These are just a 
few of the buttons
that are a chronological record 
of Bruce's activism
over more than
thirty years.

1955 - 2000

 | Family Memorial StatementPublished Memorials | Memorial Statements from Friends |
 | Link to copy of Bruce's Freedom! Site | Miscellaneous Bruce Writings | Photos |
| 1975 Article, Cartoon and Leaflet About Bruce's Draft Refusal |

2002 Libertarian Party Awards Posthumously
to Bruce Baechler

to the Libertarian Party member who has been the most effective communicator of Libertarian ideas and values,
through writing, publishing, or spoken communications.

Past winners:
Jacob Hornberger (1996), Harry Browne (1998), Michael Cloud (2000)

Family Memorial Statement
In Memory of Bruce Andrew Baechler
March 29, 1955 - September 1, 2000
         Bruce Andrew Baechler was born in Hartford Connecticut on March 29, 1955, the first child of Henry Jules and Marjorie Dolliver Baechler. He was joined by a brother, Donald, in 1956 and another brother, Robert, in 1958. His sister Margaret arrived in 1960. In 1964 the family moved from the inner city to the rural town of Glastonbury.   Bruce earned money delivering newspapers and became active in the Boy Scouts where he was leader of the Peace Patrol. He attended Quaker gatherings, joined Young Friends of North America, participated in peace vigils in Hartford &: Boston, and in boycotts and protests in support of the United Farm Workers and other causes. Bruce learned early in life to Question Authority.
         Ready to explore life's opportunities, Bruce first became a boarding student at the Quaker affiliated George School in Bucks County, PA. After one year, when he was 16 and could no longer be considered truant, he left home and school to join a peace vigil being held around the clock in front of the White House in Washington DC. He received his mail addressed to Sidewalk, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Around this time Bruce's views on government, pacifism, and other issues took shape. He became a vegetarian, an anarchist, and a tax and draft resister.
          To quote his own website:
    I realized I was an anarchist when I was 16. I was struggling with what course to take with the draft and started thinking about what would happen to me in Russia. In the US I was looking at a hefty jail sentence, up to five years. In Russia, I would also be looking at a jail sentence. Why were both the US and Russia, which I had been taught were enemies, insisting that I do something that the Bible and other moral teachings say is wrong? I puzzled on that for a while, and finally figured it out. The US and Russia are both political states, and each claims the right to kill people. As a pacifist, I do not give anyone the right to kill. At that point I realized that I was an anarchist. I have a fundamental disagreement with the basic nature of the state. A "state" that could not kill would not be a state really – it would be extremely different from the way things work today. A non-violent state couldn't collect taxes, for example, it could only encourage voluntary donations. It certainly couldn't draft people under penalty of imprisonment.
         Rather than registering with selective service and requesting conscientious objector status, Bruce refused to participate in the system. After a dramatic arrest during a Friends Meeting for Worship, he was convicted and served 13 months in a federal prison in Morgantown, WV.  He enjoyed independent study and taking tests. After earning his GED, he qualified via placement tests for a BS in economics and sociology from the Regents College of the State of New York. Currently he was pursing a Masters in political management from a Masters in political management from George Washington University. He also held a certificate in legal research from the Free Law School of Philadelphia and enjoyed studying calculus, statistics, and linear algebra. He made his living at computer programming, skills which were also self taught. He was a member of Mensa, and as an Introverted Intuitive Thinking Perceiving personality type (INTP) on the Meyers-Briggs personality inventory, Bruce had a character trait set shared by only 1% of the population. Bruce was certainly unique.
        Bruce spent much of his adult life in North Carolina and Texas where he supported a myriad of causes relating to peace, social justice, tax resistance, smaller government and workers rights. He was very active in the Libertarian Party, serving both at the national and local level. For several years he was Chairman of the LP in Texas, he has advised on numerous campaigns and was ceaseless in his effort to gain ballot status for the party in every state.
        On September 1, 2000 Bruce and three others on their way to an IWW [International Workers of the World] general assembly were involved in a single car rollover near Zanesville, OH. Bruce suffered a fatal heart attack a few hours later. He was a thoughtful, gentle, and highly principled person who tirelessly fought for Liberty. He will be missed by many.

Note: Memorials were held for Bruce in Connecticut, Austin, Texas and Washington, D.C.

