Race and Free Markets

Thomas Jackson, American Renaissance, May 11, 2012

RaceAndEcon
A defense of rational discrimination.

Walter E. Williams, Race & Economics: How Much Can be Blamed on Discrimination? Hoover Institution Press, 2011, 174 pp., $14.95 (soft cover)

Walter Williams, who teaches economics at George Mason University, has packed more good sense about race into this slim volume than can be found in shelves of books by lesser writers. His central argument is that racial discrimination is an increasingly threadbare excuse for black poverty and unemployment. He gives many striking historical examples to demonstrate that employers are far more interested in making money than in keeping blacks down, and that capable blacks find work in free markets. What holds back blacks today are self-inflicted handicaps such as widespread illegitimacy and the effects of well-meaning but counterproductive uplift programs. It is a pity this book was published by the Hoover Institution rather than by a trade publisher with real marketing muscle.

This book is also a convincing treatise on the importance of leaving markets alone rather than trying to rig them to help the poor. As Prof. Williams points out, one seemingly permanent problem in Western societies is the desire to do something when it would be better to do nothing:

Decent people promote policy in the name of helping the poor and disadvantaged. Those policies can make their ostensible beneficiaries worse off, because policy is often evaluated in terms of intentions rather than effects. . . . Compassionate policy requires dispassionate analysis. Policy intentions and policy effects often bear no relationship to one another.

There are busybodies who cannot abide inequality, and when they get their hands on power, there is no end to the mischief they may do.

Who is Poor?

First, however, Prof. Williams points out that what passes for poverty is the United States is not the wretchedness we associate with the word. The people whom the census calls poor have the same consumption of protein and vitamins as the middle class. “The average poor American,” adds Prof. Williams, “has more living space than the average nonpoor individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other European cities.” He also notes that although in 1971 only 32 percent of Americans had air conditioning in their homes, by 2001, 76 percent of poor people had air conditioning, and that “by 2001, 97 percent of poor households had a color television set and over half of those, two or more sets.”

What has replaced material poverty is what Prof. Williams calls “behavioral poverty,” or bad choices that lead to poverty. Dropping out of school and unwed motherhood—70 percent of black children are illegitimate—are obvious examples. It is absurd for liberals to persist in claiming illegitimacy is a “legacy of slavery.” Prof. Williams points out that even under slavery, a majority of black children lived with both parents, and in 1925, 85 percent of black households in New York City had both parents present.

Welfare has done great harm to the poor, and especially to blacks. It was already known in the 1970s that every increase in welfare payments resulted in a drop of 80 cents in labor earnings. A study from the same era found that a 50 percent increase in welfare payments caused a 43 percent increase in illegitimate births. When welfare eases the pain of shiftlessness, the country gets more of it.

In 1959, 31.5 percent of heads of poor households worked year-round, but by 1989, only 16.2 percent bothered to work. As Prof. Williams notes, many people on welfare admit that it would be easy to find a low-paying job, but they don’t work because they can get by on the dole.

Regulations or Discrimination?

Prof. Williams demolishes the perpetual liberal lament that blacks are poorer than whites because they face “racism” at every turn. He argues that few employers indulge racial preferences in hiring if it means paying a higher wage.

This has been clear since at least the time of slavery. New Orleans had the highest proportion of free blacks of any city in the ante-bellum South, and many learned trades and prospered. Travelers wrote with astonishment of “Negro artisans being served by Irish waiters and free Negro masons with Irish hod carriers.” These free blacks sold their services mainly to whites, who probably did not hold blacks in high regard but hired them if they did good work at reasonable rates.

Even William Lloyd Garrison recognized the power of markets. He wanted abolition but did not want special treatment for freedmen because he thought they would not need it:

Place two mechanics by the side of each other, one colored and one white, and he who works the cheapest and best will get the most custom. In making a bargain, the color of the man will never be consulted.

William Lloyd Garrison, editor of the abolitionist newspaper The Liberator.

