> Thank you for sharing your memories with me.  I am writing a book about the
> early days of the LP and any recollections you might contribute are welcome.

I can't pass that up.
I will jot down some recollections,
which you are free to use (or not).

While I certainly don't believe in Psychic stuff,
predestination, or whatever, I've always been struck by 
a few "strange coincidences" in my sojourn.  

When I was a student (undergrad & grad, thru most of the sixties)
at Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, I had no idea that that 
fiery, anti-Vietnam-War radical in the History/Economics Dept.
was anything more than a typical leftist.  I never had Murray 
for a course, and knew little about him until much later.
About all I recall of him at Poly was a few times when I
could hear him a hallway away, shouting excitedly at his class, 
with the door open.  It seemed he was always angry at something.

At the time, I was avidly devouring everything published by NBI 
(Nathaniel Branden Institute) and attending courses and functions 
in a sub-basement of the Empire State Building.  Leonard Peikoff 
taught one of these courses (usually via tape recorder, after the
first session), and I knew he was a Professor at Poly, but I never 
had him for a course there.  (I heard he was very tough.)

NIXON & 1971
I just happened to be in Denver (2000 miles from home, vacationing 
in the Rockies and stopping at the J.C.Penneys in Cherry Creek Mall, 
to exchange a tire) when the radio announcement came about the 
Nixon-Connolly wage & price controls, gold freeze, currency
etc., etc.  I had just parked, but stayed and listened to the entire 
address, shaking my head more and more in disbelief as it went on 
(and on and on, with more Keynsianisms than even the Democrats would
Not only was I outraged, but for me this was the last straw!  
I felt duped, and was furiously determined to do something --
but didn't know what.

It was more than two years before I discovered that, only a few miles
David Nolan and others were having exactly the same thoughts.

(I just now realized that the first time I saw Richard Nixon live
was also in Colorado, when I was a Boy Scout attending the National
Jamboree in 1960.  He gave a short speech in the stadium at the kickoff,
just before the fireworks display.  At the end of the Jamboree, Ike
thru our unit; later that afternoon, a small tornado came thru on nearly 
the same course as his motorcade.  Anyhow, this has nothing whatever to
do with the LP, so I'll stop meandering.)

My support for Nixon in 1968 began when I heard his very-well-reasoned
speech AGAINST the draft, and against it because it was at variance 
with fundamental American principles.  He pledged to stop the 
escalation (which he did almost immediately) and to wind down the 
war (which he did too slowly).  I was delighted that his first act 
was to immediately stop sending draftees to Vietnam -- a very clever
political move, but also a good one.  His attempts to sequester
funds voted by Congress that he didn't want to spend, and his
proposals to streamline the Federal Cabinet (into 8 departments, 
with well-defined areas that would curtail the creation of new
departments) were actually quite good, altho they didn't go far enuf.

After his economic policy moves, I was utterly disgusted with Nixon,
of course.  However, McGovern was an utter disaster, McCarthy was 
more rational but nearly as socialistic and also too much of a
one-issue protest candidate.  Wallace actually made some sense,
but I didn't trust him and he was (at least) associated with too
much racism.  So, in 1972, to show something other than full
support for the lesser of the few evils, I voted for a mixed 
slate of Presidential Electors.  To accomplish this, I requested 
a New York state paper ballot slip, crossed out the names of the 
last two Nixon electors, and copied in the names of the last two 
Wallace Electors.  I had whimsical visions of two Republican Electors 
losing by a single vote, and 44 (?) Republican Electors traveling 
to Albany to convene with two Electors of another party.  Alas,
the vote was not even close, and I did not learn that there had 
been another option until more than a year later.

As a Committeeman and Club Chairman in the Conservative Party,
I served on the Town Committee of the party and was attending
an executive meeting when the Town Chair introduced me to a
reporter from a local paper.  Actually, she was also a registered 
Conservative and he was trying to talk her into running for office. 
During a break, (and after I had mentioned Ayn Rand) she informed 
me of the existence of something called the "Libertarian Party".
I was very excited to learn of a political organization that was
much closer to my own views than the Conservatives, and delighted
to learn that they had actually obtained an Electoral Vote in 1972!!  

