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TFAS Hosts Luncheon Lecture Series For D.C. Interns


On June 20, more than 100 Capitol Hill interns gathered at The Heritage Foundation for a lecture with renowned economist and author Dr. Walter Williams. The event was hosted by TFAS and the office of Sen. Rand Paul (Ken.) as the first of TFAS’ new Economics and Public Policy Lecture Series on Capitol Hill. The event allowed TFAS students and interns from congressional offices to interact with each other and Dr. Williams in an open discussion that followed the lecture.

Williams’ speech, entitled “Markets and Morality,” illustrated the importance of self-ownership and personal responsibility in a free-market society. Williams spoke of how free trade and voluntary exchange best fit a society of self-ownership.

According to Williams, coercive exchange has no place in a moral, free-market society. “The forcible use of one person to serve the purpose of another is immoral,” said Williams to the group of interns. He went on to explain how the rise of free markets made it possible for individuals to gain wealth by providing services to their fellow man, as opposed to “pillaging and plundering” from them. “In a free society income is not distributed – it is earned,” he said.

Citing Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, Williams explained the inherently unconstitutional and immoral nature of today’s government spending, dubbing much of it as “legalized theft.” This legalized theft threatens not only the free market, but also the moral capability and personal liberty of those within the society. Williams outlined these pressing issues as major threats to the next generation of Americans.

For students, the lecture was a reminder of the Founding Fathers’ vision for the country. “He is a really inspiring person,” said Thad Blevins of Kentucky, a Capitol Hill intern who attended the event. “I think he made a lot of great points about morality and capitalism. It doesn’t matter if you have a badge or elected someone to do it – when you steal stuff from people, it’s theft, and it doesn’t matter who you are.”

TFAS Senior Scholar Jim Otteson (left) meets with Sen. Rand Paul (center) and President Roger Ream (right) prior to his lecture.
TFAS Senior Scholar Jim Otteson (left) meets with Sen. Rand Paul (center) and President Roger Ream (right) prior to his lecture.

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics. Additionally, he is the author of six books and a weekly syndicated column that is carried by approximately 160 newspapers.

In addition to Williams, TFAS Senior Scholar Jim Otteson of Yeshiva University and TFAS Grewcock Senior Scholar Donald Devine, former director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under President Ronald Reagan, and Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) spoke as part of the lecture series. Sen. Rand Paul (Ken.) also spoke to interns attending the series, introducing each lecturer.

A special thank you to the office of Sen. Paul for partnering with TFAS to organize the four part lecture series. We’d also like to thank the Heritage Foundation for hosting two of the lectures in their Allison Auditorium.


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