REASON Profile: David F. Nolan


A year and a half ago the Libertarian Party did not exist. Today it has over 2000 members nationwide, has received large amounts of publicity in the recent political campaigns, and garnered one Electoral College vote for its candidates, John Hospers and Tonie Nathan. The main driving force behind the formation of the Libertarian Party (and its first Chairman) has been a twenty-nine year-old Colorado advertising man, David F. Nolan, who is now on the executive committee of the LP and is editor of the LP NEWS.

Dave Nolan majored in political science at MIT and received his degree in 1965. While in school he became interested in the writings of Ayn Rand and became active in politics via the presidential candidacy of Barry Goldwater. He subsequently was involved in Young Americans for Freedom, Young Republicans, and Society for Individual Liberty, and has published in conservative and libertarian publications. The Libersign Emblem, widely used by libertarian activists, is his creation.

His professional career involved four years as an associate editor of an industrial magazine before he switched into advertising three years ago. "This means I get paid lots of money for doing what I like to do best, anyhow…thinking up clever ways to persuade people to do something." (A recent brainstorm involved naming a home cheesemaking kit "The Incredible Cheese Machine", after Richard Grant's libertarian classic THE INCREDIBLE BREAD MACHINE.)

Mr. Nolan's leisure interests include sports cars, reading science fiction ("Heinlein, rather than Rand, is still my number-one culture hero."), writing, and listening to rock and jazz records. Mr. Nolan's partner in his political and writing activities is his wife Susan, who presently chairs the Libertarian Party. ("I am great at dreaming up ideas, but lousy on details; Susan translates grandiose ideas into workable day-to-day projects, and then sees them through."). Among the many interests the Nolans have in common is a passion for science fiction and horror movies, and both enjoy keeping snakes as pets.

Although the Libertarian Party has grown from the days when it consisted of the Nolans and a few of their friends who were similarly disenchanted with the drift of contemporary American politics, it still has a long way to go before it becomes a major force in the political scene. As the LP grows it will no doubt be through the interest and hard work of people such as Dave and Susan Nolan.