Will Grigg Was a Mighty Voice for Justice and Liberty

William Norman Grigg died this afternoon. He was a journalist, broadcaster, editor, musician, father, husband, and a self-described Christian Individualist. He was also my hero.

Will’s main beat was stories about individual victims of the state: particularly Americans who have been unjustly imprisoned or wrongfully assaulted by government officers. His research for each article was exhaustive. From his home in Idaho, he traveled all around the northwest to get the story in person. He would get to know each subject personally, and seek face-to-face interviews with their powerful persecutors. His tireless work has saved several innocent lives from being slowly drained away in prison. He wrote so many pieces about Christopher Tapp, a man who has spent two decades in prison for a murder he did not commit, that the Libertarian Institute, where he was managing editor, will publish a whole book collecting them.

Each essay he wrote was a masterpiece of erudition and eloquence, precision and passion. He did not hurl invective. He simply described each official injustice exactly, stripped of all euphemism, as one would a crime committed by any “mundane” outside of the “punitive priesthood” and devoid of “blue privilege,” to use three of his many incisive coinages. He would illuminate the matter by drawing fascinating parallels from his expansive knowledge of history, literature, and popular culture: especially science fiction, which he loved. And he would slice to pieces the officious justifications of official victimizers with his razor-sharp reason. He was, bar none, the best writer in the liberty movement. And in his painstakingly produced podcast Freedom Zealot and his many interviews with Scott Horton, he seemed to craft final-draft prose as he spoke.

As his colleague Sheldon Richman wrote upon his passing, Will Grigg was, “Principled. Committed. Indefatigable.” It’s true. More than any other writer, Will represented moral true north for me. He suffered much financial hardship for his adamantine insistence upon saying what was right and true.

One of his many fans summed him up as, “Fearless. Loving. Genuine.” Also spot on. He made some very powerful and vindictive individuals very angry in his struggles for justice. It only made him fight harder. His sign-off for every essay and podcast was “Dum spiro pugno: While I breathe, I fight.” And indeed, he fought magnificently for justice and liberty until he breathed his last.

Yet, he was also the sweetest, most gentle man you’d ever meet. He was a warm, adoring father to his children, about whom he wrote moving tributes on Facebook, and a strong, caring husband to his wife. He was a virtuoso on the electric guitar, on which he performed his own soundtrack for his podcast. And his many friends would share videos of adorable animals to his Facebook profile to see what kind of reaction they’d get in the comments from Will, who would always find a new humorous way to express his utter devastation at the sheer cuteness of the creature.

He was just a wonderful, wonderful man.

To help support Will’s large family, you can donate to his family fund.

Dan Sanchez is the Digital Content Manager at the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), developing educational and inspiring content for FEE.org, including articles and courses. The originally appeared on the FEE website and is reprinted with the author’s permission.

  • Pingback: May Will Grigg rest in peace | The Fourth Revolutionary War()

  • Tecumseh1768

    To all the state stenographers out there infesting America, Will Grigg is what a real journalist looks like.

  • Don

    Nobody should die for lack of medical treatment because of money problems. I hope that wasn’t the case with this man.

    • Big_Picture_Pathologist

      While I am very much on board with the libertarian position against war, I can’t help but notice the irony that such a titanic figure in this movement may possibly have died due to not having been able to adequately fund his own care.* And that now his ‘large family’ needs support lest they have to rely on the welfare state.

      Throw in the death of Kent Snyder (from Ron Paul’s campaign in 2008) dying and leaving his family $400k in debt due to lack of health insurance – which he couldn’t get due to a preexisting condition according to his sister – I think libertarians should reconsider what it really means to apply free-market principles to health care when employment in this day and age is not a sure thing (not to speak of the fact that an expensive illness or accident can come out of the blue regardless of your health).

      All the same, this was a very moving tribute, and it will inspire to check out Mr. Grigg’s output. Anyone who fights for justice is a hero in my book.

      *as the fundraiser in an earlier blog post seemed to imply

      • Don

        So you’re speculating that he died for lack of money to pay for medical care he needed?

