Pearls of wisdom

Thomas Sowell has decided to retire from writing his column, after more providing more than 25 years of insightful observations.

Along with Walter Williams and the late Charlie Reese, Sowell was one of a handful of columnists who I read regularly, looking for their bylines on the editorial pages of any newspaper I picked up.  I learned a lot from each of these men.

Vox has collected 10 memorable quips by Sowell that are worth your time to ponder, which I’m reposting here (with some editorial emphasis by me on a few points).  May Mr. Sowell enjoy his retirement.

1. “It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.”

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

3. “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.”

4. “Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late.”

5. “The problem isn’t that Johnny can’t read. The problem isn’t even that Johnny can’t think. The problem is that Johnny doesn’t know what thinking is: he confuses it with feeling.”

6. “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.”

7. “The welfare state is not really about the welfare of the masses. It is about the egos of the elites.”

8. “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.”

9. “No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems. They are trying to solve their own problems — of which getting elected and re-elected are number one and number two. Whatever is number three is far behind.”

10. “People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything.”

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