Published Memorials

       I’m sure Bruce Baechler’s many friends spread all over the country will be sad to hear that Bruce died on September 1, 2000, after an automobile accident and subsequent heart attack, in Ohio.  Bruce was 45 years old.  He is survived by family in Connecticut and New York. 
       Bruce grew up in Connecticut.  A Quaker and pacifist who came to Washington, D.C. after dropping out of high school to join in anti-Vietnam War activism, Bruce refused to register for the draft.  After a dramatic arrest at a Quaker meeting, Bruce was convicted of draft evasion and spent two years in a federal prison.  Bruce later became a war tax resister and has resisted paying federal income tax since the 1970s. 
        Bruce was a long time member and organizer with both the Libertarian Party and the International Workers of the World (IWW).  I used to tell him he was the only “Wobbly Quaker” I’d ever known–but he assured me he knew others.  Bruce could always be depended on for help during a libertarian petition drive any where from Alaska to the District of Columbia, to help manage a local, state or even Presidential campaign, or to help with accounting or database help for any of the libertarian or IWW groups he worked with.  Bruce was traveling to the IWW general assembly when he had the accident.
       While Bruce spent much of the last twenty years in Texas, he also lived for several years in North Carolina and Washington, D.C.   He made his living as a computer programmer.  Currently, he was taking time off from working on a Masters in Political Management from George Washington University, with the goal of becoming a professional campaign manager. He was working on various year 2000 election projects and had just helped two local D.C. candidates get on the ballot in D.C.
      I first met Bruce in 1987 when we both supported Russell Means for the presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party.  We discovered we both were War Tax Resisters.  We kept in touch over the years and hung out together when he lived in D.C. in the late eighties and the late nineties.  I also visited Bruce in September of 1993 when he was living in Austin and we went up together to the ruins of the Branch Davidians church outside of Waco.  Bruce was a committed supporter of the Waco Justice work.
     I’m sure that many people receiving this e-mail will have fond memories of Bruce, and stories to share about him.   He will be missed.
Carol Moore - September 2, 2000 published in MD LP newsletter and other forums

TEXAS L.P. NEWS RELEASE     September 2, 2000
    Abilene, TX - A phone call this afternoon brought word of the death of a prominent figure in Texas Libertarian politics.  Bruce Baechler, who served as State Chair of the Texas Libertarian Party at a time when the party struggled to maintain permanent ballot access, was involved in a single carroll over in the pre-dawn hours near Zanesville, Ohio.
     Bruce was a recent Abilene resident, moving there in May to assist in starting up the campaign to elect Dr. Debra Monde to U.S. Congress.  He worked through July, traveling with the candidate to many of the local newspapers throughout the 17th District of Texas.  Dr. Monde, saddened upon hearing the news, noted “The movement for smaller government has lost a powerful organizer.  This will affect us all”.
     After his successful work on the Monde campaign, he traveled to Kentucky and Pennsylvania to assist in Ballot access, then on to Washington D.C., where he maintains a permanent residence.  Bruce Baechler’s efforts to maintain ballot status for the national Libertarian Party these past eight years has made him a familiar face throughout the mid-west and east coast.  The Party has qualified a presidential candidate in all 50 states since 1988, due in part to the efforts of Bruce.
    In the prior election cycle, Bruce was the Campaign Manager for Barbara Howe’s bid for U. S. Senate in North Carolina.  She noted his extreme passion about working for freedom, saying, “Bruce was a fierce fighter with a gentle spirit ”.  An active participant in the Quaker Society of Friends, this year ’s gubernatorial candidate Howe recalled his firm belief in non-aggression as the root of his Libertarian philosophy of self-governance.
     The Libertarian Party Political Director, Ron Crickenberger, noted Bruce’s dedication to the Party over the many years they have worked together. Bruce held an active roll in the National By-Laws Committee of the Libertarian Party, while remaining active in the Texas Libertarian Party. He was the Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Texas from 1988 - 1990, and continued as an advisor until his death.  John Kormylo, who served as Lone Star Liberty publication chairman under Bruce’s term, acknowledged the contribution that Bruce made to strengthen the Party in Texas.
      Bruce also served as the Campaign Office Manager for the Marrow/Lord Presidential Campaign in 1992.  Outside of campaign season, Bruce was a student at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. working on his Master’s degree in Campaign Management.
      Bruce Baechler’s parents, Henry and Marjorie Baechler, preceded him in death.  Two younger brothers, Donald Baechler of New York and Robert Baechler of Connecticut, and a younger sister, Margaret Baechler of New York, survive him.
      Bruce Baechler leaves behind a legacy of Liberty that he built in his 45 years here on earth.  All the lovers of liberty will miss him tremendously.

