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by Walter E. Williams

    Seventeenth-century poet and intellect John Milton predicted, "When language in common use in any country becomes irregular and depraved, it is followed by their ruin and degradation." Gore Vidal, his 20th-century intellectual successor, elaborated saying: "As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate." Sloppy language permits people to get away with speaking and doing all manner of destructive nonsense without being challenged.
    Let's look at the concept of "white privilege," the notion that white people have benefited in American history relative to, and at the expense of, "people of color." It appears to be utter nonsense to suggest that poor and destitute Appalachian whites have white privilege. How can one tell if a person has white privilege? One imagines that the academic elite, who coined the term, refer to whites of a certain socioeconomic status such as living in the suburbs with the privilege of high-income amenities. But here is a question: Do Nigerians in the U.S. have white privilege? As reported by the New York Post this summer, 17% of all Nigerians in this country hold master's degrees, 4% hold a doctorate and 37% hold a bachelor's degree, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2006 American Community Survey. By contrast, 19% of whites have a bachelor's degree, 8% have master's degrees and 1% have doctorates.
    What about slavery? Colleges teach our young people that the U.S. became rich on the backs of free black labor. That is utter nonsense. Slavery does not have a very good record of producing wealth. Think about it. Slavery was all over the South and outlawed in most of the North. I doubt that anyone would claim that the antebellum South was rich, and the slave-starved North was poor. The truth is just the opposite. In fact, the poorest states and regions of our country were places where slavery flourished: Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, while the richest states and regions were those where slavery was outlawed: Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts.
    Speaking of holding people accountable for slavery, there is no way that Europeans could have captured millions of Africans. They had African and Arab help. There would not have been much black slavery in the U.S., and the western hemisphere in general, without Africans exchanging other Africans to European slave traders at the coast for guns, mirrors, cloths, foreign alcoholic beverages and gold dust. Congressional Democratic lawmakers have called for a commission to study reparations, but I have not heard calls to hold the true perpetrators of American slavery accountable. Should we demand that congressional Democrats haul representatives of Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Muslim states before Congress to condemn them for their role in American slavery and demand they pay reparations?
    Some of the greatest language mischief is related to terms such as racial "disparities," "gaps" and "disproportionality." These terms are taken as signs of injustice that must be corrected. The median income of women is less than that of men. Black and Hispanic students are suspended and expelled at higher rates than white students. There are other race disparities and gaps all over the place. For example, blacks are 13% of the population but 80% of professional basketball players and 66% of professional football players, and on top of that, they're some of the most highly paid players. To be consistent with leftist ideology, those numbers seem to suggest that there is some kind of injustice toward Asian, white and Hispanic basketball and football players. But before we run off thinking that everything is hunky-dory for black players in football, how many times have you seen a black player kick an extra point in professional football?
    What should be done to address these and other gross disparities? How can we make basketball, football, dressage and ice hockey, classical music concert attendance, not to mention incarceration, look more like America? In general, we should ignore disproportionality. There is no evidence, anywhere in the world, suggesting that people sort out in any activity according to their numbers in the general population.
    The best thing that we can do is clean up our language. That will have the added benefit of straightening out our thinking so that we do not permit leftists to get away with making us feel guilty and believing in utter nonsense.
    Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
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by John Stossel

        "Mother Earth is angry!" says Nancy Pelosi in my newest video.
        "The debate is over around climate change!" says California Governor Gavin Newsom, smirking, strangely.
        They're eager to blame climate change for the wildfires in their state. I'm surprised they didn't say it causes COVID-19, too.
        Newsom, ridiculously, says wildfires are another reason to get more electric cars on the road. I wonder if he even knows that electricity for such cars comes from natural gas.
        "This catastrophizing around climate change is just a huge distraction," says environmentalist Michael Shellenberger, author of the new bestseller, "Apocalypse Never,"
        Shellenberger says: "Climate change is real, but it's not the end of the world. It's not our most serious environmental problem."
        California warmed 3 degrees over the past 50 years, but that's not the main cause of California's fires, no matter how often politicians and the media say it is.
        Why do they keep saying it?
        "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail," says Shellenberger. "Every weather event you blame on climate change."
