Thomas Sowell's blog

Exploring the mindset of the left — Part 1

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When teenage thugs are called “troubled youth” by people on the political left, that tells us more about the mindset of the left than about these young hoodlums.

Seldom is there a speck of evidence that the thugs are troubled, and often there is ample evidence that they are in fact enjoying themselves, as they create trouble and dangers for others.

Why then the built-in excuse, when juvenile hoodlums are called “troubled youth” and mass murderers are just assumed to be “insane”? Read More»

The mindset of the left: Part 2

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The political left has long claimed the role of protector of “the poor.” It is one of their central moral claims to political power. But how valid is this claim?

Leaders of the left in many countries have promoted policies that enable the poor to be more comfortable in their poverty. But that raises a fundamental question: Just who are “the poor”? Read More»

Economics vs. ‘need’

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One of the most common arguments for allowing more immigration is that there is a “need” for foreign workers to do “jobs that Americans won’t do,” especially in agriculture.

One of my most vivid memories of the late Armen Alchian, an internationally renowned economist at UCLA, involved a lunch at which one of the younger members of the economics department got up to go get some more coffee. Being a considerate sort, the young man asked, “Does anyone else need more coffee?” Read More»

Genes and racism

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During decades of watching both collegiate and professional football, I have seen hundreds of touchdowns scored by black players — but not one extra point kicked by a black player.

Is this because blacks are genetically incapable of kicking a football or because racists won’t let blacks kick a football?

Most of us would consider either of these explanations ridiculous. Yet genes and discrimination were the predominant explanations of black-white differences offered by intellectuals in the 20th century. Read More»

Immigrants and immigration in the abstract

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One of the many sad signs of our times is the way current immigration issues are discussed. A hundred years ago, the immigration controversies of that era were discussed in the context of innumerable facts about particular immigrant groups. Many of those facts were published in a huge, multi-volume 1911 study by a commission headed by Senator William P. Dillingham. Read More»

How to combat kooky college ideas

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This time of year, as college students return home for the summer, many parents may notice how many politically correct ideas they have acquired on campus. Some of those parents may wonder how they can undo some of the brainwashing that has become so common in what are supposed to be institutions of higher learning. Read More»

Words that replace thought

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If there is ever a contest for words that substitute for thought, “diversity” should be recognized as the undisputed world champion.

You don’t need a speck of evidence, or a single step of logic, when you rhapsodize about the supposed benefits of diversity. The very idea of testing this wonderful, magical word against something as ugly as reality seems almost sordid.

To ask whether institutions that promote diversity 24/7 end up with better or worse relations between the races than institutions that pay no attention to it is only to get yourself regarded as a bad person. Read More»

Is thinking obsolete?

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While it is not possible to answer all the emails and letters from readers, many are thought-provoking, whether those thoughts are positive or negative.

An email from one young man simply asked for the sources of some facts about gun control that were mentioned in a recent column. It is good to check out the facts — especially if you check out the facts on both sides of an issue. Read More»

Can it happen here?

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The decision of the government in Cyprus to simply take money out of people’s bank accounts there sent shock waves around the world. People far removed from that small island nation had to wonder: “Can this happen here?”

The economic repercussions of having people feel that their money is not safe in banks can be catastrophic. Banks are not just warehouses where money can be stored. They are crucial institutions for gathering individually modest amounts of money from millions of people and transferring that money to strangers whom those people would not directly entrust it to. Read More»

Gifted hands

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A remarkable book titled “Gifted Hands” tells the personal story of Benjamin Carson, a black kid from the Detroit ghetto who went on to become a renowned neurosurgeon.

At one time young Ben Carson had the lowest grades in his middle school class, and was the butt of teasing by his white classmates. Worse yet, he himself believed that he was just not smart enough to do the work. Read More»