David R. Henderson  

Ralph Raico, RIP

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David Gordon writes that Ralph Raico has died. Writes David:

His intellectual brilliance was evident from an early age, and while still in high school, he attended Ludwig von Mises's seminar at New York University. There he met Murray Rothbard, who became his lifelong friend. Ralph was one of the most brilliant members of Rothbard's Circle Bastiat. He received a PhD from the University of Chicago, working under Friedrich Hayek. Ralph became the leading historian of classical liberalism and also a renowned authority on revisionist history. His books Classical Liberalism and the Austrian School and Great Wars and Great Leaders show penetrating analytical skills, immense learning, and devotion to liberty. He lectured at the Mises University and other conferences of the Mises Institute for many years.

I first met Ralph in August 1975, within days of arriving at my first academic job as an assistant professor at the University of Rochester's Graduate School of Management (now the Simon School.) Ralph was then a tenured professor at Buffalo State College. So, with my new Volkswagen Rabbit (a lemon, by the way) that I had just bought on credit, I drove to Buffalo to see Ralph. He was very welcoming. It was through Ralph that I met Sam Kazman, then a law student in his last year.

Over the years I was at the U. of R., I visited Ralph regularly and had great conversations.

One conversation that stands out was his telling me about visiting East Berlin earlier in the 1970s. As he was crossing back into West Berlin, Ralph, whose German was quite good, looked at the East German guard, must have sensed a willing listener, and tilted his head to the West Berlin side, saying "Komm mit." (Come along.) The East German guard, looking sad, titled his head to the East German side and said, "Kann nicht." (Cannot.)


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CATEGORIES: Obituaries




COMMENTS (8 to date)
Pierre Lemieux writes:

Sad news. In the late 1990s, Ralph and I were the only dissidents to go and smoke outside at conferences... (I agree, that's very mild dissidence.)

John McCormack writes:

Ralph was great company at so many conferences and symposia. I remember him particularly from the 1994 Mont Pelerin Society meeting in Nice where he also gave a terrific address.

Less Antman writes:

IIRC, Ralph authored the Libertarian Party's gay rights platform in 1975, which included support for equal treatment under the marriage laws. It seemed like the wildest of fantasies at the time and I'm glad he lived to see it become a reality.

June Genis writes:

So sorry to hear the news. I remember Ralph from the early days of the LP. He was a great guy.

Tyler Kubik writes:

There is a bibliography of Ralph's here, with links to everything publicly available: http://www.principialibertatis.com/ralph-raico-bibliography/

Patrick Peterson writes:

Very Nice David!
Love the ending exchange in simple German.

Ralph's fluency was indeed so good that he even translated the wonderful little book by Mises called "Liberalism." Highly recommended: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberalism_(book)

Patrick Peterson writes:

Another really good tribute: https://www.cato.org/blog/ralph-raico-rip?utm_source=Cato+Institute+Emails&utm_campaign=776455cfb0-Cato_at_Liberty_RSS&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_395878584c-776455cfb0-141365989&goal=0_395878584c-776455cfb0-141365989&mc_cid=776455cfb0&mc_eid=634eaab5b4

Bill Hopkins writes:

The world will be a sadder place without Ralph Raico.

I exchanged a few letters with him a few years ago. He was kind enough to send me signed copies of his books. Nice gesture by a nice guy.

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