Who Cares About You?

Opinion

intolerance bigotry liberal hate speech racism race baiting White and Black birds on wire iStock/OgnjenO-1129178528
To put it more crudely, as Alchian did, people don't give a damn about you one way or another. IMG iStock/OgnjenO

USA – -(Ammoland.com)- During my student days at a UCLA economics department faculty/graduate student coffee hour in the 1960s, I was chatting with Professor Armen Alchian, probably the greatest microeconomic theory economist of the 20th century.

I was trying to impress Alchian with my knowledge of statistical type I and type II errors. I explained that unlike my wife, who assumed that everyone was her friend until they prove differently, my assumption was everyone was an enemy until they proved otherwise. The result: My wife's vision maximized the number of her friends but maximized her chances of betrayal. My vision minimized my chances of betrayal at a cost of minimizing the number of my friends.

Alchian, donning a mischievous smile asked, “Williams, have you considered a third alternative, namely, that people don't give a damn about you one way or another?” Initially, I felt a bit insulted, and our conversation didn't go much further, but that was typical of Alchian — saying something profound, perhaps controversial, without much comment and letting you think it out.

Years later, I gave Alchian's third alternative considerable thought and concluded that he was right. The most reliable assumption, in terms of the conduct of one's life, is to assume that people don't care about you one way or another. It's an error to generalize that people are friends or enemies, or that people are out to either help you or hurt you.

To put it more crudely, as Alchian did, people don't give a damn about you one way or another.

Let's apply this argument to issues of race. Listening to some people, one might think that white people are engaged in an ongoing secret conspiracy to undermine the achievement and well-being of black people. Their evidence is low black academic achievement and high rates of black poverty, unemployment and incarceration. For some, racism is the root cause of most black problems including the unprecedentedly high black illegitimacy rate and family breakdown.

Are white people obsessed with and engaged in a conspiracy against black people?

Here's an experiment. Walk up to the average white person and ask, “How many minutes today have you been thinking about black people?” If the person isn't a Klansman or a gushing do-gooder liberal, his answer would probably be zero minutes. If you asked him whether he's a part of a conspiracy to undermine the achievement and well-being of black people, he'd probably look at you as if you were crazy. By the same token, if a person asked me: “Williams, how many minutes today have you been thinking about white people?” My answer would probably be, “Not even a nanosecond.” Because people don't care about you one way or another doesn't mean they wish you good will, ill will or no will. They just don't give a damn.

What are the implications of the people-don't-care vision of how the world works? A major implication is that one's destiny, for the most part, is in one's hands. How you make it in this world depends more on what you do as opposed to whether people like or dislike you. Black politicians, civil rights leaders and white liberals have peddled victimhood to black people, teaching them that racism is pervasive and no amount of individual effort can overcome racist barriers. Peddling victimhood is not new.

Booker T. Washington said: “There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.” In an 1865 speech to the Anti-Slavery Society in Boston, abolitionist Frederick Douglass said that people ask: “‘What shall we do with the Negro?' I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us!”

Or as Patrick Moynihan urged a century later in a 1970 memo to President Richard Nixon, “The time may have come when the issue of race could benefit from a period of ‘benign neglect.'”


Walter E.Williams
Walter E. Williams

About Walter E.Williams

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. Williams is also the author of several books. Among these are The State Against Blacks, later made into a television documentary, America: A Minority Viewpoint, All It Takes Is Guts, South Africa's War Against Capitalism, More Liberty Means Less Government, Liberty Versus The Tyranny of Socialism, and recently his autobiography, Up From The Projects.

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Circle8MICHAEL JLonghaired RedneckWild Billtomcat Recent comment authors
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Circle8
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Circle8

Another excellent article by Dr. Williams. The country needs more Dr. Williams and a lot less democrat morons.

MICHAEL J
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MICHAEL J

The only time I think about race is when a class of people who stereotyped themselves, prove to me I was wrong to think otherwise. I believe that history is replete with examples of wrongdoing against every peoples that has ever existed. The strong conquered the weak and prejudice was passed down generation to generation. Slavery was nothing new, it was conquest and not just limited to people of color. This nation had dark beginnings much like others, but what made this country great was the linking of diversities and trying to correct the wrongs of our past. On one… Read more »

tomcat
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tomcat

Another good article from Dr. Williams. I never thought about it this way but he is right, I don’t spend any time thinking about someone’s color but I do speak against people coming from other countries and trying to change this country into the sh-thole they came from. We have lived this way for over 200 years and have been very successful at it. Leave us alone.

Wild Bill
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Wild Bill

@Tcat, I am rather glad that people do not give a damn about little old me. And the higher up those people are the gladder I am!

