Educate Yourself: Listen to Economist Walter Williams

The below interview with libertarian economist Walter Williams is intellectual gold. I encourage anyone willing to educate themselves on such important issues as race, economics and politics (which should be everyone) to watch this video in its entirety.

From the youtube video page:

In 1981, Secretary of Health Education and Welfare Patricia Harris wrote in the Washington Post that libertarian economists Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell are “middle class” so they “don’t know what it is to be poor.”

In fact, Williams grew up in a single-parent household in a poor section of Philadelphia. He was raised by his mother, who was a high school dropout. The family spent time on welfare, and eventually moved into the Richard Allen public housing project. (Sowell, whose father died before he was born, was the son of a maid.)

Drafted into the peacetime Army, Williams eventually earned a PhD from UCLA in the late 1960s and quickly became a sought-after researcher and public intellectual. His best known book, 1982’s The State Against Blacks, argues that a major cause of black unemployment is government intervention in the labor market.

Throughout his career, Williams has used his own life to illustrate how government regulations often work to deny opportunities to poor blacks, and his memoir is no exception. For example, Williams recounts that when he was a teenager, he was fired from a great job at a hat factory when a fellow employee complained to the Department of Labor that his boss was violating child labor laws.

Reason.tv’s Nick Gillespie recently sat down with Williams to talk about his life, how his experiences have informed his scholarship, his lead role in turning George Mason University into a center for libertarian scholarship, and whether the Obama presidency has improved the lives of blacks in the United States.

The closing statements made by Walter Williams, from 26:00 on, are especially worth watching even if you don’t watch the rest of the video. Williams points out that for the first time in our country’s history we are endanger of people taking their wealth and leaving the United States when, at every other time in our history, the people of the world have brought their wealth and their talents to our shores. “Are we so arrogant?” Asks Williams, as to think that we are any different in our pursuit of American imperialism and the suppression of liberties than the Romans, the British, the Portuguese, or any other great empire of the past? They all came crashing down and, unless we reverse the trend of overextending ourselves financially and militarily, of increasing federal powers, and of the suppression of liberties we, too, will falter.

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