The growth of the Libertarian Party since 1972 has often led people to presume that the only route to libertarian activism is through electoral politics. However, there is a much older libertarian tradition, particularly in California, represented by activists such as Lloyd Licher, who is responsible for the highly successful Libertarian Supper Club of Los Angeles and who publishes its Newsletter (for information write to 12536 Woodbine St., Los Angeles, CA 10066): "I believe the means must be consistent with the end—i.e., no force or coercion. Therefore, for the end (a free society) to exist, most of the people in it must believe that it is the best form of society, or have more respect for those who do than for those who don't. It's an educational problem—the practical moral alternatives to the State have to be publicized and demonstrated until enough people withdraw their sanction of the State, such that it ceases to be effective. It is inconsistent and wrong to think that a free society can be brought about by political activity which, by its nature, is immoral; thus I believe that the Libertarian Party is a contradiction in terms and errs by calling itself the party of principle."
Mr. Licher's involvement with libertarianism began in the 1950's with Ayn Rand's novels and after he moved to Los Angeles he began taking courses at Andrew Galambos' Free Enterprise Institute. There he became acquainted with other organizations such as Robert LeFevre's Rampart College and Leonard Read's Roundation for Economic Education, and he took some courses from Harry Browne. He also helped with Innovator, a publication that stressed self-liberation, agoric (non-hierarchical) businesses, and the formation of alternative institutions and libertarian communities. Mr. Licher recently helped found and is secretary-treasurer of the First Libertarian Church, to help propagate the ethical doctrine of voluntarism.
Born in 1927, Mr. Licher received his B.S. in aeronautical engineering from MIT in 1950 and worked in the aerospace industry until 1957, when he became the executive director of the Soaring Society of America, Inc.—a happy synthesis of vocation and avocation he still holds. (He flew sail planes competitively until grounded by a minor heart ailment in 1962. In addition he helped found and is president of the United States Hang Gliding Association and has edited several soaring and hang gliding publications. His other interests include music (classical and show tunes), reading, fixing things mechanical, and baseball. Married for 22 years, he and his wife Rose Marie have two sons in college.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "REASON Profile: Lloyd M. Licher".