Published on February 6, 2024 by Eugene Ho

Basic Books, 2023 | 224 pages

A Brief Book Summary from Books At a Glance

by Benjamin J. Montoya, PhD


About the Author

Thomas Sowell is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. For more than half a century, his writings have appeared in both popular and scholarly publications, on both sides of the Atlantic, and his books have been translated into a dozen foreign languages. After a career as an economist in the government, academia, and the corporate world, he has since 1980 been a scholar in residence at the Hoover Institution, devoting his efforts to research and writing, on subjects ranging from the history and influence of intellectuals to education and social policies in countries around the world. His website is



As is often the case, popular societal movements find themselves making all kinds of arguments to promote their cause. But what happens when those arguments are tested and questioned? Enter Thomas Sowell. Here at Books At a Glance, we have featured several of his books wherein Sowell does just that, and this book is no different. With this book, he rightly identifies and explains the fallacies that accompany the social justice movement. 


Table of Contents

Chapter 1  “Equal Chances” Fallacies
Chapter 2  Racial Fallacies
Chapter 3  Chess Pieces Fallacies
Chapter 4  Knowledge Fallacies
Chapter 5  Words, Deeds and Dangers




Chapter 1: “Equal Chances” Fallacies

Among the many fallacies that the social justice movement repeats without ever substantiating is the fallacy that if everyone had equal chances then we would have equal outcomes. That is, the limitation of access is the key problem in disparate outcomes. Although this statement is often repeated, it is a fallacious statement that has neither been tested empirically nor stands up to any kind of test.

There are inequalities among people as individuals and as groups. As individuals, some are more intelligent than others; some of that has to do with how their mothers took care of their bodies during pregnancy. Some groups are historically better at some things than other things, e.g., Asians are not overly represented in the NBA for example. Some of the people who are best at brewing beer are those of German descent. Some entire people groups have been historically better off because of their geographical locations and their economic structures, or lack thereof. 

All these examples are to highlight that the fallacy that equal chance is the real issue; it never was, and it never will be. Some people are better at some things than others for a wide variety of reasons, and access or equal chances will never change that. And it is highly doubtful someone would want that to be changed. For example, would someone really want an airline pilot chosen for demographic representation of various groups or those that were chosen due to their level of mastery of all their related tasks? . . .

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Basic Books, 2023 | 224 pages

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