Oldvet
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Oldvet

My favorite reply is ” without mostly ” then watch their faces. You will get some who act as if you woke them from a trance . Some catch on and laugh some will ask without what ? You get some very interesting response from the ladies .

Wild Bill
Member
Wild Bill

@OV, I bet that truck of yours leave a trail of broken hearts! ; – )

Tionico
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Tionico

Which explains perfectly why “social media” are so powerful…. such pasttimes help further the meme that at least “some” “care” about MEEEEEEEEeeeeee.. how many likes did I get from THAT post yesterday? OH NO< I got some thumbs downs on my feed!!! I am DOOOOOMED Maybe if I post THIS I'll get a bunch of thumbs up….. we have made "public opinion" our god. But that god is a cruel taskmaster indeed. I haev many close friends, about whom I care deeply, and they about me. A uch larger circle comprises those with whom I interact on various levels, but… Read more »

Boz
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Boz

Walter took the words right out of my mouth! I have OFTEN thought these EXACT things.

Thank you!, Sir, for putting it in writing.

John
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John

Excellent article. To drive the point home option 3 is correct – when someone asked how you’re doing, say terrible. If you get a response, you’ll be surprised how many say “good”.

You see they are just engaging in chit chat and care less about you or your day.

Moreover they know if they say well what’s wrong, a diatribe of ails will be levied – so “good” gives a response and shuts you up!

Finnky
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Finnky

I just say “sorry to hear it” while continuing to walk the other way. They’ve been heard and ignored at the same time…

hippybiker
Member
hippybiker

When I listen to people ‘like Walter Williams and Candace Owens,I think we the human race, may one day grow up!

Autsin Miller III
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Autsin Miller III

Great article. In this age of narcissism, most people today just can’t wrap their heads around the idea that people aren’t thinking about them in some way – good or bad. I agree with Mr. Williams though, for the most part people are just thinking about how to get along in life. In my opinion, that is what gives the liberals their power. While the rest of us are going about the daily life of living, they are busy trying to decide for us just exactly how we should do that.

TheRevelator
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TheRevelator

agreed

TheRevelator
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TheRevelator

The third is the option I have usually taken. “You do you, but leave me the heck alone.” is usually the stance I hold in a lackluster, often clinical boredom that other people might try to drag me into their activities. I could care less about what other people enjoy, individual liberty is about doing what I enjoy! The only time that switch is flipped is when people try to start dictating others rights, what they MUST do or advocate violation thereof. Think about it. If someone wants to be a liberal, and thinks some people don’t have enough of… Read more »

Longhaired Redneck
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Longhaired Redneck

Ayn Rand couldn’t have said it any better, even though she used a lot more words when she tried with her book ‘Atlas Shrugged’!

tetejaun
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tetejaun

Professor Williams talked about the REAL problem with black Americans several years ago: THAT being young girls, 14, 15, 16, that get pregnant so they do not have to do all that hard school work or get a job. Statistics show black girls having sex and 9 years old. Early training, I guess. Once pregnant and unmarried, that TAXPAYER supports her 100% for the next 18 years. A couple years go by, another bastard. On and on. Each resetting the 18 year total free ride. The bastard spawn of this event are just as denied a proper outlook as they… Read more »

Knute
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Knute

Excellent piece. This brings up the trinity that mankind has always wrestled with. All forces have two polar opposites, and the third is the “sweet spot” in the middle. This balance point, somewhere in the middle, is the spot where life can exist. But the balance point is different for each life, thus the liberty to pursue (and not having it assigned for one by another!) that balance point for oneself is absolutely necessary. The founding fathers understood this, but most today do not. This is the root of our unbalanced nature, at least for the so-called western world, at… Read more »

Knute
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Knute

Wow! This post got two thumbs up!
I expected it to have lots of detractors, because it’s the kind of thing no one wants to hear. But it looks like at least two others agree. And possibly many more than that, to make up for the religious ones that hated it, because the word “religion” was used in the same sentence with the word “lie”. I expected that alone to generate down votes by the dozen.

Alan in NH
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Alan in NH

Great blues song by Papa Chubby on youtube. ‘ Nobody, Nobody loves me the way that I do’

Deplorable Bill
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Deplorable Bill

When I was a kid, the name of the game was baseball. Nobody, NOBODY cared what color you were. All that mattered was can you hit, catch, throw and run. Nothing else mattered until it was time for dinner. At least in this respect life can be as simple as you let it. A tree is judged by it’s fruit so mankind is judged by what they say and do, their belief and acknowledgement that the LORD does exist and we are accountable to HIM, that there are laws higher than themselves, that freedom is worth fighting for, that truth… Read more »

Wild Bill
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Wild Bill

@DB, Yeah, and there was no whining one’s way to first base either! I suspect that none of our current politicians could hit, catch, throw, or run!