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Letter 1

From: Madlovics Bálint

Sent: Thursday, September 10, 2020 4:52 AM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: Re: The libertarian case for mandatory mask wearing and quarantine

P.S.: Thinking about it, I think the deadliness of the virus might not even count. Only the probability. (If Russian roulette is played with pointing the gun at my leg, not my head, it’s still coercion.) So it doesn’t have to be the bubonic plague or something similarly deadly, it can be anything which is so infectious that almost anyone can spread it. In my point, that would justify universal countermeasures, involving those who are not proven contagious as well.

Dear Walter,

I got into a debate with someone on mandatory mask wearing. I generally argued against it, but came up with the following argument showing how it can be possibly justified on libertarian grounds:

The non-aggression principle prohibits any act of violence or the threat thereof. It is clear that spreading the virus counts as violence. The question is whether people who are not proven contagious but have a probability of spreading the virus can be compelled to do anything about it (wear masks, quarantine themselves etc.).

My answer is inspired by your reply to David Friedman (http://libertarianpapers.org/wp-content/uploads/article/2011/lp-3-35.pdf), who speaks about Russian roulette played while pointing the gun at your head instead of mine, and therefore presenting only a probability of coercion. You say that this counts as “clear and present danger”, as opposed to Friedman’s other, supposedly analogous example, an airplane with a very small probability of falling off.

Inspired by your argument, I make the case that a very small probability of having the virus does not constitute clear and present danger. But a higher probability could. How much higher is, of course, a continuum problem, but suppose that it has as high probability as a bullet being shot while playing Russian roulette–1/6. If every sixth person spread a disease as deadly as a bullet to the head, I would see countermeasures justified, every person being a “clear and present danger.”

Obviously, this is not the case with COVID, and probably not even the bubonic plague would qualify (Wikipedia says it has 10% mortality with treatment, probably lower than the mortality of headshots). However, being a continuum problem, even a Rothbardian judge could make the case that a bubonic plague epidemic, if not properly contained, makes everyone such a clear and present danger that countermeasures are justified. Such as mandatory mask wearing or quarantine.

I wonder what you think about this argument.

Best wishes,

Bálint

Letter 2

Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu> (időpont: 2020. szept. 11., P, 4:18) ezt írta:

Dear Madlovics:

Thanks for your kind words. I think your assessment is brilliant.

Best regards,

Walter

Letter 3

From: Madlovics Bálint

Sent: Friday, September 11, 2020 12:00 AM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: Re: The libertarian case for mandatory mask wearing and quarantine

Dear Walter,

Thank you. I’m unhappy with the conclusion, though. Initially, I thought this is only a hypothetical and COVID would not qualify (nor the bubonic plague, although that’s more of a borderline case). But as I now think that deadliness does not matter, only infectiousness, i.e. how high probability people have of spreading the virus and therefore being clear and present danger, does that mean that any endemic disease qualifies, even COVID? And therefore, in these times, quarantining the whole population is justified on libertarian grounds?!

I can’t convincingly argue against COVID being infectious enough to make everyone clear and present danger. It’s really a continuum problem. But I might have two points that prevent us from legitimizing every government countermeasure.

First, while everyone has a probability of spreading the virus, some people have higher probability. For instance, in Hungary, the government has a policy of quarantining everyone for two weeks who comes back from a foreign country. It also compels them to have tested in the time being. Now, I know this is a continuum issue, but maybe a Rothbardian judge would say that such measures as that Hungarian policy is justified, because people who travel have higher probability, whereas limiting the freedom of movement for everyone in the country or closing shops or banning crowded events etc. (stuff the Hungarian government also does) are unjustified, because the general population has lower probability.

Second, I don’t think any measure is justified by my argument. Rather, measures are justified only to the extent that they reduce the given people’s probability of spreading the virus to a level where they do not constitute clear and present danger anymore. Let’s suppose we have hyper COVID, which is a hundred times as infectious as normal COVID. In that case, perhaps only a quarantine would work, for less draconian measures would not prevent people from being clear and present danger. However, in the case of normal COVID, a quarantine might not be needed, only, say, mandatory mask wearing, because that already reduces the probability to a tolerable level—say, to the level people are normally at during non-endemic times.