However, I came very close to literally falling out of my chair when 
she mentioned the name of the Presidential candidate.  The same name 
as the Professor who first introduced me to the word "libertarian".  
Could it be the same person???  

Later, Virginia Walker (the ex-reporter) ran for state Assembly.
She was determined to run as a candidate of the "Libertarian
Party" which, under New York law was (and still is) not a party 
but a "petitioning group".  As such, over 1300 signatures were
needed for ballot access.  I persuaded her to ALSO run as a
Conservative -- i.e. as a Libertarian accepting a cross-endorsement
from the Conservative Party (not the other way around).  To
be truthful, I cannot say that all of the Conservative Party
people understood this subtlety, but they didn't seem to care.

It took only about 300 signatures for the Conservative line, but 
she also had to win a primary against a candidate who was reputed 
to be a stand-in ready to decline in favor of the Republican,
Perry Duryea, who was also the Speaker of the Assembly (and who
later ran against Hugh Carey, for Governor).  We accomplished
all of these things, and Virginia got nearly 7% of the vote
(including 10.4% in the Brookhaven Town portion of the district).
Unfortunately, only 1/2% was on the LP line, and the rest was
on the Conservative Party line.

During the campaign, Roger MacBride flew in.  Virginia got him
(and Jerry Tuccile, I think) a few interviews on Long Island,
including one with her old local newspaper.  A big issue in
her campaign was "takings", i.e. eminent domain, which she 
managed to convince many non-libertarians was wrong for the 
government to do.  Before and after the campaign, she ran a
little organization dedicated to opposing eminent domain.

The next year, when the Conservatives tried to cross-endorse
the incumbent Republican (John Klein) for County Executive,
Virginia tried to run against him as a Libertarian and also
ran in a Conservative primary.  She came very close to beating
him in the primary, and taking away his cross-endorsement -- to
the shock and amazement of the establishments of both of the 
larger parties.  (I can still recall the bedlam her numbers
caused at the Board of Elections as they started coming in.)
Unfortunately, we failed to get enough signatures (3500, I think)
to get her on ballot as an LP candidate.

It was somewhere during one of these campaigns and ballot drives 
she got ten of us together and officially started the local LP
affiliate here (known awkwardly as SCLO or "Suffolk County Libertarian

Professor Hospers was the faculty advisor for a "Students of 
Objectivism" chapter at a nearby college.  It was at Brooklyn
College, where my then girlfriend attended, and I took the 
subway from Poly to attend several of the monthly meetings.
Many were about the draft, its unconstitutionality, etc.
(a good topic for the times and for the audience of college
students).  Hospers did participate, but didn't dominate
and there were many speakers and many student presentations.

At one of the meetings (held in a small auditorium, rather
than in the usual classroom, for some reason), the speaker
was professor Hospers himself.  He handed out a pamphlet
that described something called "Libertarianism", and spoke
about this philosophy.  It sounded fine to me, but I thought
the whole exercise was silly:  why invent a six-syllable
synonym for something that seemed no different from the
four-syllable word "objectivism".  The ethical and political
positions he described were virtually identical with those
that Rand had shown must logically follow from Objectivist
Metaphysics and Epistemology.  So why take Objectivism's
Ethics and Politics and give it a new, long-winded, silly-
sounding name (which, moreover, sounds confusingly close
to the word "Liberal" which everyone else bandied about).

While there was nothing in this "libertarianism" to which 
I could object, it seemed like a useless redundancy to me
at the time, so I ignored it and went right back to using 
the word "objectivist" for what I regarded as the very same
thing.  Still, I kept a few of the pamphlets as a nice,
layman's explanation of what I called objectivist ethics
and politics.  I still have them (and recently posted Dean 
Russell's text on libernet, with the permission of Hans
Senholz, whose organization owns the copyright).

