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 www.libertarianism.com: 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 (www.theadvocates.org) 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 https://www.theadvocates.org/donations.html.
Goodbye, my friend.