In the realm of politics, perhaps no simple drawing has had as much importance as the Nolan Chart. This little graph, which became familiar to billions over the internet in the form of an online quiz, breaks down political affiliation not only along the traditional axis of right and left, but also on a secondary axis of libertarian and authoritarian. Although David is well known for popularizing and promoting the chart, as well as being the first to publish its most famous incarnation, it is by no means his most important or his only contribution to the political arena or the freedom movement.
In the recent midterm elections, he ran against Arizona Senator John McCain, receiving almost 5% of the vote, over 80,000 votes in his name, with minimal budget and running his campaign himself. His debates from that election are still being hailed as a profound direct confrontation of a US senator on the issue of Constitutional rights and due process. At the age of 28, he helped form the Libertarian Party in response to price controls and other policies which he and many conservatives opposed from the Nixon administration. A few years earlier, he had helped Libertarians gain control of Young Americans for Freedom, an organization he promoted up until his untimely death this weekend, on 20th November 2010. He apparently suffered a stroke while driving, and died in a car accident.
From his Facebook page, he urged online friends and supporters to support it and other pro-freedom activism frequently. The flood of comments has been pouring in for his final post: an invitation to donate to his favourite project, advocates for self government, in honour of his birthday.
In his own words, on the invitation sent to this writer and everyone else on his friends list, he wrote the following:
"This year for my birthday I am raising money for charity. Please click on the link below to check it out:
I am not asking for presents this year, just a donation to my favorite charity "Advocates for Self-Government".
Please go here to take a look:
Among the countless observers to this call to right action from beyond the grave, one Steve Hellin, an activist in the Illinois Libertarian party, wrote: " Sadly David's last FB post became a dying wish... a perfect example of what a generous man David Nolan was - a selfless advocate for the advancement of liberty in our lifetimes." And Allison Gibbs, of Campaign For Liberty, and founder of the Ladies of Liberty Alliance, wrote a moving poem on her blog in his honour, entitled "Thank you David Nolan."
In it she writes:
"I spoke with him that same day,
telling him how much I respected him.
Not because of ideology, but because of his fortitude.
He never gave up. He never backed down.
He stood up for other mentors of mine-
He never followed what was popular, but what was right.
He saw more in this existence than material formations.
He saw potential in people like me.
He saw something in me that made me want to work harder for him."
When asked for comment, and for permission to cite that work, she gave the following humble response:
""Whatever I can do ... ultimately- for David Nolan- I will."
David would have been 67 this tuesday. He is survived by his Wife, and will be remembered by every member of the New Hampshire Free State Project which he advocated until his passing. It is only fitting to pass on the link he himself passed on, that his final birthday wish might be fulfilled, and in addition those wishing to remember him may donate to the charity as requested in his final wish, and rally support for the proposed Liberty Amendment, of which he was a proponent.
David's body has passed, but his spirit will live on, and his death will rally those who love liberty to the defense of his cause in these hard times. That's what David Nolan would have wanted, and the world may yet see his final accomplishments come to light.