This was, indeed, the case for many “self-hiring” slaves. In return for regular payments to their masters, they were free to find work and support themselves. If they knew a trade, they could live far better than most slaves and pay their masters what amounted to a good return on their price as a slave. White tradesmen resented the competition, and in North Carolina they got the legislature to pass a law in 1831 to fine any owner who let his slave compete in the market. In Connecticut, free blacks undercut white laborers, who also petitioned the authorities to bar blacks from certain professions.

After emancipation, it took Jim Crow laws to keep blacks out of the trades in the South. White workers could not count on white bosses to give them work if blacks were willing to do the job for a little less. As Prof. Williams notes, the most powerful weapon in the fight against hiring discrimination is “the right to work for lower wages.”

The purpose of labor unions, of course, is to deny non-members “the right to work for lower wages.” Unions can keep wages high because they have a monopoly on the trade that keeps out competitors. This hurts non-members of all races, but many unions deliberately kept out non-whites. That is why Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, and W.E.B. DuBois were lifelong foes of unions. As Marcus Garvey said, “The only convenient friend the Negro worker or laborer has in America at the present time is the white capitalist.”

The famous labor leader Samuel Gompers cared about the welfare only of whites, noting that “Caucasians are not going to let their standard of living be destroyed by Negroes, Chinamen, Japs, or any other.” He was coauthor of a pamphlet called “Some Reasons for Chinese Exclusion: Meat vs. Rice, American Manhood against Coolieism—Which Shall Survive?”

Samuel Gompers, a pro-white unionist.

White solidarity was common in the labor movement. In 1909 there was a strike against the Georgia Railway in which the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen demanded that blacks be excluded from all railroad jobs. The arbitration board denied that request but ruled that blacks and whites should be paid the same wage. The union was happy because the incentive for hiring lower-wage blacks had been removed.

Prof. Williams argues that before the era of minimum wages, heavy unionization, and government meddling in wages, an unfettered market meant blacks were more likely to have work than whites. In 1910, he reports, 71 percent of blacks over age 9 had work compared to 51 percent of whites, and blacks enjoyed higher employment rates until Congress began to set wages on public works programs.

For Prof. Williams, the watershed event was the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931, which required the federal government to hire labor at “prevailing” wages. These are essentially union wages, and are 15 to 40 percent higher than the free-market wage. Since contractors were forced to pay high wages, they hired skilled labor, which tended to be white. 1930 was the last year when the black unemployment rate was lower than the white rate.

The National Recovery Act, which was passed during the Depression in 1933, required that certain industries pay the union wage, which had the same effect of driving away low-skill, low-wage black labor. The black press called the NRA such names as Negro Run Around, Negroes Rarely Allowed, Negroes Robbed Again, and Negro Removal Act, and rejoiced when the act was found unconstitutional in 1935.

The Blue Eagle was used by companies as a symbol of compliance with the National Recovery Act.

Prof. Williams cites a more recent example of well-intentioned regulation hurting blacks. A company that manages housing for the Department of Housing and Urban Development had planned to pay neighborhood men—most of whom were black—$5.00 an hour to remove salvageable material from public housing that was going to be fixed up. Davis-Bacon required that the workers be paid $14.00 an hour, which meant that it made sense to hire skilled workers, most of whom were white.

Until 1979, the trucking industry was regulated, and wages were unnaturally high. After deregulation, blacks were able to offer their services at lower rates, and were three times more likely to be owner-operators than before deregulation. Prof. Williams argues that eliminating government interference is the best way to help blacks and other unskilled workers get jobs, because they can compete on price—and it works without the rancor of quotas or racial preferences.