By Laurence D. Cohen, The Hartford Courant, October 12, 2000
     When his obituary hit the newspaper last month, I was surprised that I even remembered his name. Bruce Baechler, a Glastonbury kid, was an acquired taste - and I was never inclined to acquire it. But he was memorable, in his own sort of crazy way. You wouldn't want a whole country full of Bruce Baechlers, but a few of them would be a valuable asset to have around.
     As a young reporter in the 1970s, I interviewed him once or twice, we talked on the phone a few times  - and his mom updated me on his adventures inside and outside the criminal justice system.
    He died in Ohio last month at age 49 (sic), after a car crash and heart attack. True to his restless spirit and inner demons, no one apparently seemed quite sure what address to put on the death certificate. He was kind of living in North Carolina, but the details were a bit fuzzy. The
authorities used a brother's address in Glastonbury.
     Bruce was a pacifist, in the Quaker tradition. He was no casual rock 'n' roll rebel against authority or whatever war might be hot at the moment. Oh, to be sure, he had the beard and the bandanna and was short a few pairs of wing-tip shoes, but his sense that government shouldn't unleash young men to go off and kill each other took over his life, as best as I could tell from a distance.
     His mom and dad, both now dead, were Quakers as well. Bruce was always active in the anti-war stuff, even as a kid. When he hit 18, he refused to register for the draft and, after several years of legal sparring, he was shuffled off to federal prison for draft evasion with a few extra months tacked on for contempt of court.
     Bruce, being Bruce, wouldn't stand up in court when the judge entered - an act of defiance that was inspired either by his  Quaker beliefs, as he suggested, or by the fact that Bruce just didn't go out of his way to make life easy.
     You couldn't tease Bruce about any of this stuff; you couldn't make jokes. I suggested to him that the Quakers, if you go back in history far enough, were at least ambiguous about the degree of hostility they would have toward government, or even about military service of the noncombatant variety. He wouldn't bite. It wasn't as if he were just going through a phase, that he would eventually move toward the middle ground and get a job as an actuary. His life wasn't going to be that way.
      Later in life, he apparently began to dabble in the Libertarian Party - that collection of freedom lovers who match their suspicion of government with a suspicion of foreign wars and the power of government to send folks off to fight them.
      I come not to bury Bruce Baechler, but I don't exactly come to praise him, either. He had that effect on a lot of people. When he was sentenced to prison in North Carolina, the local newspaper gave him this cautious compliment: "There is room in our country for people like Bruce Baechler." As one of his brothers told me last week, it was "comforting" to know that there were people like Bruce around. That's the most generous way to look at him. On the bell curve of ideology that includes bloodthirsty warmongers and middle-of-the-road patriots, there's a little room for the knee-jerk pacifists as well.
      That being said, the traditional indictment of the Bruce Baechlers of the world is that if good men and women weren't willing to take up arms against the bad guys, a democracy with patience for civil disobedience might be hard to find.
       Even among the Quakers, this stuff has never been as cut and dried as Baechler used to claim when he was making his  freedom-of-religion defense against military service or other government entanglements. 
       The early Pennsylvania Quakers experimented with "government without coercion" - that is, no police - but that soon gave way to reality. While the Quakers and the Mennonites lobbied actively against the Selective Service and the draft, they, over time, compromised with exemptions that allowed them to serve non-combat roles.
       I don't think Bruce ever found a middle ground. He wasn't happy unless he was agitating. And agitated. 
       (See Mr. Cohen's 1975 article about Bruce's draft refusal.)

