Dr. Walter Block, a libertarian and professor of economics at Loyola University New Orleans, reports that it has come to his attention that many Loyola students will not enroll in his classes, will boycott his public lectures and will have nothing to do with him, because they think he favors slavery and is a racist and a sexist.
In a column at LewRockwell.com, in rebuttal, he explains his views on racism, sexism and slavery.
I believe emphasis should be put here on Dr. Block's views as a libertarian. I know him personally well enough that I can vouch for the fact that he is a 100% supporter of the libertarian non-aggression principle, This means he would never physically force anyone to do anything against their will unless they tried to physically interfere fear with his person or property, regardless of their race, religion, commie views, whatever.
I also know that, like me, he loves to debate and he is more than willing to hear out the other side in debate.
Students are losing out on a great opportunity to sharpen their debating skills if they boycott Dr. Block's classes even if they disagree with all his views.
As for the specifics of his views, The New York Times clearly distorted Dr. Block's comments on slavery and ignored his long written history of being opposed to slavery. An appeals court ruled in Dr. Block's favor specifically on these grounds in a case that Dr. Block has brought against the Times.
Dr. Block stands on sound economic ground when he argues that "the male-female wage gap stems not from discrimination, but from unequal on-the-job productivity levels, stemming, mainly, from disparate shares of time spent on household tasks and child-rearing." Many, many free market economists hold this view.
And it certainly sounds reasonable to me that as Dr. Block states, "not all women always tell the truth" thus, where women charge sexual assault, evidence must be examined to determine whether the claim can be corroborated, and the idea that "women must be believed" without corroborating evidence is nonsense.
As far as Dr. Block's claim that "orientals, on average, have the highest IQs, whites come next and then blacks," this may or may not always be the case. I haven't studied the literature on the matter.
Maybe orientals just study a lot and have better study habits from an early age.
Recently, I took this picture on BART.
I have never come across a black person reading to a child on BART, with orientals I have seen it a couple of times.
But then there is the problem of the concept of IQ itself. I am really not sure what it measures other than a mental ability to know what will be the third shape after two shapes are given and other such questions which seem to be pretty goofy to me. And I write this even though I have a very good ability to answer screwball riddles (Ask David Gordon, who starts every phone conversation with me with an irritating riddle and tells me that I am better at solving them than "some other libertarians" he talks to frequently. He says they have "difficulties.")
And, I have met many people who probably have high IQs, who are incredibly dumb on topics they should be able to grasp fully. I can think of a number of economists, for example, who can go deep with correct thinking on economic topics but then fall off a cliff at some point---and, further, have no creative ability at all.
And what about idiot-savants?
As I have said before, Hayek has talked about two different kinds of minds. I suspect there is a spectrum of minds that are strong and weak on all kinds of topics.
Bettina Bien Greaves once told me that Albert Einstein's cousin, the very sound free-market economist Norbert Einstein, reported that Albert was completely baffled by the income tax and could never figure out how to calculate his own taxes. Now taxes can be complicated, but not that complicated. What the hell was Albert's problem?
So I don't think there is much to Dr. Block's waving of the IQ flag. Even if there are differences in IQs with different races, what does this tell us? It's probably not an accident that the Goldies of the world are black men and know a lot of mental tricks that most white guys could never pull off.
But aside from the specifics of Dr. Block's views, it is a particularly limited student mind that refuses to contemplate or consider thinking that is different from what a student already thinks he knows.
College should be a period of open thinking and consideration of all types of views.
The students boycotting Dr. Block will never do anything impressive on the intellectual front. They will be moved by the intellectual fads of the day. They will be anti-plastic straw today, and who knows, maybe pro-butt tattoos tomorrow. They are in an important way insignificant. The student that takes Dr, Block's class to challenge him or learn from him is taking the first step toward deep thought, independent thought and maybe original thought. This will be the type of person that may make an intellectual contribution down the road.
Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of