Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Walter Williams



Are Today’s Leftists Truly Marxists?

Walter E. Williams

August 13th, 2020 3:05 PM

Te

Most people who call themselves Marxists know very little of Karl Marx's life and have never read his three-volume Das Kapital. Volume I was published in 1867, the only volume published before Marx's death in 1883. Volumes II and III were later edited and published in his name by his friend and collaborator Friedrich Engels. Most people who call themselves Marxists have only read his 1848 pamphlet “The Communist Manifesto,” which was written with Engels.
Marx is a hero to many labor union leaders and civil rights organizations, including leftist groups like Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and some Democratic Party leaders. It is easy to be a Marxist if you know little of his life. Marx's predictions about capitalism and the “withering away of the state” turned out to be grossly wrong. What most people do not know is that Marx was a racist and an anti-Semite.
When the U.S. annexed California after the Mexican-American War, Marx wrote: “Without violence nothing is ever accomplished in history.” Then he asked, “Is it a misfortune that magnificent California was seized from the lazy Mexicans who did not know what to do with it?” Friedrich Engels added: “In America we have witnessed the conquest of Mexico and have rejoiced at it. It is to the interest of its own development that Mexico will be placed under the tutelage of the United States.” Many of Marx's racist ideas were reported in Karl Marx, Racist, a book written by Nathaniel Weyl, a former member of the U.S. Communist Party.

In a July 1862 letter to Engels, in reference to his socialist political competitor Ferdinand Lassalle, Marx wrote: “It is now completely clear to me that he, as is proved by his cranial formation and his hair, descends from the Negroes from Egypt, assuming that his mother or grandmother had not interbred with a nigger. Now this union of Judaism and Germanism with a basic Negro substance must produce a peculiar product. The obtrusiveness of the fellow is also nigger-like.”

In 1887, Paul Lafargue, who was Marx's son-in-law, was a candidate for a council seat in a Paris district that contained a zoo. Engels claimed that Paul had “one eighth or one twelfth nigger blood.” In an April 1887 letter to Paul's wife, Engels wrote, “Being in his quality as a nigger, a degree nearer to the rest of the animal kingdom than the rest of us, he is undoubtedly the most appropriate representative of that district.”

Marx's anti-Semitic views were no secret. In 1844, he published an essay titled “On the Jewish Question.” He wrote that the worldly religion of Jews was "huckstering" and that the Jews' god was "money." Marx's view of Jews was that they could only become an emancipated ethnicity or culture when they no longer exist. Just one step short of calling for genocide, Marx said, “The classes and the races, too weak to master the new conditions of life, must give way.”

Marx's philosophical successors shared ugly thoughts on blacks and other minorities. Che Guevara, a hero of the left, was a horrific racist. In his 1952 memoir, The Motorcycle Diaries, Guevara wrote, “The Negro is indolent and lazy and spends his money on frivolities, whereas the European is forward-looking, organized and intelligent.”

British socialist Beatrice Webb griped in The New Statesmen about declining birthrates among so-called higher races, which would lead to “a new social order" that would be created “by one or other of the colored races, the Negro, the Kaffir or the Chinese.” The Soviets espoused the same “Jewish world conspiracy” as the Nazis. Joseph Stalin embarked upon a campaign that led to the deaths of Jewish intellectuals for their apparent lack of patriotism. By the way, the Soviet public was not told that Karl Marx was Jewish. Academics who preach Marxism to their classes fail to tell their students that his ideology has led to the slaughter of tens of millions of people. What's worse, they fail to even feign concern over this fact.

White liberals are useful idiots. BLM, Antifa, and other progressive groups use the plight of poor blacks to organize left-leaning, middle-class, college-educated, guilt-ridden suburbanite whites. These people who topple statues and destroy public and private property care about minorities as much as their racist predecessors. Their goal is the acquisition and concentration of power and Americans have fallen hook, line, and sinker for their phony virtue signaling.

