Wednesday, November 09, 2005

A Catalogue of Commentators - Issue 2. Walter E. Williams

Hello everybody. This is Maple Roberts, personal assistant to Alaistar Niedenmaker, who has been saddled with the inelegant moniker of the Post-Modernist. I'm afraid he can't be here today, as he is meeting privately with the New Gamorrah City Council to discuss the Reincarnation of Paul Revere's Horse. As such he has asked me to fill in for him, which I was naturally delighted to do.

This weeks subject is Walter E. Williams. Apparently he prefers to be called Walter E. Williams so as to distinguish himself from Walter Williams who is a socialist economist (according to Williams). Williams is black and a strict constructionist in terms of the constitution. He mainly applies this strict constructionist philosophy to economic affairs, arguing that such measures as the minimum wage or safety regulations are unconstitutional and should be eliminated. His focus on economics is no accident; he teaches the subject at George Mason University. Let's take a look at one of his
statements on the economy.
Whether it's individuals or countries, one seldom sees highly productive people poor or highly unproductive people rich unless there are government restrictions and subsidies at play. Making people more productive is the challenge. Whining about income inequality is a cop-out.
I admit that Mr. Williams observations do not square with my own. Mr. Neidenmayer's sister, Beatrix is quite well off and yet produces nothing. Meanwhile our mechanic Staplejoe is very hard working and skilled and yet has a far lower standard of living. But perhaps Mr. Williams envisions the concept of production different from myself.

Mr. Williams is black, as I noted before and so spends some time racial issues as well. His main contention in these matters seems to be that blacks in America have all the help they needed to over come the effects of slavery and the loss of civil rights; therefore they should not blame white America or corporate America for their problems. Mr. Williams has gone so far as to suggest that
prejudice is acceptable.
Suppose leaving your workplace you see a full-grown tiger standing outside the door. Most people would endeavor to leave the area in great dispatch. That prediction isn't all that interesting, but the question why is. Is your decision to run based on any detailed information about that particular tiger, or is it based on tiger folklore and how you've seen other tigers behaving? It's probably the latter.

You simply pre-judge that tiger; you stereotype him.
I am not sure what to make of this argument; other than to suggest, as Bryant did when he originally reviewed this article, that people are not tigers (except of course Prince T'Anickle of Outer Fangolia).

There is no getting around the fact that Williams is somewhat of an elitist. Consider
this proposal, suggested in an article from September 15, 2004.
Every American regardless of any other consideration should have one vote in any federal election. Then, every American should get one additional vote for every $10,000 he pays in federal income tax. With such a system, there'd be a modicum of linkage between one's financial stake in our country and his decision-making capacity.
The idea seems to run counter to the very constitution Williams generally claims to champion. It certainly runs counter to the idea that all men should have equal protection under the law.

Here are some thoughts by Bryant on Walter E. Williams.
Walter E. Williams. I should say I like the guy in general. He's gotten me riled up on occasion, but not that often. Certainly not compared to a Dennis Prager or an Ann Coulter. Rather he writes from some sort of rarefied area where eliminating most legislation since 1936 or so is a real possibility. In that sense I find him a bit more honest and forthright compared to many of his colleagues on the right. I take him a bit like I would a fuddy duddy who has some goofy ideas. That said he has served as a regular substitute for Rush Limbaugh and his writings on race are really quite awful. So I'm unlikely to take it too easy on him.
We also have a few of our favorite posts on Walter E. Williams.

March 16, 2003, Mr. Williams made some puzzling statements about the United States Budget, which Bryant responded to with charts.

June 4, 2003, Mr. Williams expressed his opposition to a proposed National Slavery monument, on the grounds that it would provide a backdrop to people he disagreed with.

January 21, 2004, Williams explains to a relative who's child had just graduated High School had probably the same education accomplishments as a white seventh grader. Bryant used some interesting grammar to express the idea that this wasn't the kindest thing Williams could have said.

Thank you all for reading. Next week this function will be performed by Durango, and the Post Modernist will be back in two weeks. If you have any suggestions for a commentator we should cover, please post them.

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