Libertarian state convention in Hickory

The Libertarian Party of North Carolina will hold its annual state convention April 15-17 at the Gateway Center Hotel and Convention Center in Hickory. The theme is “Making It Real: Liberty Comes From You, Not To You.”

“The slogan we’ve chosen this year, ‘Liberty Comes From You, Not To You,’ expresses an idea we think most Americans believe,” said Bev Wilcox, state vice chair. “Our nation was founded on the idea that all human beings are born free, and that the purpose of government is to help them preserve their liberty, not run their lives.”

Convention business will include revision of the bylaws and elections of officers and members of the executive and judicial committees. Guest speakers will present information on grassroots activism, political campaigns, and effective lobbying, interspersed throughout the business sessions.

R. Lee Wrights, a potential Libertarian presidential candidate and North Carolina native, is expected to make a major announcement at the convention. Wrights is considering seeking the presidential nomination because he is determined that the Libertarian message in 2012 be a loud, clear, and unequivocal call to stop all war.

Wrights has pledged that 10 percent of all donations to his campaign will go toward ballot access so that the stop all war message can be heard in all 50 states. Wrights, 52, is the co-founder and editor of the free speech online magazine, Liberty For All. He is a longtime libertarian writer, political activist, a lifetime member of the Libertarian Party, and a past vice chair of the Libertarian National Committee. Born in Winston Salem, Wrights now lives in Texas.

Sharon Harris, president of the Advocates for Self-Government, will be the featured speaker at the Saturday night banquet. The Advocates for Self-Government is a nonprofit educational organization founded in 1985 that specializes in libertarian communication and outreach. The group is the creator and publisher of the world-famous World’s Smallest Political Quiz. Ms Harris will be presenting special awards to outstanding activists. She will also make a presentation to the county represented by the greatest number of young libertarians.

Harris has been active in the libertarian movement since the early ’70s and is a founding member of the Georgia Libertarian Party. She was one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit that challenged the constitutionality of Georgia’s law requiring candidates for office to take a drug test. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the law was unconstitutional.

N.C. withdraws from LNC region

On the heels of the Libertarian Party of North Carolina withdrawing from the Libertarian National Committee’s Region 1, the Texas Libertarian Party has directed it chair to seek the removal of the region’s representative Stewart Flood.

The regional representatives on the national committee are supposed to represent the interests of the states in the region. The regions are formed at the party’s biannual convention by the state delegations. Region 1 includes Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas.

The number of representatives allotted to each region is determined by the number of party members in that region. Region 1 has three representatives: Doug Craig (Georgia), Flood (South Carolina), and Daniel Wiener (California). The three alternates are: Scott Lieberman (California) Guy McLendon (Texas), and Brad Ploeger (Georgia).

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Libertarians mourn death of party co-founder David Nolan

David Nolan
David Nolan

Libertarians are mourning the sudden death of David Nolan, party co-founder and author of the Nolan Chart, billed as the World’s Smallest Political Quiz.

Nolan died Sunday, apparently of a heart attack while driving near his home in Tucson, Ariz., just days short of his 67 birthday. He had just completed a campaign for U.S. Senate against Republican incumbent John McCain.

“David’s importance to the liberty movement cannot be underestimated,” said state Libertarian Party chair Barbara Howe. “His sudden death is a shock to all of us in the libertarian community. I pledge to carry on the work David helped get started.”

“I am saddened by the news of David Nolan’s death,” said LP national chair Mark Hinkle. “He not only helped found the Libertarian Party, but remained active and helped to guide our party for the last forty years.”

“David was a champion of the libertarian wing of the Libertarian Party,” said R. Lee Wrights, a Winston-Salem native and editor of the online magazine Liberty for All. “Throughout his years of activism and leadership, he never wavered in proclaiming the libertarian message without equivocation, explanation or moderation. He never once apologized for his philosophy, our philosophy… the superiority of individual rights.”

“However painful David’s death may be, his untimely passing makes me even more committed and determined to restore and preserve the vision of the Libertarian Party he and a dedicated band of visionaries first articulated in his Denver living room so many years ago,” said Wrights, a potential candidate for the 2012 Libertarian presidential nomination. “I am determined that David’s vision will never die, that the Libertarian Party will never be afraid to challenge the State and always, always defend liberty loudly, boldly and without compromise.

Nolan describes himself as having been born a libertarian, even though he was born in Washington D.C. He grew up in the Maryland suburbs, reading the science fiction of Robert Heinlein and the novels of Ayan Rand.

In the 1964 presidential campaign, as an architectural student Nolan was a founder of the M.I.T. the Students for Goldwater. The Goldwater campaign attracted nascent libertarians, since there was then no formal libertarian organizations let alone a political party. Although Goldwater lost, Nolan was active in the formation and leadership of several libertarian groups spawned by the campaign, including Young Americans for Freedom and the Young Republicans.

During Richard Nixon’s presidency, the Vietnam war, crackdowns on civil liberties and increasing restrictions on economic freedom led Nolan and other libertarians to became increasingly convinced that the Republican Party held no promise for freedom lovers. The break came when Nixon announced he was taking the nation off the gold standard and imposed a freeze on wages and prices, which Nolan denounced as “economic fascism.”

In 1971, Nolan wrote an article for a libertarian magazine entitled “The Case for a Libertarian Political Party.” Now living in Denver, he and a group of his friends began to expand on that idea and contacted libertarians around the country. On December 11, 1971 the Libertarian Party was born in Nolan’s living room.

During this same period, Nolan was working on the other accomplishment for which he is famous, the Nolan Chart.

“I kept scratching my head and wondering why people like us agreed with conservatives on a lot of things, but obviously had fundamental disagreements with conservatives on a lot of other issues,” he said “And why were there areas where we could see that liberals made sense – especially opposition to war and draft?”

Combining his architectural training and his political activism, in 1970 Nolan drew a new map of the political world that has all but replaced the old-fashioned left-right linear model. Later, Marshall Fritz, founder of the Advocates for Self-Government, refined the Nolan chart into a diamond shape to produce what the now well-known and popular World’s Smallest Political Quiz. Millions of people have taken the quiz online, it is referred to in over a dozen leading textbooks, and has been used in hundreds of classrooms around the world.

Nolan is survived by his wife Elizabeth.

Read David Nolan’s profile on Libertarianism.com.

NC ends discrimination in party financing fund

The state Libertarian Party has scored a minor victory in its struggle to reform North Carolina’s restrictive election laws. The party is now legally entitled to participate in the state’s political parties financing fund as equals with the Democratic and Republican parties.

The program allows taxpayers to decide that $3 of their state income tax go to a political party. Until now that choice has been limited to two parties.

The Libertarian Party was listed on the 2008 income tax form due to a clerical error even though it did not qualify. State law at the time restricted eligibility to political parties with registration of at least one percent of registered voters.

Despite this error, state board of elections officials determined that the Libertarians were entitled to the funds, since they were designated for the party by taxpayers. The party has received about $38,000 from the fund.

Gary Bartlett, state elections director, recommended the change in the law to the legislature. It was included in a bill making various technical changes to the tax laws.

While Libertarians believe the state should do away with away with all political party funding, state party chair Barbara Howe said that as long as the program exists all political parties should be included.

She said this fund is not at all like public financing of elections. “This is a taxpayer checking a box saying please send part of my tax money to the political party of my choice,” she said.

“I wish they provided a check off for taxpayers to direct all their money,” she adds. “It would be interesting to see what would get funded then.”