Licensing

Prof. Williams has particular scorn for the practice of licensing. Most of the time he sees it as nothing more than a legal means of keeping competitors out of a profession and raising prices. In some places, it is necessary to get a license to be a barber, fortune teller, tree surgeon, or septic tank cleaner, and plumbers, electricians, and taxi drivers almost always need licenses. The theory is that licenses keep frauds and quacks out of the trade, but according to Prof. Williams:

[M]ost licensure laws are the result of intense lobbying by incumbents, not of consumers demanding more protection from incompetent or unscrupulous practitioners; (2) when incumbents in an unlicensed trade lobby for licensing (or when those in one already licensed lobby for higher entry requirements) they virtually always seek a “grandfather” clause that exempts them from meeting the new requirements.

Most of the time, the people who write licensing tests are members of the profession who have no incentive to let in others. When times are tough, they routinely raise the passing grade to keep out fresh talent.

All states require cosmetologists to be licensed, but Prof. Williams thinks this is ridiculous. Cosmetologists simply do for others what most women do for themselves at home, and he thinks there should be no barriers to entering the trade. Skillful practitioners will get customers and bunglers will not.

Licensing has other costs. One study found that the tougher the standards for electricians’ licenses, the higher the number of electrocutions in the home. This is because high license requirements mean few electricians are in the profession and they can charge high rates. This means more people try to do electric work themselves and grab the wrong wires.

Prof. Williams summarizes the effects of licensing:

By insisting on stiff requirements for entry, licensing provides high-quality services for high-income people. But people with low incomes, who cannot afford to pay the higher prices, are forced to do without the services, do the work themselves, or rely on low-priced, unlicensed charlatans. . . .

A spectrum of quality, from high to low, is consistent with the optimal stock of goods and services. Being forced to purchase a higher-quality good or service, when a lower-quality would suffice or is what the customer wants, hurts consumers economically.

Prof. Williams points out that it is possible to provide the consumer with objective information about tradesman competence without restricting entry. A plumbing test, for example, could be open to anyone, but there would have to be a foolproof way of making sure the grades were available to the public. That way, people who insisted on having work done by plumbers who scored 98 or higher could pay more for premium service. People who were satisfied with someone who scored 70 could pay less.

The fees people pay for taxi medallions are an indication of just how much the public is being gouged. In 2007, a New York City medallion sold for $603,000. This means the buyer figured he could earn back that much money by charging the high, regulated fares set by the taxi commission. If anyone with a car could operate as a taxi driver, fares would be significantly cheaper—and a medallion would have no value at all. Prof. Williams notes that there is such a high demand for reasonably priced car service that there are an estimated 30,000 gypsy caps in New York, but they operate illegally.

$603,000 worth of licensing.

In order to set up a licensing requirement, members of the trade have to persuade some government body to pass a licensing law, but, as Prof. Williams notes, this is an ancient practice: “People have always sought to use laws to accomplish what they cannot accomplish through voluntary, peaceable exchange.”

The racial angle, of course, is that any barrier to entering a profession will keep out the poorest and the worst trained, who are likely to be blacks.

Minimum-wage laws have the same effect. Prof. Williams points out that it is young blacks who are most likely to be thrown out of work when a rise in the minimum wage makes their job uneconomical. It makes sense to hire a skilled worker who charges $20.00 an hour but who is just as productive as a three minimum-wage workers who get $7.00 an hour. If the less productive workers could legally charge $6.00 it would make more sense to hire them. Minimum-wage laws are another example of depriving people of “the right to work for lower wages.” In the 1940s and 1950s, black teenagers were more likely than white teenagers to have jobs. That was before national minimum-wage laws.

Prof. Williams calls this yet another perverse result of good intentions:

Before the do-gooders “helped,” they forgot to ask, why would anyone work ten hours per day for the paltry sum of $2 or $3 an hour? Would they have selected such a job if they had superior alternatives?

Not being able to take below-minimum-wage work has another disadvantage:

Early work opportunities provide much more than [pocket money]: important insights on how to find a job and to adopt proper attitudes towards both punctuality and respect for supervision in the workplace. Lessons of that sort learned on any job help make a young person a more valuable and successful worker in the future.

