From: T
Sent: Saturday, February 20, 2016 2:14 PM
Subject: Question on Reparations

Dear Mr. Block,

Greetings. My name is T, and I have recently familiarized myself with some of your work on reparations for American slavery.

I see that you mention reparations for Japanese-American internees in various places, but I have not yet been able to determine whether you think it was moral for the American government to offer these reparations at the American taxpayers’ expense in the late 1980s. Generally speaking, do you think that the government owes reparations to people whose rights it once violated? Or do you think that only individuals can owe reparations?

Thank you for taking the time to read my message.

Best, T

Dear T:

Good question. In my view, the individuals in government who did this owe reparations to the children of the Japanese.

They don’t call me Walter Moderate Bloc for nothing. I take a moderate view on reparations, rejecting both extreme perspectives: the conservative one, where no one owes any reparations to anyone for anything and the liberal perspective, all whites owe reparations to all blacks, both groups, whites and blacks, owe the entire country to the Indians, who were here first. My moderate view is that the burden of proof rests with those who seek reparations, and that sometimes, rarely, they are justified.

See, below, my publications on reparations.

Alston and Block, 2007; Block, 1993, 2001, 2002; Block and Yeatts, 1999-2000

Alston, Wilton D. and Walter E. Block. 2007. “Reparations, Once Again.” Human Rights Review, Vol. 9, No. 3, September, pp. 379-392;

Block, Walter E. 1993. “Malcolm X,” Fraser Forum, January, pp. 18-19;

Block, Walter E. 2001. “The Moral Dimensions of Poverty, Entitlements and Theft,” The Journal of Markets and Morality, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 83-93;;;

Block, Walter E. 2002. “On Reparations to Blacks for Slavery,” Human Rights Review, Vol. 3, No. 4, July-September, pp. 53-73;

Block, Walter E. and Guillermo Yeatts. 1999-2000. “The Economics and Ethics of Land Reform: A Critique of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace’s ‘Toward a Better Distribution of Land: The Challenge of Agrarian Reform,’” Journal of Natural Resources and Environmental Law, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 37-69;

Best regards,



4:32 pm on January 10, 2019