 

Friday, July 3, 2020

Walter Williams

Many whites are ashamed, saddened and feel guilty about our history of slavery, Jim Crow and gross racial discrimination. Many black people remain angry over the injustices of the past and what they see as injustices of the present. Both blacks and whites can benefit from a better appreciation of black history.
Often overlooked or ignored is the fact that, as a group, black Americans have made the greatest gains, over some of the highest hurdles, and in a shorter span of time than any other racial group in history.
For example, if one totaled up the earnings and spending of black Americans and considered us as a separate nation with our own gross domestic product, we would rank well within the top 20 richest nations. A black American, Gen. Colin Powell, once headed the world's mightiest military. Black Americans are among the world's most famous personalities, and a few black Americans are among the world's richest people such as investor Robert F. Smith, IT service provider David Steward, Oprah Winfrey, and basketball star Michael Jordan. Plus, there was a black U.S. president.
The significance of these achievements cannot be overstated. When the Civil War ended, neither a slave nor a slave owner would have believed such progress would be possible in less than a century and a half — if ever. As such, it speaks to the intestinal fortitude of a people. Just as important, it speaks to the greatness of a nation in which such gains were possible. Nowhere else on earth could such progress have been achieved except in the United States of America.
The issue that confronts us is how these gains can be extended to about one-quarter of the black population for whom they have proven elusive. The first step is to acknowledge that the civil rights struggle is over and won. At one time, black Americans did not enjoy the constitutional guarantees as everyone else. Now we do. While no one can deny the existence of residual racial discrimination, racial discrimination is not the major problem confronting a large segment of the black community.

A major problem is that some public and private policies reward dependency and irresponsibility. Chief among these policies is the welfare state that has fostered a 75% rate of out of wedlock births and decimated the black family that had survived Jim Crow and racism. Keep in mind that in 1940 the black illegitimacy rate was 11% and most black children were raised in two-parent families. Most poverty, about 25%, is found in female-headed households. The poverty rate among husband-and-wife black families has been in the single digits for more than two decades.
Black people can be thankful that double standards and public and private policies rewarding inferiority and irresponsibility were not a part of the 1920s, '30s, '40s and '50s. If there were, then there would not have been the kind of intellectual excellence and spiritual courage that created the world's most successful civil rights movement. From the late 1800s to 1950, some black schools were models of academic achievement. Black students at Washington's Dunbar High School often outscored white students as early as 1899. Schools such as Frederick Douglass (Baltimore), Booker T. Washington (Atlanta), P.S. 91 (Brooklyn), McDonogh 35 (New Orleans) and others operated at a similar level of excellence.

Self-destructive behavior that has become acceptable, particularly that in predominantly black schools, is nothing less than a gross betrayal of a struggle, paid with blood, sweat and tears by previous generations, to make possible today's educational opportunities that are being routinely squandered. I guarantee that blacks who lived through that struggle and are no longer with us would not have believed such a betrayal possible.
Government should do its job of protecting constitutional rights. After that, black people should be simply left alone as opposed to being smothered by the paternalism inspired by white guilt. On that note, I just cannot resist the temptation to refer readers to my "Proclamation of Amnesty and Pardon," which grants Americans of European ancestry amnesty and pardon for their own grievances and those of their forebears against my people so that they stop feeling guilty and stop acting like fools in their relationship with Americans of African ancestry.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Walter Williams

Walter E. Williams | May 27, 2020 7:32 PM EDT

Is it important to have racial or sexual diversity in our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic? Heather Mac Donald suggests that some think it might be in her City Journal article "Should Identity Politics Dictate Vaccine Research?" The funding priorities of the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control suggests that they think diversity is an important input in making headway in the fight against the coronavirus. On April 20, NIH and CDC announced the availability of grants to increase the "diversity" of biomedical research labs. For example, academic virology researchers studying respiratory failure could receive hundreds of thousands more taxpayer dollars if they could find a woman or a minority to add to their project. High school students and college students are eligible for the program even though they cannot contribute anything of value. No scientific justification for the new diversity hire is needed. The scientists must promise to mentor the new hire, which will take time away from their research with no offsetting gain.

