Editor's Choice

Re-education at George Mason

Re-education at George Mason

This week begins my 34th year serving on George Mason University’s distinguished economics faculty. You might imagine my surprise when I received a letter from its Office of Equity and Diversity Services notifying me that I was required to “complete the in-person Equal Opportunity and Prevention of Sexual Harassment Policies and Procedures training.” This is a leftist agenda for indoctrination, thought control and free speech suppression to which I shall refuse to submit. Let’s look at it.

Ideas such as equity and equal opportunity, while having high emotional value, are vacuous analytical concepts. For example, I’ve asked students whether they plan to give every employer an equal opportunity to hire them when they graduate. To a person, they always answer no. If they aren’t going to give every employer an equal opportunity to hire them, what’s fair about forcing employers to give them an equal opportunity to be hired?

I’m guilty of gross violation of equality of opportunity, racism, and possibly sexism. Back in 1960, when interviewing people to establish a marital contract, every woman wasn’t given an equal opportunity. I discriminated against not only white, Indian, Asian, Mexica,n and handicapped women but men of any race. My choices were confined to good-looking black women. You say, “Williams, that kind of discrimination doesn’t harm anyone!” Nonsense! When I married Mrs. Williams, other women were harmed by having a reduced opportunity set.

George Mason’s Office of Equity and Diversity Services has far more challenging equity and diversity work than worrying about the re-education of Professor Williams. They must know that courts have long held that gross racial disparities are probative of a pattern and practice of discrimination. The most notable gross racial disparity on campus, and hence probative of discrimination, can be found on GMU’s fabulous men’s basketball team. Blacks are less than 9 percent of student enrollment but are 85 percent of our varsity basketball team and dominate its starting five. It’s not just GMU. Watch any Saturday afternoon college basketball game and ask yourself the question fixated in the minds of equity, diversity and inclusion hunters: Does this look like America? Among the 10 players on the court, at best there might be two white players. In 2010, 61 percent of Division I basketball players were black, and only 31 percent were white.

Allied with the purveyors of equity, diversity and inclusion are the multiculturalists, who call for the celebration of cultures. For them, all cultures are morally equivalent and to deem otherwise is Eurocentrism. That’s unbridled nonsense. Ask your multiculturalist: Is forcible female genital mutilation, as practiced in nearly 30 sub-Saharan Africa and Middle Eastern countries, a morally equivalent cultural value? Slavery is practiced in Sudan and Niger; is that a cultural equivalent? In most of the Middle East, there are numerous limits on women — such as prohibitions on driving, employment, voting and education. Under Islamic law, in some countries, female adulterers face death by stoning, and thieves face the punishment of having their hand severed. Are these cultural values morally equivalent, superior or inferior to those of the West?

Western values are superior to all others. Why? The greatest achievement of the West was the concept of individual rights. The Western transition from barbarism to civility didn’t happen overnight. It emerged feebly — mainly in England, starting with the Magna Carta of 1215 — and took centuries to get where it is today.

One need not be a Westerner to hold Western values. A person can be Chinese, Japanese, Jewish, African or Arab and hold Western values. It’s no accident that Western values of reason and individual rights have produced unprecedented health, life expectancy, wealth and comfort for the ordinary person.

Western values are under ruthless attack by the academic elite on college campuses across America. They want to replace personal liberty with government control and replace equality before the law with entitlement. The multiculturalism and diversity agenda is a cancer on our society, and our tax dollars and charitable donations are supporting it.

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.

Sign Up
  • GeorgeStGeorge

    Dr. Williams,
    You CAN’T be a racist. You’re Black. ;-)

  • pgp62

    Walter Williams for president. Western values promoting individual rights are morally superior to other cultures, why are we ashamed of their superiority.

  • rebelyell4

    Came to those conclusions myself. It was simply impossible for me to be anything but racist, sexist and many other “ists”. So I gave up and have relied on my personal judgment since then. Is it fair? Not needed, it is in my own interest and if I don’t feel guilt in some way about the decisions I made, they must have been good ones. No one can force another to go against their basic belief system. This creates far more hatred and angst than them simply making personal decisions.

  • mattogilvie55

    ROFL!

  • OwlCreekObserver

    “Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.”

    – The Borg

  • jwebsmall

    The 21st century is going to be the era of the Indie-preneur and the Indie-professor. Just as indie artists turned the record label industry on its head, online education with professors competing for students is going to finally end this state run monopoly on education.

