Interview with libertarian economist Walter Williams: 'The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery couldn't do. . . . And that is to destroy the black family.'

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    Jan 22, 2011 11:33 PM GMT
    I thought this article was extremely insightful, not only about race relations, but about the role of government and the problems aggravated by political correctness. As the entire article is in this weekend's paper, it should be available to those who do not subscribe to WSJ. I found two comments of note, listed below the excerpts.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704881304576094221050061598.html?mod=ITP_opinion_0

    The State Against Blacks - 'The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery couldn't do. . . . And that is to destroy the black family.'

    By Jason L. Riley

    An interview with Walter Williams in his new autobiography, "Up from the Projects."

    Each paragraph is a separate excerpt:

    'Sometimes I sarcastically, perhaps cynically, say that I'm glad that I received virtually all of my education before it became fashionable for white people to like black people," writes Walter Williams in his new autobiography, "Up from the Projects." "By that I mean that I encountered back then a more honest assessment of my strengths and weaknesses. Professors didn't hesitate to criticize me—sometimes to the point of saying, 'That's nonsense.'"

    Mr. Williams, an economist at George Mason University, is contrasting being black and poor in the 1940s and '50s with today's experience

    Government programs and regulations are favorite butts of the professor, who is best known today for his weekly column—started in 1977 and now appearing in more than 140 newspapers—and for his stints guest-hosting Rush Limbaugh's popular radio program. Libertarianism is currently in vogue, thanks to the election of a statist president and the subsequent rise of the tea party movement. But Walter Williams was a libertarian before it was cool. And like other prominent right-of-center blacks—Clarence Thomas, Thomas Sowell, Shelby Steele—his intellectual odyssey began on the political left.

    "Racial discrimination is not the problem of black people that it used to be" in his youth, says Mr. Williams. "Today I doubt you could find any significant problem that blacks face that is caused by racial discrimination. The 70% illegitimacy rate is a devastating problem, but it doesn't have a damn thing to do with racism. The fact that in some areas black people are huddled in their homes at night, sometimes serving meals on the floor so they don't get hit by a stray bullet—that's not because the Klan is riding through the neighborhood."

    Which is why, he adds, the tea party movement is a positive development in our politics and long overdue. "For the first time in my lifetime—and I'm approaching 75 years old—you hear Americans debating about the U.S. Constitution," he says. "You hear them saying 'This is unconstitutional' or 'We need limits on government'—things that I haven't heard before. I've been arguing them for years, but now there's widespread acceptance of the idea that we need to limit the government."

    Mr. Williams says he hopes that the tea party has staying power, but "liberty and limited government is the unusual state of human affairs. The normal state throughout mankind's history is for him to be subject to arbitrary abuse and control by government."

    Asked if he shares his friend's optimism, Mr. Williams responds that he does. "You find more and more black people—not enough in my opinion but more and more—questioning the status quo," he says. "When I fill in for Rush, I get emails from blacks who say they agree with what I'm saying. And there are a lot of white people questioning ideas on race, too. There's less white guilt out there. It's progress."
    -----------------------------------------
    Comments
    Michael Fitzhugh wrote:Those of us who are Black and have been around long to remember the passing of the Civil Rights Acts have watched in horror as this laudable effort metamorphosed into a set of policies that were driven by White Liberal Guilt ran amok, and know that a large part of those voting for Obama were beset by an incurable case of LATB ("Loving All Things Black"). His election was the culmination of the inexorable but misguided efforts of many to purge themselves of WLG and by pulling the lever for this man, they were able to leave the voting booth feeling as if they had vitiated their original sin (being White). This article summarizes what many of us have seen happen to our own people, and in some instances, our own families and we've been seething over it for decades. Welfare payments to people who don't work and never will work are the most pernicious form of racism and are a disgrace that is a far bigger shame than any Jim Crow laws ever could have been, and have accomplished more to destroy us than those laws ever could have. Those policies that will give us money to persist in socially pathological behavior are a blight on this country's conscience, and those who have persisted in proffering them should be ashamed of themselves, because they're predicated on the assumption that we lack the character and capability to do for ourselves. Thank you WSJ for this article. Too little is written about this.