        ” I think libertarians should reconsider what it really means to apply free-market principles to health care…………”

        Yeah me too but Thomas Knapp says it’s too much of a compromise to the libertarian cause.

        • Chris Baker

          Why are you feeding this troll? If we truly had a free market in health care, surgeries and operations would probably cost 1/10 of what the cost today. Every libertarian who discusses health care knows this. Also observe that the troll doesn’t have a name on here.

          • gdp

            Yes. Compare the cost of veterinary surgery to human surgery; in many cases, the procedures are identical, use identical equipment, and require identical levels of training — and yet a given procedure performed by a Veterinarian often costs ~10–100x less than the corresponding procedure performed by an MD in a hospital.

          • Don

            Not on this thread Chris. Maybe we’ll meet up on another one?

          • elain

            Maybe he didn’t mean to Troll. He seemed genuine–misguided & uninformed- but genuine. The concept ..no the Truth.= that freedom is more important than life is a shock at first to people having been kept in the dark for so long. If it were not, why would we ever fight.

          • Big_Picture_Pathologist

            I sincerely wasn’t trolling. But unless libertarians intend to bring their free market paradise all at once, they should choose their battles more thoughtfully.

            I would rather have my tax dollars go to providing healthcare to people and preventing families from going destitute after their breadwinner dies instead of dropping bombs on Syria.

            Even anarchist Kevin Carson IIRC told a libertarian who had misgivings about going on welfare after losing his job that he should take advantage of what’s available until that great libertarian society comes to pass.

            Like Don, I don’t feel that not having enough money for healthcare should lead to a person’s demise. If that makes me a statist sellout, so be it.

          • InalienableWrights

            You omit that health care is NOT even close to being free market and letting it be free market is the answer. Not stealing from others…

          • Big_Picture_Pathologist

            This ‘troll’ knows well enough that some goods or services in any market will have a segment of the population where their resources will be insufficient to pay for what they need, regardless of deeply discounted costs. That is inherent in markets.

    • Chad

      The last thing Will would have wanted was to have money STOLEN from another human being by threat of force to pay for his healthcare! Many still don’t get it.

      • Don

        I know nothing of the man. Was he a libertarian?

        I’m not into stooping to the level of politics to argue any political points with you, on this thread. That’s not what it’s for

    • elain

      I don’t know about the late great Mr. Grigg, but sir, such is the case because Adam ate an apple.(Sure, blame the woman-Adam did jk) Gods will is what it is, but with free will, charitable donations may help. Force is wrong.

  • Lynn Salah

    I and my wife both are Muslim, we are not just better informed because of listening to Mr. Grigg,we just loved listening to him and the logic he expressed. May Allah forgive him his sins and have mercy on him and bless him to enter Paradise. Ameen.

  • InfiniteSovereign

    This is heartbreaking news. I’m not sure what I admired more about Will Grigg; the soundness of his principles, his steadfast devotion to the cause of liberty, or his excellent writing. He was a true wordsmith. His words were keen, piercing, and devastating in their truth. Will Grigg, you had no peer. What an immeasurable loss to this world–what a chasm you leave us! Thank you so much for all your invaluable work, and expression, and for your service to humanity. You will be grievously missed.

  • Charles Roberts

    A terrible and great loss. I had known Will since the late 90’s. I used to call him up on occasion just to enjoy is unparalleled mastery of the language and his marvelously sardonic wit. The man was a genius in so many ways. Most of all, kind and courageous. A giant. May his memory be eternal, prayers for Korrin and the kids.

  • Big_Picture_Pathologist

    I’m a licensed physician, you presumptuous nitwit.

    As I am ‘complicit’ in the state-sponsored cartel, I am obviously aware of it. That is why I DIDNT claim that it was a free market.

    Thanks for the Mises link though…

  • Pingback: Will Grigg Was a Mighty Voice for Justice and Liberty | From the Trenches World ReportFrom the Trenches World Report()

  • Julie Eileen

    I am so sorry to hear this. He was a good soul and a great writer. I will pray for his family.