My libel lawsuit against the NYTimes will soon be heard in court. They wrote that I thought “slavery was not so bad.” What I said to them was, roughly, “slavery was not so bad, if it was voluntary, if no one was forced to be a slave.” They didn’t entirely leave out the latter part, but stuck it several paragraphs away from this accusation of theirs against me, such that many people concluded that yes, indeed, I did not think slavery was all that bad.
But the reality was that I was just trying to explain to the NYTimes interviewer WHY slavery is an abomination: it wasn’t due to picking cotton or eating gruel or living in a shack. Rather, it was because of the compulsory nature of this institution. In my view, actual slavery was so horrendous that actual reparations to the grandchildren of slaves is justified. For evidence of these claims, see below.
The lower court dismissed my case with prejudice, which meant that I would have to pay the legal bills of the NYTimes for in effect bringing a frivolous lawsuit. Happily, the higher court overturned this decision. One of those judges opined that the NYTimes did to me what a journalist would do if he quoted Churchill as saying “Democracy is the worst system of them all” and left out his qualifier: “except for all the other systems.” Yes, this hypothetical “journalist” would have used Churchill’s exact words, as did the NYTimes use mine, but when you leave out the qualifier, you change the meaning of the statement by 180 degrees.
How can you people help me?
For my lawsuit, I need to establish damages, personal, financial or of any other type or variety. It is difficult to establish such a negative. Can you please help me? If you are a Loyola student who will not take my courses, or even talk to me because you think, due directly or indirectly to this NYTimes story, that I favor slavery, please get in touch with me and say so, in your own words. If you are a faculty colleague of mine who for this reason will have nothing to do with me, will not have lunch with me, will not engage in a public dialogue with me, will not talk to me, please let me know. If you would have invited me to your campus or think tank or institution to give a speech (paid or unpaid), or hired me as an expert witness, or in any other way associated with me, but did not do so due directly or indirectly to this NYTimes story, please notify me of this fact. If you know of anyone else who fits any of these categories, if you feel comfortable about it, give me their names, phone numbers and e mail addresses. If you do not feel comfortable about doing that, just tell me how many such people you know of, and categorize them: are they students at Loyola? Students elsewhere who will not enroll at Loyola because I am on the faculty? Are they faculty members at Loyola? Located elsewhere? Are they people who would have invited me to give a public speech, serve as an expert witness, etc?
1. The NYTimes article; I link to it here:
Block, Walter E. 2014. “Reply to the Scurrilous, Libelous, Venomous, Scandalous New York Times Smear Campaign.” January 30; https://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/01/walter-e-block/scurrilous-libelous-venomous/;
2. My support for reparations:
Block, Walter E. 2002. “On Reparations to Blacks for Slavery,” Human Rights Review, Vol. 3, No. 4, July-September, pp. 53-73;
http://www.walterblock.com/wp-content/uploads/publications/reparations_slavery.pdf; https://link.springer.com/journal/12142/3/4/page/1; https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12142-002-1003-4
3. Fr. Wildes’ SJ view of this matter (he is the president of Loyola University)
Wildes, Kevin. 2014. “Letter: Walter Block has made too many assumptions and contradictions.” February 6; http://www.loyolamaroon.com/108039/opinions/letter-walter-block-has-made-too-many-assumptions-and-contradictions/8:49 pm on May 5, 2018 Email Walter E. Block