I listened to your recent interviews on the pandemic, and I know you are not generally against quarantine, mask wearing etc. But if you can come up with any more points (or perhaps refine my ones) to prevent us from justifying everything the government does, please do. I really don’t want to conclude that a simple reference to probability justifies everything; I don’t want to give the government such a powerful argument.

I’m sorry for writing so long letters. I’m really happy to have a chance to correspond with you, and I hope you can take the time to answer and think about my points.

Best wishes,

Bálint

Letter 4

Dear Madlovics:

Yes, it is a continuum problem.

I’ve written about this here:

Block, Walter E. and William Barnett II. 2008. “Continuums” Journal Etica e Politica / Ethics & Politics, Vol. 1, pp. 151-166, June; http://www2.units.it/~etica/http://www2.units.it/~etica/2008_1/BLOCKBARNETT.pdf

Right now, posit that of every airplane and helicopter flight, .00000000001% of them crashes, killing totally innocent people on the ground. Would we now be justified in banning all such flights? No. Neither the government now, has done this, nor would, I’m pretty sure, any private ancap defense agency. But suppose 10% of flights did this? How about 50%? 99%? Somewhere along these lines a ban would be eminently justified, at least according to my understanding of the NAP, as a threat.

People who can’t conceive of ANY justification for imposing compulsory masks, social distance rules, quarantine, or sticking needles into those who are possibly infectious (vaccine), are akin to those who can’t think of ANY reason to ban airflights. They lack imagination.

Best regards,

Walter

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5:33 am on December 25, 2020

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From: Darin Avery

Sent: Friday, December 18, 2020 9:25 AM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: on mandatory mask wearing

Walter,

Theoretically it seems plausible that this could be compatible with NAP.

What mechanism guarantees that it is in any particular case?  In other words, who bears the burden of proving that 1) a harmful pathogen is out there, 2) it transmits human-human via breath or air, and 3) masks suppress that transmission?  How high is the burden?  Preponderance? Beyond a reasonable doubt?

In at least one state, the governor “ordered” (ie, violated article 4 section 4 guarantee that every state shall have a republican form of

government)  “lockdowns” (ie, prohibitions on association and travel) and the state supreme court suspended certain legal time limits back in march-may-july based on things like “the WHO declared” rather than a party proving, subject to cross examination and rebuttal, that any problem existed and that those remedies would solve it.  I see the revocation of the fundamental rights to associate and travel on such grounds legally problematic (it generally takes convincing 12 jurors beyond reasonable doubt to deprive of liberty) and highly problematic from the NAP standpoint. (as in, what individual can tolerate aggression without seeing proof?  he surely can’t rely solely on the word of a governor who himself acknowledges no knowledge but has a prop in a lab coat next to him at every press conference.  Nor can bystanders that would come to his aid.)  What say you?

Thanks,

Darin

Dear Darin:

What say I? If I were a judge, I would throw out all government impositions, requirements, mandates, restrictions, as a violation of rights.

However, I say this not as a praxeological matter, but rather based on my own prudential judgement of the situation. It is an empirical matter, not one of logic, in my view. Not one, solely, of libertarian theory:

Block, Walter E. 2020. “A libertarian analysis of the Covid-19 pandemic.” Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 24, No. 1; https://jls.scholasticahq.com/article/17836-a-libertarian-analysis-of-the-covid-19-pandemic?auth_token=1jZ-UoctwxQnkYZLFJZR

On the other hand, stipulate that covid is 5x, 10x, 100x more dangerous than I think it now is. Somewhere along this progression, I would change my judicial decision. Where?