Prof. Williams argues that if people are really worried about blacks getting jobs, they should let markets take their course:

The broad solution to exclusion is for the U.S. Supreme Court to interpret the right to work as it now interprets the right to speech. The Court has all but said that there is no compelling state reason for limiting freedom of speech. Similarly, from a moral point of view, there are very few compelling state reasons for limiting one’s freedom to work.

Rational Discrimination

Race is a pretty good indicator of test scores, worker reliability, athletic ability, crime rates, and many other things, so it is foolish to ignore it. A particular black may be smart and hard working, but it takes time for an employer to find that out; for some jobs it may be more efficient to hire on race alone. This is racial profiling, of course, and Prof. Williams considers it reasonable. Blacks may be annoyed if a taxi does not pick them up or if the pizza company refuses to deliver in their neighborhood, but that is the fault of criminal blacks who make that kind of decision-making rational.

Race is also an indicator of the likelihood of having certain diseases and that certain treatments may work better than others. If it is reasonable to play the racial odds in medical treatment, it should always be reasonable to play the odds.

Prof. Williams points out that it is normal for chain stores to charge higher prices in black areas. In white neighborhoods, managers can put plants and bags of fertilizer outside the store without fear that they will be stolen. They can display merchandize by the exits, and no one will run off with it. Stores in black areas cannot use space in the same efficient way, so for that reason alone they must charge higher prices.

Detroit has no chain grocery stores.

Blacks have demonstrated against “price gauging” in their neighborhoods, and pressured stores to sell at the same prices as in the suburbs, but that just drives merchants away. If store keepers had been making boom-time profits, someone else would open up shop and do the same. If there are no supermarkets in the ghetto it is because profits cannot be made there.

Prof. Williams also sees the racial element in the sub-prime mortgage crisis. There was tremendous government pressure to lend to non-whites who had bad credit, so it was predictable that many borrowers would be charged a risk premium and that many would default. If bankers had not been forced to abandon traditional lending standards, the collapse might have been avoided.

Prof. Williams defends all forms of discrimination. Every free choice is discrimination; wine drinkers discriminate against beer. It is therefore wrong to issue special prohibitions against racial discrimination. He explains that a woman need give no reason for refusing to associate with a man (or vice versa), so whites should be free to refuse to associate with blacks (and vice versa). “From an objective analytical point of view,” he writes, “there are no conceptual distinctions between racial preferences and preferences for other objects of desire.”

Discrimination is not without cost, however. Whites who want to live with whites have to pay more for housing than whites who are willing to live with blacks, but this preference should not be condemned.

The problem of capitalism

Prof. Williams is certainly right to argue that capitalism does not care about race. Many employers who would never socialize with blacks nevertheless hire them if they work at reasonable rates. During apartheid, there were laws that banned blacks from certain mining trades. South African mining companies routinely broke those laws, and paid fines for hiring competent blacks. The profit motive was more powerful than racial solidarity.

Some whites who value racial solidarity therefore oppose free markets (and free association), but they should pick their enemies carefully. Attacking capitalism is a strange way to foster racial consciousness. In fact, many of today’s market distortions are deliberate assaults on white solidarity. “Affirmative action,” anti-discrimination laws, the promotion of “diversity” over merit, busing, racial quotas, and deliberate establishment of Section 8 housing in white neighborhoods are all government interventions that disadvantage whites and break up white communities.

It would be good for whites and good for the country if these tyrannies could be abolished. It would be good for the country if more people paid attention to Walter Williams.

Walter Williams

Topics: , , ,

Share This

Thomas Jackson
Thomas Jackson lives in Virginia and has been writing for American Renaissance for more than 15 years.
We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • Kevin W. Cornell

    Brilliant article by Mr. Jackson and great insights by Walter Williams. Unfortunately, or rather tragically, many people, both black and white, even those who seemingly have different values and agendas, simply do NOT understand basic economics AT ALL.  This frustrates me to no end. Many, if not all, of the market distortions caused by the government are genuinely repulsive, as they hurt the masses of both blacks and whites. As Mr. Williams eloquently puts it: “Compassionate policy requires dispassionate analysis. Policy intentions and policy effects often bear no relationship to one another.” Indeed. Couldn’t have put it better myself.

