Townhall columnist Walter E. Williams received the prestigious Bradley Prize from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation Thursday night in the nation’s capital, recognizing his lifetime of championing conservative ideals. For years, Williams has defended conservatism in his nationally syndicated column and in hundreds of radio and television appearances. He has also been a teacher for half a century, teaching at George Mason University for 36 of those years. These two aspects of his life, Williams explained in his acceptance speech, are exclusive.
Williams credited his teachers for treating him like an adult and “not giving a damn about his self esteem.” He contrasted his academic experience with the snowflakes of today, noting that too many teachers and employers “care more about people’s feelings rather than their performance.”
He elaborated on the usual suspects.
“Many professors, particularly those on the socialistic side of the political spectrum, use their classrooms to proselytize students. While professorial proselytization is common and accepted at most universities, I believe that to use one’s classroom to push one’s personal beliefs is both immoral and academic dishonesty.”
The teacher-student relationship, he concluded, has been hijacked by those who would rather be political pundits than educators.
“It is a cowardly act to take advantage of student immaturity by indoctrinating them with the professor’s opinions before the student has developed the maturity and skill to examine other opinions."
Williams lives by this mantra in his own classroom. In each semester, should his lessons become too subjective, he gives his students permission to raise their hands and remind him that they signed up for his class to "learn economics, not be indoctrinated with his values."
Williams' fellow 2017 Bradley Prize winners included political scientist Peter Berkowitz, the Tad and Diane Taube Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, Columbia Law School Professor Philip Hamburger and Chris DeMuth, Fellow at the Hudson Institute and former president of the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. You can read more about the recipients here.