    As new business displaces the quasi-fascist model of state-business alliances we have now these new employers will look at the value added proposition of their new hires. If their academic pursuits can be documented outside the current regime an end run of merit will follow rapidly. We about 10 years out from the flood of liberty and accountability. Employees who are indie-preneurs will be expected to tell their managers what they should be pursuing just as the indie artists showed the way to the old guard labels. The empire will strike back but we will be waiting for them on the open market battlefield.

    Professors like Williams will be in ultra high demand and leftist professors will have to give themselves more awards to look relevant. Their institution foundations will be eroding. With Obama now jumping into the fray to punish universities it will only result in more back lash and further empower the exodus from the central tyranny.

    The rise of the indie-preneur generation will be akin to what the merchant class armed with commercial capitalism did to bring down middle evil European ruling classes.

  • Altosackbuteer

    Prof. Williams, do not be unaware of the contributions of the Iroquois Indians to modern concepts of individual rights.

    When the Europeans first encountered the Iroquois, they came from a contnent where the nobility automatically had more rights than commoners, because “they were better,” and the people received as many rights as their better were willing to condescend to bestow upon them.

    Kings ruled by Divine Right — Deo Gratia. Kings were kings because GOD HIMSELF chose certain individuals to be king, and the rest of the people were required to like it, because to resist the rule of the king was to rebel against the decision of God Himself. For if God didn’t want that a certain ruler be king, then God would not have allowed it, right?

    St. Paul referred to this I think it was in his Letter to the Romans, where he admonished Christian slaves to accept their lot as slaves, since it was clearly what God had appointed for them.

    And then the White Man encountered the Iroquois and — just as Robert Frost said in his marvelous poem “The Road Less Traveled,” meeting the Iroquois has made ALL the difference.

    The Iroquois were perhaps the purest Communists in world history. They had no concept of property, other than for personal items, such as clothing. Can one control or sell the air? Then how can one control or sell land, since it belongs to the Creator? This of course helped the Indians to lose an entire continent to the White Man.

    There were some 50 different clans among the Five Nations of the Iroquois, and ALL these sachems WERE WOMEN. THEY picked the chiefs who would meet periodically in Onandaigua country. These chiefs were not the People’s rulers BUT THEIR SERVANTS, and could even be RECALLED for malfeasance.

    The ideas of the Iroquois had a PROFOUND impact on the Founding Fathers. Benjamin Franklin wrote in 1751, “It would be a very strange thing if Six Nations of Ignorant Savages (the Tuscaroras joined the Confederation in 1722) should be capable of forming a Scheme for such a Union and be able to execute it in such a manner, as it has subsisted Ages, and appears indissoluble, and yet a like Union should be impractical for ten or a dozen English colonies.” With this in mind, shortly after the Albany Conference of 1754, Franklin published one of the world’s first political cartoons with his famous disjointed snake, each segment representing a separate, un-united colony, with the caption “Join, or Die.”

    The ideals of the Iroquois have transformed the entire world. Today, even tyrants have to give at least lip service to the desires of their people, and to submit themselves to their judgment periodically. The recent Arab Spring was an incredible and virtually unprecedented event in the history of the Arabs. They too were influenced by the Iroquois.

  • tom cook

    This is why Professor Williams is one of my living heroes and why other Americans of all shades and ideals should listen to him. He makes sense.

  • Bruce Price

    Hurray for Walter Williams.

  • RenegadeScholar

    While Williams is no doubt aware of the contributions–if any–of the Iroquois, there was nothing earth-shattering or alien about their confederation.

    The Magna Carta made it clear that even kings were subject to the law, not the Iroquois, and that this superseded the “divine right.” Incidentally, that was an already-existing Anglo-Saxon concept that had to be forced on the Normans.

    If you read Tacitus, you will find that many Germanic tribes already had confederations, women as leaders, trial by jury of peers, and so on, over a thousand years before anyone from Europe had heard of the Iroquois.

    As far as St. Paul and “slaves” goes–the correct term is actually “bondservant.” The “slavery” that existed in Israel 2,000 years ago had nothing in common with what we consider “slavery” today, and actually was more about working off debts or other obligations. It was not inherited, manumission was commonplace, it was rarely lifetime, and it did not apply to any specific race or class of people. So Paul was saying that–until your duty is done–do it well rather than be spiteful or resentful. We say now–”if life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” Same idea.

  • RenegadeScholar

    The cultural, legal, and political squeeze on individual liberty continues.

