No one has done more – and with more success – to promote scholarship in service of a free, civil, peaceful, and prosperous society than has Walter Grinder, who at his home in California today celebrates his 75th birthday. The intellectual state of classical liberalism today – not only in the U.S., but globally – would be in a very different and worse condition were it not for Walter’s tireless efforts to bring together scholars, to encourage rigorous scholarship, and (not least) to share selflessly his own deep insights gleaned from his regimen and range of reading that I can only marvel at.
Walter might not know this, but he played a role in my enrolling in NYU in 1980. When still an undergraduate at Nicholls State University, my mentor there, Bill Field, gave me a copy of (I think it was the old and now-long-defunct) Libertarian Review. Walter had a small item in there in which he mentioned NYU’s PhD program (and fellowship-money!) in Austrian economics. I remember vividly sitting one afternoon in the back of the school bus that took me daily the 40 miles to and from campus and reading, for the first time, about this program.
Over the years – nearly 30 now – that I’ve known Walter, I (like countless others) have stacked up a sizable and still-increasing debt to him for his warmth, interest, kindness, counsel, incredible breadth and depth of knowledge, and inspiring courage in fighting for the only society worth any effort to achieve. That society is one governed not by the inevitably ham-fisted and usually harsh diktats imposed from some sovereign power but, rather, by the nuanced and ever-evolving complex of spontaneously evolved law that emerges when society is peaceful, when property is secure, and when superstitions about the creative power of force are kept to an absolute minimum.
Happy Birthday, Walter.