Black Rednecks and White Liberals Quotes

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Black Rednecks and White Liberals Black Rednecks and White Liberals by Thomas Sowell
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“It takes no more research than a trip to almost any public library or college to show the incredibly lopsided coverage of slavery in the United States or in the Western Hemisphere, as compared to the meager writings on even larger number of Africans enslaved in the Islamic countries of the Middle East and North Africa, not to mention the vast numbers of Europeans also enslaved in centuries past in the Islamic world and within Europe itself. At least a million Europeans were enslaved by North African pirates alone from 1500 to 1800, and some Europeans slaves were still being sold on the auction blocks in the Egypt, years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed blacks in the United States.”
Thomas Sowell, Black Rednecks and White Liberals
“No one chooses which culture to be born into or can be blamed for how that culture evolved in past centuries.”
Thomas Sowell, Black Rednecks and White Liberals
“The history of which peoples, nations, or civilizations have conquered or enslaved which other peoples, nations, or civilizations has been largely a history of who has been in a position to do so.”
Thomas Sowell, Black Rednecks and White Liberals
“When people are presented with the alternatives of hating themselves for their failure or hating others for their success, they seldom choose to hate themselves.”
Thomas Sowell, Black Rednecks & White Liberals
“Lamenting the vagaries of fate may leave us with a galling sense of helpless frustration, which many escape by transforming the tragedy of the human condition into the specific sins of specific societies. This turns an insoluble problem of cosmic justice into an apparently manageable issue of social justice. Since the sins of human beings are virtually inexhaustible, there is seldom a lack of examples of wrongdoing to which intergroup differences can be attributed, rightly or wrongly. Where the quest for injustice is over-riding, among the things it over-rides are logic and evidence.”
Thomas Sowell, Black Rednecks and White Liberals
“External explanations of black-white differences — discrimination or poverty, for example—seem to many to be more amenable to public policy than internal explanations such as culture. Those with this point of view tend to resist cultural explanations but there is yet another reason why some resist understanding the counterproductive effects of an anachronistic culture: Alternative explanations of economic and social lags provide a more satisfying ability to blame all such lags on the sins of others, such as racism or discrimination. Equally important, such external explanations require no painful internal changes in the black population but leave all changes to whites, who are seen as needing to be harangued, threatened, or otherwise forced to change.
In short, prevailing explanations provide an alibi for those who lag—and an alibi is for many an enormously valuable asset that they are unlikely to give up easily.”
Thomas Sowell, Black Rednecks and White Liberals
“There are many who find a good alibi far more attractive than an achievement. For an achievement does not settle anything permanently. We still have to prove our worth anew each day: we have to prove that we are as good today as we were yesterday. But when we have a valid alibi for not achieving anything we are fixed, so to speak, for life.288”
Thomas Sowell, Black Rednecks & White Liberals
“We do not have a choice whether or not to discuss history. History has always been invoked in contemporary controversies.The only choice is between discussing what actually happened in the past and discussing notions projected into the past for present purposes. History is the memory of the human race. For an individual to wake up some morning with no memory would be devastating. In addition to the emotional trauma of suddenly finding everything and everybody unknown and unfathomable, there would be no way to carry out the practical necessities of work or managing a home, much less maintaining or establishing relations with other human beings. It would not be much better to wake up some morning with a false memory, induced in you by some means by some other person—to serve that other person’s purposes, with all memories expunged that do not serve that end and other memories twisted or created out of thin air to make you the willing instrument of some ulterior design.”
Thomas Sowell, Black Rednecks & White Liberals
“White liberals, instead of comparing what has happened to the black family since the liberal welfare state policies of the 1960s were put into practice, compare black families to white families and conclude that the higher rates of broken homes and unwed motherhood among blacks are due to “a legacy of slavery.” But why the large-scale disintegration of the black family should have begun a hundred years after slavery is left unexplained. Whatever the situation of the black family relative to the white family, in the past or the present, it is clear that broken homes were far more common among blacks at the end of the twentieth century than they were in the middle of that century or at the beginning of that century —even though blacks at the beginning of the twentieth century were just one generation out of slavery. The widespread and casual abandonment of their children, and of the women who bore them, by black fathers in the ghettos of the late twentieth century was in fact a painfully ironic contrast with what had happened in the immediate aftermath of slavery a hundred years earlier, when observers in the South reported desperate efforts of freed blacks to find family members who had been separated from them during the era of slavery.”
Thomas Sowell, Black Rednecks and White Liberals
“Where beliefs are not checked against facts, but instead facts must meet the test of consonance with the prevailing vision, we are in the process of sealing ourselves off from feedback from reality.Heedless of the past, we are flying blind into the future.”
Thomas Sowell, Black Rednecks and White Liberals
“In short, even though some individual slaveowners grew rich and some family fortunes were founded on the exploitation of slaves, that is very different from saying that the whole society, or even its non-slave population as a whole, was more economically advanced than it would have been in the absence of slavery. What this means is that, whether employed as domestic servants or producing crops or other goods, millions suffered exploitation and dehumanization for no higher purpose than the transient aggrandizement of slaveowners.”
Thomas Sowell, Black Rednecks & White Liberals
“This was possible only because the anti-slavery movement coincided with an era in which Western power and hegemony were at their zenith, so that it was essentially European imperialism which ended slavery. This idea might seem shocking, not because it does not fit the facts, but because it does not fit the prevailing vision of our time.”
Thomas Sowell, Black Rednecks & White Liberals
“Such are the ways of politics, where the crusade of the hour often blocks out everything else, at least until another crusade comes along and takes over the same monopoly of our minds.”
Thomas Sowell, Black Rednecks and White Liberals
“Abstract moral decisions are much easier to make on paper or in a classroom in later centuries than in the midst of the dilemmas actually faced by those living in very different circumstances, including serious dangers.”
Thomas Sowell, Black Rednecks & White Liberals
“Galling as it may be to be helpless to redress the crying injustices of the past, symbolic expiation in the present can only create new injustices among the living and new problems for the future, when newborn babies enter the world with pre-packaged grievances against other babies born the same day. Both have their future jeopardized, not only by their internal strife but also by the increased vulnerability of disunited society to external dangers from nations and from international terrorist networks.”
Thomas Sowell, Black Rednecks and White Liberals
“Only optimists thought this possible at the time and even the leaders of the anti-slavery movement did not at first attempt the direct abolition of the institution of slavery itself, hoping instead that stopping the buying and selling of human beings would dry up the source and cause slavery as an institution to wither on the vine.

