Walter E. Williams
An American economist, commentator, and author of Liberty Versus the Tyranny of Socialism
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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.
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.