I don’t know where, but see this on that:

Block, Walter E. and William Barnett II. 2008. “Continuums” Journal Etica e Politica / Ethics & Politics, Vol. 1, pp. 151-166, June; http://www2.units.it/~etica/http://www2.units.it/~etica/2008_1/BLOCKBARNETT.pdf

Best regards,

Walter

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5:31 am on December 25, 2020

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Masks, Part IV

Dear Charles:

The burden of proof, properly, always rests with the plaintiff, with he who wants to change property titles, etc.

Best regards,

Walter

From: C R Sebrell

Sent: Friday, December 18, 2020 9:38 AM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Masks and such

Dear Dr Block

Have read the “mask” series.  What keeps coming to my mind, and admittedly has lo‘ these past 9 months, is that no one has the right to use coercion to infect another whether with our without a mask.  No one, to my knowledge on Lew’s sight has advocated using coercion to infect as part of mask mandate.

What is the legal recourse if I infect you and you suffer from that?  What is the recourse if I inject you with a liquid that causes you harm?  I would start with how it came to be.  I infected you not meaning to at all.  However, injection we’ll agree includes specific action and interaction.

If I contend I am not infected, nor able to infect another, must I prove that at every turn?  How?  Prove a negative?  By who’s authority must that be done?  How?

If you contend I might be infected, or able to infect another, is that sufficient for the use of coercion?

Just a few thoughts that came to mind while reading the “mask” series.

Charles Sebrell

Naples, FL

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5:30 am on December 25, 2020

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How To Overcome Writers’ Block And Presentation Anxiety.

From: Jens S

Sent: Wednesday, September 16, 2020 12:02 PM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: general question about academics

Hello Walter,

do you have any tips for people struggling to finish a degree?

My sister has a BA in Psychology. In order to get her Masters (from a university in Austria),

she only needs to finish her MA thesis and then defend it.

You have reached the highest position academia has to offer, so maybe you know

of some “silver bullets” to overcome writers’ block and presentation anxiety.

Thanks and Best Regards,

Jens

Dear Jens:

I have three suggestions.

1.reward

Every time your sister writes, oh, 500 words on her masters essay, she should reward herself. How? I dunno. I nice dinner? Listening to Bach? Sleep late? Go for a swim? Whatever turns her crank

2.penalty

On any day should doesn’t do her assignment (is 500 words reasonable), she penalizes herself. No dessert? Set the alarm clock early? Whatever.

3.read this book:

Edelstein, Michael R. and David Ramsay Steele. 2019. Three Minute Therapy: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life. San Francisco, CA: Gallatin House  http://therebt.life/

Best regards,

Walter

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8:42 am on December 18, 2020

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Who Should Be Allowed To Vote? Women? Teens?

From: Richard Fast

Sent: Monday, September 14, 2020 7:16 PM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: Libertarian Argument in Favor of 16/17yo Vote

Dear Walter,

The Libertarian Party of San Francisco has decided not to take a position on a proposed ballot measure that would allow 16 and 17 years to vote in municipal elections. I think this is a mistake. I’ve been asked by the LPSF to present a libertarian argument in favor of the measure, to be posted on the LPSF website. Another Libertarian will provide an opposing argument. I’d be honored if you read my side of the argument (attached) and gave any feedback. Note that this is only a draft.

Thanks,

Ricardo

Dear Ricardo:

My own view is that only libertarians should be allowed to vote.

Best regards,

Walter

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8:41 am on December 18, 2020

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Dear Madlovics:

Yes, it is a continuum problem.

I’ve written about this here:

Block, Walter E. and William Barnett II. 2008. “Continuums” Journal Etica e Politica / Ethics & Politics, Vol. 1, pp. 151-166, June; http://www2.units.it/~etica/http://www2.units.it/~etica/2008_1/BLOCKBARNETT.pdf

Right now, posit that of every airplane and helicopter flight, .00000000001% of them crashes, killing totally innocent people on the ground. Would we now be justified in banning all such flights? No. Neither the government now, has done this, nor would, I’m pretty sure, any private ancap defense agency. But suppose 10% of flights did this? How about 50%? 99%? Somewhere along these lines a ban would be eminently justified, at least according to my understanding of the NAP, as a threat.