Mac Donald has written another article on academic insanity "The Therapeutic Campus" bearing the subtitle: "Why are college students seeking mental-health services in record numbers?" Many colleges have created safe spaces where students can be sheltered from reality and not have their feelings hurt by others exercising their free speech rights. Yale University has created a safe space that would be the envy of most other universities. They have named it the Good Life Center. Mac Donald says it has "a sandbox, essential oils, massage, and mental-health workshops," and that "the center unites the most powerful forces in higher education today: the feminization of the university, therapeutic culture, identity politics, and the vast student-services bureaucracy."
George Mason University has a Center for the Advancement of Well-Being, headed by a chief well-being officer. At George Mason, well-being refers to social justice and "building a life of vitality, purpose, resilience, and engagement," the Center's chief well-being officer told The Chronicle of Higher Education. By the way, a George Mason University student can minor in well-being as a part of his college education.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, in justifying his draconian coronavirus measures, said during a press conference: "This is about saving lives. If everything we do saves just one life, I'll be happy."
Cuomo knows that many Americans buy into such a seemingly caring statement that would be easily revealed as utter nonsense if one had just a modicum of economic knowledge. If one looked at only the benefits of an action, he would do anything because everything has a benefit. Prudent decision-making requires one to compare benefits to costs. For example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that in 2019 36,120 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Virtually all those lives could have been saved with a mandated 5 mph speed limit. Those saved lives are the benefit. Fortunately, when we consider the costs and inconvenience of setting a 5 mph speed limit, we rightly conclude that saving those 36,120 lives isn't worth it.
There are other news tidbits about politicians drunk with power that we Americans have given them. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot told city residents who disobeyed her stay-at-home order: "We will arrest you and we will take you to jail. Period. We're not playing games." Meanwhile, in violation of her own stay-at-home order, Lightfoot slipped out and got her hair done. She explained her decision, "I take my personal hygiene very seriously."
Ventura County, California, health director Dr. Robert Levin said that his department would forcibly remove COVID-19 infected people from their own homes and put them "into other kinds of housing that we have available." Facing stiff criticism, Levin later explained: "I either misspoke or it was misinterpreted. I'll take the blame of having misspoke."
The biggest casualty from the COVID-19 pandemic has nothing to do with the disease. It's the power we've given to politicians and bureaucrats. The question is how we recover our freedoms.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Walter Williams

By Walter E. Williams | May 21, 2020 3:44 PM EDT

Black politicians, civil rights leaders and their white liberal advocates have little or no interest in doing anything effective to deal with what's no less than an education crisis among black students. In city after city with large black populations, such as Baltimore, St. Louis, Detroit, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., less than 10% of students test proficient in reading and math. For example, in 2016, in 13 Baltimore high schools, not a single student tested proficient in math. In six other high schools, only 1% tested proficient in math. Citywide, only 15% of Baltimore students passed the state's English test. Despite these academic deficiencies, about 70% of the students graduate and are conferred a high school diploma.

Ballou High School is in Washington, D.C. Five percent of its students test proficient in reading and 1% test proficient in math. In 2017, all 189 students in Ballou High School's senior class applied to college. All 189 members of the graduating class of 2017 were accepted to universities. In November 2017, an investigation showed that half of Ballou's 2017 graduates had more than three months of unexcused absences. One in five of the graduating class was absent more than present, therefore missing more than 90 days of school.

Examples of academic underachievement can be seen at predominantly black public schools across the nation, but that's only part of the story. The strangest part of this is that poor academic performance is accepted and tolerated by black politicians, civil rights organizations and white liberals. Poor performance is often blamed on finances; however, the poorest performing schools have the highest per pupil spending. New York, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore rank among the nation's highest in per pupil educational spending.