    I also appreciate this quote from Mr. Williams: “From an objective analytical point of view, there are no conceptual distinctions between racial preferences and preferences for other objects of desire.” This is something I personally was thinking about recently. It’s comforting to know that others understand this point as well. Props to Mr. Williams on this.

    Finally, I’d like to point out that a genuine understanding and appreciation for free markets, including freedom of association and the freedom NOT to associate, is something that, on net balance, would greatly benefit the MASSES of both blacks AND whites. Does that mean an alliance is possible between the supposedly evil race realists and blacks? If this country was governed more rationally and the populace was more intelligent it WOULD most certainly mean just that. I’m unwilling to stake my reputation on any optimistic predictions however. Still, great article. Reading things like this keeps me sane.

    • robinbishop34

      “From an objective analytical point of view, there are no conceptual
      distinctions between racial preferences and preferences for other
      objects of desire.”

      I believe that deep down, even the most strident diversity zealot understands this but are so warped by political correctness they still would demand your head be put on a block for mentioning it.

  • JohnEngelman

    There is little obvious relationship between labor unions and minimum wage laws and levels and the unemployment rate. Unemployment continued to decline during the New Deal after minimum wage laws and laws to protect labor unions were passed. 
                                                 
    By raising the incomes of the less skilled labor unions and minimum wage laws make them better consumers. When they buy more employers are encouraged to hire more. 
     
    Currently corporations have plenty of money. They are not hiring because of low consumer demand. 

    • Kevin W. Cornell

      John, I believe I read Thomas Sowell saying that at one point minimum wage laws did not cause unemployment because the set minimum wage rate was lower than the market rate. In other words, if you set the minimum wage rate at $1/hour, that will have zero affect on employment rates because the market rate itself is higher than $1/hour, but if you were to set the minimum wage rate at $20/hour, that would surely put many people out of work, as the market rate for certain jobs isn’t even half the rate of $20/hour and paying certain employees the rate of $20/hour would simply be unprofitable for business. In other words, I contend that your economics are woefully wrong.

      • Jimmy Fisher

        Not to mention what a $20 minimum wage would do inflation.

        Funny cycle… when I was in the Army many years ago, every year we waited to get our annual COLA cost of living adjustment… when it came, like clock work, everything sold or offered service on post went up the same percentage.

        Haircuts, dry cleaning, PX… everything

      • JohnEngelman

        Time Magazine “The Minimum Wage,” 
        By LAURA FITZPATRICK Friday, July 24, 2009
              
        Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley found that after an 80-cent New Jersey minimum wage hike in 1992, employment in the state’s fast-food restaurants rose slightly faster than in Pennsylvania, where the minimum wage did not change…
                     
        Instead of killing jobs, minimum wage supporters argue, the wage floor increases productivity and boosts consumer purchasing power…                 
        the value of the minimum wage in real dollar terms has risen and fallen on political tides, peaking in 1968 when an hour’s pay bought nearly 5 gal. (19 L) of gas. By 2006, it paid for less than 2 gal. (8 L)http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1912408,00.html       
                                 
        In 1968 the unemployment rate was 3.6 percent. In 2006 the Unemployment rate was 4.6 percent. The Great Recession soon followed.
                   
        http://www.bls.gov/cps/prev_yrs.htm         
                                   
                         
        In economics it is difficult to prove very much, and easy to give evidence for whatever one wants to believe. We cannot go back in time, choose a different economic policy and measure different results. 
                         
        Most minimum wage jobs cannot be automated or shipped overseas. Consequently, when the minimum wage is increased employers have no choice but to pay their minimum wage workers more. 

