Libertarian economist Walter Block has been subject to an ongoing petition to have him fired for not having the adequate anti-slavery arguments.
The economics professor at Loyola University New Orleans received support from another group of people who set up a counter petition demanding that he receive a pay raise instead.
According to the Change.org petition calling for his termination, economics Professor Block “has publicly stated that he believes slavery to be wrong because it goes against Libertarianism, not because it is morally wrong.” The College Fix reported that the petition was created by a student named M.C. Calzalas and it asserts that Block “has justified women being paid less than men” and is “allegedly an ableist.”
“If Loyola is really wanting to remove racism, they should remove racists from teaching,” Calzalas wrote.
The controversy that Block is currently dealing with arose from a 2014 New York Times story where the professor allegedly stated that slavery was “not so bad — you pick cotton and sing songs.”
At the time, Block filed a lawsuit against the newspaper, contending that the context of his quote was misrepresented and made it look like he was defending chattel slavery. In reality, he was talking about labor free from coercion. In 2018, the two parties were able to settle the lawsuit.
In an article for The Spectator, Block said that “slavery is wrong, evil and should be outlawed, and slavers be considered criminals and put in jail because it is a rights violation; it is an abomination.” Block is also of the opinion that sexual discrimination is not the main factor that explains the difference between male and female earnings.
Former business student Anton Chamberlin set up a counter petition calling for Block to receive a raise. Chamberlin believes that assertions of Block being racist and sexist “is defamatory to the highest level.” The former business student described Block as “a beacon of liberty in our time, and ought to be treated as such.”
“I really don’t need a pay raise, in the era when all universities, Loyola included, face difficult financial challenges,” Block told The College Fix in an e-mail. He continued, “A non-monetary award would have been nice.”
“As for the firing,” said Block, “these students don’t realize that I favor gay marriages, open borders, reparations to blacks for slavery, and that the NYTimes misquoted me, I sued them for libel, won in court, and settled on terms satisfactory to me.”
In a statement that Interim Provost Maria Calzada sent to The College Fix, Calzada expressed her disagreement with several of Block’s conclusions about race and sex. However, Calzada stressed that “Ideological diversity is critical in academic, and in the Catholic intellectual tradition.”
“We have serious legal constraints on our ability to fire faculty for that which they publish, even if we find it anathema,” Calzada stated. “We cannot be accredited as a university without policies of academic freedom,” she said.
Block informed The Fix that students should have input on who are their instructors because “students are our customers.”
“I won’t say the customer is always right, but, on the other hand, it behooves sellers in the market (universities) to at least be aware of what concerns buyers (students),” commented Block.
Block mentioned how the petition calling for him to get a raise currently has nearly three times as many signatures as the petition to have him fired.
“Maybe the university should concern itself with what a majority of its customers are thinking,” he said about the petitions, while admitting that not all signers of both petitions are students.
Block said that being accused of racism can be “very damaging” to a professor’s reputation.
“I’m far from the only free market, libertarian professor now being accused of violating the niceties of political correctness,” Block claimed. “Happily, for my career, I have tenure, and thus am unlikely to be fired, but this does not apply to all such accused.”
In her statement, Calzada said the school cannot pursue disciplinary action against a faculty member without being able to put forward evidence during a formal process.
“At the time the petition was begun, we had no record of a formal complaint filed by a student against Dr. Block during his nineteen years at Loyola,” she highlighted.
Block agreed that most of the professors being attacked in recent weeks has been because of the national uproar following the aftermath of George Floyd’s death while in police custody.
“The unjustified killing of Mr. Floyd has emboldened people to make all sorts of demands: toppling statues, changing street names, and coming after professors such as me who favor free enterprise, private property, economic freedom, laissez faire capitalism,” Block stated.
Block is a senior fellow at the Mises Institute and one of the most provocative intellectuals in the libertarian movement.
During America’s present struggle session, everyone is potentially a target for the radical Left.
This necessitates that all conservatives, libertarians, and nationalists stick together to protect their own from out of control mobs.