People who can’t conceive of ANY justification for imposing compulsory masks, social distance rules, quarantine, or sticking needles into those who are possibly infectious (vaccine), are akin to those who can’t think of ANY reason to ban airflights. They lack imagination.

Best regards,

Walter

From: Madlovics Bálint <madlovba3@gmail.com>

Sent: Friday, September 11, 2020 12:00 AM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: Re: The libertarian case for mandatory mask wearing and quarantine

Dear Walter,

Thank you. I’m unhappy with the conclusion, though. Initially, I thought this is only a hypothetical and COVID would not qualify (nor the bubonic plague, although that’s more of a borderline case). But as I now think that deadliness does not matter, only infectiousness, i.e. how high probability people have of spreading the virus and therefore being clear and present danger, does that mean that any endemic disease qualifies, even COVID? And therefore, in these times, quarantining the whole population is justified on libertarian grounds?!

I can’t convincingly argue against COVID being infectious enough to make everyone clear and present danger. It’s really a continuum problem. But I might have two points that prevent us from legitimizing every government countermeasure.

First, while everyone has a probability of spreading the virus, some people have higher probability. For instance, in Hungary, the government has a policy of quarantining everyone for two weeks who comes back from a foreign country. It also compels them to have tested in the time being. Now, I know this is a continuum issue, but maybe a Rothbardian judge would say that such measures as that Hungarian policy is justified, because people who travel have higher probability, whereas limiting the freedom of movement for everyone in the country or closing shops or banning crowded events etc. (stuff the Hungarian government also does) are unjustified, because the general population has lower probability.

Second, I don’t think any measure is justified by my argument. Rather, measures are justified only to the extent that they reduce the given people’s probability of spreading the virus to a level where they do not constitute clear and present danger anymore. Let’s suppose we have hyper COVID, which is a hundred times as infectious as normal COVID. In that case, perhaps only a quarantine would work, for less draconian measures would not prevent people from being clear and present danger. However, in the case of normal COVID, a quarantine might not be needed, only, say, mandatory mask wearing, because that already reduces the probability to a tolerable level—say, to the level people are normally at during non-endemic times.

I listened to your recent interviews on the pandemic, and I know you are not generally against quarantine, mask wearing etc. But if you can come up with any more points (or perhaps refine my ones) to prevent us from justifying everything the government does, please do. I really don’t want to conclude that a simple reference to probability justifies everything; I don’t want to give the government such a powerful argument.

I’m sorry for writing so long letters. I’m really happy to have a chance to correspond with you, and I hope you can take the time to answer and think about my points.

Best wishes,

Bálint

Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu> (időpont: 2020. szept. 11., P, 4:18) ezt írta:

Dear Madlovics:

Thanks for your kind words. I think your assessment is brilliant.

Best regards,

Walter

From: Madlovics Bálint

Sent: Thursday, September 10, 2020 4:52 AM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: Re: The libertarian case for mandatory mask wearing and quarantine

P.S.: Thinking about it, I think the deadliness of the virus might not even count. Only the probability. (If Russian roulette is played with pointing the gun at my leg, not my head, it’s still coercion.) So it doesn’t have to be the bubonic plague or something similarly deadly, it can be anything which is so infectious that almost anyone can spread it. In my point, that would justify universal countermeasures, involving those who are not proven contagious as well.

Madlovics Bálint:

Dear Walter,

I got into a debate with someone on mandatory mask wearing. I generally argued against it, but came up with the following argument showing how it can be possibly justified on libertarian grounds:

The non-aggression principle prohibits any act of violence or the threat thereof. It is clear that spreading the virus counts as violence. The question is whether people who are not proven contagious but have a probability of spreading the virus can be compelled to do anything about it (wear masks, quarantine themselves etc.).

My answer is inspired by your reply to David Friedman (http://libertarianpapers.org/wp-content/uploads/article/2011/lp-3-35.pdf), who speaks about Russian roulette played while pointing the gun at your head instead of mine, and therefore presenting only a probability of coercion. You say that this counts as “clear and present danger”, as opposed to Friedman’s other, supposedly analogous example, an airplane with a very small probability of falling off.