      • Oil Can Harry

        When Democrats tell me we must raise the minimum wage to help the poor I ask “Then why only raise it to $7.25 an hour? Why not raise it to $1000 an hour so we can all be millionaires?”

        Even they acknowledge that would kill too many jobs. So even they admit minimum wage laws kill jobs; their real argument is that small increases in the wage will only cost some jobs while helping enough of the poor to be a worthwhile tradeoff.

      • http://countenance.wordpress.com/ Question Diversity

         In virtually every place, situation and circumstance in America today, the minimum wage is below equilibrium.  Therefore, saying that the minimum wage doesn’t cause unemployment is the classic “absence of evidence” fallacy.

        • Kevin W. Cornell

          Just to be clear, I believe minimum wage laws today DO cause unemployment because the minimum wage is higher than the market rate for certain types of work.

  • JohnEngelman

    Those who attribute poverty to the moral deficiencies of the poor ignore the growing importance of superior intelligence in the job market. 

    • Oil Can Harry

      While it would be absurd to claim that 100% of the poor are immoral, there is in fact a link between intelligence, morality and wealth.

      Most of any given nation’s prison population come from the lower end of the bell curve.

      • JohnEngelman

        What you say is true. 
         
        From the unionization of production work during the middle 1930s to the recession of 1974 it was possible for a man with a double digit IQ to earn a fairly good income with good benefits. Since then this has becoming increasingly difficult. Consequently those of lower than average intelligence have less incentive to behave responsibly. 
                          
        Those who attribute increased social pathology exclusively to the expansion of the welfare system that happened with the war on poverty declared in 1964 overlook this.     
                           
        In his book “COMING APART: THE STATE OF WHITE AMERICA, 1960-2010″ Charles Murray demonstrates that social pathology has increased among the white working class also. 
        http://amren.com/news/2012/02/book-review-coming-apart/ 

        • MikeofAges

           Keep in mind, anything that affects white America, especially when you mean by the “white America” blue collar, lower middle class and traditional white America, will affect black America even more so.

          Last hired, first fired has a bigger arc than you know.

      • http://seradly.blogspot.com/ REGVLVS

         *Any* given nation? I doubt that. Regarding actual criminals, what you say is true. But around the world, prisons are full of people who are not actual criminals but political prisoners. At some point, Western nations are also going to tip that balance and the majority of prisoners will be those convicted of violations that are not actual crimes (especially since so few criminals- particularly drug-addicts- actually serve their full sentences). That is, unless a major change takes place. Obama is fundamentally no different in mentality from Robert Mugabe.  There is nothing in his own character that would prevent him from rounding up and incarcerating any opponent and their whole clan. Not only would he do that, but he will when he secures enough power to do so.

  • http://eradica.wordpress.com/ Firepower

    Why do most blacks have to be like
    Al Sharpton and “jay-z”
    instead of Williams
    and Sowell

  • WmarkW

    Someone really needs to study how much actual discrimination exists today against blacks as compared to, say, fat women.   When the evidence for racism consists of behavioral deficits and their consequent achievement gaps, the point shouldn’t be hard to make that an increase of the giveaways and opportunity preferences based on expanding concepts of what constitutes a civil right, are not the ticket to any solutions.

    NOTE TO AMRENERS:  Professor Williams’ points are the ones we must use if we want to carry any weight in political discourse.  We will not get anywhere with arguments along the lines of being sick of black’s stuff, looking forward to a race war, or needing to separate the country.  Making an effort to appear constructive, which means making blacks face their problems and solve them with a toughlove approach, has a chance.

  • http://countenance.wordpress.com/ Question Diversity

    If I didn’t know any better, if I read this book, and the book was anything like the review makes it out to be, I would come away from it being against free markets.  As it is, I am hardly a free market absolutist.

    What holds back blacks today are self-inflicted handicaps such as
    widespread illegitimacy and the effects of well-meaning but
    counterproductive uplift programs. It is a pity this book was published
    by the Hoover Institution rather than by a trade publisher with real
    marketing muscle.

