The conservative universe has lost a titan. Walter Williams, an economist by trade, a Libertarian by politics, and a classical liberal passed away at the age of 84.
Williams held many degrees, earning his M.A. and his Ph.D. in Economics from UCLA. He went on to earn more degrees at various schools, including Doctor of Humane Letters from Grove City College, and Doctor of Laws from Washington and Jefferson College.
Though Williams is no longer with us, he left behind a voluminous library of his works from which generations of future Americans can learn. The author of over 150 publications for scholarly journals, Williams also wrote ten books including the title Liberty vs. The Tyranny of Socialism, and More Liberty Means Less Government. Williams was also a syndicated columnist. His last column, published a day before his death, examined the failing public school system in Baltimore, Maryland.
Possessing a witty sense of humor, Williams was a frequent guest on many television programs, and he also occasionally hosted The Rush Limbaugh radio show.
Williams, a great defender of liberty, was Mark Levin’s first guest on the inaugural show of Life, Liberty, and Levin. During the interview Levin asked Williams to define liberty. Williams explained liberty this way: “I defined it as people being able to engage in peaceable voluntary exchange without interference by others.” Williams, a student of history, went on to say that the liberty Americans enjoy is not the historical norm, in fact, it is a very rare occurrence.
On totalitarianism, Williams explained how socialists use liberty and free speech to overthrow liberty and free speech.
They can use liberty to destroy liberty. Totalitarians are always in favor of free speech until they get their foot in the door. Once their foot is in the door, they begin to shut down free speech.
Williams wrote and spoke about the devastating effects on the Black family of well-intentioned government programs, including “the war on poverty.” He also “did the math” and his calculations on the cost of the failed government campaign are revealing:
Since President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty, the nation has spent about $18 trillion at the federal, state and local levels of government on programs justified by the “need” to deal with some aspect of poverty. In a column of mine in 1995, I pointed out that at that time, the nation had spent $5.4 trillion on the War on Poverty, and with that princely sum, “you could purchase every US factory, all manufacturing equipment, and every office building. With what’s left over, one could buy every airline, trucking company and our commercial maritime fleet. If you’re still in the shopping mood, you could also buy every television, radio and power company, plus every retail and wholesale store in the entire nation.”
Finally, Williams understood the harmful effects of “white” guilt on the country. He dealt with the problem in his own humourous way, granting Americans of European descent amnesty. He wrote:
Proclamation of Amnesty and Pardon Granted to All Persons of European Descent
Whereas, Europeans kept my forebears in bondage some three centuries toiling without pay,
Whereas, Europeans ignored the human rights pledges of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.
Whereas, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments meant little more than empty words,
Therefore Americans of European ancestry are guilty of great crimes against my ancestors and their progeny.
But, in the recognition Europeans themselves have been victims of various and sundry human rights violations to wit: the Norman Conquest, the Irish Potato Famine, Decline of the Hapsburg Dynasty, Napoleonic and Czarist adventurism, and gratuitous insults and speculations about the intelligence of Europeans of Polish descent,
I, Walter E. Williams, do declare full and general amnesty and pardon to all persons of European ancestry, for both their own grievances, and those of their forebears, against my people.
Therefore, from this day forward Americans of European ancestry can stand straight and proud knowing they are without guilt and thus obliged not to act like damn fools in their relationships with Americans of African ancestry.
Walter E. Williams
Gracious and Generous Grantor
Rest in peace, Mr. Williams, you will be missed.