I recently watched a Reason.TV program (and I use the term “reason” advisedly...) in which Reason magazine editor Nick Gillespie interviewed economist Walter Williams. The occasion was the publication of Williams’s memoirs.
In general, I admire Williams’s ideas. His biggest error is treating
punk-ass terrorists as some amalgam of Hitler, Tojo, and Mussolini who
warrant a full-scale “War on Terror” instead of being treated as the
criminals and thugs they are. By treating terrorists as so dangerous,
he and others who agree with him on this issue simply set the stage for
the all-out assault on our rights and freedom that has occurred (and
continues to occur) in the past decade.
In the interview, though, Gillespie asked Williams if he didn’t agree
that since he, Williams, had benefited so much from his tax-subsidized
college education that such a positive outcome for Williams justified
the establishment and continuation of such government programs.
Williams agreed that he might not have been able to afford to go to
college if he had had to pay the full tuition amount. The yearly
tuition then at Temple was $2000. At UCLA, it was $125-150 per year.
Still, he said, there should have been nor be such government subsidies.
It was obvious that Gillespie was not particularly happy with
Williams’s stance. He argued that over his professional college career,
Williams had paid far more in taxes than he had received in tuition
subsidies; that he would not have been able to do so without the
subsidized college education he had received. Williams countered that
the California taxpayers had not benefited from his taxes since he had
not worked in that state. He had ripped them off, for certain, when he
Gillespie just wasn’t having it. But Williams persisted. He posed a
scenario where he robbed a person of $5000 to pay for his college
expenses but with the promise that someday he would pay him back. Such
a situation would still be robbery. That was, in essence, no different
than the State stealing the $5000 via small amounts of money taken from
a large number of citizens (taxes) then giving it to Williams.
From what I have observed, this is typical of Gillespie. He is, at his
core, an immoral person who wants “permission” to engage in his
evasions of morality all in the name of a nonexistent “pragmatism.”
This might well explain his open hostility to Ayn Rand, in particular,
and Objectivism, in general. Neither of these satisfy his desire to
make “exceptions” to freedom. This also probably is why Reason has degenerated to a wishy-washy rag unwilling to take a firm stand against statists and collectivists.
As the saying goes, with friends like this, who needs enemies?