Inspired by your argument, I make the case that a very small probability of having the virus does not constitute clear and present danger. But a higher probability could. How much higher is, of course, a continuum problem, but suppose that it has as high probability as a bullet being shot while playing Russian roulette–1/6. If every sixth person spread a disease as deadly as a bullet to the head, I would see countermeasures justified, every person being a “clear and present danger.”

Obviously, this is not the case with COVID, and probably not even the bubonic plague would qualify (Wikipedia says it has 10% mortality with treatment, probably lower than the mortality of headshots). However, being a continuum problem, even a Rothbardian judge could make the case that a bubonic plague epidemic, if not properly contained, makes everyone such a clear and present danger that countermeasures are justified. Such as mandatory mask wearing or quarantine.

I wonder what you think about this argument.

Best wishes,

Bálint

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8:40 am on December 18, 2020

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Dear Kenn:

Yes, infecting others with Typhoid is like shooting random poisoned metal spikes all over the place. If that’s not just the sort of thing the NAP is supposed to stop, then my understanding of libertarianism is sadly deficient.

Best regards,

Walter

From: Kenn Williamson

Sent: Friday, September 11, 2020 9:32 AM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: Re: Mask Mandates Continued

Dear Walter,

After discussing this issue with some work friend libertarians, they came up with a good counter argument which is that a virus is more like poisoned metal spikes shooting out of your body intermittently.  I agree that is a closer analogy however I don’t think that changes the analysis.  If you are on property where all the inhabitants were in an implicit contract that poison spikes intermittently being spewed from your body is permissible, I still don’t see how a libertarian could justify having a third party come in and force them to “stop shooting the spikes” (wear a mask.)  Otherwise, how could you justify your positions on Murder Park or voluntary slavery. The problem with common property is still the same.  Specifically, that some people think it is ok and others do not.  My work colleagues agree.

Best regards,

Kenn

On Fri, Sep 11, 2020 at 9:04 AM Kenn Williamson wrote:

Dear Walter,

I keep seeing more on how libertarians would be justified in certain circumstances to compel people to wear masks universally.  I still don’t see how this could ever be justified in a libertarian way.

Consider another non-medical example.  Person A is a “metal-head” meaning that they love heavy metal music and culture.  They like to wear metal spikes on their clothing.  Now does the fact that these metal spikes constitute a clear and present danger to anyone who bumps into A by stabbing mean that we would be justified in compelling A unilaterally to remove the spiked clothing?  I don’t think so.  If person B, through no fault of A’s, tripped and fell into the metal spikes would that constitute an assault of B from A?  I don’t think so.  Does wearing dangerous metal spikes out in the open where anyone could run into them accidentally constitute a threat of violence?  I don’t think so.

Again, as I’ve said before, any property owner would have the absolute right to require A to remove the spikes before entering their property.  They would also have the absolute right to deny admittance to A if they refused to remove the spikes.  However, this does not give a third party the right to forcibly remove the spikes from A’s clothing if he is in an area where the property owner is fine with people wearing spikes.  In a place where there is an implicit contract among all of the current inhabitants that spiked clothing is permissible.

I don’t see any way around this analysis.  The problem people seem to be having is what to do to in “common” (read government controlled) property.  This is not a problem with the basic analysis of the situation but a problem of statism.  It is similar to your argument for open borders.  The problem of immigration between nation-states isn’t solved by saying that insofar as the State is the de facto enforcer of property rights they have the right to enact the people’s will and prevent immigration if the public sentiment is against immigration.  This is rightly seen as an invasion of the rights of both the immigrants and the pro-immigrant minority.  The same is true for mask wearing.  Enforcing mask mandates on “common” property is the same thing as enforcing immigration restrictions.  Specifically, it is the tyranny of the majority against the minority.

