The Best Quotes From Walter Williams — August 27 Of 2003 — August 25 Of 2004

“According to Professor R.J. Rummel’s research in ‘Death by Government,’ from 1917 until its collapse, the Soviet Union murdered or caused the death of 61 million people, mostly its own citizens. Since 1949, communist China’s Mao Zedong regime was responsible for the death of 35 million of its own citizens.”

“How many times have we heard “free tuition,” “free health care,” and free you-name-it? If a particular good or service is truly free, we can have as much of it as we want without the sacrifice of other goods or services. Take a “free” library; is it really free? The answer is no. Had the library not been built, that $50 million could have purchased something else. That something else sacrificed is the cost of the library. While users of the library might pay a zero price, zero price and free are not one and the same. So when politicians talk about providing something free, ask them to identify the beneficent Santa Claus or tooth fairy.”

“During the first Reagan administration, I participated in a number of press conferences on either a book or article I’d written or as a panelist in a discussion of White House public policy. On occasion, when the question-and-answer session began, I’d tell the press, “You can treat me like a white person. Ask hard, penetrating questions.” The remark often brought uncomfortable laughter, but I was dead serious. If there is one general characteristic of white liberals, it’s their condescending and demeaning attitude toward blacks.”

“Legality alone is no guide for a moral people. There are many things in this world that have been, or are, legal but clearly immoral. Slavery was legal. Did that make it moral? South Africa’s apartheid, Nazi persecution of Jews, and Stalinist and Maoist purges were all legal, but did that make them moral.”

“Reaching into one’s own pocket to assist his fellow man is noble and worthy of praise. Reaching into another person’s pocket to assist one’s fellow man is despicable and worthy of condemnation.”

“Maybe your college professor taught that the legacy of colonialism explains Third World poverty. That’s nonsense as well. Canada was a colony. So were Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong. In fact, the richest country in the world, the United States, was once a colony. By contrast, Ethiopia, Liberia, Tibet, Sikkim, Nepal and Bhutan were never colonies, but they are home to the world’s poorest people.”

“Today, less than 40 percent of black children live in two-parent families, compared to 70 percent and 80 percent in earlier periods. Illegitimacy, at 70 percent, is unprecedented in black history. Between 1976 and 2000, over 50 percent of all homicides in the United States were committed by blacks, and 94 percent of the time, the victim was black. These are devastating problems, but are they caused by racism, and will spending resources fighting racial discrimination solve them?”

“Philadelphia schools are typical of poor-quality big-city schools. Susan Snyder, Philadelphia Inquirer staff writer, in her article “District to Help Teachers Pass Test” (March 24, 2004) reported “that half of the district’s 690 middle school teachers who took exams in math, English, social studies and science in September and November failed.”

“David Horowitz and Eli Lehrer did a study titled ‘Political Bias in the Administrations and Faculties of 32 Elite Colleges and Universities.’ The overall ratio of Democrats to Republicans they were able to identify at the 32 of the nation’s elite schools was more than 10 to 1 (1,397 Democrats, 134 Republicans), while for the American population, Republicans and Democrats are roughly equal in number.”

“You might ask, “Williams, are you a warmonger?” No, I’m not, but here’s the way I look at it. If you hate my guts and have designs to hurt me, and I see you building a cannon aimed at my house, I am not going to wait for you to finish construction.”

“President Bush has asked Congress to enact a constitutional amendment making it national law that marriage is a union between a man and a woman. The perceived need for a constitutional amendment should be an embarrassment for all of us — it’s simply more evidence of our moral decline. If it were possible for previous generations of Americans to know about this marriage controversy, they’d probably be embarrassed and shocked, and might ask, “What in the hell has happened to America?”

“International trade is a form of competition, and as such it also reveals costs and least-cost methods of production. American workers are the most productive workers in the world. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2002 the United States led the world in worker productivity: U.S. workers averaged $71,600 in output each (in 1999 dollars). The next highest country was Belgium, where each worker averaged $64,100.”

“From various government reports they find that: 46 percent of poor households actually own their homes; 76 percent have air conditioning; the typical poor American has more living space than the average non-poor individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens and other cities in Europe; nearly 75 percent of poor households own one car, and 30 percent own two or more cars; 97 percent have at least one color television; 62 percent have cable or satellite reception; and 25 percent have cell phones. While “poor” Americans don’t live in opulence, they are surely not poor either by international or historical standards in our own country.”

“I’m betting if God condemned an unborn spirit to a lifetime of poverty but He left him free to choose the country in which to be poor, he’d choose United States.”

“Here’s Williams’ roadmap out of poverty: Complete high school; get a job, any kind of a job; get married before having children; and be a law-abiding citizen. Among both black and white Americans so described, the poverty rate is in the single digits.”

“Lastly, it’s today’s Americans who have contempt for the Constitution, and any congressman or president upholding the Constitution’s letter and spirit would be tarred and feathered.”

“(T)here’s a difference between what people can do and what they’ll find in their interests to do.”

“Finding cheaper ways to produce goods and services frees up labor to produce other things. If productivity gains aren’t made, where in the world would we find workers to produce all those goods that weren’t even around in the 1970s?”

“A more insidious effect of minimum wages, as racists everywhere know, is that it lowers discrimination costs. Say a white and a black were equally productive and an employer prefers white workers to black workers. Since he has to pay $9 an hour no matter whom he hires, the cost of discriminating against the black worker is zero. But if it were legal for the black worker to offer a lower price, there’d be a cost to discrimination.”

“According to Education World, “Seven states use the National Evaluation System’s tests, 27 use the National Teachers Exam, 43 ask new teachers to pass basic skills tests, and 32 require teachers to demonstrate proficiency in the subjects they teach. Teachers have not done well on those tests. Failure rates are between 20 and 30 percent on the basic skills and proficiency tests and 50 to 55 percent on the National Teachers Exam.” Keep in mind that to pass the teacher certification test you need only eighth-, ninth- and, at best, 10th-grade skills. For example, a multiple choice math question asks: “Amy drinks one-and-a-half cups of milk three times a day. At this rate, how many cups will she drink in one week?”

“The route to greater academic excellence is nearly a no-brainer. There are three vital inputs to education: parents, teachers and students. You tell me: How much money does it take for teachers to assign homework, and for parents and teachers see to it that it gets done? How much money does it take to see to it that kids get a good night’s sleep, come to school on time, don’t fight in school,and respect authority? If these no-brainer things aren’t accomplished, there’s no amount of money that’s going to make much of a difference.”

“You might say, “If our Constitution provides no authority for programs near and dear to the hearts of so many Americans, the heck with the Constitution.” If that’s your perspective, you’re in good company. The Courts, Congress and the White House beat you to it. Long ago they said, “The heck with the Constitution.”

“What moral standard justifies third party use of force to prevent an American from exchanging with whomever he pleases, whether that person lives in Montana, Mexico or Japan? Some might rejoin: Through trade restrictions, other countries don’t permit their citizens to trade freely. That’s true, but should we support the notion that, for example, since the Japanese government doesn’t permit its citizens to be free the American government should retaliate by denying its citizens the right to trade freely?”

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