Conservatives across the nation are in mourning this week after George Mason University economics professor and longtime political columnist Walter E. Williams died Wednesday at the age of 84, the Washington Examiner reported.
Among those to speak out following Williams’ passing was Fox News host and talk radio personality Mark Levin, who called the columnist’s death “a punch in the gut.”
“I am told that one of my heroes, Dr. Walter Williams, passed away,” Levin said in a tweet Wednesday, as the Examiner reported. “Walter had an enormous influence on me, from the time I was 13-years old; he was my first guest on Life, Liberty & Levin.”
Others to mourn Williams’ death included Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R), who called the news “very sad,” according to the Examiner.
“Walter Williams was legendary. He was brilliant, incisive, witty, and profound,” Cruz said in a tweet. “I grew up reading him, and he was a ferocious defender of free markets and a powerful explainer of the virtues of Liberty.”
Fellow economist and columnist Thomas Sowell also chimed in. “He was my best friend for half a century,” Sowell wrote in a moving tribute. “There was no one I trusted more or whose integrity I respected more.”
Sowell added: “We may not see his like again. And that is our loss.”
“Left his mark”
Williams’ weekly syndicated columns were published on Conservative Institute. His final column, titled “Black Education Tragedy Is New,” cited Sowell’s research to call on Black Americans to “demand an end to an educational environment that condemns so many youngsters to mediocrity.”
Published on the day of his death, the column echoed an argument that reverberated throughout Williams’ work: that government policies disproportionately hurt members of minority communities.
Indeed, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Williams was “known for his feisty defense of free market policies and limited government,” and often “argued that government measures inflict disproportionate harm on Black people.”
An undeniable conservative, Williams was also a noted author who was known for challenging the prevailing liberal narrative about race and racism in America with books like America: A Minority Viewpoint, which was later made into a documentary, according to the Washington Examiner.
His work was “without question controversial,” as even Ann Ardis, a dean at George Mason, conceded in a statement to the Times-Dispatch — but that was the beauty of it, she argued. “That is the foundation of higher education,” Ardis said, “and Dr. Williams left his mark, using his time, scholarship, and wisdom to chart a unique and successful path.”