        What actually is to blame, as usual, is stupid government policies.
        Forests are supposed to burn. If there aren't small fires, debris from dead trees and plants accumulate. That provides fuel for big, deadlier fires, that are more likely to burn out of control.
        But for years, governments and environmentalists put out every small fire they could, while also fighting logging.
        Megafires could have been avoided if forests had just been better managed.
        An example is Shaver Lake forest, managed by Southern California Edison. The company thinned that forest, creating fire breaks with selective logging. When the wildfires reached Shaver Lake, they diminished into low intensity "surface fire." That protected the bigger, older trees.
        Forests in America's west were supposed to burn more often, says Shellenberger. "When Europeans came, they reported California being very smoky and on fire during the summers. And Native Americans burned huge amounts of land."
        "So, for the past years, it's been unnaturally un-smoky?" I ask.
        "It's what a lot of forest ecosystems require," answers Shellenberger. "We haven't had enough fires for maybe 100 years."
        But it's hard to convince governments to allow small fires when politicians demand that every fire be put out, and the media call every fire a disaster.
        Recently, wildfire hit the ancient redwoods in Big Basin State Park. Politicians and East Coast environmental reporters worried about the redwoods disappearing.
        But of course, they didn't.
        "Redwood trees and other old growth, the bark is very thick, it's fire-resistant," says Shellenberger.
        The politicians didn't know that. "They're still standing!" giggled an astonished Newsom after the fire passed.
        But "it was exactly what you would expect," says Shellenberger.  "Journalists go, 'Wow. What a surprise! The ancient redwoods didn't burn down!' Nobody's more alienated from the natural environment, and nobody's more apocalyptic than environmental journalists."
        Well, maybe politicians.
        For years, they and environmentalists increased the risk of big fires by opposing the thinning of forests.
        The town of Berry Creek, California, tried to get permits to legally clear their forest. For two years, regulators delayed approval. This year, fire destroyed the town.
        Forest Service ecologist Hugh Safford wishes they would "get away from the tree-hugging mentality. It's the classic 'not seeing the forest for the trees.'"
        This year's wildfires finally persuaded politicians to allow more people to cut trees down.
        "There's actually widespread agreement on this, says Shellenberger. "The governor of California and President Trump recently signed an agreement to clear much more area. Even the Sierra Club, which opposed the thinning of forests, has now changed its tune."
        It's about time.
        Politicians and environmentalists, eager to raise money, cite climate change and blame fossil fuels for problem after problem.
        While climate change is a problem, Shellenberger points out, "the number of deaths from natural disasters declined 90% over the last hundred years. A small change in temperature is not the difference between normalcy and catastrophe."
        John Stossel is author of "Give Me a Break: How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of the Liberal Media." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
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by Walter E. Williams

       Paul Kengor is a professor of political science at Grove City College in Grove City, Pennsylvania. He has just published "The Devil and Karl Marx," a careful look at the diabolical side of Karl Marx. The book has come out during an important time in our history since so many Americans, particularly our youth, have fallen for the seductive siren song of socialism taught to them by the academic elite.
        "The Black Book of Communism," edited by Stephane Courtois details the Marxist-Leninist death toll in the 20th century. Here is the breakdown: USSR, 20 million deaths; China, 65 million; Vietnam, 1 million; North Korea and Cambodia, 2 million each; Eastern Europe, 1 million; and about 3.5 million in Latin America, Africa and Afghanistan. These figures understate those detailed by Professor R.J. Rummel in "Death by Government." He finds that from 1917 until its collapse, the Soviet Union murdered or caused the death of 61 million people, mostly its own citizens. From 1949 to 1976, Communist China's Mao Zedong regime was responsible for the death of as many as 78 million of its own citizens.
        The world's intellectual elite readily focus on Adolph Hitler's murderous atrocities but ignore those of the world's socialists. Mao Zedong has been long admired by academics and leftists across our country. They often marched around singing his praises and waving his little red book, "Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung." President Barack Obama's communications director, Anita Dunn, in her June 2009 commencement address to St. Andrews Episcopal High School at Washington National Cathedral, said Mao was one of her heroes.
