How Conservatives Teach

, Malcolm A. Kline, 2 Comments

Liberal friends curious about how conservative professors actually teach might consider asking them. That’s what Jeisi Zhao of the Young America’s Foundation did in an interview with George Mason University economist Walter Williams.

walter williams

“I teach micro-economic theory, and in my classroom I never talk about the kind of things that I talk about in my syndicated column or on radio,” Dr. Williams told Zhao. “In my classroom, I never talk about these things because they are my preferences and values, and I think it is academic dishonesty for professors to teach students their values.”

“I would never teach my preferences. I just teach them basic economic theory.”

“I want people to share my point-of-view, but I think if I teach my students how to think rigorously, they will come to share my views on their own.”

“Too many professors use their classrooms to proselytize to their students.”

I happen to know that Dr. Williams’ description of his daily chores at GMU is an accurate one. Some years ago, an intern of mine, who shall remain nameless, revealed that he was an economics major there.

I asked him if he’d taken Dr. Williams for a class. The young man got a deer-in-the-headlights looks and observed that the good doctor didn’t teach classes about his columns. “He teaches economics,” the lad said, astounded that a free market economist would do just that.

I couldn’t bring myself to ask him what grade he got.