Today, I do understand the distinction which many people
(mostly Objectivists) try to draw between the two, and I've
read many polemics by neo-objectivists decrying us evil,
unprincipled libertarians.  Oh, well.

Rand & Branden
My recollections of Rand and Branden are not much different
from those of others.  The scowls and vaguely scornful looks,
the clipped responses (and lack thereof), and the omnipresent
cigarettes (deftly manipulated to punctuate a point or intensify
an exquisitely-chosen word).  And the "hangers-on".  And her 
almost-apparent distain for them (and, it seemed, most of the

Earlier, I had started reading Ayn Rand's novels on the 
recommendation of a close friend.  (Alan Arikian, who finished
his B.S. in Chemistry the next year, then went to Columbia to 
pursue a Ph.D. in Philosophy -- which he completed, after writing
his thesis while serving as an Army Captain in Vietnam,
but somehow wound up getting an MD and is now practicing 
psychology.)  I was immediately entrhralled by Anthem, went 
thru the others rapidly, and then (at Alan's invitation)
attended several NBI lectures, took courses there, subscribed 
to the newsletters, etc.  

However, I still wish I had listened to my mother who,
a few years earlier, had tried to interest me in a book 
she had seen reviewed in the New York Times.  I was so 
put off by its presumptuous title that I wasted about five
years before discovering Ayn Rand's works.  The title was
"For the New Intellectual".  Boy, did I misunderstand the
title, as I was so fed up with the word's overuse by those
I considered pseudo-intellectuals at the time.

Many years later, a few after her death, while waiting on line 
to see the newly-released "We The Living" (at a little theatre
underneath Carnegie Hall), my wife and I got into a conversation 
with an elderly couple also on the line who turned out to have 
been neighbors of hers.  They volunteered that she was difficult 
to get along with and had always thought her somewhat harsh and 
cold, but she was not at all cruel, and they had actually grown 
fond of her and gotten along quite well -- while still disliking 
and distaining some of some of her well-known mannerisms.
(I had said nothing of my own impressions, so as not to bias
their comments.)

I could relate some other stories and anecdotes, such as "My Dinner
With Andre", when he and his then-fiance (and my long-time friend)
Norma Segal came back from New Hampshire and joined us for dinner 
at my favorite restaurant, where I got the band to play "Hail TO
The Chief" in celebration of his Dixville Notch victory.  Then, 
there's also the time I introduced Ron Paul to a close friend of
my father's, who turned out to be an IRS agent.  (Actually, not
much happened, but there were some cute exchanges.)  Or the time
Bill McMillan (running for U.S.Senator agains Bob McMillan and
Pat Moynihan) left a local Republican County Legislator speechless
(at a picnic in my backyard) after the poor fellow innocently 
asked what his platform was and Bill replied with only three words:
"Legalize All Drugs".  And, of course there was the strange young man 
sitting next to me at the NY LP convention, who borrowed my pen to 
write what turned out to be his nominating speech for his mentor, 
Howard Stern.  (The young man was the one who puts nails up his nose 
and does various gross things on Stern's show.  he was really a nice 
fellow, but I'm glad we didn't shake hands.)  

However, you said the book was about the good old days when 175 
was our number of votes, not our number in office, so never mind 
the recent stuff.  Besides, I'm sure this is a much longer reply
than you expected.

To my wife's distress, I am a "saver" and have files and boxes
of old clippings and materials from early LP campaigns.
You probably have lots stuff from the MacBride campaign, etc.,
but I also have some items from local campaigns e.g. Virginia Walker's
campaign (which I managed) against NY Assembly Speaker 
Perry Duryea in 1974.  I may also have some from Jerome Tucchile's
run for Governor (and Percy Greaves abortive candidacy for U.S.
Senate).  I don't know if these are of interest, but If you send 
me an OK by email, I'd be glad to put together a few items and 
ship them to you.

Yours, in Liberty,
Bruce A. Martin