        Whether it's the academic community, the media elite, stalwarts of the Democratic Party or organizations such as the NAACP, the National Council of La Raza, Green for All, the Sierra Club and the Children's Defense Fund, there is a great tolerance for the ideas of socialism -- a system that has caused more deaths and human misery than all other systems combined. Today's leftists, socialists and progressives would bristle at the suggestion that their agenda differs little from those of Nazi, Soviet and Maoist mass murderers. Keep in mind that one does not have to be in favor of death camps or wars of conquest to be a tyrant. The only requirement is that one must believe in the primacy of the state over individual rights.
        Kengor highlights another feature of Marx ignored by his followers. This feature of Marxism should be disturbing to Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who said that she and her fellow organizers are "trained Marxists." I wonder whether she shares Marx's views on race. Marx's son-in-law, Paul Lafargue, was viewed as having Negro blood in his veins. Marx denigrated him as "Negillo" and "The Gorilla."
        Marx had similar hate for Jews. He referred to his fellow socialist labor organizer Ferdinand Lasalle as a "greasy Jew," "the little kike," "water polack jew" and "Jewish n----r." In 1844, Marx wrote an essay titled "The Jewish Question" in which he asks, "What is the worldly cult of the Jew?" His answer: "Haggling. What is his worldly god? Money."
        Down through the years, leftists made a moral equivalency between communist/socialist totalitarianism and democracy. W. E. B. Du Bois, writing in the National Guardian (1953) said, "Joseph Stalin was a great man; few other men of the 20th century approach his stature." Walter Duranty called Stalin "the greatest living statesman ... a quiet, unobtrusive man." George Bernard Shaw expressed admiration for Mussolini, Hitler and Stalin. Economist John Kenneth Galbraith visited Mao's China and praised Mao Zedong and the Chinese economic system. Michel Oksenberg, President Jimmy Carter's China expert, complained that "America is doomed to decay until radical, even revolutionary, change fundamentally alters the institutions and values," and urged us to "borrow ideas and solutions" from China.
        Kengor does a yeoman's job of highlighting the evils of Marxism. The question is whether Americans will heed his lesson or fall prey to the false promises and live the horrors of socialism. By the way, while Sweden and Denmark have a large welfare system, they have market economies -- not socialist economies, as some leftists claim.
        Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
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by John Stossel

        Politicians shut down businesses because of COVID-19.
        But the rules don't apply to everyone.
        In San Francisco, gyms were forced to close, but government gyms stayed open.
        In my new video, we see a Dallas woman being jailed for keeping her salon open and a New Jersey man getting arrested after working out indoors.
        Ordinary people who break the rules get punished.
        But not House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
        Politicians are special.
        Now, politicians have allowed more businesses to open. Dallas relaxed its rules for most businesses a few months ago.
        But not for Dale Davenport's car wash. Dallas won't allow Dale to reopen because, shortly before the epidemic, they decreed his car wash a "hub for drug sales and crime."
        His car wash is indeed in the middle of a high-crime neighborhood, and many cities have laws that let them close a business if the owners conceal crime.
        But Davenport didn't do that. When he saw crime, he called 911. Dallas politicians then used his 911 calls against him, saying his frantic phone calls were evidence his business was a "public nuisance."
        "This is absolutely crazy," complains Davenport.
        Still, Davenport "bent over backwards" to do almost everything the politicians asked him to do.
        "They said (to reduce crime), build a six-foot fence. I built an eight-foot fence," he tells me. "Then they said, put up signs. I already had signs up, so I put up more signs. Then they told me to put up lights. I already had lights up, so I put up more lights."
        That still wasn't enough. The city came in and closed his business, anyway. "They murdered my business," says Davenport.
        Closing it didn't reduce crime. Crime in the neighborhood stayed about the same.
        But the community lost a center. For 20 years, people drove to Dale's car wash, and then visited other local businesses while their cars were washed.
        "The businesses next to my car wash, their business is down 40-50%," says Davenport.
        Why did politicians go after just one business that was well lit and where the owner did most of what the politicians requested?
        Davenport suspects the politicians shut him down because he won't give money to their friends. The city told him to hire armed guards, but when he hired them, he says he was told, "You've hired the wrong guard company." He hadn't hired a guard company owned by a city councilman.
