Walter Williams: Pondering Democrats’ views on voting, guns & reparations
There’s a push to change laws to grant both criminals serving time and ex-criminals the right to vote. Guess which party is pushing the most for these legal changes? If you guessed that it was the Democrats, go to the head of the class.
Bernie Sanders says states should allow felons to vote from behind bars. Elizabeth Warren doesn’t go that far but believes felons should have the right to vote. Democrats want the criminal class to have voting rights restored because they could become a significant part of the Democratic base.
These are America’s murderers, rapists, burglars, child molesters and drug dealers. Over 2 million of these people are in prison. If we add in the number of people on probation and parole, there are 6.7 million people currently under correctional control. If cons and ex-cons get the right to vote, it’s almost a guarantee that most of these people will cast their vote for a Democratic candidate.
Democrats don’t stop with wanting cons and ex-cons to vote. Some want illegal immigrants to have the right to vote.
America’s gun-control advocates have the belief that outlawing guns would drastically reduce crime. Almost all handguns have been outlawed from private citizen use in the U.K. since 1996. Nonetheless, violent crime in the U.K. has risen almost every year since the ban. Criminals love the idea of a disarmed populace. While there are few gun crimes in the U.K., there’s a recent report that in 2018 there were over 40,000 knife crimes committed. It’s gotten so bad that some stores have stopped selling kitchen knives.
Here’s something else to ponder: Democratic candidates for the 2020 presidential elections are calling for reparations for slavery or for the study of reparations. Sens. Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren are leading the charge. Slavery was a gross violation of human rights. Justice would demand that slave owners make compensatory payments to slaves. Since both slaves and slave owners are no longer with us, such punishment and compensation is beyond our reach.
So which white Americans owe which black Americans how much? Reparations advocates don’t want that question asked, but let’s you and I ask it. Are the millions of European, Asian and Latin Americans who immigrated to the U.S. in the 20th century responsible for slavery? What about descendants of Northern whites who fought and died in the War of 1861 in the name of freeing slaves? Should they cough up money for black Americans? What about non-slave-owning Southern whites, who were a majority of Southern whites — should their descendants be made to pay reparations?
On black people’s side of the ledger, thorny questions arise. Some blacks purchased other blacks as a means to free family members. But other blacks owned slaves for the same reason whites owned slaves — to work farms or plantations. Would descendants of these blacks be eligible for reparations?
The bottom line is because blacks are doing well in the economic arena under the Trump administration, Democrats fear losing a significant portion of the black vote. Their call for reparations is another attempt to use the promise of handouts to insure that the black vote remains in their pocket. Reparations talk is simply another insulting Democratic rope-a-dope strategy.
Walter Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.