Category Archives: Walter E. Williams

October 27, 2016

Dumb American Youth by Walter E. Williams

An article on News Forum for Lawyers titled “Study Finds College Students Remarkably Incompetent” cites a study done by the American Institutes for Research that revealed that over 75 percent of two-year college students and 50 percent of four-year college students were incapable of completing everyday tasks.

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.

Less than half could identify New York and Ohio on a U.S. map. Sixty percent could not find Iraq or Saudi Arabia on a map of the Middle East, and three-quarters could not find Iran or Israel. In fact, 44 percent could not locate even one of those four countries. Youngsters who had taken a geography class didn’t fare much better. By the way, when I attended elementary school, during the 1940s, we were given blank U.S. maps, and our assignment was to write in the states. Today such an assignment might be deemed oppressive, if not racist.

According to a Philadelphia magazine article, the percentage of college grads who can read and interpret a food label has fallen from 40 to 30. They are six times likelier to know who won “American Idol” than they are to know the name of the speaker of the House. A high-school teacher in California handed out an assignment that required students to use a ruler. Not a single student knew how.

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September 14, 2016

Academic Giants and Dwarfs by Walter Williams

A bright spot in the dark world of American higher education.

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. Demands are made to eliminate readings that might make some students uncomfortable. Individuals are forced to apologize for expressing views that conflict with prevailing perceptions. In many cases, these efforts have been supported by university administrators.”

Sharing the president’s vision, the University of Chicago’s dean of students, John Ellison, sent a letter to freshmen students that read, in part: “Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so-called ‘trigger warnings,’ we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual ‘safe spaces’ where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own.”

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January 8, 2016

Blacks: Fix your own problems by Walter E. Williams

‘Crime works as a tax on people who can least afford it’

A few years ago, BET had a commentary titled “Where Are the Grocery Stores in Black Neighborhoods?” One wonders whether anyone thinks that the absence of supermarkets in predominantly black neighborhoods means that white merchants do not like dollars coming out of black hands. Racial discrimination cannot explain the absence of supermarkets in black communities.

Compare the operation of a supermarket in a low-crime neighborhood with that of one in a high-crime neighborhood. You will see differences in how they operate. Supermarkets in low-crime neighborhoods often have merchandise on display near entrances. They may have merchandise left unattended outside the store, such as plants and gardening material. Often these items are left out overnight. Supermarket managers’ profit maximizing objective is to maximize merchandise turnover per square foot of leased space. The economic significance of being able to have merchandise located at entrances and outside is the supermarket manager can use all of the space he leases.

Supermarket operation differs in high-crime neighborhoods. Merchandise will not be left unattended outside the store – and surely not overnight. Because of greater theft, the manager will not have products near entrances and exits. As a result, the manager cannot use all of the space that he leases. On top of this, it is not unusual to see a guard employed by the store.

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September 10, 2015

Wasn’t Always This Way by Walter E. Williams

Let’s examine a few of the most crippling problems in the black community. Chief among them is the breakdown of the black family. Actually, “breakdown” is the wrong word; the black family doesn’t form in the first place.

Academics and public intellectuals, who should know better, attempt to explain the highly visible and publicized pathology witnessed in cities such as Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago, Ferguson and others as a legacy of slavery. The argument is made that the problems encountered by many black Americans are rooted in white racism, greed and income inequality. They are able to get away with these untruths because most people believe that what is seen today has always been. A bit of history would belie such a vision.

It would be foolhardy to argue that slavery has had no effect or that racial discrimination, greed and income inequality are nonexistent. The relevant question is: How much of what we see today can be explained by slavery, discrimination, greed and income inequality? The answer to this question is vital for public policy and resource allocation, a matter that I shall return to later.

Let’s examine a few of the most crippling problems in the black community. Chief among them is the breakdown of the black family. Actually, “breakdown” is the wrong word; the black family doesn’t form in the first place. As late as 1950, female-headed households were only 18 percent of the black population. Today it’s close to 70 percent. In the late 1800s, there were only slight differences between the black family structure and those of other ethnic groups. In New York City in 1925, 85 percent of kin-related black households were two-parent households. In 1938, 11 percent of black children were born to single mothers; today it is close to 75 percent. In some cities and neighborhoods, the percentage of out-of-wedlock births is over 80.

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June 29, 2015

Do Americans hate their own founding principles? Economist Walter E. Williams says yes (Audio)

When you talk about Madison saying “Congress can’t spend money on the objects of benevolence,” if you look at the federal budget, two-thirds to three-quarters of it are for the “objects of benevolence.” That is, you can describe two-thirds to three-quarters of the federal government as follows: That is, where Congress takes the earnings of one American, and gives them to some other American.

George Mason University professor and leading libertarian economist Dr. Walter E. Williams has a new book out in which he makes the case that Americans — often times unbeknownst to themselves — harbor hostility towards their own freedoms.

During an in-depth interview with Dr. Williams, we had the chance to discuss a variety of issues addressed in his must-read “American Contempt for Liberty,” including his defense of the position that Americans have contempt for their own liberty. Here’s what he said:

Americans have contempt for the founding principles. Now what I mean by that is that I think almost everybody will believe — everybody recognizes that James Madison is the acknowledged father of the United States Constitution. And so James Madison ought to know what’s in it.

And in 1794, Congress appropriated $15,000 to help some French refugees, and James Madison stood on the floor of the House irate, and he said, and I’m quoting him: “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution, which granted a right to Congress of expending, on the [sic] objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” James Madison also said “Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.”

Now, where the contempt comes in is that imagine that a presidential candidate … is running today, and he makes the same statements that James Madison made. The American people would run him out of town on the rail, because they have contempt for that particular idea.

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June 17, 2015

Not ‘The Greatest Generation’ by Walter E. Williams

Walter E. Williams blames segment of Americans for moral, economic decline.