Blessed Are The Pacifists: Letter to Editor
       I was glad to see that even Laurence D. Cohen is willing to concede that "There Ought To Be Room For People Like Bruce Baechler" [Other Opinion, Oct. 12].
       I didn't have the pleasure of meeting Mr. Baechler, but based on Mr. Cohen's description, he was a Quaker and a pacifist, committed to nonviolent civil disobedience.
        Indeed, there should be room for many more people like Mr. Baechler, because those of all faiths committed to principled, nonviolent civil disobedience have done a lot more than Mr. Cohen seems to realize to create democracy.
       Just look at few of Bruce Baechler's colleagues: Mohandas Gandhi, Lech Walesa and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
       Thank God for these "knee-jerk pacifists." Let's honor the challenges they have faced and the sacrifices they have made to win freedom for  us all.  Kimberly A. Stoner, Cheshire
LP NEWS October 2000
Bruce Baechler dies in accident 
      Bruce Baechler, a lopgtime Libertarian activist, campaign manager, and ballot access petitioner, has died in an automobile accident. He was 45.
       Baechler was killed on September 2 in a single car accident nearZanesville, Ohio, after he swerved to avoid debris in the road, according to local sources. 
      "The movement for smaller government has lost a powerful organizer," said Debra Monde, an LP candidate for U.S. House in Texas, who worked with Baechler.
      Active in the Libertarian movement since the 1970s, Baechler served in a number of positions in the party. He was the Chairman of the Texas LP, 1988-1990; Campaign Office Manager for the Marrou/Lord presidntial campaign in 1992; a ballot access petitioner, 1988-2000; a member of the LP's Bylaws Committee; and campaign manager for Barbara Howe for U.S. Senate in North Carolina in 1996. 
     A computer programmer by trade, he had been working on a Masters in Political Management from George Washington University, with the goal of becoming a fulltime campaign manager.
    "Bruce Baechler leaves behind a legacy of liberty he built in his 45 years here on earth," said Texas LP activist George Schwappach. "All lovers of liberty will miss him tremendously."
FROM THE CHAIR - Jim Lark, Chair of National Libertarian Party
        In early September, the Libertarian Party lost a great champion of liberty and some of us lost a good friend. Bruce Baechler died following an automobile accident and subsequent heart attack in Ohio. Bruce was a dedicated activist who was involved in many projects at the time of his death.
        I met Bruce about a decade ago, and had the pleasure of working with him on several occasions. He was a student of politics who worked hard to leaTn'mote aboutthe1subject. He was a pleasant, gracious man who was always willing to share his knowledge and wisdom with his Libertarian colleagues. 

Memorial Statements from Friends

    It was the biggest shock I think I've ever had. Bruce was among a handfull of people I felt closest to. He was a great friend and I'll miss him. I don't have any pictures but I do have memories. Sad.   Jim Hayman, Texas

   Bruce was one of my best friends.  He was certainly unique, a Quaker pacifist Libertarian who also belonged to the IWW.  He certainly introduced me to a new point of view.  Despite his New England origins, he freely admitted to being a Southern partisan, or at least as much as an anarchist pacifist could possibly be.
    With Bruce, principle always came first.  He arranged his affairs to give himself minimal exposure to government, going to the point of not owning anything the government would consider seizing in lieu of the tax payments he refused to make.  Bruce always walked the walk in addition to talking the talk.
   It was said of the early Texas Rangers: "No power on Earth can stop a man who knows he is in the right and keeps on coming on."  Bruce, in a much different context, always kept coming on.  Greg Clark, Texas

    I am stunned by this.  I shall miss Bruce.  We needed him.  We shall have to go on without him. Dean Ahmad, Maryland

    I am certainly sad to hear this news. I appreciate your comments which reminded me of how committed Bruce was to our cause. Bruce will be missed. Jim Turney, Virginia 

    Please  extend my condolences and I am sure of all the activists involved with  LIO. Bruce was providing us with very valuable perspectives on proportional representation voting, and was very generous in sharing the results of his research. He brought a unique background and perspective to Libertarian matters from both study and personal experience, and at the recent ISIL meeting I shared some of his ideas that were heard with great interest. I am looking even now at some of his recent E-mails to me, and  it will be difficult to absorb, so soon after Peter McWilliams, that another warm-hearted lover of Liberty is suddenly gone from all of us.
Michael Gilson De Lemos, Florida, Co-Ordinator Libertarian International Organization

    I am deeply saddened to hear of this.  I had the good fortune to meet Bruce at a Separation of School and State meeting some time ago.  He is a true hero and my kind of libertarian.  We need more like him, we have enough phony ones, now.  LeRoy Lloyd, Ohio

    Thank you for sending this to me. Yes, I am one of those who will miss Bruce and have fond memories of him. Man does not know his time.  Marshall Fritz, founder, Advocates for Self-Government

