Greetings to readers of The Agitator, which happens to be my favorite blog. I am William Anderson, and I am a professor of economics at Frostburg State University. (I’m also coordinator of our MBA program.) I first want to thank Radley for giving me blogging privileges for August, and I hope that my posts will be informative and interesting.
Before I go into the subjects on which I write, I’ll give a bit of personal information. I’m 58 and have five children and two grandchildren. Four of my children are adopted from overseas, including two boys from Ethiopia, a girl from Guatemala, and a girl from Latvia. All four are teenagers, and this last comment is self-explanatory. My wife, Johanna, and I have our hands full, although all four of them really are wonderful kids and we are proud of them.
I place myself in a very tiny category, being a theologically-conservative evangelical who is libertarian. I am against the Drug War and I don’t believe that the modern state can define or should control marriage any more than it can define and control the weather (although it tries to do it). The modern American State, I believe, is a major threat to liberty at both home and abroad, and I cannot say that I am enthusiastic about political and legal developments in this country, and I am not hopeful about its future. Because of my particular stands on things, I have lost a lot of friends from the evangelical subculture in which I grew up.
While I have written on many different subjects in both popular and academic publications, I tend to concentrate now on economic and criminal justice issues. About 10 years ago, I became alarmed at the development of federal criminal law and, if anything, I am more alarmed today at the absolute power that is in the hands of federal prosecutors, who face almost no legal constraints upon their behavior. As one might predict, people who are not held accountable (thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court) are more likely to run off the rails, and there is no greater threat to individual liberty in this country than an out-of-control federal prosecutor.
State courts and prosecutors also face few, if any, sanctions and because of federal intervention into state legal matters, we are seeing more and more false accusations and wrongful convictions. Radley’s stand on these matters has been both admirable and very effective, and I consider him to be perhaps the most reasoned and accurate voice on the state of police and the courts in this country. Just his debunking of fraudulent government witnesses in Mississippi alone was a major accomplishment, and he is one of the few people out there who is willing to take on the government’s junk science that invades the courtrooms.
One of my areas of interest regarding state courts has been in what might be called the proliferation of “sex crimes.” Because of two federal laws, the Mondale Act of 1974 and the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, it has become very easy for people to make false accusations of child molestation, rape, and sexual assault, and I believe that it has resulted in the wrongful convictions of thousands of people. Not only do these law promise huge amounts of federal dollars for the pursuance and “prevention” of these crimes, but they also forced states to rewrite the rules of evidence and to eviscerate due process of law when people are accused of such wrongdoing.
The unfortunate result is not just wrongful convictions at trials (which often resemble kangaroo courts), but also with guilty pleas, as it is very difficult for people to be able to afford adequate representation, especially when the authorities already have rigged much of the system. I have written a lot about this unjust situation both in my own blog, and also in the blog run by Lew Rockwell.
Two cases on which I wrote heavily were the Duke Lacrosse Case of 2006-07, and the trial of Tonya Craft in 2010. The North Carolina attorney general declared prosecutor Michael Nifong’s charges against three lacrosse players from Duke University for allegedly raping an African-American stripper and prostitute to be a fraud, and Craft was acquitted after a month-long trial after being accused of molesting three young girls, including her own daughter. In both situations, the authorities tried to rig the system, they lied, broke the law, and charged people with crimes that never happened. Yes, the “system” allegedly worked, but only after the defendants were forced to spend millions of dollars in order to debunk charges that never should have been brought in the first place.
On economic matters, I have my own blog that mostly deals with the latest missives from Paul Krugman. Yes, he is a Nobel winner, but as an economist in the Austrian tradition, I believe that when a decorated academic economist calls for inflation and massive taxation and regulation as a “cure” for economic depressions, then what he writes should be fair game.
Again, thanks to Radley for asking me to blog this month. I look forward to writing and hearing from readers.