Walter E. Williams
An American economist, commentator, and author of Liberty Versus the Tyranny of Socialism
Latest from Walter E. Williams
Thomas Sowell has just published a revised and enlarged edition of his classic "Wealth, Poverty and Politics." At the very beginning, he quotes Alexander Hamilton, who said, "The wealth of nations depends upon an infinite variety of causes." The book's 16 chapters apply Hamilton's notion to domestic, as well as international, differences in wealth.
Sometimes it seems as if every other word from the mouths of academicians is "inclusiveness" or "diversity." How sincere and truthful are these people about their "inclusiveness and diversity" religion? Suppose a group of engineering students do not want to include black or Mexican students in their study group. Should they be permitted to have freedom of association or restrained from freely associating? The true test of one's commitment to freedom of association does not come when he permits people to be free to associate in those voluntary ways he deems appropriate.
President-elect Donald Trump has warned companies that they are not going to leave the United States anymore "without consequences." He has lived up to his threat by pressuring Carrier to give up its planned move to Monterrey, Mexico, in exchange for a taxpayer handout. It is a safe bet that other U.S. companies will be descending on Washington looking for handouts in the name of "fair trade" and "leveling the playing field."
It is alleged that Hillary Clinton won a popular vote majority. Therefore, if the nation were not burdened with the antiquated Electoral College, anguished and freaked-out Americans whine, she, instead of Donald Trump, would be the next president of the United States. You say, "Hold it. Before you go further, Williams, what do you mean it is alleged that Clinton received most of the popular vote? It's a fact." I say "alleged" because according to Gregg Phillips of True the Vote, an estimated 3 million noncitizens voted. Presumably, those votes went to Clinton.
For more than a half-century, it has become abundantly clear that our nation faces increasing irreconcilable differences. At the root is the fact that there is one group of Americans who mostly want to be left alone and live according to the rule of law and the dictates of the U.S. Constitution while another group of Americans wants to control the lives of others and ignore both the rule of law and constitutional restraints on the federal government.
If one needed more evidence of the steep decay in academia, Donald Trump's victory provided it. Let's begin by examining the responses to his win, not only among our wet-behind-the-ears college students, many of whom act like kindergarteners, but also among college professors and administrators.
Donald Trump's surprise win has millions of Americans, many of whom are black, in a tizzy. Many, such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, are writing about what it means to be black during a Trump administration even though Trump's presidency has yet to begin. My argument has always been that the political arena is largely irrelevant to the interests of ordinary black people.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, having a net worth of $81.8 billion, and Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos, having a net worth of $70.4 billion, are the nation's two richest men. They are at the top of the Forbes 400 list of America's superrich individuals, people who have net worths of billions of dollars. Many see the rich as a danger. New York Times columnist Bob Herbert wrote, "It doesn't really matter what ordinary people want. The wealthy call the tune, and the politicians dance."
Do you wonder why Sen. Bernie Sanders and his ideas are so popular among American college students? The answer is that they, like so many other young people who think they know it all, are really uninformed and ignorant. You say, "Williams, how dare you say that?! We've mortgaged our home to send our children to college." Let's start with the 2006 geographic literacy survey of youngsters between 18 and 24 years of age by National Geographic and Roper Public Affairs.
If a person wants to go into business as a taxicab owner, what requirements should be imposed to protect the public? The prospective taxicab owner should show that he is honest and can operate a vehicle safely. His vehicle should pass a safety inspection, and he should have a liability insurance policy. Some cities require the purchase of an existing license, sometimes called a medallion. A medallion has cost as much as over $1 million, as in the case of New York City, and the cost has reached $700,000 in Boston and $360,000 in Chicago.
Detroit school students, represented by the Los Angeles-based public interest firm Public Counsel, filed suit last month against the state of Michigan, claiming a legal right to literacy based on the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Ninety-three percent of Detroit's predominantly black public school eighth-graders are not proficient in reading, and 96 percent are not proficient in mathematics.
I was invited, along with several other American professors, to deliver lectures at South Africa's University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg in 1979. Pieter Willem Botha was the prime minister, and apartheid, though becoming a bit relaxed, was the law of the land. Under apartheid, intermarriage between blacks, coloureds and Indians on the one hand and whites was prohibited.
North Carolina's legislative body passed the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, which mandates a statewide policy banning individuals from using public bathrooms that do not correspond to their biological sex, as opposed to their opinion of their sex. That means people must use bathrooms and other public facilities where occupants can be in various stages of undress according to whether their sex chromosomes are XX, in the case of females, or XY, in the case of males.
Last year's college news was about demands for safe spaces, trigger warnings and bans on insensitivity. This year's college news is about black student demands for segregated campus housing and other racially segregated campus spaces and programs. I totally disagree with these calls by black students.
The University of Chicago's president, Dr. Robert J. Zimmer, wrote a Wall Street Journal article, titled "Free Speech Is the Basis of a True Education." In it, he wrote: "Free speech is at risk at the very institution where it should be assured: the university. Invited speakers are disinvited because a segment of a university community deems them offensive, while other orators are shouted down for similar reasons.
Some are puzzled by the dishonesty, lack of character and sheer stupidity of many people in the media. But seeing as most of them are college graduates, they don't bear the full blame. They are taught by dishonest and irresponsible academics. Let's look at it.
A general economic principle is that any law or regulation that restricts market entry tends to impose the greatest burden on those who can be described as poor, latecomers, discriminated-against and politically weak.
As the fall semester begins, parents, students, taxpayers and donors should be made aware of official college practices that should disgust us all. Hampshire College will offer some of its students what the school euphemistically calls "identity-based housing." That's segregated housing for students who -- because of their race, culture, gender or sexual orientation -- have "historically experienced oppression."
International trade figures heavily in the presidential race. Presidential candidate Donald Trump said, "Hillary Clinton unleashed a trade war against the American worker when she supported one terrible trade deal after another - from NAFTA to China to South Korea." And adding, "A Trump Administration will end that war by getting a fair deal for the American people. The era of economic surrender will finally be over."
One of the unavoidable consequences of youth is the tendency to think behavior we see today has always been. I'd like to dispute that vision, at least as it pertains to black people.