Walter E. Williams
An American economist, commentator, and author of Liberty Versus the Tyranny of Socialism
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The average American has little knowledge of the extent to which our institutions of higher learning have been infected with a spreading cancer. One aspect of that cancer is akin to the loyalty oaths of the 1940s and '50s. Professors were often required to sign statements that affirmed their loyalty to the United States government plus swear they were not members of any organizations, including the Communist Party USA, that sought the overthrow of the United States government.
Profiling is needlessly a misunderstood concept. What's called profiling is part of the optimal stock of human behavior and something we all do. Let's begin by describing behavior that might come under the heading of profiling. Prior to making decisions, people seek to gain information. To obtain information is costly, requiring the expenditure of time and/or money. Therefore, people seek to find ways to economize on information costs.
Nationally, black junior high and high school students are suspended at a rate more than three times as often as their white peers, twice as often as their Latino peers and more than 10 times as often as their Asian peers. According to former Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, the "huge disparity is not caused by differences in children; it's caused by differences in training, professional development, and discipline policies. It is adult behavior that needs to change."
Determining one's own sex or that of another used to be a simple matter. First, there was the matter of appearance, whether a person looked like a male or looked like a female. If appearance produced some uncertainties, one could determine sex by examining a person's birth certificate. If appearance and a birth certificate produced uncertainties, the ultimate, absolute proof of sex was a person's chromosomes; XX marked a female, and XY marked a male. Case closed.
Most Americans, whether liberal or conservative, Democratic or Republican, do not show much understanding or respect for the principles of personal liberty. We criticize our political leaders, but we must recognize that their behavior simply reflects the values of people who elected them to office. That means we are all to blame for greater governmental control over our lives and a decline in personal liberty. Let me outline some fundamental principles of liberty.
While college administrators and professors accept disgraceful behavior, we as taxpayers, donors and parents should not foot the bill. Let's look at some of that behavior. A University of Washington Tacoma Writing Center press release told students that expecting Americans to use proper grammar perpetuates racism. The University of Nebraska Omaha will host a workshop for "anti-racist allies" to develop "action plans" that confront America's "foundation of systemic oppression" in the context of "the current political climate."
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement, "The president's decision to ask Betsy DeVos to run the Department of Education should offend every single American man, woman, and child who has benefitted from the public education system in this country." Expressing similar sentiments, Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond said, "I expect that Mrs. DeVos will have an incredibly harmful impact on public education and on black communities nationwide." Those
It was Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman who made famous the adage, "There's no such thing as a free lunch." Professor Friedman could have added that there is a difference between something's being free and something's having a zero price. For example, people say that there's free public education and there are free libraries, but public education and libraries cost money. Proof that they have costs is the fact that somebody has to have less of something by giving up tax money so that schools and libraries can be produced and operated. A much more accurate statement is that we have zero-price public education and libraries.
Ordinary black people cannot afford to go along with the liberal agenda that calls for undermining police authority. That agenda makes for more black crime victims. Let's look at what works and what doesn't work. In 1990, New York City adopted the practice in which its police officers might stop and question a pedestrian. If there was suspicion, they would frisk the person for weapons and other contraband. This practice, well within the law, is known as a Terry stop. After two decades of this proactive police program, New York City's homicides fell from over 2,200 per year to about 300.
There is little question in most academic research that increases in the minimum wage lead to increases in unemployment. The debatable issue is the magnitude of the increase. An issue not often included in minimum wage debates is the substitution effects of minimum wage increases. The substitution effect might explain why Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, a national network of business owners and executives, argues for higher minimum wages. Let's look at substitution effects in general.
One can only imagine the widespread media, political and intellectual condemnation of Republicans and conservatives if, after the inauguration of Barack Obama, they had gone on a violent and vicious tear all over the nation as did Democrats and liberals after the inauguration of President Donald Trump. They committed acts such as assaulting Trump supporters, setting fires and stoning police. Suppose Republicans/conservatives had carried signs that read "F--- Obama" or talked about "blowing up the White House."
One wonders just how far spineless college administrators will go when it comes to caving in to the demands of campus snowflakes. For those unfamiliar with the term "snowflakes," it is increasingly being used to characterize college students easily traumatized by criticism and politically incorrect phrases. They demand safe spaces and trigger warnings so as not to be upset by views that challenge their own.
President-elect Donald Trump's threats against American companies looking to relocate in foreign countries have won favorable review from many quarters. Support comes from those alarmed about trade deficits, those who want a "level playing field" and those who call for "free trade but fair trade," whatever that means.
The FBI reported that the total number of homicides in 2015 was 15,696. Blacks were about 52 percent of homicide victims. That means about 8,100 black lives were ended violently, and over 90 percent of the time, the perpetrator was another black. Listening to the news media and the Black Lives Matter movement, one would think that black deaths at the hands of police are the major problem. It turns out that in 2015, police across the nation shot and killed 986 people. Of that number, 495 were white (50 percent), 258 were black (26 percent) and 172 Hispanic (17 percent).
We will never understand liberals and progressives until we recognize that they often see reality as a social construct subject to being challenged and changed. For example, throughout the world, boys and girls have different toy preferences. Typically, boys like to play with cars and trucks, whereas girls prefer dolls. Liberals explain this with the assertion that boys and girls are socialized and encouraged to play with different types of toys by their parents, peers and "society."
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.