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My Inadequate Tribute to One of the Greatest Men I’ve Ever Known

Over the next few weeks I will write much more about my late colleague and cherished friend Walter Williams. I will do so not merely as an exercise in self-indulgence, but also – I’d like to think chiefly – as a deserved tribute to a uniquely talented, influential, and courageous human being. Walter was a special man, a dear man, a lovely man. He was, in fact, a truly great man. Walter was also an incredibly insightful economist, one whose brilliance he himself hid in plain sight within the disarming clarity of his prose.

Walter’s kind is ever rare, and in these days especially rare.

While I’m always happy for an opportunity for my own ponderous prose to appear in the pages of the Wall Street Journal, I would sacrifice much to have never had the opportunity to write my remembrance of Walter that will appear in tomorrow’s print edition. Here’s my concluding paragraph:

The author of 13 books, dozens of academic papers and countless popular essays, Walter was a scholar’s scholar. He was one of America’s most courageous defenders of free markets, constitutionally limited government and individual responsibility. I will miss him as a friend. The world will miss him as a tireless champion of American values.

Walter, my dear, dear friend and long-time colleague: Do rest in well-deserved peace. We who are left behind will be inspired by your words and your unexcelled example to carry on the good fight. “In Liberty” – as you signed so many of your letters and autographs.


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