The underachievement story is compounded by the gross dishonesty of colleges that admit many of these students. I cannot imagine that students who are not proficient in reading and math can do real college work. In a futile attempt to make up for 12 years of rotten education, colleges put these students in remedial courses. They also design courses with little or no true academic content. Colleges have their own agendas. They want the money that comes from admitting these students. Also, they want to make their diversity and multiculturalism administrators happy.
Poor black education is not preordained. Dr. Thomas Sowell has examined schools in New York City and student performance on the NY State English Language Arts Test in 2016-17. Thirty percent of Brooklyn's William Floyd elementary school third graders scored well below proficient in English and language arts, but at Success Academy charter school in the same building, only one did. At William Floyd, 36% were below proficient, with 24% being proficient and none testing above proficient. By contrast, at Success Academy, only 17% of third graders were below proficient, with 70% being proficient and 11% being above proficient. Among Success Academy's fourth graders, 51% and 43%, respectively, scored proficient and above proficient, while their William Floyd counterparts scored 23% and 6%, respectively. Similar high performance can be found in some other Manhattan charter schools such as KIPP Infinity Middle School.

Liberals tell us that racial integration is a necessary condition for black academic excellence. Public charter schools such as those mentioned above belie that vision. Sowell points out that only 39% of students in all New York state schools who were recently tested scored at the "proficient" level in math, but 100% of the students at the Crown Heights Success Academy tested proficient where blacks and Hispanics constitute 90% of the student body.

There's little question that many charter schools provide superior educational opportunities for black youngsters. The New York Times wrote, "Over 100,000 students in hundreds of the city's charter schools are doing well on state tests, and tens of thousands of children are on waiting lists for spots." But here's New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's take on charter schools, expressing the interests of the education establishment: "Get away from high-stakes testing, get away from charter schools. No federal funding for charter schools.

Black people cannot afford to buy into any attack on education alternatives. Charter schools across the nation offer a way out of the educational abyss.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Walter Williams

By Walter E. Williams | May 13, 2020 10:42 PM EDT

Former Barack Obama adviser Rahm Emanuel, during a recent interview, reminded us of his 2008 financial crisis quotation, "Never allow a crisis to go to waste." The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a wonderful opportunity for those of us who want greater control over our lives. Sadly, too many Americans have already taken the bait. We've allowed politicians and bureaucrats to dictate to us what's an essential business and what isn't, who has access to hospitals and who hasn't, and a host of minor and major dictates.

Leftist politicians who want to get into our pocketbooks are beginning to argue that the COVID-19 pandemic is the best argument for a wealth tax. Let's first define a wealth tax. A wealth tax is applicable to and levied on a variety of accumulated assets that include cash, money market funds, real property, trust funds, owner-occupied housing and other wealth accumulations. Assume a taxpayer earns $150,000 a year and falls in the 32% tax bracket. That individual's income tax liability for the year will be 32% x $150,000 or $48,800. Say the taxpayer has a net worth of $500,000 consisting of a business or home and the government imposes a wealth tax of 32%, the person's tax liability is $160,000.

Report this ad

The problem with most politicians is when they enact a law, they seldom ask, "Then what?" They assume a world of what economists call zero elasticity wherein people behave after a tax is imposed just as they behaved before the tax was imposed and the only difference is that more money comes into the government's tax coffers. The long-term effect of a wealth tax is that people will try to avoid it by not accumulating as much wealth or concealing the wealth they accumulate.

Report this ad

A wealth tax has become increasingly attractive because it lends itself to demagoguery about the significant wealth disparity in the United States. The Federal Reserve reports that, in 2018, the wealthiest 10% of Americans owned 70% of the country's wealth, and the richest 1% owned 32% of the wealth. That fact gave Democratic presidential contenders such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren incentives to propose a wealth tax as a part of their campaign rhetoric. Leftists lament that multibillionaires such as Charles Koch, Warren Buffett, Larry Ellison and Sheldon Adelson have not made charitable efforts to address the coronavirus crisis.

