Walter E. Williams
An American economist, commentator, and author of Liberty Versus the Tyranny of Socialism
Latest from Walter E. Williams
Here are a couple of easy immigration questions -- answerable with a simple “yes” or “no” -- we might ask any American of any political stripe: Does everyone in the world have a right to live in the U.S.? Do the American people have a right, through their elected representatives, to decide who has the right to immigrate to their country and under what conditions? I believe that most Americans, even today's open-borders people, would answer “no” to the first question and “yes” to the second.
In reference to efforts to teach black children, the president of the St. Petersburg, Florida, chapter of the NAACP, Maria Scruggs, said: “The (school) district has shown they just can't do it....Now it's time for the community to step in.” That's a recognition that politicians and the education establishment, after decades of promises, cannot do much to narrow the huge educational achievement gap between Asians and whites on the one hand and blacks on the other.
Malcolm X was a Muslim minister and human rights activist. Born in 1925, he met his death at the hands of an assassin in 1965. Malcolm X was a courageous advocate for black civil rights, but unlike Martin Luther King, he was not that forgiving of whites for their crimes against black Americans. He did not eschew violence as a tool to achieve civil and human rights. His black and white detractors accused him of preaching racism and violence. Despite the controversy, he has been called one of the greatest and most influential black Americans.
Much is made about observed differences between sexes and among races. The nation's academic and legal elite try to sell us on the notion that men and women and people of all races should be proportionally represented in socio-economic characteristics. They make statements such as “Though African Americans and Hispanics make up approximately 32 percent of the US population, they (constituted) 56 percent of all incarcerated people in 2015" and “20 percent of Congress is women. Only 5 percent of CEOs are.
Among the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's responsibilities are approval and regulation of pharmaceutical drugs. In short, its responsibility is to ensure the safety and effectiveness of drugs. In the performance of this task, FDA officials can make two types of errors — statistically known as the type I error and type II error. With respect to the FDA, a type I error is the rejection or delayed approval of a drug that is safe and effective — erring on the side of over-caution -- and a type II error is the approval of a drug that has unanticipated dangerous side effects, or erring on the side of under-caution.
How appropriate would it be for a major publicly held American company to hire a person with a history of having publicly made the following statements and many others like them? (In the interest of brevity, I shall list only four.) “The world could get by just fine with zero black people.” “It's kind of sick how much joy I get out of being cruel to old black men.” “Dumbass f---ing black people marking up the internet with their opinions like dogs pissing on fire hydrants.” “Are black people genetically predisposed to burn faster in the sun, thus logically only being fit to live underground like groveling bilious goblins?”
A recent Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation survey found that 51 percent of American millennials would rather live in a socialist or communist country than in a capitalist country. Only 42 percent prefer the latter. Twenty-five percent of millennials who know who Vladimir Lenin was view him favorably. Lenin was the first premier of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Half of millennials have never heard of Communist Mao Zedong, who ruled China from 1949 to 1959 and was responsible for the deaths of 45 million Chinese people.
What do you think of the proposition that no black youngsters should be saved from educational rot until all can be saved? Black people cannot afford to accept such a proposition. Actions by the education establishment, black and white liberal politicians, and some civil rights organizations appear to support the proposition. Let's look at it with the help of some data developed by my friend and colleague Dr. Thomas Sowell.
Much of today's incivility and contempt for personal liberty has its roots on college campuses, and most of the uncivil and contemptuous are people with college backgrounds. Let's look at a few highly publicized recent examples of incivility and attacks on free speech. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, were accosted and harassed by a deranged left-wing mob as they were leaving a dinner at Georgetown University.
According to a recent report in The New York Times, Health and Human Services Department officials have been circulating a proposal to define sex. Their memo says, "Sex means a person's status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth." They add, "The sex listed on a person's birth certificate, as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person's sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence."
In describing the GOP tax cuts, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that they and bonuses American workers were getting were "crumbs." They were "tax cuts for the rich." Some argued that the tax cuts would reduce revenues. Pelosi predicted, "This thing will explode the deficit." How about some tax facts?
Democrats are hoping the coming election will give them a majority in the House of Representatives. Republicans and much of our nation dread that prospect. My question is: What would a House majority mean for the Democrats? Let's look at it. To control the House of Representatives, Democrats must win at least 218 seats, which many predict as being likely. To control the Senate, Democrats must win enough seats to get to 51, which many predict is unlikely.
Thirteen states -- Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia -- have enacted laws to combat what is seen as price gouging in the wake of natural disasters. Price gouging is legally defined as charging 10 to 25 percent more for something than you charged for it during the month before an emergency. Sellers convicted of price gouging face prison terms and fines.
Democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, seeking to represent New York's 14th Congressional District, has called for the abolition of the Electoral College. Her argument came on the heels of the Senate's confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. She was lamenting the fact that Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, nominated by George W. Bush, and Justices Neil Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, nominated by Donald Trump, were court appointments made by presidents who lost the popular vote but won the Electoral College vote.
A widely anticipated textbook, “Universal Economics,” has just been published by Liberty Fund. Its authors are two noted UCLA economists, the late Armen A. Alchian and William R. Allen. Editor Jerry L. Jordan was their student and later became a member of President Ronald Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers, as well as the president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
President Barack Obama's first education secretary, Arne Duncan, gave a speech on the 45th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, where, in 1965, state troopers beat and tear-gassed hundreds of peaceful civil rights marchers who were demanding voting rights.
I'm thankful that increasing attention is being paid to the dire state of higher education in our country. Heather Mac Donald, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute, has just published “The Diversity Delusion.” Its subtitle captures much of the book's content: “How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture.” Part of the gender pandering at our universities is seen in the effort to satisfy the diversity-obsessed National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, each of which gives millions of dollars of grant money to universities.
So much of our reasoning about race is both emotional and faulty. In ordinary, as well as professional, conversation, we use terms such as discrimination, prejudice, racial preferences and racism interchangeably, as if they referred to the same behavior. We can avoid many pitfalls of misguided thinking about race by establishing operational definitions so as to not confuse one behavior with another.
One of the best statements of how the Framers saw the role of the federal government is found in Federalist Paper 45, written by James Madison, who is known as the "Father of the Constitution": "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce. ... The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people."
South Africa has been thrown into the news because of President Donald Trump's recent tweet that he instructed his secretary of state to "closely study" alleged land seizures from white farmers in South Africa. Earlier this year, a land confiscation motion was brought by radical Marxist opposition leader Julius Malema, and it passed South Africa's Parliament by a 241-83 vote. Malema has had a long-standing commitment to land confiscation without compensation.