    Sue Harris replied:Change the "white liberal guilt" to "white/black uberprogressive ideology"! Once one understands that much of what has been done to this country hasn't been because anyone felt guilty, but to achieve a different country altogether. As with any and all government mandated programs, they don't work well and mostly do more harm than anyone can imagine.
  • SoBeCamera

    Posts: 74

    Jan 23, 2011 1:31 AM GMT
    this article is so " extremely insightful" as every vacuum cleaner tv ad...
    probably the tv ad has more content and waste not so much time.
    its painful to read, its painful to comment on this bullshit.
    its hurting the intelligence of all gays here.
    please, unsubscribe the WSJ, if you want to make all guys here happy...icon_smile.gif
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    Jan 23, 2011 2:07 AM GMT
    That's the dumbest thing ever printed by WSJ and that's saying a lot considering Karl Rove is a frequent contributor. icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Jan 23, 2011 3:35 AM GMT
    UGH, we used to hear this kind of rhetoric about First Nations people.

    ..so if they are subjected to absolute and abrupt destitution they will suddenly become better people.

    Right.

    icon_rolleyes.gif
  • musclmed

    Posts: 3279

    Jan 23, 2011 7:20 AM GMT
    Christian73 saidThat's the dumbest thing ever printed by WSJ and that's saying a lot considering Karl Rove is a frequent contributor. icon_rolleyes.gif


    Tell us, whats dumb about it? Why hold back?

    a libertarian african american?

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    Jan 23, 2011 7:39 AM GMT
    He presents not a shred of evidence for his claims, and his rhetoric -- it is not an argument -- therefore borders on the racist.

    An extremely poor article.
  • musclmed

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    Jan 23, 2011 7:55 AM GMT
    TigerTim saidHe presents not a shred of evidence for his claims, and his rhetoric -- it is not an argument -- therefore borders on the racist.

    An extremely poor article.


    Its obviously a interview.

    I suggest you read into what minimum wage does to employment, and what happens when it is increased.

    Well you can tell Walter Williams he is a racist
    I guess, a 75 year old self hating black man?
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    Jan 23, 2011 10:29 AM GMT
    musclmed saidTell us, whats dumb about it? Why hold back?

    a libertarian african american?

    Somewhat surprising and revealing to see a few of the dismissive responses. He is obviously an educated, intelligent Black American who is speaking as much about race relations as he is about libertarianism. It is an interview that is based on his personal experience as much as his philosophy. For a non-Black to so dismissively disparage him or his views, especially without being specific or citing contrasting views of others in his shoes, represents the height of shallowness, arrogance, and presumptuousness. I guess that shouldn't really be too surprising given the track record of liberals when faced with those with whom they disagree.
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    Jan 23, 2011 2:15 PM GMT
    Hmmm. Interesting article. This certainly gives you something to think about. It seems like its gone from one problem to another, i.e. extreme racism and the KKK to black on black violence shockingly high illegitimacy rates. It also seems like this is a double-edge sword, you know? Sometimes it feels like it's a no win situation.
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    Jan 23, 2011 3:07 PM GMT
    Looking at your unemployment levels, I wonder what the levels of crime would be if welfare was cut off.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Welfare_Benefits_Payments_Graph.gif


    This is an astonishingly low amount to be receiving. Perhaps the reason for the crime etc is because it's not enough to survive on, to get additional education, etc.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welfare
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    Jan 23, 2011 4:40 PM GMT
    jprichva said
    socalfitness said
    musclmed saidTell us, whats dumb about it? Why hold back?

    a libertarian african american?

    Somewhat surprising and revealing to see a few of the dismissive responses. He is obviously an educated, intelligent Black American who is speaking as much about race relations as he is about libertarianism. It is an interview that is based on his personal experience as much as his philosophy. For a non-Black to so dismissively disparage him or his views, especially without being specific or citing contrasting views of others in his shoes, represents the height of shallowness, arrogance, and presumptuousness. I guess that shouldn't really be too surprising given the track record of liberals when faced with those with whom they disagree.

    No, arrogance and presumption is taking your own anecdotal experience and pretending that it applies to everyone with the same skin color as yours, while backing up your inflammatory claims with no data whatsoever.

    My point is simple. The liberals here summarily disparage someone whose shoes they never walked in. I believe most objective, fair-minded people would agree with my assessment of them and their response. Had they found someone with appropriate experience who could make a logical case disagreeing, that would have been appropriate. The typical tactic is to summarily disparage, quote someone like an Al Sharpton to make some comments, or use the well-funded left wing smear sites to find an affair in his past, or maybe just a parking ticket. Anything to smear him.

    The fact is whenever a minority member is willing to speak up and not tow the liberal line, he will be quickly attacked, using whatever ammunition is available. Your message also illustrates liberals will defend their own, even if what you are defending is indefensible. You guys really shoot yourselves in the foot. The objective, fair-minded people see your attacks as baseless, and you do nothing but damage your own credibility.
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    Jan 23, 2011 5:07 PM GMT
    TigerTim saidHe presents not a shred of evidence for his claims, and his rhetoric -- it is not an argument -- therefore borders on the racist.