A civilized society’s first line of defense is not the law, police and courts but customs, traditions, rules of etiquette and moral values. These behavioral norms – mostly transmitted by example, word of mouth and religious teachings – represent a body of wisdom distilled over the ages through experience and trial and error. They include important thou-shalt-nots, such as thou shalt not murder, thou shalt not steal and thou shalt not cheat. They also include all those courtesies that have traditionally been associated with ladylike and gentlemanly conduct.

The failure to fully transmit these values and traditions to subsequent generations represents one of the failings of what journalist Tom Brokaw called “The Greatest Generation.” People in this so-called great generation, who lived during the trauma of the Great Depression and fought World War II, not only failed to transmit the moral values of their parents but also are responsible for government programs that will deliver economic chaos.

Behavior accepted as the norm today would have been seen as despicable yesteryear. There are television debt relief commercials that promise to help debtors pay back only half of what they owe. Foul language is spoken by children in front of and sometimes to teachers and other adults. When I was a youngster, it was unthinkable to use foul language to any adult. It would have meant risking a smack across the face. But years ago, parents and teachers didn’t have “experts” on child rearing to tell them that corporal punishment was wrong and ineffective and “timeouts” would be a superior form of discipline. One result of our tolerance for aberrant behavior was that, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, during the 2011-12 academic year, 209,000 primary- and secondary-school teachers were physically assaulted, and 353,000 were threatened with injury. As a result of this and other forms of school violence, many school districts employ hundreds of police officers.

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February 26, 2015

The cancer of multiculturalism by Walter E. Williams

‘College campus idiots’ pose greater threat than Islamic terrorism.

President Barack Obama surprised many at the National Prayer Breakfast when he lectured us, “Lest we get on our high horse and think this (barbarity) is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.” Obama went on to explain, “In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often (were) justified in the name of Christ.” In Obama’s mind, Western outrage at Islamic barbarism should be tempered by the remembrance of what Christians did a thousand years ago in the name of Christ. Plus, that outrage should be chastened by our own history of slavery and Jim Crow.

President Obama’s vision is that of a man brainwashed through an academic vision of multiculturalism, in which American exceptionalism has no place. It’s a vision that has been shaped by a longtime association with people who hate our country, people such as the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Weather Underground leader and Pentagon bomber William Ayers and Ayers’ onetime fugitive wife, Bernardine Dohrn. A vision that sees a moral equivalency between what Christians did centuries ago and today’s Islamic savagery is quite prevalent in academia. It’s part of what’s worshiped on most college campuses as diversity and multiculturalism.

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January 22, 2015

Will the West Defend Itself?

I wonder whether America’s leftists and progressives see multiculturalism as a success or failure.

Leftists and progressives believe that the U.S. should become more like Europe. They praise Europe’s massive welfare state, socialized medicine and stifling economic regulation and accept its unwillingness to defend itself against barbarism. I wonder whether America’s leftists and progressives want to import some of Europe’s barbaric extremism associated with its Muslim population.

Several European countries have what are called “no-go zones.” No-go zones function as microstates governed by Shariah. The host countries’ authorities have lost control over these areas. In some cases, they are unable to provide even police, firefighting and ambulance services.

In France, no-go zones are officially called Zones Urbaines Sensibles, or Sensitive Urban Zones. According to some reports, there is hardly a city in France that does not have at least one ZUS. There are estimated to be more than 750 such zones in France. According to The Washington Times, “France has Europe’s largest population of Muslims, some of whom talk openly of ruling the country one day and casting aside Western legal systems for harsh, Islam-based Shariah law.”

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December 31, 2014

Liberals’ use of black people by Walter E. Williams

Walter E. Williams envisions African-Americans as nation’s most conservative people.

Back in the day, when hunting was the major source of food, hunters often used stalking horses as a means of sneaking up on their quarry. They would walk on the opposite side of the horse until they were close enough to place a good shot on whatever they were hunting. A stalking horse not only concealed them but also, if their target was an armed man and they were discovered, would take the first shot. That’s what blacks are to liberals and progressives in their efforts to transform America – stalking horses.

Let’s look at some of the ways white liberals use black people. One of the more obvious ways is for liberals to equate any kind of injustices suffered by homosexuals and women to the black struggle for civil rights. But it is just plain nonsense to suggest any kind of equivalency between the problems of homosexuals and women and the centuries of slavery followed by Jim Crow, lynching, systematic racial discrimination and the blood, sweat and tears of the black civil rights movement.

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November 30, 2014

Black Self-Sabotage by Walter E. Williams

Disgustingly, black politicians, civil rights leaders, liberals and the president are talking nonsense about “having a conversation about race.” That’s beyond useless. Tell me how a conversation with white people is going to stop black predators from preying on blacks. How is such a conversation going to eliminate the 75 percent illegitimacy rate? What will such a conversation do about the breakdown of the black family (though “breakdown” is not the correct word, as the family doesn’t form in the first place)? Only black people can solve our problems.

If we put ourselves into the shoes of racists who seek to sabotage black upward mobility, we couldn’t develop a more effective agenda than that followed by civil rights organizations, black politicians, academics, liberals and the news media. Let’s look at it.

First, weaken the black family, but don’t blame it on individual choices. You have to preach that today’s weak black family is a legacy of slavery, Jim Crow and racism. The truth is that black female-headed households were just 18 percent of households in 1950, as opposed to about 68 percent today. In fact, from 1890 to 1940, the black marriage rate was slightly higher than that of whites. Even during slavery, when marriage was forbidden for blacks, most black children lived in biological two-parent families. In New York City, in 1925, 85 percent of black households were two-parent households. A study of 1880 family structure in Philadelphia shows that three-quarters of black families were two-parent households.

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