  • Gringo_Cracker

    Westerners aren’t necessarily ashamed of having a superior culture, but our deeply ingrained social constraints of humility and tolerance sometimes make it appear that way. In the West, respectable folk don’t whine or gloat.

  • Vazir Mukhtar

    I am truly sorry that you are to be subjected to such nonsense.

    Two quotations come to mind immediately.

    “All animals are created equal but some [those employed in Diversity Services -VM] are more equal than others.” George Orwell, Animal Farm

    “But for me what disgrace is it that others should fail of a just decision and right acts concerning me? . . . I see before me a long line of predecessors on this road, and I mark the reputation also among posterity which they have left. I note how it varies according as they did or suffered wrong…” Socrates according to Xenophon, Memorabilia, Book IV, Chapter 8. Transl. H. G. Dakyns

  • austin_millbarge

    always on topic, and on the mark. always a must read.

  • Bildo1

    I certainly hope the vast majority of the students Dr. Williams has taught over the years, appreciate the brilliance they were exposed to. The humor is just a bonus.
    He can accurately be described as an “educator”. He is a national treasure. Thank you, Dr. Williams.

  • Altosackbuteer

    What’s her real claim to fame? Running away from a bombed-out house stark naked?

  • Altosackbuteer

    Very interesting, and I thank you.

    I believe the word “slavery” does not appear in the Constitution, but “bondservant” does. So whatever Paul may have meant by the term, the meaning had clearly shifted by the time of the Constitution, which is what we’re talking about.

    And as for Paul himself, consider whom it was he was preaching to. NOT Jews; Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles. So whatever the niceties of Jewish Law, they have little relevance to the slaves Paul addressed.

    It is true that slaves in Jewish law were manumitted at the time of the Yovel. I believe also, at least certain classes were manumitted in the shmitta year (once every 7 years). The English practice of indentured servants, most of whom were White, followed the Biblical practice.

    But this was NOT the prevailing principle of slavery as generally practiced in the Roman Empire. Mostly, slaves had miserable lives and literally were worked to death — and why not, since there were plenty more where they came from.

    Sometimes, the more pampered slaves MIGHT be able to purchase their own manumission, or might be manumitted upon the demise of their master, but this was a matter of his discretion and privilege, not law. And in the meanwhile he had an absolute power of life or death over them — as indeed, he did over members of his own family, in his role as paterfamilias.

    Mostly, the slaves whom Paul addressed were NOT sucked into slavery in order to work off debts. Rather, they were sucked into it by becoming war captives, and they weren’t working down any ndebt at all.

    As for the Germanic tribes, their law was destined NOT to dominate Europe. The boundaries between Roman and German Law were initially established at the Teutoburger Wald in 9 AD, when Hermann overwhelmed Varus’ 3 legions and thereafter prevented Roman law from penetrating most of Germany.

    Through the Church, Roman tradition went on to dominate Europe, even the Orthodox regions, since Byzantium inherited Roman tradition.

    The Nazis proclaimed, “We will replace Roman Law with German Law” — a recognition that Roman Law had won out even there.

    But whatever the facts are about the historical precedents you mentioned, there is no doubt — Benjamin Franklin and the other Founding Fathers were profoundly aware of, and impressed, the customs of the Iroquois Confederation.

    Among other things, the Iroquois had an interesting method of Checks and Balance.

    When a proposal came up, it was the job of the Younger Brothers — the Cayuga and the Oneidas — to agree on a proposal. If they did, they would pass it along to the Elder Brothers — the Senaca and the Mohawks. If all four agreed, they could refer the matter to the Tadodaho and the Onandagas for unanimous consent. The Onandagas could veto and recommence the entire process, but if the other four nations still pressed it a second time, then the Onandaga consent was mandatory.

    That sounds a lot like the American Constitution.

  • Altosackbuteer

    I wonder if Prof. Williams has ever been called “No Neck.” The Chicago White Sox used to have an outfielder named Walt “No Neck” Williams, because his head seemed to be grafted directly into his shoulders.

  • Concerned4America

    There is nothing wrong with equal opportunity where everyone has the same chance based on ability and there is nothing wrong with affirmative action where it means taking the effort to make everyone aware of the opportunity. Unfortunately, as usual, the left has twisted the terms from their plain meaning to implement an agenda that is at variance with what any reasonable person would expect.

  • publius

    Perhaps Dr Williams should offer his own seminar on “Resisting the Thought Police,” or “The Folly of Anti-discrimination Laws.” If he put his lectures on pay for view, he’ll rake in a fortune.