Report this ad

My questions to these political leeches are: To whom does the billionaire's wealth belong? And how did they accumulate such wealth?
Did they accumulate their great wealth by looting, plundering and enslaving their fellow man, as has been the case throughout most of human history? No, they accumulated great wealth by serving and pleasing their fellow man in the pursuit of profits. Unfortunately, demagoguery and lack of understanding has led to "profit" becoming a dirty word. Profit is a payment to entrepreneurs just as wages are payments to labor, interest to capital and rent to land. In order to earn profits in free markets, entrepreneurs must identify and satisfy human wants in a way that economizes on society's scarce resources.

Report this ad

Here's a question for you. Which entities produce greater consumer satisfaction: for-profit enterprises such as supermarkets, computer makers and clothing stores, or nonprofit entities such as public schools, post offices and motor vehicle departments? I'm guessing you'll answer the former. Their survival depends on pleasing ordinary people. Public schools, post offices and motor vehicle departments' survival are not strictly tied to pleasing people but rather on politicians and the ability of government to impose taxes.
Some advocates of wealth taxes and other forms of taxation might argue that they are temporary measures to get us over the COVID-19 crisis. Do not buy that argument. The great Nobel Laureate economist Milton Friedman once said, "Nothing is more permanent than a temporary government program." The telephone tax was levied on wealthy Americans with telephones in 1898 to help fund the Spanish-American War. That tax was repealed over 100 years later in 2006. One of the objectives of the World War II withholding tax was to bring faster revenues to fight the war. The withholding of taxes is still with us blinding Americans on the taxes they pay. Let us not allow a crisis to bamboozle us again.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Walter Williams

Dr. Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, a military historian and a professor emeritus of classics at California State University, Fresno. He has written two articles relevant to today's society. Last October he published, "Members of Previous Generations Now Seem Like Giants," and he recently wrote, "Is America a Roaring Giant or Crying Baby?"

In the first article, Hanson starts with some observations and questions regarding the greatness of previous generations compared with today's Americans. He asks: "Does anyone believe that contemporary Americans could build another transcontinental railroad in six years? ... America went to the moon in 1969 with supposedly primitive computers and backward engineering. Does anyone believe we could launch a similar moonshot today?" Hanson observes: "We have been fighting in Afghanistan without result for 18 years. Our forefathers helped to win World War II and defeat the Axis Powers in four years." Keep in mind that the Axis powers (Germany, Japan and Italy) had far greater firepower than the Afghan rebels that we've fought. Hanson also could have asked whether today's Americans could build a 1,700-mile road such as the ALCAN Highway, connecting the lower 48 states to Alaska, whose construction started in March 1942 and was completed in October that year.


In terms of learning, Hanson asks whether anyone believes that a 2020 college graduate knows half of what a 1950 graduate knew. In the 1940s, he says, young people read the works of William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Pearl Buck and John Steinbeck. He doubts that today's high school graduates could even finish "The Good Earth" or "The Grapes of Wrath." I attended Benjamin Franklin High School from 1950 to 1954, and our senior English class required reading included Geoffrey Chaucer's "The Canterbury Tales" and William Shakespeare's "Macbeth" and "Julius Caesar." By the way, when I attended Benjamin Franklin High, it was ranked the lowest among Philadelphia's high schools.


Hanson's second article asks whether our response to the COVID-19 epidemic will be that of a "roaring giant" or "crying baby." We can awaken, just as we did on Dec. 8, 1941, with massive amounts of fight, ready to get on a war footing. For those who were not around then or do not know our history, in 1941 our nation had seven fleet aircraft carriers and one escort carrier. By 1945, it was deploying 27 fleet and 72 escort carriers. In December 1941, we had 2.2 million service members in the U.S. military. By the war's end, there were more than 12 million Americans in the armed services. That's an astonishing mobilization considering our population was a little over 132 million. What's even more amazing is that our gross domestic product for 1944 exceeded the combined economic output of the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, Japan, Italy and Germany.


Hanson says that our other choice regarding the epidemic is whether to continue the partisan bickering and blaming. We can ignore the importance of the crisis and instead scapegoat and play the blame game. We can talk not of an America in crisis but of the virus's effects on particular groups. We can decide that to hold China responsible for lying about the virus is mean, racist and, at best, xenophobic.


