Walter Williams Quotes

Walter Williams (born 1936) is an American academic, commentator and economics professor at George Mason University.

Williams is the author of hundreds of articles and eight books. His latest book “Race and Economics” was published in 2011.

Williams is well known for his column, published weekly in nearly 140 newspapers.

Walter 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.

— Walter Williams

Once one accepts the principle of self-ownership, what’s moral and immoral becomes self-evident. Murder is immoral because it violates private property. Rape and theft are also immoral — they also violate private property.

— Walter Williams

It was not until the Abraham Lincoln administration that an income tax was imposed on Americans. Its stated purpose was to finance the war, but it took until 1872 for it to be repealed. During the Grover Cleveland administration, Congress enacted the Income Tax Act of 1894. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional in 1895. It took the Sixteenth Amendment (1913) to make permanent what the Framers feared — today’s income tax.

— Walter Williams

There are many farm handouts; but let’s call them what they really are: a form of legalized theft. Essentially, a congressman tells his farm constituency, ‘Vote for me. I’ll use my office to take another American’s money and give it to you.

— Walter Williams

Powerful government tends to draw into it people with bloated egos, people who think they know more than everyone else and have little hesitance in coercing their fellow man.

— Walter Williams

Poverty in Egypt, or anywhere else, is not very difficult to explain. There are three basic causes: People are poor because they cannot produce anything highly valued by others. They can produce things highly valued by others but are hampered or prevented from doing so. Or, they volunteer to be poor.

— Walter Williams

A caged canary is safe but not free.

— Walter Williams

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.

— Walter Williams

Students who are alien and hostile to the education process ought to be removed. You say, “What will we do with them?” I say that’s a secondary issue. The first priority is to stop thugs from making education impossible for everyone else.

— Walter Williams

If our country is to survive and prosper, we must summon the courage to condemn and reject the liberal agenda, and we had better do it soon.

— Walter Williams, The Gathering Racial Tragedy

Democracy and liberty are not the same. Democracy is little more than mob rule, while liberty refers to the sovereignty of the individual.

— Walter Williams

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.

— Walter Williams

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.

— Walter Williams

What we call the market is really a democratic process involving millions, and in some markets billions, of people making personal decisions that express their preferences. When you hear someone say that he doesn’t trust the market, and wants to replace it with government edicts, he’s really calling for a switch from a democratic process to a totalitarian one.

— Walter Williams

No matter how worthy the cause, it is robbery, theft, and injustice to confiscate the property of one person and give it to another to whom it does not belong.

— Walter Williams

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.

— Walter Williams

Today’s liberals wish to disarm us so they can run their evil and oppressive agenda on us. The fight against crime is just a convenient excuse to further their agenda. I don’t know about you, but if you hear that Williams’ guns have been taken, you’ll know Williams is dead.

— Walter Williams

The framers gave us the Second Amendment not so we could go deer or duck hunting but to give us a modicum of protection against congressional tyranny.

— Walter Williams