    I too am saddened by his loss.   I have fond memories of all the work he did on my 1992 campaign.  Nancy [Lord] Johnson, Arizona, Libertarian Vice-Presidential candidate

    I was priveleged to get to know Bruce some during my year in DC at  William Penn, including Tax Day leafletting with Carol.  We met up quite  by chance (if there is such a thing) at the Rainbow Gathering in  Allegheny National Forest in Penn. last year (the only bright spot in  that trip).  He was a sweet, gentle, passionate, quirky,  super-intelligent man.  Perhaps it is of some consolation that he has  taken his resistance (and resisted tax dollars) to the grave, and the  best we can do is to grieve and honor him by continuing our own.  Andy McKenna, Texas

      Please extend my deepest sympathies to Bruce's family.  He was in Washington,  DC in 1992 when we were trying to restart the Libertarian Party in Baltimore,  Maryland.  His personal and moral support were invaluable, and even though I  was never aware of his activities across the political spectrum,. and of the  depth of his personal sacrifices as a war and tax resistor, it doesn't  surprise me, as he never gave me the impression that liberty for him was a  head trip.  It was rather a deeply felt human and spiritual endeavor.   Although I never communicated with him much, outside of conventions and  places where I didn't expect him to be, the sense that I got from him was  always the same.  Ironically, as I was on my way to my first meeting of the  LNC, as a newly elected at-large member, he approached me to let me know that  he wanted to be on the judiciary committee, which was extant, anyway, as no  new nominations had been made at the convention as we closed, since we had  run out of time.  Basically, the LNC agreed to keep all existing members,  barring resignations.  Some resignation!  I'm deeply saddened.  I pray for  him and his soul as I write this.  I know he will continue fighting for liberty, and I will surely miss his warm, bearded presence.  In liberty, Lorenzo Gaztenaga, Maryland

     I am so saddened to hear of Bruce Baechler's death.  He was a wonderful person whom I enjoyed being with very much. Tonie Nathan, Oregon, Libertarian Vice-Presidential Candidate 1972

   I first met Bruce more than 20 years ago during the Southerners Mobilizing For Survival days.  He was always willing to put in the time and effort needed to move things forward.  Bruce was one of the earliest members of this discussion list and contributed frequently, as most of you know.  Back when we were trying to automate the list to overcome my sporadic hand-forwarding from Tallahassee Freenet, Bruce offered to set us up at Illuminati.  We went with Ed Agro's work to get us onto IGC instead.  But Bruce did set up a short WTR web page himself which is listed first thing in the Bibliography/Contacts/Resources sheet given out for the 8th International Conference this July.    Bruce, of course, is free now.  And his life helped all of us to be freer. In Remembrance,  Robert Randall, Georgia

       I just saw Bruce a few weeks ago. I didn't know him very well, but he seemed like a very kind  and gentle person. I very sorry he's gone.  John Korber, Maryland

      Bruce was a real pleasure to know, and a fascinating, thoughtful individual. Two of his major passions were proportional representation and the Libertarian Party. He pushed hard for the LP to put proportional representation  in its platform and to make it a part of LP activists' agenda.  One way I'd like to honor him in the coming years is to make  sure we succeed in that effort within the LP at its 2002 national convention.  Rob Richie, Center for Voting and Democracy

    Those of us in North Carolina loved him too.  Bruce was a great guy.  I miss him. Barbara Howe, North Carolina


Bruce and Family around 1990  -- Bruce at Austin's Treaty Oak, 1993

September, 1989 in Washington, DC. Bruce and Greg Clark at a Drug Legalization Rally 

Fall, 1992 in DC. LP Chair Mary Gingell, Bruce and Stuart Regis

September, 1993 in Salt Lake City Texas Delegates Bruce and Joe Barnett 
at Libertarian Party Convention

Carol Moore, Bruce and Gary Johnson at an Austin public television taping

September, 1993 in Waco, TX  - Carol Moore and Bruce visit Davidian survivors 
at Brittney Hotel after stopping at Mount Carmel ruins.
Bruce originated name "Committee for Waco Justice"

Bruce at War Tax Resistance socials in Washington, 1998 and Asheville, NC 1999
(back in blue at left; back row in blue plaid right)

Bruce playing musical laps at Asheville War Tax Resisters social

At a1999 drug legalization protest - left, middle row

1999 -  Bruce during demonstration against US bombing of Yugoslavia
and handing out War Tax Resistance literature with Andy McKenna
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