American Contempt for Liberty

American Contempt for Liberty
© 2015 Walter Williams
432 pages

“If the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan wanted to sabotage black academic excellence, he could not find a more effective means to do so than the government school system in most cities.”

American Contempt for Liberty caught my eye immediately, for its title alone, for I’ve had a growing suspicion that the failure of the American republic lies not only in the ever-expanding state, but in the populace that feeds it, and its subjects’ eagerness to bully one another – an eagerness  never more clearly on display in 2020, where we took  turns bullying each other for wearing or not wearing a mask – and are charging ahead into a brave new world of segregation.  This collection of essays is drawn from Williams’ columns throughout the 2010s.    Although the articles within given sections  are highly repetitive (sharing the same topic, quoting the same statistics, and reusing phrases),   the collection as a whole proved to be more of interest than I expected. The titular theme is chiefly dealt with in the first two sections, on politics and the Constitution,   and thereafter Williams writes more broadly on topics like race and education, topics which are closely linked in his thinking.  The last section covers the environment, health, and international goings- on including an article on how sugar subsidies indirectly sabotage the long-term health of Americans.  

Chiefly of interest to me were Williams’ pieces on race and education. As someone who came of age in the days of Jim Crow, Williams is outraged about how educational and political culture continues to fail his fellow blacks.  Pointing to the marked relative failure of black students compared to whites, hispanics, etc,  Williams puts his finger on several possible reasons, beginning with a noxious paternalism which excuses disruptive behavior in classrooms and schools as simply part of ‘black culture’, and does not push black students academically, allowing them to languish with  middle-school writing & reading skills even late into college.  Perhaps more importantly,  Williams points to the disintegration of the black family from the mid-20th century as an underminer  of long-term success,  academic and otherwise. Williams suggests that self-appointed black leaders  do their communities a disservice by studiously overlooking this factor, and endemic black-on-black violence,  as they continue   blaming everything on racism.  Williams has increasingly little use for the offerings of contemporary education even outside their connection with race, however, as he details rife corruption within high schools and the college system repeatedly, almost taking pleasure in how widespread the rot is. 

Given my own contempt for the state, it’s hardly surprising that I enjoyed this collection, especially for Williams’ thorough savaging of the ‘education’ sector. If you have never read Williams before, I would suggest not trying all of this in one go, given the frequent re-use of datasets. Although I read this title in 2020, I shelved the review (given its similarities to Thomas Sowell’s Is Reality Optional, another collection of essays in the conservative-libertarian realm) and forgot about it until recently, when I read a pair of books by two emerging black conservatives. Those are forthcoming.

About smellincoffee

Citizen, librarian, reader with a boundless wonder for the world and a curiosity about all the beings inside it.
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6 Responses to American Contempt for Liberty

  1. Cyberkitten says:

    I’m curious as to when Public (and private!) Health became such a political hot button topic. There’s a fringe group over here (a few thousand people probably) who protest masks and vaccinations but nothing like that in the US. Certainly from my PoV getting a vaccine is an easy decision – it’ll greatly decrease my risk of catching, getting ill from and dying from a highly contagious disease with effectively zero downside. That’s not a difficult chain of reasoning. I agree masks are annoying – mostly because they can steam up my glasses. Personally I don’t like them but I’ll wear one on public transport and @ the Mall both for my own benefit and for others. Plus I’ve actually developed a liking for the smell of hand sanitiser. I’ll think I’ll be using that for a long while yet – PLUS I *really* like the fact that I haven’t had a cold in 18 months. That I can definitely live with!

    • I think people are usually a little personal about their health! 😉

      From a rational POV, I would have no problems getting the vaccine prior to getting COVID. If I don’t know how COVID will effect me, then I have to account for it being potentially disasterous, and so getting a vaccine is a hedge-thy-bets option. However….exactly one years ago today I was diagnosed with COVID, and if I hadn’t gotten tested I wouldn’t have known it was anything more than a had cold. Since I now have antibodies (just tested my levels) and I know COVID is nothing to me, why would I get a vaccine with side effects that includes heart inflammation? I already have cardiac issues. What has pushed me firmly into the “Over my dead body” camp is the efforts of businesses and especially DC to force people to take it. I find that kind of personal coercion intolerable. I bend the knee to no man.

