If we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceutical drugs now, how can we afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceutical drugs in addition to a new federal bureaucracy to administer a government-run medical system?”
3. On welfare: “The biggest and most deadly ‘tax’ rate on the poor comes from a loss of various welfare state benefits — food stamps, housing subsidies, and the like — if their income goes up.”
4. On social justice: “Many years ago, there was a comic book character who could say the magic word ‘shazam’ and turn into Captain Marvel, a character with powers like Superman’s. Today, you can say the magic word ‘diversity’ and turn reverse discrimination into social justice.”
5. On political correctness: “The first time I traveled across the Atlantic Ocean, as the plane flew into the skies over London, I was struck by the thought that, in these skies, a thousand British fighter pilots fought off Hitler’s air force and saved both Britain and Western civilization. But how many students today will have any idea of such things, with history being neglected in favor of politically correct rhetoric?”
6. On liberals in academia: “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.”
7. On higher education: “When words trump facts, you can believe anything. And the liberal groupthink taught in our schools and colleges is the path of least resistance.”
8. On diversity: “The next time some academics tell you how important diversity is, ask how many Republicans there are in their sociology department.”
9. On the rule of law: “A generation that jumps to conclusions on the basis of its own emotions, or succumbs to the passions or rhetoric of others, deserves to lose the freedom that depends on the rule of law. Unfortunately, what they say and what they do can lose everyone’s freedom, including the freedom of generations yet unborn.”
10. On truth: “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.”
11. A farewell note: “We cannot return to the past, even if we wanted to, but let us hope that we can learn something from the past to make for a better present and future.”
Which is your favorite? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!