the U.S. House of Representatives, November 19, 2008
I rise to pay tribute to my friend Marshall Fritz who passed away
on Tuesday November 4 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
Marshall was a true champion of freedom whose impact on the cause
of liberty will be felt for years to come.
his booming voice and good humor, was the happy warrior of the freedom
movement, as well as the movement’s Will Rogers. Marshall never
met a fellow fighter for liberty, a single-issue ally, or a potential
convert he did not like — and to Marshall anyone who did not already
share his love of liberty was a potential convert.
a model of an ideological/political entrepreneur. In 1984, Marshall
saw that the growth of the freedom movement was handicapped by the
lack of an organization to help activists better communicate the
freedom philosophy to the general public. While Marshall was not
the first person to have this realization, he was the first person
to attempt to remedy the situation by founding Advocates for Self-Government,
an organization designed to teach activists how to effectively communicate
In the years
since Marshall founded the Advocates for Self-Government, the organization
has helped countless libertarians by providing them with the intellectual
resources necessary to effectively battle for a free society.
as President of the Advocates, Marshall created the World’s Smallest
Political Quiz. The quiz graphs an individual’s political philosophy
based on responses to a series of ten questions that measure one’s
commitment to economic and personal liberty.
Marshall’s leadership, the Advocates undertook an aggressive program
of distributing the quiz. There is no doubt that this has been the
Advocate’s most successful and popular program. The quiz is responsible
for many American’s first contact with libertarian ideas. While
traveling around the country, I have often heard people say, “I
never knew I was a libertarian until I took the quiz!”
In 1990, Marshall
stepped down as President of the Advocates to found the Alliance
for the Separation of School and State, an organization focusing
on the vital issue of parental control of education. Thanks in large
part to Marshall’s work, the idea that parents, not the government,
should control education is no longer excluded from public debate
as a “fringe” notion. One of the features that most impresses me
about the Alliance is the way that Marshall brought libertarians,
conservatives, and liberals together to work for education freedom.
knew Marshall and worked with him would not be surprised that he
was able to forge a coalition of people of diverse views. Marshall’s
focus was always on building alliances and trying to persuade those
with whom he disagreed, rather than on scoring debating points.
While he never compromised his principles and never hesitated to
criticize even his closet allies if they took what he considered
an anti-liberty position, Marshall never personalized disagreements
and always treated his opponents with courtesy and respect. I believe
the freedom movement would be more successful if more libertarians
followed Marshall’s example of never turning policy disagreements
into personal attacks.
All of us who
care about building an effective freedom movement owe a debt of
gratitude to Marshall Fritz. I join Marshall’s family in mourning
his loss and I urge all of us who work for liberty to honor Marshall’s
memory by following the example he set.
Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.