    Books written by blacks that don’t tow that much of the party line don’t even hit the publishing stratosphere.  That’s what’s depressing about what passes for good books these days — One can write a book calling liberals every cuss word in the book, and you’re on Fox News all the time.  OTOH, someone writes a book using no cuss words, and in fact, erudite language, and calls it White Identity, with virtually no attention from the “mainstream” media.  It’s not just the book business either — A potty mouth like Howard Stern is called “good radio,” but Jared Taylor can count the number of times he’s a guest on radio shows a year on one hand.

    • Strider73

      Fortunately the big publishing houses are becoming irrelevant, thanks to Amazon and Barnes & Noble. You can get this book in Kindle format and save a bit of money in the process. If the Hoover Institution had refused to publish, Williams could have self-published on Amazon and set his own price. Like newspapers, the publishing houses’ days are numbered thanks to the Internet.

      • http://countenance.wordpress.com/ Question Diversity

         Publishing is one thing, publicity is another.

        • down_south

          As an independent writer/editor and publicist specializing in book promotion, I intend to contact Walter Williams and offer to assist his marketing team (assuming he has one) pro bono.   

  • Church_of_Jed

    “William Lord Garrison? William Lord Garrison? Let me tell you something about William Lord Garrision! Never was a man so hideously devoted to the fate of the imagined N’gro while devotedly keeping himself as ignorant as possible of the real N’rgo.”

    -Rev. Jed DeValleyism, “Our esteem and affection for Hinton Rowan Helper grows daily,” 2012

    NOONDAY EXIGENCIES IN AMERICA, by Hinton Rowan Helper, 1871:

    Almost immediately after the termination of my interview with Mr, Phillips, I sought Mr. Garrison,  and appealed to him, as I had just appealed to his illustrious coadjutor in a liberal and noble cause, for evidence, if evidence could be adduced, that the negro was worthy of the very high esteem in which I confessed I was much surprised to find him (the negro) held by many of the Boston abolitionists. Mr. Garrison’s reply differed little from Mr. Phillips’ — and was not a whit more lucid or satisfactory. He knew the negro only as a slave, and had made no particular investigations in regard to his past history nor in reference to any other fact characteristic of his mental, moral or physical qualities. The iniquitous system of slavery which then surrounded and controlled the negro overshadowed all other considerations concerning him; and, therefore, the abolition of slavery, regardless of all collateral issues, was the imperative business of the hour.

    Whether the white man and the negro were one by nature, or whether they were created separately and differently, could, perhaps, never be positively ascertained, — it was, with every human being, of whatever way of thinking, a mere matter of opinion; but, as for himself, although he had read no work that treated the negro as belonging to a distinct and lowerspecies of mankind, yet he had never doubted that all  men had a common parentage, and he believed they should all, irrespective of race, color or condition, be invested with the same rights, privileges and immunities.

    I have thus related, in substance, what was said to me, eleven years ago, by two Southern gentlemen of position and influence, who were intensely pro-slavery, ‘but who, nevertheless, had read nothing, and would learn nothing, against slavery, — and by two Northern gentlemen of great distinction and worth, who were uncompromisingly devoted to the general principles of freedom for all ; but who were also, at the same time zealously pro-negro, without knowing, and apparently without caring to know, that the negro, as compared with the white man, is, in all the quantities and qualities of his nature, manifestly and immutably marked by many inferior traits of character.

  • Carney3

    Free trade in commodities and finance does not require free movement of people.  I’m happy to buy cheap flip-flops made in Mexico; it does not mean I want my country drowned in Mexicans.  Autarky has been most assiduously pursued by North Korea, an ethnically homogenous society of high-IQ people.  The results have been instructive to all but the deliberately stupid.

    • http://countenance.wordpress.com/ Question Diversity

      Free trade in commodities and finance does not require free movement of people.

