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We each have favorite writers, those whose thoughts and opinion we value for their relevance and truthful insight. While tastes will vary because of ideologies, especially the radical beliefs, I've always been drawn to those who espouse common sense backed by undeniable wisdom.

That's why I've always favored the wisdom of the late Will Rogers and Mark Twain.

An elderly sage who can more than hold his own with them today also is among my favorites, economist and professor Dr. Thomas Sowell, who retired from column writing but remains an intellectual Godzilla as a senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution.

Sowell was educated at Harvard, Columbia and Chicago and has been a professor at Cornell, Brandeis, and UCLA.

With that kind of background, most of us would expect this black American to be a radicalized flaming leftist on an intolerant campus where free speech and a reasonable exchange of ideas are under attack. Yet this free-thinking, truth-telling 87-year-old conservative is anything but.

I consider him America's philosopher and unapologetic conscience who has difficulty suffering fools and foolish thinking. Some of my Sowell favorites:

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

"People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything."

"The next time some academics tell you how important diversity is, ask how many Republicans there are in their sociology department."

"Too much of what is called 'education' is little more than an expensive isolation from reality."

"The welfare state is the oldest con game in the world. First, you take the people's money quietly and then you give some of it back to them flamboyantly."

"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."

"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."

"One of the consequences of such notions as 'entitlements' is that people who have contributed nothing to society feel that society owes them something, apparently just for being nice enough to grace us with their presence."

"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."

"The problem isn't that Johnny can't read. The problem isn't even that Johnny can't think. The problem is Johnny doesn't know what thinking is; he confuses it with feeling."

"The word 'racism' is like ketchup. It can be put on practically anything--and demanding evidence makes you a 'racist'."

"It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance."

"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."

"It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer 'universal health care'."

"Immigration laws are the only laws that are discussed in terms of how to help people who break them."

"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 50 years ago, a liberal 25 years ago and a racist today."

"In various countries and times, leaders of groups that lagged behind, economically and educationally, have taught their followers to blame all their problems on other people--and to hate those other people."

"The black family survived centuries of slavery and generations of Jim Crow, but it has disintegrated in the wake of the liberals' expansion of the welfare state."

"Life in general has never been even close to fair, so the pretense that the government can make it fair is a valuable and inexhaustible asset to politicians who want to expand government."

"Helping those who have been struck by unforeseeable misfortunes is fundamentally different from making dependency a way of life."

"What is ominous is the ease with which some people go from saying 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 more people who are dependent on government handouts, the more votes the left can depend on for an ever-expanding welfare state."

"The old adage about giving a man a fish versus teaching him how to fish has been updated ... : Give a man a fish and he will ask for tartar sauce and French fries! Moreover, some politician who wants his vote will declare all these things to be among his 'basic rights'."

"You will never understand bureaucracies until you understand that for bureaucrats procedure is everything and outcomes are nothing."

"Sometimes it seems as if there are more solutions than problems. On closer scrutiny, it turns out that many of today's problems are a result of yesterday's solutions."

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


Mike Masterson is a longtime Arkansas journalist. Email him at

Editorial on 05/20/2018

Print Headline: Radiating Sowell

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  • WhododueDiligence
    May 20, 2018 at 10:29 a.m.

    "The black family survived centuries of slavery and generations of Jim Crow, but it has disintegrated in the wake of the liberals' expansion of the welfare state."
    This is bizarre hyperbole piled on top of anti-historical willful ignorance. It's amazing Sowell or Masterson or anyone else would believe such blatant nonsense. And Masterson thinks this comes from America's "unapologetic conscience." Unapologetic, yes. Conscience, no. In the real world it's clear that slaves were bought and sold and possessed and often abused without regard for the black family. Slaves died at such high rates that they were often rented--without regard for the black family--to avoid ownership risks.
    This quoted statement is an attempt to reduce the family break-ups and other horrors of centuries of slavery and the Jim Crow aftermath to just another cheap, cutesy little mindless partisan political slogan.

  • Kofcguy
    May 20, 2018 at 12:03 p.m.


  • Kofcguy
    May 20, 2018 at 12:07 p.m.

    Thomas Sowell speaks truth. I have been an admirer for many years. I feel blessed to be alive at the same time as he. As an Army brat, I also enjoy his military stories. Even his Economics book is interesting. Very enlightening.

  • mrcharles
    May 20, 2018 at 12:45 p.m.

    Pure vomit.but what do you expect of analysis of a primate who thinks there are angels looking out for us. Perhaps he needs to go to children's hospital.

    Cares about a creek but not people. Life is tough so once your born. If you die that's the way it's go.

  • mozarky2
    May 20, 2018 at 12:53 p.m.

    "The black family survived centuries of slavery and generations of Jim Crow, but it has disintegrated in the wake of the liberals' expansion of the welfare state."
    Truer words were never spoken. Yes, slavery was truly an American Holocaust, but we took the slaves away from the democrats. Then the blacks voluntarily went back to the plantation.
    Voices like those of Thomas Sowell, Candace Owens, and even Kanye West will, hopefully, lead them off of the democrat plantation for a second time, for good.

  • GeneralMac
    May 20, 2018 at 1:45 p.m.

    One of MM's better columns !

    Thanks for sharing the wisdom of Dr Thomas Sowell with us.

  • GeneralMac
    May 20, 2018 at 1:49 p.m.

    and Dr Thomas Sowell could say all that w/o ending it with a deliberate , clenched mouth, arrogant monkey face made at us.

    Barack HUSSEIN Obama could have learned a lot in manners and human decency by watching Dr Thomas Sowell.

  • TimberTopper
    May 20, 2018 at 5:21 p.m.

    LOL!, I see where the head Klansman from Harrison had to put in his regular dig at Obama. PrincessMac, since you have stated an opinion, I'll give you one back. As the value of you mental capacity is known by your words, and your hate for at least one race other than your own, is well displayed, it is my opinion that you are wasting good air. You are but a thief taking the rank of another that you have not earned, so from this day forward that thief will become "your entitlement" as you act as if you are entitled, which is worse than those you accuse of having those feelings. PrincessEntitlementMac, has a ring to it, huh.

  • GeneralMac
    May 20, 2018 at 7:02 p.m.

    I never once read where Dr Thomas Sowell felt it necessary to claim a Black thug as his hypothetical son just to prove he was Black.

  • mozarky2
    May 20, 2018 at 7:27 p.m.

    A little off-topic, perhaps, but who cares? There always room anywhere for a hilarious story like this.
    From The New York Post's editorial board:
    Hillary Clinton headlined her first post-2016 fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee this week, which should help the DNC pay its bills to . . . her.
    Clinton, you see, is insisting the Democratic Party pay her group, Onward Together, $1.65 million for access to the Hillary for America email list, voter data and software from the 2016 campaign. And that, The Intercept reports, is on top of the more than $700,000 the DNC has already paid to rent the list.
    Indeed, the Republican National Committee notes (meow!) that Clinton only did this first fundraiser after the DNC stopped its payments to Onward Together because it’s basically out of cash.
    With no more campaigns to run and a hefty personal fortune (plus a flush family foundation), Clinton could easily stop charging the party she led off a cliff, and even rebate what she has already collected — and plenty of Democrats want her to do just that.
    “It would be a Christian thing to do,” at-large DNC member Brian Wahby wistfully told the Huffington Post.
    But this is the same Hillary Clinton whom Democrats chose as their nominee, and she’s clearly not done making them pay for it.

    And, the ultimate irony: Using the terms "Christian" and DNC member in the same sentence!