    An extremely poor article.


    Hahahahahahhaa! OMG, racist? LMAO

    An article written by a Black man out of concern for his fellow African Americans is racist simply because he's a libertarian? What kind of moron are you?
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    Jan 23, 2011 5:17 PM GMT
    There are so many comments written that are worth reading - one just posted:
    Marti Parker wrote:

    I am disheartened to see some of the hateful race judgements in these posts. I thought this was an incredible article and the analysis was spot on.

    However, as a conservative that worked in the state's welfare office one summer, I can't describe how sad it was to see a 2 year old come in with a mother that had lost all hope, trying to get some sort of child support from a father who had 11 (an actual case) illegitimate children and recognize that it's only a matter of time before the realities of his situation stole the light from his eyes as well - no fault of his own. [my comment - disagree with the no fault, having 11 illegitimate children, but the overall points still valid]

    We are generations into this mess, and instead of judgement, we need solutions. "Same Kind of Different as Me" is one of the best books (real story) of how your station in life affects your outcome. As Denver says in that book "don't you think if we knew how to change our life we would?"

    Please - GOPers - I am 100% Republican - but we have to realize that there are a lot of realities out there you can't relate with because you've never walked the path. Welfare, like health care, is a broken system that needs to be addressed. The Democrats plans won't do it - but neither will harsh judgements or pretending it away with moral platitudes.
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    Jan 23, 2011 5:25 PM GMT
    mocktwinkie said
    TigerTim saidHe presents not a shred of evidence for his claims, and his rhetoric -- it is not an argument -- therefore borders on the racist.

    An extremely poor article.


    Hahahahahahhaa! OMG, racist? LMAO

    An article written by a Black man out of concern for his fellow African Americans is racist simply because he's a libertarian? What kind of moron are you?


    Errr.... we are discussing his rhetoric. Black people can say racist things too.

    Or are you too stupid to get that?
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    Jan 23, 2011 5:39 PM GMT
    TigerTim said
    mocktwinkie said
    TigerTim saidHe presents not a shred of evidence for his claims, and his rhetoric -- it is not an argument -- therefore borders on the racist.

    An extremely poor article.


    Hahahahahahhaa! OMG, racist? LMAO

    An article written by a Black man out of concern for his fellow African Americans is racist simply because he's a libertarian? What kind of moron are you?


    Errr.... we are discussing his rhetoric. Black people can say racist things too.

    Or are you too stupid to get that?


    Your accusation is 100% baseless though. In fact, it's beyond baseless -- it's downright looney. It's based on the assumption that libertarian leaning ideas are incompatible with being African American unless there's self-hate involved.

    Ever heard of Thomas Sowell? Apparently not.
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    Jan 23, 2011 5:47 PM GMT
    mocktwinkie said
    Your accusation is 100% baseless though. In fact, it's beyond baseless -- it's downright looney. It's based on the assumption that libertarian leaning ideas are incompatible with being African American unless there's self-hate involved.

    Ever heard of Thomas Sowell? Apparently not.


    You're putting words in my mouth.
  • roadbikeRob

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    Jan 23, 2011 5:48 PM GMT
    The social welfare system has done the same severe damage as the massive urban renewal projects of the 50s, 60s, and 70s have done to large segments of the African-American community. The welfare system literally encouraged irresponsible behavior and a permanent cycle of dependency whereas urban renewal drove out many of these poor families and forced them into poorly designed and shoddily built public housing projects both high-rise towers and low-rise townhouses. The democratic party has largely failed the black community in much the same way it has largely failed the Hispanic, and gay communities. Make lofty promises, spend billions of tax dollars and have literally nothing to show for it. The problems of crushing urban poverty still rip apart large segments of the black community and there seems to be no end in site. What a terrible disgrace. icon_mad.gif
  • creature

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    Jan 23, 2011 5:51 PM GMT
    Walter Williams is asserting that slavery did not destroy the black family? The kool-aid must be stronger than ever.
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    Jan 23, 2011 5:52 PM GMT
    TigerTim said
    mocktwinkie said
    Your accusation is 100% baseless though. In fact, it's beyond baseless -- it's downright looney. It's based on the assumption that libertarian leaning ideas are incompatible with being African American unless there's self-hate involved.

    Ever heard of Thomas Sowell? Apparently not.


    You're putting words in my mouth.


