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8 December 2010
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
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Mr. PAUL. Madam Speaker, David Nolan, founder of the Libertarian Party and creator of the “Nolan Chart” that inspired the “World’s Smallest Political Quiz” passed away on November 21. I join freedom activists around the country in mourning his loss and celebrating his life.
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Like many libertarians of his generation, David’s initial interest in the freedom philosophy was inspired by the novels of Ayn Rand and Robert Heinlein. During the sixties, David was involved in Students for Goldwater and Young Americans for Freedom (YAF). David was also involved with the Liberty Amendment Committee, which worked to pass an amendment to the Constitution repealing the Sixteenth Amendment and restricting the powers of the federal government to those explicitly granted it in the Constitution.
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David was drawn to the Republican Party because of the limited government, pro-individual liberty themes of the Goldwater campaign —and like many others he was disappointed when the supposedly free-market administration of Richard Nixon embraced a policy of conservative Keynesianism. When Richard Nixon imposed wage-and-price controls and took the U.S. off the gold standard on August 11, 1971, David decided he could no longer support the Republican Party and, along with a group of other disillusioned ex- Goldwaterities, created the Libertarian Party.
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David remained active in the Libertarian Party for the rest of his life. He even ran for office several times on the Libertarian ticket, most recently just this year when he ran for Senate in Arizona. Despite the best efforts of David and others, the Libertarian Party has never been able to achieve major party status. I believe the main reason for this is the restrictive ballot access laws that force new and third parties to spend the majority of their time and resources getting on the ballot, thus leaving them with comparatively few resources to devote to actually campaigning and spreading their message. I continue to believe the American politics would benefit from reforming these ballot laws so third and independent parties and candidates could have greater ability to communicate their ideas to the American public.
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Despite the obstacles of ballot access, the Libertarian Party has been successful in introducing millions of Americans to the ideas of liberty. It has also pushed the two major parties in a more libertarian direction. Thus, even those advocates of liberty who have chosen to work through the major parties to advance the freedom philosophy benefited from the David Nolan’s work to advance liberty through the Libertarian Party.
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David’s work with the Libertarian Party was far from the sum total of his activism as he was involved in a variety of other pro-freedom organizations and projects. One of David’s ideas was the genesis of the freedom movement’s most successful outreach tool. In the early seventies, David reworked the traditional two-dimensional left-right political spectrum into a graph running from that favoring government involvement in both economic and personal affairs to those favoring complete liberty. In between were those favoring social freedom but not economy liberty (modern liberals) and those favoring economic freedom but favoring government intervention in personal matters (conservatives). In the 1980s, David’s friend Marshall Fritz, the founder and President of the Advocates for Self Government, converted the Nolan Chart into the World’s Smallest Political Quiz.
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The quiz uses the Nolan Chart to graph an individual’s political philosophy based on responses to a series of ten questions that measure one’s commitment to economic and personal liberty. The quiz has been taken over 15 million times online, has been reprinted in dozens of newspapers and magazines, is referenced by major high school and college textbooks, and is used by educators in classrooms across America. The quiz is responsible for many people’s first contact with libertarian ideas. As a board member of the Advocates for Self Government, David helped the organization popularize the quiz. He also assisted in numerous other projects by the Advocates designed to help activists in the freedom movement more effectively advocate the freedom philosophy.
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Madam Speaker, David Nolan devoted his life to the cause of liberty, and helped build the freedom movement through his work with the Libertarian Party, the Advocates for Self Government, and many other organizations. I therefore join freedom lovers across the country in extending my sincere condolences to David Nolan’s family and his many friends.