Honest and direct. The great Thomas Sowell has helped transform the conservative movement from fringe novelty to clearly delineated political philosophy.

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Every Fact Thomas Sowell Mentioned On Firing Line

From his 1981, 1983, and 1986 appearances.

From ideology to operating framework based on economic facts. As we enjoy contemporaries like Jordan Peterson, we must remember those who set the stage when there was no audience to play for. It was Thomas Sowell who truly pioneered the path of academic rigor required to overcome the political mainstream. Among the first of his kind to form staunch resistance to the primitivist ideologies who even now continue to infect many university humanities departments.

Here are the facts Thomas Sowell shared with us during his rare television appearances on Firing Line.


  • Black IQ does not vary significantly from other ethnicities at comparable stages of development.

  • As a group rises socioeconomically their IQ also begins to rise.

  • As of WW1 Jewish soldiers scored well below the national average on middle tests in the army. Within a decade afterward that had all changed.

  • The IQ difference between blacks and whites is 15 points. There are groups that have seen increases of more than 20 points in just 2 generations.

  • Anglo-Saxons are about 15% of the population. Have 5- 6% higher income than national average, but there are other groups, the Chinese for example who have 12% higher. The Japanese have 32% higher and Jews are even higher than that.

  • 1st generation Black West-Indians earn 94% of the income of the average American. 2nd generation earn more than average Anglo-saxon.

  • In 1812, 25% of John Paul Jones' navy was black. In 1930 no blacks at all in the navy.

  • Only 3 black PhDs teaching in non-black colleges in 1930s. Jews were also excluded by non-profits during this era.

  • Older blacks earn a smaller percentage of income relative to whites their own age than do younger blacks. This is also true for Puerto Ricans.

  • No military force or any other institution in the world has a population even remotely representative of the population at large.

  • In Malaysia, the Chinese are a large minority (about 1/3 population) yet are evenly represented in colleges. The Chinese are outnumbered 3 to 1 in the liberal arts by the Malays, they out number the Malays 8 to 1 in sciences and 15 to 1 in engineering.

  • Asians in the US who get PhDs are outnumbered 3 to 1 by Hispanics who get PhDs in history but they outnumber the Hispanics 10 to 1 in chemistry.

  • Women who get PhDs have much lower rates of marriage than non-academic women or men and much higher rates of divorce among those who do get married.

  • Wage gap differences largely disappear when one compares women and men of similar age who worked continuously and do not take large periods of time off to raise children.

  • In spite of Malaysian political dominance, Chinese bring in twice the average income.

  • If the average American makes $100; the average Jew makes $170, Irish $103, West Indians $94, Blacks $62, and Indians $60.

  • People who come from the south have lower average income. Black or white.

  • Blacks were routinely kept dependent by being denied access to skill development during the slave years where some other immigrants came with marketable skills.

  • A higher percentage of all black income is going to the top 20% over time.
    Contrary to popular belief it was rare for a single teen mother to not have a man in the house up until 1925. Only 3% of families were headed by teenage girls and it's much higher now.

  • Discrimination costs highly competitive industries a lot more than it costs public utilities and not-for profits of any kind.
    In less than half a century after the abolition of slavery over half the black population became literate.

  • It was 1916 before there was as many blacks in public schools as in private.

  • If you compare a black family with a college educated man and women to a white family also college educated, the black family is earning on average $2000 a year more, however very few blacks relative to whites fall in that category.

  • The real difference in pay is between married women and everyone else.

  • Women who never married on average earned more than the average man.

  • Minorities on average made more income before affirmative action than after.


  • Over time IQs do shift. As of WW1, Jews had an IQ below national average. A decade later Jews had a higher than national average IQ.

  • In Japan the average IQ has risen 7 points in the last generation.

  • Black orphans raised by white families have an IQ of 106 compared to national average of 100 and compared to an average of 85 for black children as a whole.

  • Sowell spent 2 months at Paris Island.

  • Injured shoulder and became left handed for 2 years.

  • Groups do have patterns. Germans for example appear to gravitate toward similar jobs and skills in any modern country.

  • Jews capitalized on public institutions available in US, especially libraries and colleges, permitting the ascension of their IQ.

  • In Israel the Jews who have been in the Arab countries for centuries have lower IQ than those who have been in Europe or US for centuries.

  • 37% of the freed blacks were mulatto, which is half white or more.

  • In Latin America the majority of slaves were mulatto.

  • Historically the more white a mulatto had the more economic benefits enjoyed because of inheritance culture (sons of slave drivers got treated better, even mixed race sons) which implied incorrectly a genetic correlation because they always happened together.

  • The consequence of preferential treatment ultimately contributes to most blacks being left behind in dependence. Typically benefiting the blacks who were already well off who become even more well off while largely harming poor blacks.

  • Black couples who are both college educated earn more than white couples who are both college educated.

  • When comparing families that are female headed , black to white, blacks are falling behind, but better off black families are pulling ahead of whites.

  • Affirmative action programs tend to favour well-to-do blacks because they get better returns from the participation, where as poor blacks are riskier as it pertains to positive program results and therefore more likely to be marginalized.

  • Political incentives are really oriented toward what people want to hear, not what is actually best for them.

  • Sex education was promoted on the grounds it would reduce teenage pregnancies and venereal diseases, and yet after it was implemented both have shot up.

  • The Chinese of south east Asia avoid politics like the plague. They come in poor and yet they tend to leave well off.

  • Physical capital without human capital rusts away.

  • When a country has a lot of a certain skill, that skill tends to not be as productive as in country where that skill is rare.

  • Transferring wealth already created NEEDS the transfer of human capital to produce further wealth.

  • Foreign aid subsidies counter-productive policies. It becomes easier for people to oppress those minorities in their country that encourage entrepreneurship because it softens the consequence of discriminating in the marketplace.

  • Those people who are most needed are most hated.

  • Politics are very ineffective at improving the lot of any particular group while being very counter-productive to all kinds of groups.

  • The job market is a function of price. Where a minimum wage has made it harder for minorities to get a job a maximum wage has in the past had the reverse effect of encouraging minority employment.

  • Generally to get a price fixed it requires the government. Anyone else is breaking the law.


  • Vouchers that allow parents to choose where they send their kids would help the lowest income families the most.

  • Standardized tests where passed by more blacks in 1938 than in 1983.

  • There is plenty of blame to go around. Blame is not a scarce resource.

  • If it's pandemonium in the school then no method of teaching is going to work.

  • As long as the public school system is a monopoly they will act as other monopolies act toward their customers. With contempt.

  • Education is often the sole means of upward mobility for minorities.

  • Most of the people supporting the existing system of schooling are people with a vested interest in that schooling. Or they are those who have a vision of how other peoples lives should be controlled by some kind of elite.

  • In 1850 there were about half a million free blacks in the US. Blacks were not permitted in the public schools. In parts of the south it was illegal for blacks to go to any schools, private or public and yet over 90% of blacks were literate even in states where it was illegal to attend school.

  • Young people are more supportive of vouchers and eventually it may succeed.

  • Mostly affluent people went to college. The GI bill was passed to extend that benefit to other people.

And there you have it. One genius. 3 shows. One of the most exciting decades in conservative political development. What are the final lessons? The common theme to all his work? Well it would seem to draw us toward a couple of basic conclusions. That getting involved in politics is more likely to hurt than to help and that parents with poor education are still more likely to make better choices for their kids than disinterested bureaucrats rubber stamping another welfare cheque.

Crystal Vase
Crystal comes from an island no-one can find on a map. She writes primarily about politics.

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