    No I'm not, you even used the word "racist". Why use a word that you're fully aware doesn't fit the situation?
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    Jan 23, 2011 5:54 PM GMT
    mocktwinkie said
    TigerTim said
    mocktwinkie said
    Your accusation is 100% baseless though. In fact, it's beyond baseless -- it's downright looney. It's based on the assumption that libertarian leaning ideas are incompatible with being African American unless there's self-hate involved.

    Ever heard of Thomas Sowell? Apparently not.


    You're putting words in my mouth.


    No I'm not, you even used the word "racist". Why use a word that you're fully aware doesn't fit the situation?


    But it does. I was referring to the fact that I do not have the assumption that libertarianism is incompatible with being African American. That is clearly nonsensical.
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    Jan 23, 2011 5:55 PM GMT
    As someone who grew up in a single-mother household that relied no AFDC and food stamps from ages 5-12, I find Williams' arguments to be completely without merit and intellectually dishonest.

    In particular:

    i. His argument fails to take into account that fact that nationwide there are more whites than blacks on the welfare rolls. Are these families also being "destroyed by the welfare state?" Williams does not address this.

    ii. Is the absence of fathers tied more to race or to poverty? I believe it's the latter

    iii. Welfare "reform" as signed into law by Clinton (but pushed by Republicans) essentially eliminated many of the paths (education, job training) out of poverty that were available to women like my mother, and forced them to work in low-wage "careers" in order to continue receiving benefits. Without a way out of poverty, many of these women are forced to remain in the projects.

    iv. The same forces that pushed welfare reform also pushed the elimination of family planning programs, which removed many reproductive education programs where they were most needed.

    While racism is still a factor in many obstacles facing African Americans, poverty is by far more damaging and the recent economic crisis has exacerbated the existing poverty of many black families.
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    Jan 23, 2011 6:56 PM GMT
    Christian73 saidAs someone who grew up in a single-mother household that relied no AFDC and food stamps from ages 5-12, I find Williams' arguments to be completely without merit and intellectually dishonest.
    I think your points below are reasonable, but I don't see how they support your general assertion that Williams' arguments to be completely without merit and intellectually dishonest. I don't interpret his position as advocating immediate shutting down of welfare or other programs without other safety nets in place. I think his perspective in terms of reasons in the past as well as solutions going forward are long-term. BTW - in posting the thread, I was not setting myself up to defend his position on race relations. I don't see myself as any more qualified to do that, as I see the comments that disagreed with him. I do agree with his general ideology, though. My intent was to stimulate good discussions, both agreeing and disagreeing. Will comment in line below:

    Christian73 saidIn particular:

    i. His argument fails to take into account that fact that nationwide there are more whites than blacks on the welfare rolls. Are these families also being "destroyed by the welfare state?" Williams does not address this.
    He might say yes. That he does not address the situation does not take away from his argument wrt blacks.

    ii. Is the absence of fathers tied more to race or to poverty? I believe it's the latter
    I think he would agree, but his point is that race-based programs have helped maintain poverty and the culture of poverty.

    iii. Welfare "reform" as signed into law by Clinton (but pushed by Republicans) essentially eliminated many of the paths (education, job training) out of poverty that were available to women like my mother, and forced them to work in low-wage "careers" in order to continue receiving benefits. Without a way out of poverty, many of these women are forced to remain in the projects.
    Again, I don't see how this is in disagreement with what he says.

    iv. The same forces that pushed welfare reform also pushed the elimination of family planning programs, which removed many reproductive education programs where they were most needed.

    While racism is still a factor in many obstacles facing African Americans, poverty is by far more damaging and the recent economic crisis has exacerbated the existing poverty of many black families.
    Same comment.
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    Jan 23, 2011 7:01 PM GMT
    There you Repubs go again.
    Playing the race card.
    Despicable.

    As Christian rightly pointed out, there are more whites on welfare than blacks.
    To bring race into the discussion of our welfare system is beneath contempt.
  • creature

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    Jan 23, 2011 7:05 PM GMT
    Thank you, Christian for the insight about the Republicans pushing welfare "reform." I didn't realize they blocked measures to a healthier reform, and instead promoted a measure for perpetual poverty. Then again, I'm not surprised.
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    Jan 23, 2011 7:15 PM GMT
    creature saidThank you, Christian for the insight about the Republicans pushing welfare "reform." I didn't realize they blocked measures to a healthier reform, and instead promoted a measure for perpetual poverty. Then again, I'm not surprised.

    I think we would have to see what occurred in context before coming to conclusions. So many times many measures are bundled together, often for political reasons and gamesmanship, and blocking one particular item means blocking all.