Tag: walter williams

Capitalism and Morality: Walter Williams vs. Pope Francis

The biggest mistake of well-meaning leftists is that they place too much value on good intentions and don’t seem to care nearly as much about good results.

Pope Francis is an example of this unfortunate tendency. His concern for the poor presumably is genuine, but he puts ideology above evidence when he argues against capitalism and in favor of coercive government.

Here are some passages from a CNN report on the Pope’s bias.

Pope Francis makes his first official visit to the United States this week. There’s a lot of angst about what he might say, especially when he addresses Congress Thursday morning. …He’ll probably discuss American capitalism’s flaws, a theme he has hit on since the 1990s. Pope Francis wrote a book in 1998 with an entire chapter focused on “the limits of capitalism.” …Francis argued that…capitalism lacks morals and promotes selfish behavior. …He has been especially critical of how capitalism has increased inequality… He’s tweeted: “inequality is the root of all evil.” …he’s a major critic of greed and excessive wealth. …”Capitalism has been the cause of many sufferings…”

Wow, I almost don’t know how to respond. So many bad ideas crammed in so few words.

Happy Birthday Walter Williams

Today marks the 75th birthday of one of the greatest champions of liberty in American history, Walter E. Williams.  Like his good friend the late Milton Friedman, Williams is a brilliant economist who specializes in making economics understandable to the layperson.  The John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, Williams has long been an adjunct scholar at Cato.  He is the author of nine books, one of which, South Africa’s War Against Capitalism, Cato published in 1989.  No sooner did Williams publish his autobiography this year, Up from the Projects, than he published a terrific new book, out this month, Race & Economics:  How much can be blamed on discrimination?  Like many Cato scholars, he is a member of the Mont Pelerin Society.

On issues ranging from deregulation of the economy to legalizing drugs, Walter Williams is a passionate, laissez-faire libertarian.  His libertarianism greatly improves The Rush Limbaugh Show where he is a frequent guest host.  Williams rubs elbows with the movers and shakers in America, being a member in good standing of the secretive Bohemian Grove.  Even more secretive is his participation in the influential, Washington, D.C.-based Politically Incorrect Boys Club among whose members are included Cato’s Beloved Founder Ed Crane, and senior fellows Richard Rahn and Dan Mitchell.

All of us at Cato wish our dear friend Walter a very Happy Birthday!

Walter Williams, Freedom Fighter

I’ve been fortunate to know Walter Williams ever since I began my Ph.D. studies at George Mason University in the mid-1980s. He is a very good economist, but his real value is as a public intellectual.

He also has a remarkable personal story, which he tells in his new autobiography, Up from the Projects. I’ve read the book and urge you to do the same. It’s very interesting and, like his columns, crisply written.

To get a flavor for Walter’s strong principles and blunt opinions, watch this video from Reason TV. I won’t spoil things, but the last couple of minutes are quite sobering.

I suppose a personal story might be appropriate at this point. My ex also was at George Mason University, and she was Walter’s research assistant. Walter would give multiple-choice tests to students taking his entry-level classes and she was responsible for grading them by sending them through a machine that would “click” for every wrong answer. For almost every student, it sounded like a machine gun was going off. Suffice to say, Walter’s classes were not easy.

So while I’m glad to say he’s my friend, I’m also happy I never took one of his classes.

Rat Falls Back on the Broken Window Fallacy

In Sunday’s “Pearls Before Swine” comic strip, the nefarious Rat is now a PR flak. And when his client accidentally blows up downtown, he comes up with a solid economic defense:

Pearls Before Swine

Go here for Frederic Bastiat’s original explication of the “broken window fallacy,” and for way too much detail, go to Wikipedia. John Stossel breaks some windows here and talks to Walter Williams about the implications.