Walter E. Williams Quotes

A right, such as a right to free speech, imposes no obligation on another, except that of non-interference. The so-called right to health care, food or housing, whether a person can afford it or not, is something entirely different; it does impose an obligation on another. If one person has a right to something he didn't produce, simultaneously and of necessity it means that some other person does not have right to something he did produce. That's because, since there's no Santa Claus or Tooth Fairy, in order for government to give one American a dollar, it must, through intimidation, threats and coercion, confiscate that dollar from some other American.

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There are people in need of help. Charity is one of the nobler human motivations. The act of reaching into one's own pockets to help a fellow man in need is praiseworthy and laudable. Reaching into someone else's pocket is despicable and worthy of condemnation.

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How you make it in this world, for the most part, depends more on what you do as opposed to whether people like or dislike you. In order to produce a successful life, one must find ways to please his fellow man. That is, find out what goods and services his fellow man values, and is willing to pay for, and then acquire the necessary skills and education to provide it.

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Three-fifths to two-thirds of the federal budget consists of taking property from one American and giving it to another. Were a private person to do the same thing, we'd call it theft. When government does it, we euphemistically call it income redistribution, but that's exactly what thieves do -- redistribute income. Income redistribution not only betrays the founders' vision, it's a sin in the eyes of God.

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Government is necessary, but the only rights we can delegate to government are the ones we possess. For example, we all have a natural right to defend ourselves against predators. Since we possess that right, we can delegate authority to government to defend us. By contrast, we don't have a natural right to take the property of one person to give to another; therefore, we cannot legitimately delegate such authority to government.

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No human should be coerced by the state to bear the medical expense, or any other expense, for his fellow man. In other words, the forcible use of one person to serve the purposes of another is morally offensive.

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Minimum or maximum prices are one of the most effective ways to encourage people to indulge their preferences, be they racial or any other preference. In general, any kind of economic regulation that restricts peaceable, voluntary exchange has the capacity to lower the costs of preference indulgence. Decent people should be against such regulations.

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For the most part, income is a result of one's productivity and the value that people place on that productivity.

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One of the wonderful things about free markets is that the path to greater wealth comes not from looting, plundering and enslaving one's fellow man, as it has throughout most of human history, but by serving and pleasing him.

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Government officials, if given power to control us, soon become zealots.

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If we wish to be compassionate with our fellow man, we must learn to engage in dispassionate analysis. In other words, thinking with our hearts, rather than our brains, is a surefire method to hurt those whom we wish to help.

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Throughout history, the right to pursue one's goals in a peaceable, voluntary manner, without direction, control, and coercion, has won a hostile reception. There's little older in history than the idea that some should give orders and others obey.

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People who denounce the free market and voluntary exchange, and are for control and coercion, believe they have more intelligence and superior wisdom to the masses. What's more, they believe they've been ordained to forcibly impose that wisdom on the rest of us. Of course, they have what they consider good reasons for doing so, but every tyrant that has ever existed has had what he believed were good reasons for restricting the liberty of others.

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Equality before the general rules of law is the only kind of equality conducive to liberty that can be secured without destroying liberty. It is an equality that neither requires nor assumes people are in fact equal. Our attempt to make people equal in fact by rigging law to produce equal results destroys civility and generalized respect for the law. Government cannot create an advantage for one person without simultaneously creating a disadvantage for another.

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Profit is a payment to entrepreneurs just as wages are payments to labor, interest to capital, and rent to land. In order to earn profits in free markets, entrepreneurs must identify and satisfy human wants in a way that economizes on society's scarce resources.

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Increases in money supply are what constitute inflation, and a general rise in prices is the symptom.

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The true test of one's commitment to liberty and private property rights doesn't come when we permit people to be free to do those voluntary things with which we agree. The true test comes when we permit people to be free to do those voluntary things with which we disagree.

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Two vital marketplace signals are the profits that come with success and the losses that come with failure. When these two signals are not allowed to freely function, markets operate less efficiently.

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By the democratic principles we espouse, government cannot have a right that citizens do not grant it. There are certain things that a person has no right to do. A person has no right to murder or rape another. Therefore, people cannot grant government authority to murder and rape. Similarly, no person has the right to forcibly take the property of one person in order to give it to another. Therefore, people cannot grant government authority to do the same thing. If I forcibly took property from one person, for any reason, most people would condemn it as theft, an immoral act. Theft or any other immoral act does not become moral because it is done by government acting on behalf of a consensus or majority vote just as murder or rape does not become a moral act simply because of a consensus or majority vote.

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Capitalism is relatively new in human history. Prior to capitalism, the way people amassed great wealth was by looting, plundering, and enslaving their fellow man. Capitalism made it possible to become wealthy by serving your fellow man.

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