        Could it be that corrupt Dallas politicians want the money for themselves?
        "This is extortion," says Davenport.
        We contacted all 14 city council members. Not one agreed to an interview.
        Dallas has a rich history of political corruption. The guard company Davenport says the city wanted him to hire was owned by former councilman James Fantroy. In 2008, Fantroy went to prison for stealing $20,000 from a college.
        Former Dallas city council members Dwaine Caraway, Paul Fielding and Don Hill were all jailed after being convicted of bribery or extortion.
        Instead of paying car wash employees, Davenport now spends his money on lawyers, hoping to fight city hall. "This is wrong," says Davenport. "This is tyranny."
        It's bad enough when politicians kill businesses with COVID-19 shutdowns. It's worse if they kill a business because the owner won't give money to their friends.
        John Stossel is author of "Give Me a Break: How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of the Liberal Media." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
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by John Stossel

    "I'm more anti-China than you!"
    That's a new theme of this election.
    Joe Biden says, "We will never again be at the mercy of China!" Donald Trump replies, "China would own our country if Joe Biden got elected!"
    It's strange to hear competition, because just a few administrations ago, presidents were eager to celebrate China. "A future of greater trade and growth and human dignity is possible!" said George W. Bush. Bill Clinton praised China's "positive change" and "great progress."
    What changed? That's the subject of my new video.
    Presidents Clinton and Bush were excited about China because its dictators had finally opened up China's economy. They got rid of price controls, broke up collective farms, allowed foreign investment and privatized state-run business. China, suddenly, prospered.
    "People were so happy to finally see China being set on this path," says Melissa Chen, who reports on China for the Spectator. The reforms "lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty for the very first time."
    Then, three years ago, Xi Jinping got himself named president for life.
    He cracked down on speech, even jokes. After someone noted his resemblance to Winnie the Pooh, all mentions of the character were deleted from China's internet.
    I had thought the internet couldn't be censored. Bill Clinton said it would be like "trying to nail Jell-O to the wall."
    "The Chinese figured out how to nail Jell-O to the wall," says Chen. "They built an almost perfectly walled-in internet."
    China does this by employing a million censors. They block Google, Facebook, Twitter and most Western news media. A few computer-savvy Chinese citizens use forbidden apps to get around the censorship, but most don't get to see the same internet that we see.
    People caught accessing banned sites are punished. Police may barge into your home, threaten your family or just restrict your choices.
    "You can't make doctor's appointments," explains Chen. "You can't travel... they'll block you from buying a train ticket or a plane ticket."
    Life is far worse for religious minorities such as the Muslim Uighurs. The government is waging cultural genocide against them.
    About a million Uighurs are locked up in "reeducation" camps, "sometimes for years," says Chen. "Their family never hears back from them."
    China won't allow reporters near the camps, but drone footage shows rows of blindfolded people with their heads shaved and their hands tied behind their backs.
    Radio Free Asia adds that China's "reeducation" methods even include having Chinese men replace the Uighur men in families. They "come in and live with a family (and) sleep in the same bed as the wife," says Chen.
    In short, today's China is, once again, a vicious communist dictatorship.
    So, I'm amazed to watch American protesters and hear them say, "America is the world's biggest problem."
    Even a recent New York Times editorial board member wrote that it was difficult to know whether the United States is "better, worse, or the same" as China.
    That equivalence is "bonkers," replies Chen. "There should be no doubt about the moral equivalence between the two countries."
    For one thing, we Americans are free to criticize our government.
    "You can hold up a sign at a protest, saying, 'Screw Donald Trump; the United States sucks!'" explains Chen. "You cannot do anything remotely similar in China."
    People in Hong Kong tried. Millions attended protests, often waving American flags. Chen says it shows they "have a hankering for American values. They crave this freedom that we take for granted."
    Now they, too, have been silenced by China's government.
    The American protesters who carry "democratic socialism" banners and wave Communist flags (Soviet Communists used to call people like them "useful idiots") should know what people in Hong Kong know: Socialism leads to real government oppression.
    "Why would Americans want this?" asks Chen. "Why would they be waving these Communist flags, wanting socialism?"
    John Stossel is author of "Give Me a Break: How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of the Liberal Media." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
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