At this juncture in history, Britain was the world's largest slave trader and the powerful vested interests which this created were able to roundly defeat early attempts to get Parliament to ban the trade. In the long run, however, such powerful opposition to the proposed ban, combined with equal tenacity on the other side, simply dragged out the political struggle for decades, making ever wider circles of people aware of the issue. Something that had never been a public issue before now became a subject of inescapable and heated controversy for years on end. Slavery could no longer be accepted as simply one of those facts of life that most people do not bother to think about. The long, drawn-out political controversy meant that more and more people had to think about it—and many who began to think about slavery turned against it.

Eventually, such strong feelings were aroused among the British public that anti-slavery petitions with unprecedented numbers of signatures poured into Parliament from around the country, from people in all walks of life, until the mounting political pressures forced not only a banning of the international slave trade in 1808, but eventually swept the anti-slavery forces on beyond their original goals toward the direct abolition of the institution of slavery itself.”
Thomas Sowell, Black Rednecks and White Liberals
“For most of human history, and for nearly all of the non-Western world prior to Western contact, freedom was, and for many still remains, anything but an obvious or desirable goal. Other values and ideals were, or are, of far greater importance to them—values such as the pursuit of glory, honor, and power for oneself or one’s family and clan, nationalism and imperial grandeur, militarism and valor in warfare, filial piety, the harmony of heaven and earth, the spreading of the “true faith,” nirvana, hedonism, altruism, justice, equality, material progress—the list is endless. But almost never, outside the context of Western culture and its influence, has it included freedom. Indeed, non-Western peoples have thought so little about freedom that most human languages did not even possess a word for the concept before contact with the West.”
Thomas Sowell, Black Rednecks & White Liberals
“that does not distinguish Germans from Europeans in general—or from human beings in general, when it comes to vile or vicious things being said or done to any number of ethnic or other minorities in countries around the world.”
Thomas Sowell, Black Rednecks & White Liberals