David Nolan, who died Nov. 21 at 66, once thought he would be an architect. Instead, he helped construct not buildings but an organization. Disillusioned with Republicans and at odds with Democrats, the former Student for Goldwater co-founded the Libertarian Party.
Though it was officially formed in December 1971, the group had taken root months earlier, at Nolan's Colorado home. There he and others who favored limited government watched in horror as President Richard Nixon got on TV and announced wage and price controls as well as the removal of the dollar from the gold standard.
By that point, Nolan already considered the traditional political spectrum lacking. His blueprint for mapping political identification, now known as the Nolan Chart, employs not one line, delineating left and right, but two axes, representing economic and personal freedom--values embraced by libertarians.
The Libertarian Party began running nominees in 1972; eventually, Nolan ran for both chambers of Congress. As a candidate this year for a Senate seat from Arizona, on a platform that included eliminating the personal income tax and decriminalizing drugs, he garnered less than 5% of the vote. Yet as everything from talk of reducing federal spending to outrage over airport security measures can attest, the ideology he championed is anything but obsolete.