To be clear, I am 100% in support for private mask mandates.  What a property owner is doing with their own property is their own business.  I am also 100% against a universal mandate prohibiting mask wearing.  But I can’t agree with your and other’s analysis that a universal mask mandate is libertarian.  The only scenario in which it would be valid would be when 100% of property owners agreed that masks were required in which case it would be completely superfluous.

Best regards,

Kenn

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8:37 am on December 18, 2020

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Does Libertarian Theory Preclude Compulsory Mask Wearing? No.

Dear Wes:

All I am saying that there are IMAGINABLE circumstances in which compulsory mask wearing would be justified. Such a compulsion cannot be ruled incompatible with the libertarian NAP per so. There MAY be exceptions to this general rule.

Best regards,

Walter

From: Wes Baker

Sent: Thursday, September 10, 2020 8:27 AM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Dress codes

Dr. Block,

I always get a kick out of you correspondence on Mr. Rockwell’s blog.  It’s almost like Dear Abby for libertarians!

Let me jump straight in.  I think you’re missing the point, re:  masks and the resistance to them both on private and “public” property.  (Do we need to go into why I have “public” in quotation marks?)

1. My thoughts are mostly anecdotal, but I would suggest 99.99% of masks worn by the public are purely “dress codes” enforced on them by state or corporate edicts.

2. Here’s why.

a. There is only one mask, the N95, made by 3M and worn by US medical professionals, which has been shown to have any, substantive, mitigating effect on aerosols. These masks must be personally fitted. They come in sizes.  For instance, you could not properly wear one with your beard.  It would have to be shaved.  I do not have any figures, but by observation and anecdotal evidence, 99.9% of all publicly worn masks are not of this make or model.

b. Of the ones worn by the public, they are worn improperly.  They are not ‘donned and doffed’ properly.  On the contrary, they are continually touched.  A touched mask is worse than useless:  it’s a germ and viral vector.  I suspect the infectious disease and public health “officials” know this – the behavior is everywhere.  I would suggest the mask orders are simply a Machiavellian plot.  The public is given some fictitious ‘agency’ to fight off ‘evil vapors’, the result is:  1. control, 2. ‘ease communities toward herd immunity’.

So, if I’m anywhere near the truth – and I’d like to see the contrary argued in a court of law with rigorous scientific proof – the result is purely a dress code.

Dress codes are fine.  I regularly eat at a restaurant, mask-less mind you, where a jacket and tie are required.  The proprietor does not check the thread count of my jacket, nor the whether I have a seven-fold, Italian silk tie.  He simply wants a certain ‘look’ in his establishment.  Fine.  In fact, that’s part of the attraction for me as a patron.

But other, explicit, claims are being made by the state, private and corporate mask requirements.  The claim is of public aerosol protection.

So,

1. If the mask orders are truly meant to be efficacious for all, shouldn’t the landlord equally require a fiber/make inspection of the mask and its proper wearing while on his property?

2. If one must wear a mask to a room, where folks can congregate mask-less, shouldn’t that room be negatively ventilated?  The same applies to a dining table in a restaurant.  What of the wait staff who are required to enter that ‘bubble’?  Should said landlord be required to encapsulate them in biohazard suits since one party is mask-less?  Selling tickets on a cruise ship implies the vessel is whole.  A gaping hole at the waterline near the starboard forecastle hardly constitutes a good-faith transaction by the ship’s owners, no?

Finally, I have a mask.  My wife crocheted it for me.  Would this mask, pictured below, constitute a good faith effort on my part to comply with landlords’ dress codes?  The color and weave are obviously intended, and let me tell you, it goes well with a 220-thread-count morning jacket!

Best,

Wes Baker

Annniston, Alabama

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8:36 am on December 18, 2020

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Here are six letters regarding the passing of my friend Walter, and my responses.

