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.)