      You’re right in that free trade and open borders are not co-requirements, you can have one and not adopt the other.

      But it’s like saying that I could marry a black woman (forbid) and not ever have to open my wallet to bail her male relatives out of jail from time to time.

      Adopting one creates pressure on your culture, society, economy and politics to adopt the other.  In fact, free trade, open borders, transnational currencies and transnational government are all intertwined.  Adopt one, and you eventually must take the other three.

      • http://seradly.blogspot.com/ REGVLVS

         Damn right. Unless one follows the path of China, towards mercantilism and a worldwide nepotism carried on the back of their “overseas” communities.

        The Chinese play in the global marketplace without putting China herself into the fray. Their borders are only really open to outward movement… to allow for the establishment of new colonies in other nations which will not be subject to any One-Child policy. Western yuppies love studying Eastern philosophies, martial arts, and all that other ancient stuff. Why not learn from how they are acting in today’s world economy?

    • Space4jan

      I said REGIONAL autarky of people(s) of similar culture, i.e. one that has enough food and raw materials within its area.  This is a necessary though not sufficient basis for prosperity.  The only internal regulation needed, apart from the prevention of criminal force and fraud, would be some check on competition caused by deliberate lowering of labour costs rather than improvements in efficiency, and a eugenic philosophy.  North Korea is not a good example as an experimental area, unlike the semi-continental USA or even France until relatively recently.  Dependence of white nations on Asian supplies, and on the uncontrolled movement of international finance that derives usury from an export-import system, endangers the economic substructure of our civilization as does the importation of cheap labour.  The difference between the communist policy that marxian politics should command and my suggestion is that western race and culture should command, and judge economic policies accordingly. Exchange of specialities, or scientic information through the communications media, between different cultures is not excluded. The ideas of List, Spann, Keynes and Mosley need to be updated, not discarded.  

  • Carney3

    Williams uses the efforts of whites to band together to protect themselves economically from non-whites as a way to attack all regulation and unions.  Since white self  interest is ipso facto evil, interference in the market motivated by white self-interest is also evil, and thus we are to regard all interference in the market as evil as well.  There are many flaws in this construct and they start from the first premise.

  • NM156

    This professor is full of poop. Corporations strive to eliminate competition by monopolizing markets; therefore, labor should just roll over and die by letting low-wage competition exterminate them. Cosmetologists don’t need to be licensed? Ask a customer with retinal damage from hair dye running into his or her eyes or a chemically-burned scalp. Having one’s head of hair destroyed by an amateur is alone a justification for licensing. Tougher licenses for electricians causes electricians? Some bizarro statistical correlation does not prove causation: what radical change in licensing electricians would force out so many aspiring electricians? A better explanation is that the debt-laden homeowners who bought during the real estate boom were less able to hire an electrician at any cost while the technological demands brought about by the boom increased for electricians. What electrician without formal training would be able to service a transformer or three-phase circuits? Hiring someone without proof of expertise could mean death or loss of property. By the way, a genius one need not be to assume that this professor supports open borders. American workers need more competition!

  • tobermory

    When reading the article, I wondered about Professor Williams’s views on immigration.   It turns out that he favours  strong measures against illegal immigration.  As for legal immigration, he wants it to be made easier.   In his own words –

    “My sentiments on immigration are expressed by the welcoming words of
    poet Emma Lazarus’ that grace the base of our Statue of Liberty: “Give me
    your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

     

    http://townhall.com/columnists/walterewilliams/2010/05/19/immigration_and_liberty

  • IstvanIN

    Yeah, right.

  • http://seradly.blogspot.com/ REGVLVS

     How then do you explain the cultural and social decline of the Black community from a century ago?

  • http://seradly.blogspot.com/ REGVLVS

     Slavery in the United States was a tragically unnecessary system which resulted in immense costs for this nation (costs that are still harming this country today). The tons of cotton that were produced were not worth it… especially when one understands how inferior cotton is to alternatives like linen and wool.