Block, Walter E. 2020. “RIP Walter E. Williams, a great economist and friend.” December 8; https://www.ocregister.com/2020/12/08/rip-walter-e-williams-a-great-economist-and-friend-walter-block/;

Reprint: https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/12/walter-e-block/rip-walter-e-williams-a-great-economist-and-friend/;

Link: https://cafehayek.com/2020/12/some-links-1696.html

Block, Walter E. 2020. “A great loss of a free-market African American columnist.” December 7; https://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/opinion/article_7a7cb95a-38a2-11eb-9802-479cdbeb6b4a.html

Letter 1

Dear John:

Well and truly said. When I first heard of his passing, I felt so sad, empty. He was a great man.

Best regards,

Walter

—–Original Message—–

From: John McClain

Sent: Thursday, December 10, 2020 7:17 AM

To: wblock <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: RIP the Great Walter Williams

Dear Professor Block,

Thank you for a heart-felt, well written eulogy for one of the truly great men of our age.  I listened to him much of my life, got to meet and speak with him, as a Marine recruiter, pursuing officer candidates at George Mason, and enjoyed the half a dozen times I got to speak with him at some short length.

He was the only fill-in for Rush, that was more informative with hard data, than Rush, he showed his remarkable spirit, attitude, and nature, with every word, gesture, the whole of his body spoke, when he was before a crowd, and he always enervated people.

I count myself fortunate to have met a man I held as a hero, not far off from Ron Paul, and in similar regard to his mentor Thomas Sowell.  I grew up a “navy brat” two years in Barcelona, then two in Naples, learned enormously from the stone structure masons building the apartment next door, in Barcelona, and more with brick structure masons, apartment next door in Naples.  I got state-side, New York Harbor, at six, in 62, was completely shocked by the “non-republic” I found, and have never in my life, truly understood racist notions, having learned basic premises from home-spun wearing, sandals, masons, and how could I regard anything but their brilliant wisdom?

Dr. Williams was one of many who proved out my understanding, anyone who wants to, can be educated, no one actually gets educated without intent.  I listened to Walter probably from late teens, to the last piece he wrote, never doubting he was among the foremost thinkers in the world, in economics, freedom, and liberty considerations, all intimately tied together.  I have been tending toward the Orthodox in the past couple years, as a born again Christian, and it’s because they still hold the notion, everything is intricately tied together, nothing happens in a vacuum, and Dr. Williams well described this aspect of life, trying to get across the fact education is entirely personal, I don’t know how many times I heard him speak of the inspiration to pursue learning, that was given to him so young, and he left with all his “beloved students”.  I will miss him dearly, the world will miss him, perhaps more so than most will ever know.  Thanks for a beautiful description of the difference he made.

God Bless you and yours,

Semper Fidelis,

John McClain

Letter 2

Dear Al:

The libertarian movement is the poorer with his passing.

Best regards,

Walter

From: Alan Holoubek

Sent: Thursday, December 10, 2020 10:05 AM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Walter E. Williams

Dear Dr. Block,

I truly enjoy your words in Lewrockwell.com, regarding Dr. Williams. I was sadden to hear of his pasting which I found out through Thomas DiLorenzo’s article. Dr. Williams was a great man. I admired him so much. His plain and simple way of illustrating an issue, and making it have so much meaning and accuracy. We’ve lost a great man. I only hope that God can give us another like him.

Take care,

Al Holoubek

Letter 3

Dear David:

Walter was indeed magnificent and inspirational.

Best regards,

Walter

From: David Cheney

Sent: Thursday, December 10, 2020 10:59 AM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Dr. Williams

I am a long time fan of Walter Williams writings. Every article he wrote for LRC was a gem. Each day, when I went to the LRC site I would look for the list of essays and if he had an article to read it was the first I opened.

Having lived in Philly for a time I am familiar with the area he grew up in. I admire the courage he showed to rise from that life.

I will miss his writings, insight, intellect and his wit.\

I wish I had told him how much his words meant to me.

David

Letter 4

Dear Richard:

Thanks for your kind words. With Walter’s passing, we have lost one of the important leaders of the libertarian movement.

