The Great Walter E. Williams

The total intelligence of the world declined this past week with the passing of the great Walter E. Williams. I came across Walter E. Williams when I started reading his columns in the editorial page of my local news paper in the early 90’s. I was hooked the first article I read.

Walter E. Williams had the rare ability to explain complex concepts in a way we regular people could understand. Reading the writings of Walter E. Williams and his friend Thomas Sowell allowed me a base of knowledge about economics and individual liberty that allowed me to understand the writings of F.A. Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, and Murray Rothbard.

You can learn something from his weekly articles. Many of the things he wrote about decades ago are even more applicable today. He saw the tyranny of big government, and never backed away from stating it.

The main stream media, government insiders, bureaucrats, and the education establishment didn’t take on Walter E. Williams. I think for two reasons. One is they knew he could intellectually destroy them. And two is because they didn’t want anyone to know who he was because of his ability to persuade regular people that free markets, individual liberty, property rights and the Constitution are superior to Socialist central planning.

Click here for the archive of Walter E. Williams weekly columns dating back to the late 90’s.

Here is a video about Walter E. Williams.

Here is what Thomas Sowell wrote about his friends passing.

Walter E. Williams – 1936 – 2020

by Thomas Sowell

Walter Williams loved teaching. Unlike too many other teachers today, he made it a point never to impose his opinions on his students. Those who read his syndicated newspaper columns know that he expressed his opinions boldly and unequivocally there. But not in the classroom.

Walter once said he hoped that, on the day he died, he would have taught a class that day. And that is just the way it was, when he died on Wednesday, December 2, 2020.

He was my best friend for half a century. There was no one I trusted more or whose integrity I respected more. Since he was younger than me, I chose him to be my literary executor, to take control of my books after I was gone.

But his death is a reminder that no one really has anything to say about such things.

As an economist, Walter Williams never got the credit he deserved. His book “Race and Economics” is a must-read introduction to the subject. Amazon has it ranked 5th in sales among civil rights books, 9 years after it was published.

Another book of his, on the effects of economics under the white supremacist apartheid regime in South Africa, was titled “South Africa’s War Against Capitalism.” He went to South Africa to study the situation directly. Many of the things he brought out have implications for racial discrimination in other places around the world.

I have had many occasions to cite Walter Williams’ research in my own books. Most of what others say about higher prices in low income neighborhoods today has not yet caught up to what Walter said in his doctoral dissertation decades ago.

Despite his 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 a letter dated March 3, 1975, Walter said: “Sometimes it is a very lonely struggle trying to help our people, particularly the ones who do not realize that help is needed.”

In the same letter, he mentioned a certain hospital which “has an all but written policy of prohibiting the flunking of black medical students.”

Not long after this, a professor at a prestigious medical school revealed that black students there were given passing grades without having met the standards applied to other students. He warned that trusting patients would pay — some with their lives — for such irresponsible double standards. That has in fact happened.

As a person, Walter Williams was unique. I have heard of no one else being described as being “like Walter Williams.”

Holding a black belt in karate, Walter was a tough customer. One night three men jumped him — and two of those men ended up in a hospital.


I have posted many Walter E. Williams articles and videos over the years. I will link to a few. But you can go to my archives (click here) to see the rest.

Economics For The Citizen, Parts 1 through 10.

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5. Part 6. Part 7. Part 8. Part 9. Part 10.

Article: “Liberty Is Not For Wimps” – Walter E. Williams

Article: Let’s Fight Tyranny – Walter E. Williams.

Article: Rights Versus Wishes – Walter E. Williams.

Article: The Long, Tragic, Ugly Story Of Government – Walter E. Williams.

Here are some videos posted on my site.

A Path Toward Totalitarianism.

The State Against Liberty

The Function Of Profits

The Economics Of Liberty

Economic Rape And Seduction

There are many videos on YouTube by Walter E.Williams. One word of caution. Once you start watching them you can’t stop.

Walter E. Williams was a great man. Thankfully his knowledge and insight will live on in his writings and videos.

Rest In Peace.

Explore posts in the same categories: Econ. 101

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