Perspectives: Will Grigg, a tribute to one of freedom’s greatest mentors

Composite image with photo of Will Grigg. | St. George News

OPINION – I’m a firm believer in the power of mentors. A mentor is an experienced and trusted person who advises and inspires us to learn the things that move us closer to realizing our individual potential.

Throughout the journey of my life, I’ve been blessed to associate with remarkable mentors whose paths crossed my own in a way that positively influenced me.

Some mentors had to be sought out and personally asked for their guidance. The best ones turned me down initially and tested my commitment to see if I wanted to learn badly enough to persist.

Other mentors found their way into my life quietly as they influenced me through their writings or by the sheer power of their example.

Will Grigg was one of those latter type of mentors.

I first met Grigg through telephone interviews when I was starting my career as a radio host. He was a prolific and highly sought-after writer and speaker for the John Birch Society.

He was well versed in the classics, economics, philosophy, history, music, politics and pop culture. The depth and breadth of his knowledge always made reading his work time well spent.

Grigg’s writing combined the best qualities of a classically educated investigative journalist with an unmatched vocabulary and an incomparable wit. Few writers could turn a phrase as memorably as he did.

Watching Grigg put those cloaked in an inflated sense of official superiority in their place was a thing of beauty. Where others would resort to brute force in their words by using profanity or childish personal attacks, Grigg’s linguistic finesse was far more devastating.

He perfectly described New York Sen. Charles Schumer’s hysterical anti-gun demagoguery as “fits of rhetorical incontinence.” Grigg noted how Schumer sought to elevate the alleged threat of opposition to unchecked federal power to “meteorological significance because it, ‘created a climate of fear’ and ‘an atmosphere of hate’ across the country.”

He once referred to a prosecutor on the losing end of a courtroom argument as being “as thoroughly whipped as a pint of heavy cream in a French bakery.”

Grigg’s persuasive prose was at its finest when he was defending the principles of personal liberty:

Every invasion of individual rights happens with the eager support of people acting in the sincere and thoroughly mistaken confidence that what they permit the state to do to others will never be done to them.

Grigg had the uncommon ability to cut through the fluffy, euphemistic language of officialdom and expose the naked, shivering truth beneath it.

Many times over the past two decades, I felt a keen sense of gratitude that Grigg was employing his considerable talents on the side of freedom. He was a formidable and fearless opponent to proponents of the unlimited state.

His indomitable spirit was summed up in his motto, “Dum spiro, pugno!” or “While I breathe, I fight!” – a motto which underscored every entry on his Pro Libertate blog.

Without question, Grigg’s writings helped to shape my own understanding of the constant struggle between compulsory collectivism and individual choice and conscience. But it was his personal example that authenticated the power of his beliefs to me.

Like many exceptionally gifted individuals, Grigg faced a choice of how to best put his talents to their best and highest use. Had he been willing to lend his efforts to the glorification of those in power, he could have been as wealthy and famous as he liked.

This would have required abandoning his deepest principles or, as Grigg would have put it, “selling his soul in a buyer’s market.”

Instead, he remained true to his convictions and walked a more difficult path financially to remain true to himself and the message he represented. Thousands of minds have been blessed by his decision not to sell out.

Whenever confronted by a particularly challenging issue, I loved to read what Grigg had to say on the matter. His take could be always counted on to be thoughtful and substantive.

As fierce as Grigg could be in his defense of freedom, he remained a gentle soul who steadfastly led his family through many difficult trials as a devoted husband and father.

Rather than wallowing in self-pity, he continued to offer encouragement and a voice of advocacy for those on the receiving end of authentic injustice.

This required Grigg to travel, on his own dime, to investigate and personally research the stories he was writing. He was the embodiment of the kind of believer referred to in Matthew Chapter 25 who took in and fed the stranger or visited them in prison.

I was stunned to hear that he passed away last week. I only wish I’d had the chance to thank him for being such a consistent source of illumination and humor.

What Will Grigg accomplished in his short 54 years will likely prove helpful for generations to come. Our rapidly darkening world desperately needs more men like him.

Bryan Hyde is an opinion columnist specializing in current events viewed through the lens of common sense. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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