David Nolan, 66, the founder of the Libertarian Party (the third largest political party in the United States), has died. The 24-hour political news channels MSNBC and Fox News never covered it. It deserves some mention here and on other conservative blogs.
The New York Times obituary deserves to be read in full:
David Nolan, 66, Is Dead; Started Libertarian Party
By DOUGLAS MARTIN
Published: November 22, 2010
David Nolan, whose opposition to the Vietnam War and President Richard M. Nixon’s wage and price controls impelled him in 1971 to join with a few friends to found the Libertarian Party to fight against government power, died Sunday in Tucson. He was 66.
Though its membership has always been relatively small, the Libertarian Party became a forceful voice for limiting government regulation of Americans’ economic and political lives. It has argued for curbs on police power, lifting abortion restrictions, open immigration and an end to foreign wars.
In the recent elections, long-held Libertarian positions were echoed in the firestorm of concern about deficits and government spending expressed most loudly by Republicans and Tea Party advocates. But Libertarians’ dovish views on military involvement and liberal attitudes about abortion veer sharply from those of conservatives. This week, expectedly enough, Libertarians campaigned against airport pat-downs.
I don’t agree with all these positions (the United States must maintain a global military presence for effective security in the 21st century), but I support tea party libertarian ideals.
The party’s mix of conservative and liberal positions reflects an underlying belief that almost all government power is inherently coercive. Mr. Nolan came up with a well-known graph, called the Nolan Chart, to explain this phenomenon.
See the Nolan Chart website.
In this month’s election, he ran for the United States Senate seat in Arizona held by John McCain, a Republican, who easily won re-election. Mr. Nolan earlier ran unsuccessfully for an Arizona Congressional seat, again to draw attention to the Libertarian agenda.
On Aug. 15, 1971, Mr. Nolan and four associates were meeting in his home when President Nixon appeared on television to announce wage and price controls, a step the libertarians considered unconstitutional in peacetime. They also strongly criticized Nixon’s announcement in the same speech that he was taking the United States off the gold standard.
That’s as good a time as any to start a Libertarian Party.
From his Wikipedia page:
David Fraser Nolan (November 23, 1943 – November 21, 2010) hosted the meeting at which the Libertarian Party of the United States was founded in 1971. He subsequently served the party in a number of roles including National Chair, editor of the party newsletter, chairman of the By-laws Committee, chairman of the Judicial Committee, and Chairman of the Platform Committee.
He is also known as the popularizer and as the inventor of the Nolan chart which attempts to improve on the simple left versus right political taxonomy by separating the issues of economic freedom and social freedom and presenting them in the format of a plane.
David Nolan’s work inspired Marshall Fritz to develop the World’s Smallest Political Quiz, and in so doing, he changed the way millions of people view the political map. His Nolan Chart and the Quiz are used in classrooms all over the world, it is referenced in major political science textbooks, and the Quiz has been taken over 16 million times online.
David Nolan died suddenly in Tucson, Arizona on November 21, 2010.
From the Libertarian Party’s Wikipedia page:
The Libertarian Party is the third largest political party in the United States. The political platform of the Libertarian Party reflects its brand of libertarianism, favoring minimally regulated, laissez-faire markets, strong civil liberties, minimally regulated migration across borders, and non-interventionism in foreign policy that respects freedom of trade and travel to all foreign countries.
In the 30 states where voters can register by party, there are over 225,000 voters registered with the party. Hundreds of Libertarian candidates have been elected or appointed to public office, and thousands have run for office under the Libertarian banner.
This Reason.com article is worth reading:
Dave Nolan, R.I.P.
Remembering the great libertarian activist and the man who inspired “the world’s smallest political quiz”
Robert Poole | November 22, 2010
Dave Nolan, who died on November 20, 2010, and I were classmates at MIT. We were part of a large contingent of budding libertarians on campus, running the MIT chapter of Young Americans for Freedom and then MIT Students for Goldwater, the largest college Goldwater organization in New England. Dave chaired that group, and I was its literature director. As part of our activism on behalf of Goldwater, most of us joined Massachusetts Young Republicans, and our numbers were sufficient at its annual convention to out-vote the traditionalists (“trads”) and endorse Goldwater, rather than the detested Nelson Rockefeller.
Dave and I came to libertarianism by similar paths, growing up reading Robert Heinlein’s individualist-oriented science fiction and then discovering Ayn Rand’s writings. It was many discussions and debates with my MIT YAF friends that persuaded me to finally read Atlas Shrugged in the summer of ’64, a summer during which I spent many evenings distributing Goldwater literature door-to-door in the Miami area where I grew up.
It would be nice if some news organization would tell people that David Nolan, the founder of the Libertarian Party and the Nolan Chart, has died.
I know, I know, it’s not Bristol Palin on “Dancing With The Stars.”
If you get molested by the TSA this week at an airport, always remember that you don’t have to be sheep. You can read about people like David Nolan–if this society lets you–and learn some new ideas.