Best regards,

Walter

From: Richard Conboy

Sent: Friday, December 11, 2020 9:23 AM

To: Walter E Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: PLEASE CONTINUE

I have read many of your articles over the years, but for some reason, no so many lately.  Perhaps I have raced too quickly through available articles.

However, with the loss of Walter Williams, we all need you more.  Intelligent articles, by intelligent authors (black, white, or otherwise) are hard to find.  Please keep up your usual good work.

God bless, and have a great day,

Richard Conboy

Mountain Home, Arkansas

Letter 5

From: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Sent: Thursday, December 10, 2020 12:01 AM

To: ‘paul dawson’

Subject: RE: Unfortunately, I didn’t know Walter

Dear Paul:

Well said.

Best regards,

Walter

From: paul dawson

Sent: Wednesday, December 09, 2020 11:39 PM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Unfortunately, I didn’t know Walter

My sweet wife and I made him a sympathy card when his wife died. And he is a symbol that all blacks should revere instead of the thugs and rappers that they use as a guiding light.

BEST,

Paul

Letter 6

Dear Marlene:

I see your point.

Here’s what I see as a reductio against it: it logically implies compulsory bi sexuality. Heteros and homos of both sexes are discriminatory, as you use the term; only bi sexuals are not.

Well, maybe, I exxagerated too much. Let me try again: it logically implies that only bi sexuality is “based on particularly good data.”

Lots of people think it is perfectly acceptable to be “discriminatory” in persoal relations such as sex. But not in business. I don’t see any such bifurcation as legitimate. Either is is justified to discriminate, or it is not, and this should apply to all realms.

Best regards,

Walter

From: Marlene Friis

Sent: Tuesday, December 08, 2020 9:21 PM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: Re: Thanks for your tribute to Walter E. Williams

Sure, I guess the last column I read was the one about discrimination and prejudice. It read like he was purposefully using discrimination as being discriminate as opposed to discriminatory, which felt a bit forced, even intellectually dishonest. Just because we have developed expedient ways to make decisions doesn’t mean that these decisions are based on particularly good data.

Marlene

On Tue, Dec 8, 2020 at 9:05 PM Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu> wrote:

Dear Marlene:

Thanks. May I ask on which issues did you disagree with him? His views and mine are VERY similar.

Best regards,

Walter

From: Marlene Friis

Sent: Tuesday, December 08, 2020 9:04 PM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Thanks for your tribute to Walter E. Williams

Dear Walter,

Thanks for your tribute in the paper today; I wouldn’t have known of Walter E. Williams’ passing otherwise. I didn’t always agree with him, but I appreciated his viewpoint.

I’m sorry you lost a colleague and a friend.

Best wishes,

Marlene

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4:01 am on December 12, 2020

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A Pardon For Ross Ulbricht

Block, Walter E. 2016. “Is Ross Ulbricht of Silk Road a Libertarian Hero?” Journal of Economic and Social Thought. www.kspjournals.org. September, Vol. 3, No. 3, pp. 327-332;

http://www.kspjournals.org/index.php/JEST/issue/view/68;

http://www.kspjournals.org/index.php/JEST/article/view/909;

http://www.kspjournals.org/index.php/JEST/article/view/909/1023

http://kspjournals.org/index.php/JEST/article/view/909http://www.targetliberty.com/2017/12/more-on-ross-ulbricht-and-trump-pardon.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TargetLiberty+%28Target+Liberty%29

From: Nathan Fryzek
Sent: Wednesday, December 09, 2020 6:25 PM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Act Now

Dear Dr. Block,

This is the optimal time in Trump’s term to request pardons. I ask you to try and get others to write to the president as soon as possible. Attached is my letter for reference. I am asking for a pardon of Ross Ulbricht, please join me in requesting a pardon for Ross and/or for anyone else unjustly imprisoned!

Thank you for your time and help,

Nathan Fryzek.

______________________________

Nathan Fryzek

Student: Behavioral Economics

Metropolitan State University

“There is some fiction in your truth, and some truth in your fiction.”

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4:42 am on December 10, 2020

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