Walter Block is currently Professor of Economics at Loyola University, New Orleans. Since the 1970′s he has written many books, published hundreds of articles and given any number of speeches and lectures, all with one goal in mind. He has contributed to countless journals, had editorial roles at more than a few, appeared on TV, radio and across the internet, all in pursuit of the same goal.
That goal is liberty. And few people alive today have done more to help us reach it than Walter Block.
Recently the New York Times ran a hit-piece on US senator Rand Paul. It was a “guilt by association” smear job. The ‘associates’ were the Austrian scholars at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Auburn, Alabama. In particular, Walter Block was targeted. He was quoted as saying slavery “wasn’t so bad.”
There are many instances of Walter talking about chattel slavery where he says something along the lines of: the only thing wrong with slavery was that you couldn’t quit. Other than that, it wasn’t so bad – you got plenty of fresh air, you got to sing songs, etc. Now, admittedly this is a rather OTT way of putting it (not for nothing is he known as Walter “Moderate” Block), but it gets right to the heart of the matter. What Walter means is that the true evil of chattel slavery – the essence of that evil – is that free men were forced to be the property of others. Without being forced to work for another, without being another’s property, slavery ceases to be slavery. Saying that apart from not being able to quit, slavery isn’t so bad, is the same as saying that apart from being on fire, being on fire isn’t so bad. And who would take that as a ringing endorsement? To interpret it this way must take an act of wilful perversity.
Despite it being obvious that he has nothing but hatred for involuntary servitude – everything he writes is a denunciation of it, and he has written at least two articles explicitly calling for reparations to be paid to the descendents of African slaves – he has been vilified publicly by not only some of the student body, but his fellow faculty members at Loyola University along with the Dean, Fr. Wildes. This is truly outrageous.
Walter Block is a thoroughly decent, generous and kind-hearted man. He is a great man, and he is a great libertarian. I urge all of you to go to Stand with Walter
and read about this for yourselves, then write to Fr. Wildes expressing your support for Dr Block. You will be helping out a genuine hero of libertarianism.