‘Honest academic’ spoke truth on issues
‘Honest academic’ spoke truth on issues
Mason Beasler
Mason Beasler
AFA Journal staff writer

Above, Walter Williams

March 2021On December 1, 2020, Walter Williams had just finished his last lecture of the semester, teaching economics to a George Mason University class. Hours later, the police discovered the renowned professor unconscious in his car. He passed away that night at age 84. He had suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and hypertension.

In today’s world, it is rare to find an individual in the public spotlight who is willing to stand boldly and speak truth against a cultural tide of political correctness.

But that is precisely how Walter Williams lived his life.

Born to a single mother in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1936, options for Williams were slim at first. Yet he made the most of sparse opportunities. After high school, he enrolled at Temple University in Philadelphia.

He served in the Army, then returned to academia and earned a doctorate in economics from UCLA.

He began his 40-year teaching career at George Mason in 1980. Williams authored nearly a dozen books, wrote a syndicated newspaper column, and spoke to millions around the country as a substitute radio host for Rush Limbaugh.

Williams’s lasting wisdom
The words below stand testament to Williams’s commitment to truth and reason, even when it was unpopular. Hopefully, the nation will yet heed his lasting wisdom. (Read more at walterewilliams.com.)

“Walter is one of the few honest academics,” remarked Thomas Sowell, award-winning economist, “and it’s harder to be honest in academia than in almost any other place.”

With Williams’ gracious permission, AFA Journal occasionally reprinted his insightful columns. Much can be learned from the life and words of Walter Williams, who exemplified what it means to stand for the truth in a culture that is so determined to embrace lies.   

Williams on the issues
Minimum wage
“A lot of people will say, ‘The minimum wage is an anti-poverty device.’ That is utter nonsense. For kids who grew up in broken homes, who’ve gone to rotten schools ... if they’re going to learn anything that will make them a more valuable worker in the future, they’re not going to learn it in their neighborhoods, they’re not going to learn it in their schools. So they have to learn it on the job. And what the minimum wage law does, it nixes that learning.”

Affirmative action
“I am very, very happy that I got virtually all of my education before it became fashionable for White people to like Black people. That meant that when I got a C, it was an honest-to-God C, and when I got an A, it was an honest-to-God A. They weren’t practicing affirmative action, and they didn’t [care] about my self-esteem. ... Affirmative action is one of the most effective means ... of reinforcing racial stereotypes.”

Marriage and poverty
“What do you think distinguishes the high and low poverty populations? The only statistical distinction in both the Black and White populations is marriage. There is far less poverty in married-couple families, where presumably at least one of the spouses is employed.”

Income inequality
“The person who takes exception to [Michael] Jordan’s salary or sees him ... as making little contribution to society is really disagreeing with ... millions of independent decision makers who decided to fork over their money to see Jordan play. …”

Government spending
“I examined our Constitution, looking to see whether an Article 5 amendment had been enacted authorizing Congress to spend money for business bailouts, prescription drugs, education, Social Security, and thousands of other spending measures in today’s federal budget. I found no such amendment. Contrary to what our Constitution permits, Congress taxes and spends for anything upon which it can muster a majority vote.”