The Passing of Dr. Walter Williams

Conservative black patriot, Economist Walter Williams, died suddenly last week, literally after having taught a class at George Mason University, his academic home-base for 40-years.  Referring to Dr. Williams as the “heart and soul” of the George Mason economics department, no doubt molding it over the years to become an outstanding one that “unapologetically resists the trend of teaching economics as if it’s a guide for social engineers,” wrote his long-time colleague, Donald J. Boudreaux.

The author of 13 books, and an occasional guest host for Rush Limbaugh, Walter Williams was known for his “intelligent and bold defense and advocacy of free markets and individual liberty, and his cogent deconstruction of the welfare state and such destructive liberal policies as rent control and the minimum wage.”

Yet, wrote his life-long close friend and fellow intellectual, Dr. Thomas Sowell: “Despite his (Williams) opposition to the welfare state, as something doing more harm than good, Walter was privately very generous with both his money and his time in helping others.  He figured he had a right to do whatever he wanted to with his own money, but that politicians had no right to take his money to give away, in order to get votes.”

In addition to authoring books and publishing countless articles, Williams wrote a regular print column.  His last such, published shortly before his untimely death, dealt with the education (or more correctly, the on-going mis-education of urban black youth in too many of our very largest cities.  He wrote: “Several years ago, Project Baltimore began an investigation of Baltimore’s school system. What it found was an utter disgrace.  On 19 of Baltimore’s 39 high schools, out of 3,804 students, only 14 of them, or less than 1%, were proficient in math.  In five Baltimore City high schools, not a single student scored proficient in math or reading.”  Despite those results, the Baltimore schools “had a 70% graduation rate.”  Concluded Williams, those schools are “a fraud that is perpetrated on parents and taxpayers.”

Along with illustrating similar results in Detroit’s public schools in that last column, he also lamented the “deterioration” within school environments, not only the increased prevalence of violence, but also behavior and “disrespect for teachers.”  Wrote Williams about the latter: “Years ago, much of the behavior of young people that we see today would never have been tolerated.  There was the vice principal’s office where corporal punishment would be administrated for gross infractions. If the kid was unwise enough to tell his parents what happened, he might get more punishment at home.”

Hearing the news of Dr. Williams passing, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) stated: “Walter Williams was legendary.  He was brilliant, incisive, witty, and profound.  I grew up reading him. He was a ferocious defender of free markets, and a powerful explainer of the virtues of liberty.”

Concluding his comments about the life and contributions of his incredible colleague, Donald Boudreaux wrote further: “Walter was a scholar’s scholar.  He was one of America’s most courageous defenders of free markets, constitutionally limited government, and individual responsibility.  He was a tireless champion of American values.”

Not only will this nation miss the continuing conservative wisdom of Dr. Walter Williams in more normal times, but his common-sense perspective will be even more badly missed, and needed, as we head into a period of anticipated over-reaching federal government policies and actions under the likely Progressive (i.e., dismantling) control of our incredible republic, which needs not to be “transformed,” but since now threatened, is in dire need of being firmly preserving forever.


(George Mason department quotes via The Wall Street Journal, Donald J. Boudreaux, 12-3-20; William’s views quote via, Larry Thornberry, 12-3-20; Sowell quote via, Thomas Sowell, 12-3-20; Last column quotes via, John Hinderaker, 12-3-20; Cruz quote via, Larry Thornbery, 12-3-20; Boudreaux concluding quote via The Wall Street Journal, Donald J. Boudreaux, 12-3-20).