Steve G.

Marshall Fritz – A Great Advocate

In Libertarian on November 5, 2008 at 5:38 pm

When the history of the triumph of liberty is written, I hope due credit is given to Marshall Fritz, who died yesterday at 65 from cancer.  I was fortunate enough to have met Marshall when he first joined the Libertarian Party of California in the early 1980s, and am the only living person to have solved (without a hint) a riddle that he loved to share with everyone he knew.  He was fearless: he learned to be an excellent libertarian persuader the hard way, by trial and error, and took every failure as an opportunity to learn and grow.

I remember discussions with him about his plan to create a broad outreach organization founded on the principles of the abolitionist movement: Self-Government Advocates (now the Advocates for Self-Government).  Their free email newsletter, the Liberator Online, is rapidly approaching 100,000 subscribers.   We are quite fortunate that the Advocates were the quick thinkers who grabbed the web address they made it an excellent, broadly focused page that is both stylistically positive and consistent with libertarian principles, and that is filled with links to so many of the fine libertarian and near-libertarian organizations that remind us how much bigger the movement is than the party.  The Advocates main web site ( has always been a source of inspiration and education for me, and its friendliness an image of Marshall himself (although the greatest amount of credit for today’s Advocates goes to Sharon Harris, who remains active in the LP while doing all her fine work for the Advocates).  It is not an educational site on the principles of libertarianism: it is an educational site on the principles of effective libertarian persuasion.

Marshall went on to found the Alliance for Separation of School and State, which has both aided the home schooling movement and brought many home schoolers to an appreciation of libertarianism.  It is doing good work in its own way, as well.  Indeed, Marshall is a prime example of the large cadre of non-political freedom fighters who validate my claim that the LP has been, through all of its ups and downs, a useful feeder organization.

Anyone lucky enough to have met Marshall will be unsurprised at the optimistic way he approached his own death after getting a terminal diagnosis early this year: his first thought was to figure out a way to use it as a fundraiser for the causes that inspired him, and he invited me to speak at two of those events.  In June, I had the privilege of delivering to him a proclamation in his honor that was approved unanimously at the Libertarian Party Convention in Denver the previous month.  Marshall was a mixture of Dale Carnegie and Murray Rothbard, and I will miss him.

I made a special contribution to the Advocates in his memory, and would urge others to consider doing the same, at

Goodbye, my friend.

  1. Dr. Robert Melamede and I spoke at length with Marshall about how medical marijuana could help him fight his cancer, but he decided that death was preferable to smoking medical cannabis. I only wish my new cannabis lozenge was legal so we could have saved Marshall. We will all miss him terribly.

  2. Thank you for this heartfelt article.

  3. A beautiful tribute, Less, to a giant of a man. First Vince Miller, and now Marshall Fritz. Let’s redouble our efforts as we, too, realize our days promoting the libertarian cause, will end one day too soon.

  4. […] continue reading Post a comment | Trackback URI […]

  5. Although I have been preparing mentally for this eventuality since I learned of my dear friend’s illness in March, the reality of the moment caused me to weep. But that’s
    what one does when profoundly saddened. I’m better now, and so is the world, because Marshall W. Fritz was a part of this experience called life.

    Marshall was the person who boldly solicited my membership in and
    me into the Libertarian Party and libertarian – freedom movement on February 16, 1984, which has significantly changed my life and I’m told the lives of so many others. Marshall Fritz was DA MAN who gave me my sea legs on how to effectively share the ideals and ideas of individual liberty, the free market, harmony and abundance with thousands of others others over the years.

    We were close enough mentally and spiritually over all of these years that I can actually say in contrast to the usual at times like this, he will not be missed, because he is and will always be a part of me.

    Dick Boddie
    [A legend in his own mind, but not as much of one as Marshall Fritz is]

  6. When I first became involved in the libertarian movement in the late eighties, Marshall Fritz was certainly one of the leaders of that movement, and contributed so much to my development with respect to libertarian ideals. When he started the free market school concept, his influence convinced me to go back to teaching, which is still a large part of what I do today. Although I never actually met the man, I’ll always remember Marshall Fritz for his positive affect on my life.

    Craig Thomas

  7. My man you will be missed
    not just by me but by the country you tried to save

    I will never forget you calling to tell me that you would be on the radio up here and invited me to be on with you.

    You were a dear friend and brother.


  8. I am merely one of the many who never had the chance to know Marshall Fritz personally, but who greatly admired his work. He’s been near the top of my list of the Most Admired People in the World for many years.

    He was a man ahead of this time, a man of principle, a visionary; Marshall could envision a world far better than our own.

    What an impact he made! What a legacy he left behind!

    If anybody should need an example of what it means to ‘think outside of the box’, and to ‘push the envelope’, look to the life of Marshall Fritz. Brilliant!

    Grateful for his Leadership by Example,

  9. I have many, many fond memories of Marshall over the years – I have never met anyone who more ardently defended and fought for the principles he held dear than Marshall Fritz.

    His life work cannot be left in vain – it must be carried on!

    Marshall, I love you and your message – Godspeed!

  10. Very nice tribute, Less.

    I have one question, since I was not honored to know this gentleman personally. What was the riddle?

  11. @EFM

    What three-syllable word in the English language contains no vowels?

    If anyone knows the answer, please be nice and don’t post it, so others can have the fun of trying to figure it out on their own. Marshall came up with it so people would enjoy solving it.

  12. Yikes, most Libertarians didn’t know the answer to that trivia question? (It doesn’t quite rate as a riddle.) Well, we want to grow beyond our SciFi base, so I’ll call this cup half-full.

    A couple years back I collected some brain teasers to possibly include in campaign collateral, in hopes of driving traffic to my site (where the answers could be found). They’re at

  13. The answer isn’t syzygy: the letter y is considered a vowel when used in that way. And while it was a quarter century ago, I think that was actually my first guess, so great minds think alike (and fools rarely differ).

  14. Wonderful blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo
    News. Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in
    Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Thank you

  15. It’s great that you are getting thoughts from this post as well as from our discussion made here.

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