I read this book maybe 3-4 years ago. But after a few more years of reading, study, and reflection, it seemed like a good time to take another look at it. The Quest For Cosmic Justice, by Dr. Thomas Sowell was published in 1999.
Paperback details from Amazon:
# Paperback: 224 pages
# Publisher: Free Press; 1st edition (February 5, 2002)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 0684864630
# ISBN-13: 978-0684864631
# Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
In this very readable book Dr. Sowell discusses the morality and practicality of trying to “right the wrongs” that were dealt to us at different times. His analysis is cogent and is a wonderful catalyst for further contemplation. Several times after putting the book down for a bit I found myself thinking more about points made in the book.
Dr. Sowell famously noted: “There are no solutions…there are only trade-offs.” This theme is repeated throughout the book. Also, the book takes a tough look at self-important elites who are convinced that they know what is better for third-parties than they do for themselves. Liberty and prosperity are almost always victims when these scenarios play out.
Let’s take a look at some specific items of note:
1. “A society that puts equality – in the sense of equality of outcome – ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom.” p. 6
2. “Social justice vs. cosmic justice.” (very important section) pp. 8-9
3. Cosmic justice, and what is “fair?” p. 12
4. Adam Smith vs. John Rawls. p. 29
5. Slavery reparations and righting past wrongs. (very important section) pp. 29-31
6. Mortage applicants: white, black, and Asian. p. 34
7. Quest for Cosmic Justice: Self-flattery, sense of superiority, arrogance. p. 43
8. Poor and rich. 1996 study, four-fifths of all American millionaires, studied earned their fortunes within their own lifetimes. p. 55
9. Are income and and property “distributed?” p. 70
10. “Just” prices, wages, comparable worth, and exchange. p. 72
11. Respectable poor vs. disreputable poor. p. 89
12. Are the poor exploited by the rich? p. 119
13. N.B. The rich are not rich because the poor are poor. p. 126
14. ” … more Indochinese people were killed in the first two years of the Communist peace than had been killed on all sides in a decade of the Anti-Communist war.” Note that this is not necessarily a defense of the U.S. action in Vietnam, but rather a sober look at history. p. 138
15. “Rules equally applicable to all are not the same as rules with equal impact on all.” p. 152
16. Property rights, liberty, and prosperity for all. (very important section) p. 164
17. Tenth Amendment to the Constitution. p. 180.
18. The origins, state, and future of the U.S. Constitution. p. 186
The Quest For Cosmic Justice by Thomas Sowell is a wonderful book that is worth owning, and definitely worth sharing with others. Dr. Sowell explains the realities of the issues surrounding “justice” and the various ways the term is used.
Thomas Sowell – Home
Book Review ~ The Quest for Cosmic Justice by Thomas Sowell (by Dr. Boudreaux!)
Book Review – The Quest for Cosmic Justice
Hoover Institution – Hoover Digest – The Quest for Cosmic Justice
Thomas Sowell – Speech “The Quest for Cosmic Justice”