Walter E. Williams
An American economist, commentator, and author of Liberty Versus the Tyranny of Socialism
Latest from Walter E. Williams
Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Economics at Ohio University Richard Vedder's new book, Restoring the Promise, published by the Independent Institute based in Oakland, California, is about the crisis in higher education. He summarizes the three major problems faced by America's colleges and universities. First, our universities “are vastly too expensive, often costing twice as much per student compared with institutions in other industrialized democracies.”
Last week's column discussed Dr. Thomas Sowell's newest book Discrimination and Disparities, which is an enlarged and revised edition of an earlier version. In this review, I am going to focus on one of his richest chapters titled “Social Visions and Human Consequences.” Sowell challenges the seemingly invincible fallacy “that group outcomes in human endeavors would tend to be equal, or at least comparable or random, if there were no biased interventions, on the one hand, nor genetic deficiencies, on the other.” But disparate impact statistics carries the day among academicians, lawyers and courts as evidence of discrimination.
My longtime friend and colleague Dr. Thomas Sowell has just published a revised and enlarged edition of “Discrimination and Disparities.” It lays waste to myth after myth about the causes of human differences not only in the United States but around the globe. Throughout the book, Sowell shows that socioeconomic outcomes differ vastly among individuals, groups and nations in ways that cannot be easily explained by any one factor, whether it's genetics, sex or race discrimination or a history of gross mistreatment that includes expulsion and genocide.
George Mason University's Antonin Scalia Law School hired Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh to co-teach a course this summer called Creation of the Constitution. The course will be held 3,668 miles away, in Runnymede, England, where the Magna Carta was sealed 800 years ago. Some George Mason University students and faculty have become triggered.
There's a push to change laws to permit both criminals serving time and ex-criminals the right to vote. Guess which party is pushing the most for these legal changes. If you guessed that it was the Democrats, go to the head of the class. Bernie Sanders says states should allow felons to vote from behind bars. Elizabeth Warren doesn't go that far but believes felons should have the right to vote. Democrats want the criminal class to have voting rights restored because they could become a significant part of the Democratic base.
If one needed evidence of the gross ignorance of millennials, and their teachers and college professors, it's their solid support for socialism and socialist presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders. Socialism has produced tragedy wherever it has been implemented. Last year marked the 40th anniversary of nearly 1,000 Americans perishing in a mass suicide/murder in the jungles of Guyana. Just as Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez see socialism as mankind's salvation, so, too, did Rev. Jim Jones, who told his followers, “God is Socialism, and I am Principle Socialism, and that's what makes me God.”
Sometimes, during my drive to work, I listen to Clarence Maurice Mitchell IV, host of the Baltimore's WBAL C4 radio show. Mitchell was formerly a member of Maryland's House of Delegates and its Senate. In recent weeks, Mitchell has been talking about the terrible crime situation in Baltimore. In 2018, there were 308 homicides. So far this year, there have been 69. That's in a 2018 population of 611,648 — down from nearly a million in 1950. The city is pinning its hopes to reduce homicides and other crime on new Police Commissioner Michael Harrison.
Last week's column discussed the highly publicized university corruption scheme wherein wealthy parents bought admission at prestigious universities for their children. That is dishonest and gives an unfair advantage to those young people but won't destroy the missions of the universities. There is little or no attention given by the mainstream media to the true cancer eating away at most of our institutions of higher learning. Philip Carl Salzman, emeritus professor of anthropology at McGill University, explains that cancer in a Minding the Campus article, titled “What Your Sons and Daughters Will Learn at University.”
Federal prosecutors have charged more than 50 people involved in cheating and bribery in order to get their children admitted to some of the nation's most prestigious colleges and universities such as Georgetown, Yale, Stanford, University of Texas, University of Southern California and UCLA. They often paid more than $100,000 to rig SAT or ACT exams. In some instances, they bribed college officials and secured their children's admissions to elite schools through various fraud schemes.
Some Americans have much higher income and wealth than others. Former President Barack Obama explained, “I do think at a certain point you've made enough money.” An adviser to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who has a Twitter account called “Every Billionaire Is A Policy Failure” tweeted, “My goal for this year is to get a moderator to ask ‘Is it morally appropriate for anyone to be a billionaire?’” Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren, in calling for a wealth tax, complained, “The rich and powerful are taking so much for themselves and leaving so little for everyone else.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez claims that “the world is going to end in 12 years if we don't address climate change.” The people at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change agree, saying that to avoid some of the most devastating impacts of climate change, the world must slash carbon emissions by 45 percent by 2030 and completely decarbonize by 2050. Such dire warnings are not new. In 1970, Harvard University biology professor George Wald, a Nobel laureate, predicted, “Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”
Jussie Smollett, Empire actor, claimed that on Jan. 29, two masked men identifying themselves as Donald Trump supporters and using racial and homophobic insults attacked him. Smollett said the assailants yelled “This is MAGA country,” bashed his face, crushed his ribs, splashed him with bleach and put a noose around his neck. Smollett's telling of the hate crime was gobbled up hook, line and sinker by the anti-Trump news media, but Chicago police say it was a hoax.
Frederic Bastiat, a French economist and member of the French National Assembly, lived from 1801 to 1850. He had great admiration for our country, except for our two faults -- slavery and tariffs. He said: “Look at the United States. There is no country in the world where the law is kept more within its proper domain: the protection of every person's liberty and property.” If Bastiat were alive today, he would not have that same level of admiration. The U.S. has become what he fought against for most of his short life.
Ten states and Washington, D.C., have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. Twenty-two other states, along with U.S. territories Puerto Rico and Guam, allow marijuana to be used for medical purposes. Let's examine some hidden issues about marijuana use. Before we start, permit me to state my values about medical or recreational use of any drug. We each own ourselves. If we choose to take chances with substances that can ruin our health, lead to death and otherwise destroy our own lives, that's our right. But we do not have a right to harm others in the process of harming ourselves.
Suppose I declare that I am a king. Should you be required to address me as “Your Majesty”? You say, “Williams, that's lunacy! You can't prove such nonsense.” You're wrong. It's proved by my declaration. It's no different from a person born with XY chromosomes declaring that he is a woman. The XY sex determination system is the sex determination system found in humans and most other mammals. Females typically have two of the same kind of sex chromosome (XX) and are called the homogametic sex. Males typically have two different kinds of sex chromosomes (XY) and are called the heterogametic sex.
Rush Limbaugh’s December 2018 Limbaugh Letter has an article titled “Demonizing White Men.” It highlights -- with actual quotations from people in the media, academia and the political and entertainment arenas -- the attack on white men as a class. You can decide whether these statements are decent, moral or even sensible. Should we support their visions? Don Lemon, a CNN anchorman, said, “We have to stop demonizing people and realize the biggest terror threat in this country is white men, most of them radicalized to the right, and we have to start doing something about them.”
In 1976, Gerald Ford won 15 percent of the black vote. That's the most of any recent Republican presidential candidate. In most elections, blacks give Democrats over 90 percent of their votes. It's not unreasonable to ask what have blacks gained from such unquestioning loyalty to the Democratic Party. After all, the absolute worst public safety conditions and other urban amenities for blacks are in cities that have been controlled by Democrats for decades. Let's look at it.
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.