      Masks were my first flag that the government’s dictates were especially arbitrary in the coronamania times — at first we were told not to buy them, then we were told we had to wear them everywhere. Nevermind the manufacturers ‘ disclaimer on the box that they do nothing against viral infections. I get that they ‘can’ block transmission through mouth-spray, but….can’t we accomplish the same protection by not kissing or being in spitting distance of those we’re concerned about? 😉 Masks are nothing more than theatre, like crouching under desks in preparation for an A-bomb attack. The state wants us to believe They Are Doing Something, that the situation is being Handled — but it’s like cops making arbitrary arrests to “solve” a crime. The appearance of a solution is not a solution, and the measures imposed by states over the last two years will create far more problems than they can pretend to solve. The mental health blowback from this is going to be epic.

      • Cyberkitten says:

        If you didn’t already have cardiac issues and hadn’t already had Covid would you take the vaccine? I think it’s a bit like going on holiday or getting a dream job in a country that has typhoid or cholera. If you needed a vaccine for that presumably you’d get one on your doctors recommendations? You wouldn’t risk getting a potentially fatal disease? Or would you not go there or pass up on the job? Not ‘bending the knee’ and instead taking a risk to your health or life seems more than a little extreme to me. Without a consideration of existing health conditions I don’t see any downside to getting the vaccine not matter who has recommended it – or even mandated it. I’d rather be free and vaccinated than (at least potentially) in the ICU ‘Face timing’ with loved ones.

      • If I hadn’t had COVID and I didn’t have the issues that made riskier, then I probably would have taken it whenever it became available to public servants. Had I delayed until the Biden mandate, however…..I think my decision would have still changed. My absolute hatred for coercion is the greatest consistency in my life, particularly since I escaped the pentecostals. For me, rebelling in the little things steels my soul to able to rebel in the things that REALLY matter.

    • Marian says:

      There’s other side effects besides heart conditions… For example, Vice News (to my mind, a pretty leftist media outlet) released a video in July about how it could adversely affect women’s health. Many women came forth in the comments to share about their experiences:

      It’s troubling that these side effects, which could be excruciatingly painful, have not been deeply studied and yet the mandates have already started. We certainly don’t know all the outcomes and side effects of Covid vs. the vaccines…certainly true that Covid *could* be worse for a particular person. But it’s a bit much to say, “we’re the government – we don’t know a thing about you and your past health history, but we’re going to make the choice for you or you’ll lose your employment / student status / participation in events.”

      And as far as medical exemptions go, a friend of mine with documented health issues applied for one and was denied by his doctor. So I don’t think they are making sufficient concessions, both for people who have already had Covid or people who have existing conditions.

  2. I wish the vaccine is really as benign as Cyber makes it sound, HOWEVER, there can be serious side effects. I know one person in their late forties who was hospitalized for months and they thought she might need a lung transplant. A perfectly healthy person before she received the vaccine. The doctors at first denied her condition was due to the vaccine but later admitted on paper that it was. My doctor had both his sons come down with side effects, one with a rash all over his body and the other with pericarditis. I also know of two deaths of my friend’s elderly parents after the vaccine and various others with mild to serious effects. I only know of two people who were hospitalized with COVID and both recovered.

    The FDA had a huge meeting last Friday ( with scientists and doctors (theirs and independent ones) to discuss the vaccine booster. There were a number of very strong cautions from eminently respected professionals who are concerned about the safety of the vaccine. One said by his calculations (and other scientists have done the same) for every one person saved from COVID, two are dying from the vaccine (the U.S. logs some of the adverse effects on the VAERS site but they say it’s only a small percentage). The panel finally recommended the booster only for those 65 and older (which the CDC changed this week but that’s another story).

    Death from the Covid vaccines is more than the deaths from other vaccines in the last 30 years combined.

    AND we are told the unvaccinated are getting sick yet they are including those with one dose of a vaccine > three weeks in the “unvaccinated” category. This time frame is generally when a vaccine might adversely affect someone, ie. kill them. So why are they not breaking out the two? Why wouldn’t they show the truly unvaccinated by themselves to make their point? Choosing to include the singly vaccinated looks rather suspicious. And today we’ve been told that if a child is kept home from school sick and they don’t do a COVID test the child will be considered a COVID case. REALLY?? How do we believe anyone with behaviour like this??

    Sorry to clog your comments, Stephen, but I’m so bothered that people are only being fed one side. I agree with you about the coercion. And I’m stunned others don’t feel that there’s something wrong with this picture.

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