Conservative author and economist Walter E. Williams died December 1, 2020, ending the illustrious career of one of liberty’s fiercest and yet most soft-spoken advocates. He was born March 31, 1936 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
He was nationally known as a conservative columnist, who has been featured in the Tyler Morning Telegraph for several years. He served as a professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia since 1980 and was most recently the John M. Olin distinguished professor of economics.
Many conservatives know Williams from his years of subbing for talk radio host Rush Limbaugh. Others know Williams from his appearances on the 10-part 1980 PBS television series Free to Choose, featuring Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman.
Williams “was the author of over 150 publication which have appeared in scholarly journals,” Economic Policy Journalrecalls in its memoriam. His work appeared in Economic Inquiry, American Economic Review, Georgia Law Review, Journal of Labor Economics, Social Science Quarterly, and Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy and popular publications such as Newsweek, Ideas on Liberty, National Review, Reader’s Digest, Cato Journal, and Policy Review.
Williams also wrote ten books: America: A Minority Viewpoint, The State Against Blacks, All It Takes Is Guts, South Africa’s War Against Capitalism, Do the Right Thing: The People’s Economist Speaks, More Liberty Means Less Government, Liberty vs. the Tyranny of Socialism, Up From The Projects: An Autobiography, Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed On Discrimination?, and American Contempt for Liberty.
Personally, however, Williams will be remembered best as the soft-spoken conservative economist who frequently clowned on his late wife, Connie, who died in 2007. They were married in 1960. As Marymount University economics professor Brian Hollar recalled after her death, “Professor Williams used to make a lot of jokes in class about making his wife shovel snow, how much he spoiled her, used her bad behavior for illustrating downward-sloping demand curves, etc. You could always tell through his teasing that he loved her deeply.”
Indeed, the Connie anecdotes were indicative not only of Williams’s dry sense of humor, and they acted not only as excellent examples to explain complex economic theories, but they displayed well his humanity. The stories always revealed his clear and deep love for his wife of 47 years.
He will be missed. Rest in peace.