Wednesday, February 24, 2021

What Really Went Down at Loyola University Maryland During the Ritualistic Defamation of Walter Block

Walter Block

In a new essay Ton DiLorenzo explains: 

I first experienced this bizarre practice of a university responding to a non-Marxist campus speaker with slander, libel, and demands for apologies instead of civilized intellectual discussion and debate a little over twelve years ago when I sponsored a lecture before a room full of undergraduates by my friend Professor Walter Block at Loyola University Maryland.  Walter’s dissertation chairman at Columbia University back in the day was Nobel laureate Gary Becker who was famous for a lot of things in his profession, including literally inventing the subdiscipline of the economics of discrimination.  Walter’s speech was a very mainstream rendition of the economics of discrimination.  It was actually a tour de force lecture filled with brilliant comments and insights and arguments backed up with loads of facts.  As the sponsor of the lecture I was thrilled at the preparation that obviously went into it and how Walter gave these students such a sterling example of economic scholarship and the economic way of thinking.  There are several versions of this lecture on YouTube.

One of the elementary insights of the economics of discrimination starts with an example of an employer who has two employees, a male and a female, who can both produce say, $100,000/year in revenue.  He pays the male  $75,000/year and the female $35,000 because he is a misogynist.  He will have to pay a price for discriminating, however, for competitors will gladly offer the female say, $50,000/year and pocket a tidy profit for themselves of $50,000 (The $100K she produces for him, minus the $50K he pays her).  Then another competitor will offer her say, $70,000 and still make an extra $30,000.  And on it goes.  If there is enough competition in the marketplace the female wage will approach the male wage.  Meanwhile, for a period of time the misogynist will be stuck with an all-male, higher-paid workforce than his competitors.  The economics of discrimination does not deny that such discrimination exists, only that market forces and competition will reduce its prevalence.

However, one of the chief superstitions of the Stalinist campus Left is that America is such an irredeemably racist and evil place, and “the legacy of slavery” is such a determining factor, that nothing can ever improve he situation, especially capitalism.  The combination of denying this Leftist superstition and defending capitalism causes their little pea-sized brains to explode.  Such things as the economics of discrimination are therefore tools of white supremacy, they say, and ought to be censored.  Anyone who speaks in such a way deserves to have his career (and his life) ruined.  So goes the campus Stalinist mantra.

Consequently, During the Q&A after Walter’s lecture, a black student who was not even an economics student, and who was sent there by some of the conniving trouble-making faculty and administrators at Loyola University Maryland, asked if this logic applied to black/white wage differences as well.  Professor Block answered in the affirmative, as Gary Becker himself would have had he been the speaker.  In fact there are dozens, maybe hundreds, of peer-reviewed academic journal articles on the subject in the economics literature.  Two Nobel laureates – Gary Becker and Kenneth Arrow – wrote books entitled The Economics of Discrimination.  To the economics profession this is a legitimate area of inquiry and research.  But not at Loyola University Maryland and most other universities these days, apparently.

The next morning a faculty colleague called me at home to ask if I was aware of the “sh*t storm” on campus.  The smear was in.  The black student had left the room and went directly to the “social justice crowd” on the faculty, as one of my students at the time described them, supposedly to complain.  The university president, one Brian Linnane, immediately announced in an email to all faculty, students, staff, and alumni that a guest speaker had made “insensitive” remarks for which he (Linnane) was apologizing.  He followed that up with a sappy, insufferably sanctimonious sermon on his personal devotion to fighting racial discrimination.  He did not mention what was said that was “insensitive,” of course, since he was not at the lecture. He called Walter Block a racist without using the word “racist,” in other words.  I met with the academic vice president to discuss this smear a few days later and told him that Linnane must have had a lawyer standing at his side when he wrote the letter in such a spineless, cowardly, and dishonest way.

When a Baltimore Sun reporter called the university to ask just what was said that was so catastrophic, she received no answer and no one else ever did.  She laughed when she called me and heard my explanation for what happened, and mocked the university administrators in the article she wrote about this act of defamation in the Sun.

The university administrators knew that Walter Block himself would never apologize, and neither would I, the sponsor of the lecture.  So they pressured several members of the economics department who were not even at the lecture to write a letter of apology in the student newspaper, which they dutifully did.  That letter was a lie, since it was signed by “The Economics Department” despite the fact that I did not even hear of the letter as it was being written and certainly did not sign it, and neither did the department chairman, Father Hank Hilton, S.J., who considered the entire charade to be morally and intellectually fraudulent.

After the letter appeared a university administrator – another Stalinist Jesuit priest like Linnane – published a letter in the school newspaper thanking and congratulating all the students who participated in the ritualistic defamation of Walter Block.  Linnane himself then sent out another one of his buffoonish emails declaring his everlasting love and devotion for free speech on campus.  That kind of subterfuge    also seems to be an integral part of the campus Stalinist handbook.

Long-time readers of may remember that Walter Block and I then forced the Stalinist administrators and economics faculty of Loyola University Maryland to deal with a sh*t storm of their own by writing dozens of articles on the topic on the Web site and spending six hours on WBAL Radio in Baltimore with my old friend the late Ron Smith discussing this attack on free speech, academic freedom, and civilized manners at this and other universities.  I heard from quite a few alumni, including one memorable letter from a man who told me that he was about to send a $50,000 donation to the university, but after hearing us on WBAL he decided to give the money to his church instead.  I made sure that the university administrators received a copy of his email.

Some thirty years ago I attended a Liberty Fund conference at which the late Professor Henry Manne was also an attendee.  I recall him saying at that time that “we’ve lost the universities.”  By “we” he was referring to scholars who considered themselves to be a part of the classical liberal tradition, whether they be conservative or libertarian economists, law professors, philosophers, historians, or anything else.  That was thirty years ago when the campus communists still hid behind the lying rhetoric of “liberalism” or “progressivism.”  Today these deeply stupid, uneducated and immoral totalitarians are running amok out in the open without even bothering with any more disguises.


  1. So when someone ritually defames one of your friends it's a travesty, yet when you do it to someone like Christopher Cantwell, that's different? Please explain your thought process to us 'shallow thinkers' Mr. Wenzel.

  2. Pretty sure RW just recounted the facts about the case and trial much of which is just quoting the story from
    The Informant. I fail to see the libel or slander of Mr. Cantwell. Perhaps there is a link to an RW post that does as you propose and would like to post it to this comment section?
    It seems tome you go out of your way to just give Wenzel shit for no reason. Are you that bored with your day to day? Is this some odd form of adoration you possess for RW?
    Kinda bizarre dude.
    Oh and please do not send some one off where RW calls Cantwell a clown or some such as that hardly counts as libel or slander and you obviously have not taken the time to find out exactly what has s been done to Professor Block over the years by not only the likes of Loyola Marymount but by The New York Times as well.

  3. Mr. Wenzel refers to Cantwell as a "neo-nazi", which in today's political climate is on par with a child molester [This comment was edited-RW]