by Philip Mundhenk
Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise
The first I ever heard of L. Neil Smith was from Nancy Lord. The 1992 VP candidate of the Libertarian Party, she enthused about The Probability Broach while I chauffeured her from Atlanta to Montgomery for a speech she gave at the Alabama LP convention around 1993. Ironically, her death within 6 months of his, was publicly noted only by The Mockingbird Post, which is why I’m slow to learn of it. What a horrible year it’s been, as we’ve fought the leftist Maelström sucking civilization toward what could still prove to be our Great Filter.
A multilingual, pistol-packing genius with earned doctorates in law & medicine, you might think she slipped out of a Heinlein novel. But in reality, Nancy grew up near D.C. where she ran for Mayor in 1990, carrying the LP flag in the belly of the beast. Early an opponent of the Viet Nam War, part of the national leadership of both NORML & FIJA, an NRA member and outspoken defender of 2A, she was the antithesis of a one-issue libertarian, but was best known for her opposition to the War on Drugs the Constitution.
The second half of this Reason article on the ’92 campaign paints a vivid portrait.
The intellectual mode noted by Weaver wasn’t her only style though. Sometimes, in front of a friendly audience, you could hear more than a trace of the high school cheerleader she once was. Regarding Weaver’s “Unhappy working as a physician” – Nancy told it as a funny story, probably true – at the first surgery she observed as an intern, when the incision was made, she instantly fainted. So she decided to become a lawyer.
She was one of the defense attorneys in The Southern Lights case (which Vin Suprinowitz would later incorporate it into his superb polemical novel, The Black Arrow as “Northern Waters”). Losing that case hurt her deeply and it was a wake-up call for many that the Feebs were becoming the Stasi.
It is fitting, perhaps, that, drifting West, she came to rest near a small town in Arizona, where, as John Myers Myers once wrote, the spirit of “the Old West went to die.” We’ll miss you, Nancy. Say hello to L. Neil for us.
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