Here I am, playing catch-up again. I just read today that David Nolan passed away, when in fact he left us -- quite suddenly -- a full month ago. He had just finished a successful campaign for the US Senate from Arizona. Successful, not because he won (he didn't), but because his candidacy enabled 43,000 good citizens of Arizona not to waste their vote on whoever is the greater of two evils running on the Democratic and Republican tickets.
(Who was the greater of two evils, you ask? That's easy: whoever it was that won. He/she will be in position to do the greatest damage to the Republic; and being a member-in-good-standing of one of the two established parties, will be fully encouraged and empowered to do so.)
David Nolan is famous for popularizing the Nolan Chart and the World's Smallest Political Quiz. Many years ago, when I was teaching in a small public school, a fellow-teacher gave me the Quiz. And that is how, in one day -- in five minutes -- I found out two things. First of all, that libertarians existed. Second, that I was one. I encourage you to take the take the Quiz right now. Answer the questions honestly and surprise yourself.
Nolan is rightly remembered for other achievements. He helped establish the Libertarian Party in the early 1970's, partly in reaction to the Nixon Administration's imposition of wage and price controls, and he wrote essays on several topics libertarian. I particularly appreciated his essay, "The Essence of Liberty," when I read it a few years ago. He posited five "essential points" of libertarian viewpoint. It put to rest any lingering concerns I may have had that I was somehow implicitly buying into the quite arbitrary "Objectivism" of Ayn Rand.
(I had read her magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged, and her fictional heroine, Dagney Taggart, didn't impress me much. Well, actually, she didn't impress me at all. In fact, she was a real turn-off; I had met much better examples of free and responsible women in real life who didn't think like she [or Ayn Rand] did. )
But as I was saying, the Nolan Chart was the beginning for me. I would later run into the writings of Murray Rothbard, Lysander Spooner, Rose Wilder Lane (daughter of Laura Ingalls), Lew Rockwell, and a dozen others. At the same time, I was discovering that Richard Maybury, John Whitehead, Lord Acton, Charles Williams, and other writers were variously believers in the long tradition of Natural Law.
Well, what with all those free thinkers, wasn't I bound to run into an atheist or two? Yes, I did. Well, didn't it bother me? Maybe a little, at first. But then I got used to the hospitality of those sinners and enjoyed feasting at their mostly generous, sometimes boisterous intellectual tables, and I found I didn't much miss the quacking in the synagogues of the pharisees. When it occurred to me that, in all of this, I was in pretty good Company, I just stopped worrying altogether.
And I haven't lost my faith. In fact, it has been quite otherwise. I've encountered the Master in those places.
* * *
Would several readers be willing to comment, and add to our understanding of libertarian thought and libertarian people?