Saturday, February 1, 2014

OUTRAGE: If Only Walter Block Was Governor of New Jersey

The New York Times has clearly mischaracterized the views of Walter Block on slavery. Here's a letter I emailed to the NYT public editor last Thursday :

    To the Public Editor,
    Article Headline:Rand Paul’s Mixed Inheritance
    Date Published:
    Web or Print:
    Your Concern (please limit to 300 words):

It has come to my attention that Prof. Block has been unjustly characterized as pro slavery in an NYT article.
Yet , your paper refuses to correct.

See  this and this from the article:

“One economist, while faulting slavery because it was involuntary, suggested in an interview that the daily life of the enslaved was “not so bad — you pick cotton and sing songs.”

But later in the article:

Walter Block, an economics professor at Loyola University in New Orleans who described slavery as ‘not so bad’[...] ”

He did not describe slavery as “not so bad.” His point was that picking cotton and singing songs may not be bad, but that the coercion that is slavery is bad. Which appears to be the point the writers seemed to get close to understanding in their first comment on Block.
But, clearly, the second description contradicts the first. It is outrageous for NYT to refuse to correct.

Prof Block has a full rebuttal here, including an exchange with NYT editors.
    Your Name:
 Robert Wenzel
 San Francisco
    Your E-mail:

Robert Wenzel
Editor & Publisher

There, as of yet, has been no response.  Here is the bottom line response Walter Block received from NYT after he attempted to get a correction:
To Walter Block

On Tue, Jan 28, 2014 at 2:39 PM, Walter Block <> wrote:

From: NYTimes, Senioreditor [] Sent: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 6:42 PMTo: Walter BlockSubject: Re: letter to the editor

Dr. Block,Thank you for your reply, but we are comfortable with our characterization of your views. 
Now consider how NYT treated an article about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Politico reports:
The Times’ original story said that Wildstein claimed “he had the evidence to prove it,” while later versions stuck to his lawyer’s vaguer “evidence exists” formulation. 
In a statement Saturday night, the Times said: “We regularly update web stories for clarity as we did in this case.”
To my ear, there isn't a hell a lot of difference between  “he had the evidence to prove it" and “evidence exists," yet NYT editors say the change was made because they " regularly update web stories for clarity as we did in this case."  Yet, when Professor Block is clearly mischaracterized as being in favor of slavery, and after this is brought to the attention of the editors, they see no reason to add clarity.

As Dr. Block responded to NYT, "Wow"


  1. The good news is that the "Toilet Paper of Record" (according to Gerald Celente) is on the way out. Its days are numbered.

  2. I sent an email to the ombudsman and editor asking for a correction.

  3. I am convinced that there are government moles in the NYT doing the bidding of the CIA, this sort of smear is not something a reasonable person would do, even if they were ideologically opposed to a guy like Walter Block, this has government propaganda written all over it.

  4. We still pick cotton and sing songs. Slavery is alive and well through the terms have changed. The slaver now calls himself a government official, the slave is known as a citizen. The involuntary extraction of the fruits of ones labor happens every day. We haven't abolished slavery at all, they only give us the choice of which slave master gets to own us every 4 years. Dr. King we are not "free at last".

  5. I'm sorry, didn't Block defend the libeler and slanderer in his book Defending the Undefendable?

    1. You are as bad as NYT. He defended them in the sense that he said that the libeler and the slanderer are not committing crimes and that they should be free to say whatever they want. He did not, however, say he was in favor of committing libel or slander.

    2. Jeez, it was a question. You read the hostility into it, none was intended. But thats not surprising given your history. You are impossible to listen to/read when you disagree with someone. Childish is a severe understatement.

      I am honestly wondering if suing is compatible with what he has written given that his reputation exists in the thoughts/minds of other. Its a legitimate question. not a backhanded slight against him. I hold Block in the highest regard.

      So how about you take a deep breath and have a big boy conversation without insulting me? Or is that too much to ask?

    3. Yeah right, Wenzel caught you misrepresenting Block. READ YOUR COMMENT AGAIN. And now you attack Wenzel, instead of correcting your error like a man.

    4. Actually its a legitimate question. Block argues, and I agree, that your reputation exists in the mind of others. You have no property rights in other people's thoughts.

      What would block sue for? Money? A written apology/correction? The NYT has not infringed on Block's property rights. The NYT has not committed an act of aggression against Block. (And no, I am by no means defending the NYT. What they did was clearly unfair and a perfect example of terrible journalism)

      My point is, wouldn't Block be violating the NAP if he sued?

      There are two things he can sue for. Money or a written correction / apology. Either way, as far as I understand it, Block would be the aggressor if he sued for either. He would use the government to force another party (who is NOT an initial aggressor) to give over property (money), or he would force a non aggressor to engage in speech against their will.

      Again, I am not defending the NYT, I have a tremendous amount of respect for Block. I'm looking for an intellectual discussion. Not knee jerk emotional responses RW and Stanley have engaged in.

    5. You are correct that Walter has no standing from a principled NAP position to sue NYT. I am not sure why Walter even brought it up as an option. That said, your initial comment did not lay out your objection to a suit. You merely stated that Block wrote in defense of libel and slander without stating your objection, leaving completely open why you made the point, as if Block's objection to his being slandered was a contradiction. It is not.

      You only introduced the objection in terms of a suit AFTER I pointed to the weaknesses in your original position. There was no knee jerk emotional response by me, it was a response to your, at best, sloppy incomplete argument.

    6. "The NYT has not committed an act of aggression against Block. "

      Not withstanding Dr. Block's opinion on "reputation", I personally think that the NYT's has committed an act of aggression.

      I know my opinion flys in the face of some big thinkers within the movement, but very simply I see that the NYT's article as a form of fraud and the damages potentially to be financial to someone(like an academic) that relies on his reputation for paid speaking engagements, paid writing, etc.

      So my argument is simply this, if you commit fraud and harm someone you should be liable(not libel, :) ) for damages and also held to account to PREVENT damages from such occurring if possible by at least correcting the record.(in this case)

      Obviously, it's my can all feel free to throw stones at it and I'll reconsider if I read something that suggests my thinking is faulty.

    7. LOL Mr. Wenzel. You call someone a criminal and refuse to say what crime someone has committed. You refuse to discuss how this "ciminal" violates the NAP.

      That is sloppy my friend. I'll be shocked if you post this comment since you dodged these subjects in your post and in several other comments I have tried to leave.

  6. ...crickets again. Shocking.