In other words, Hanson says, "The choice is ours whether America awakens as a roaring giant or a crying baby." My prediction is that Americans, left to their own tendencies, will roar together as giants and will ignore the political and media crybabies.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Walter Williams


Fixing College Corruption


Listen to the Article!

 Share  Tweet 1

By Walter E. Williams | April 16, 2020 3:10 PM EDT

America's colleges are rife with corruption. The financial squeeze resulting from COVID-19 offers opportunities for a bit of remediation. Let's first examine what might be the root of academic corruption, suggested by the title of a recent study, "Academic Grievance Studies and the Corruption of Scholarship." The study was done by Areo, an opinion and analysis digital magazine. By the way, Areo is short for Areopagitica, a speech delivered by John Milton in defense of free speech.
Authors Helen Pluckrose, James A. Lindsay and Peter Boghossian say that something has gone drastically wrong in academia, especially within certain fields within the humanities. They call these fields "grievance studies," where scholarship is not so much based upon finding truth but upon attending to social grievances. Grievance scholars bully students, administrators and other departments into adhering to their worldview. The worldview they promote is neither scientific nor rigorous. Grievance studies consist of disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, gender studies, queer, sexuality and critical race studies.
In 2017 and 2018, authors Pluckrose, Lindsay and Boghossian started submitting bogus academic papers to academic journals in cultural, queer, race, gender, fat and sexuality studies to determine if they would pass peer review and be accepted for publication. Acceptance of dubious research that journal editors found sympathetic to their intersectional or postmodern leftist vision of the world proves the problem of low academic standards.

Several of the fake research papers were accepted for publication. The Fat Studies journal published a hoax paper that argued the term bodybuilding was exclusionary and should be replaced with "fat bodybuilding, as a fat-inclusive politicized performance." One reviewer said, "I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article and believe it has an important contribution to make to the field and this journal." "Our Struggle Is My Struggle: Solidarity Feminism as an Intersectional Reply to Neoliberal and Choice Feminism," was accepted for publication by Affilia, a feminist journal for social workers. The paper consisted in part of a rewritten passage from Mein Kampf. Two other hoax papers were published, including "Rape Culture and Queer Performativity at Urban Dog Parks." This paper's subject was dog-on-dog rape. But the dog rape paper eventually forced Boghossian, Pluckrose and Lindsay to prematurely out themselves. A Wall Street Journal writer had figured out what they were doing.
Some papers accepted for publication in academic journals advocated training men like dogs and punishing white male college students for historical slavery by asking them to sit in silence in the floor in chains during class and to be expected to learn from the discomfort. Other papers celebrated morbid obesity as a healthy life choice and advocated treating privately conducted masturbation as a form of sexual violence against women. Typically, academic journal editors send submitted papers out to referees for review. In recommending acceptance for publication, many reviewers gave these papers glowing praise.
Political scientist Zach Goldberg ran certain grievance studies concepts through the Lexis/Nexis database, to see how often they appeared in our press over the years. He found huge increases in the usages of "white privilege," "unconscious bias," "critical race theory" and "whiteness." All of this is being taught to college students, many of whom become primary and secondary school teachers who then indoctrinate our young people.

I doubt whether the coronavirus-caused financial crunch will give college and university administrators, who are a crossbreed between a parrot and jellyfish, the guts and backbone to restore academic respectability. Far too often, they get much of their political support from campus grievance people who are members of the faculty and diversity and multicultural administrative offices. The best hope lies with boards of trustees, though many serve as yes men for the university president. I think that a good start would be to find 1950s or 1960s catalogs. Look at the course offerings at a time when college graduates knew how to read, write and compute, and make them today's curricula. Another helpful tool would be to give careful consideration to eliminating all classes/majors/minors containing the word "studies," such as women, Asian, black or queer studies. I'd bet that by restoring the traditional academic mission to colleges, they would put a serious dent into the COVID-19 budget shortfall.