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Libertarian women’s history month: Mary Ruwart

27 Mar

Mary J. Ruwart, PhD (October 16, 1949 – ) is a research scientist and libertarian speaker, writer, and activist. She was a leading candidate for the 2008 Libertarian Party presidential nomination and is the author of the award-winning international bestseller Healing Our World.

Born in Detroit, Ruwart holds an undergraduate degree in biochemistry (BS, 1970), and a graduate degree in biophysics (PhD, 1974) from Michigan State University. After a brief term as an Assistant Professor of Surgery at St. Louis University Medical School, Ruwart spent 19 years as a pharmaceutical research scientist for Upjohn PharmaceuticalsAs a senior research scientist, Dr. Ruwart was involved in developing new therapies for a variety of diseases, including liver cirrhosis and AIDS.
Dr. Ruwart left Upjohn in 1995 to devote her time to consulting and writing. Her communications course for scientists, covering written, oral, and poster presentations has received high praise from attendees. She also provides consulting services for nutraceutical companies, clinical research organizations, and universities.

Between 2003 and 2006, Dr. Ruwart was an adjunct Associate Professor of Biology at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte.  During that time, she served with the Center for Applied and Professional Ethics, designing a medical research ethics course for the University.  Her radical application of ethics to medical regulation, especially regulations regarding pharmaceuticals, has life-and-death-implications.

Dr. Ruwart’s sister, Martie, provided extensive editorial critique to the first (1992) edition of Healing Our World. In 1993, Martie was diagnosed with terminal cancer and became one of Dr. Kevorkian’s patients. In memory of her sister, Dr. Ruwart shares her story with those interested in the ethical issues surrounding assisted suicide in both public (Larry King Radio; The Morton Downey, Jr. Show; Rolanda, etc.) and private forums (e.g., churches, schools, hospice).

Her Internet column, Ask Dr. Ruwart, is a popular feature of the Advocates for Self-Government “Liberator OnLine” e-zine. Her book, Short Answers to the Tough Question, is based on these and other questions she has received over the years.
Dr. Ruwart has worked extensively with the poor through her decade-long efforts to rehabilitate low-income housing in the Kalamazoo area.  She was also an active member of the Kalamazoo Rainforest Action Committee and has been profiled in American Men and Women of Science, Who’s Who in Science and Technology, World Who’s Who of Women, International Leaders of Achievement, Who’s Who of American Women, Community Leaders of North America and several other prestigious biographical works.
Currently, Dr. Ruwart serves as Chair of the International Society for Individual Liberty  and Secretary of the Foundation for a Free Society. She has been an At-Large member of the Libertarian National Committee, served on the Board of both the Heartland Institute (Michigan Chapter) and the Fully Informed Jury Amendment Association .
In 1992, Ruwart published her best-selling book Healing Our World: The Other Piece of the Puzzle (ISBN 0-9632336-2-9); in 2003, the third edition was published, retitled Healing Our World in an Age of Aggression (ISBN 0-9632336-6-1). In the afterword of the third edition of Healing Our World, Ruwart describes the experience of her sister’s death, an assisted suicide facilitated by Jack Kevorkian.
A member of the Libertarian Party since 1982, Ruwart campaigned unsuccessfully for the party’s presidential nomination in 1984 and for the vice-presidential nomination in 1992. Ruwart was the Libertarian Party of Texas’s nominee for U.S. Senate in 2000, where she faced incumbent Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison; Ruwart polled 1.16% of the popular vote (72,798 votes), finishing fourth of four candidates behind Green Party candidate Douglas Sandage.
Ruwart has served on the Libertarian National Committee, and was a keynote speaker at the 2004 Libertarian National Convention. In 2002, libertarians launched an unsuccessful lobbying campaign to get Dr. Ruwart appointed Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner. Additionally, Ruwart has served on the boards of the International Society for Individual Liberty, the Fully Informed Jury Association, and the Michigan chapter of the Heartland Institute. Ruwart is a longtime supporter of the Free State Project and officially endorsed it on May 17, 2008 while on-air on Free Talk Live.
Ruwart unsuccessfully ran for Texas Comptroller in 2010 against incumbent Republican Susan Combs. She received 417,523 votes or 10.5% in a race that had no Democrat.

In March 2008, in response to an informal draft effort by a group of Libertarian Party activists, Ruwart announced her candidacy for the Libertarian presidential nomination in the 2008 election. She lost the nomination to Bob Barr on the sixth ballot at the 2008 Libertarian National Convention on May 25, 2008. Despite tying with Barr on the third and fourth ballots and taking the lead on the fifth, she ultimately lost after third-placed candidate Wayne Allyn Root threw his support behind Barr. Root later received the vice-presidential nomination.
Dr. Ruwart is part of a Texas Libertarian power couple, as her partner, R. Lee Wrights, also narrowly missed being nominated as a presidential candidate, at the Libertarian Party Nominating Convention in Las Vegas in 2012, where he lost his bid to former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson.  Ruwart is usually associated with a “radical caucus” wing within the Libertarian Party, that questions current vaccinations laws and age of consent laws criminalizing sex between teenagers only a year apart in age.
Mary Ruwart and Lee Wrights from Matthew Bowler on Vimeo.

R. Lee Wrights to run for Governor in Texas

17 Aug


(Burnet, TX) The Lee Wrights For Governor 2014 campaign is pleased to have received the endorsement of long time libertarian author and activist, Dr. Mary J. Ruwart.
Dr. Ruwart, best known for her best selling book, “Healing Our World”, issued this statement of her endorsement…
“R. Lee Wrights is a principled libertarian.  As Governor of Texas, he will bring unprecedented prosperity to the state by supporting tax cuts and doing away with regulations that hinder businesses without protecting consumers. Empowering individuals, not bureaucracy, will be the hallmark of his tenure as Governor, but he needs to get your help to be elected.  Please support Mr. Wrights with a donation or monthly pledge to his campaign.”  – Dr. Mary J. Ruwart
Please join Dr. Ruwart and support Wrights 2014 today!
To learn more about Dr. Ruwart, please visit

Dr. Mary Ruwart withdraws from Judicial Committee

6 May

Mary Ruwart, who narrowly lost the 2008 Presidential nomination to former Republican Congressman Bob Barr, has removed her name from nomination to the Libertarian Party Judicial Committee. R. Lee Wrights, her non-State-sanctioned partner in life, was elected vice chair of the Libertarian National Committee earlier today and she said she did not want people to fear that the LP power couple would be influencing each other in their respective roles.

R. Lee Wrights elected vice chair

6 May

Texas Libertarian R. Lee Wrights, life partner of Dr. Mary Ruwart and owner of the website, won vice chair, after campaigning for and not winning Chair, Vice Presidential nominee and Presidential nominee. Secretary will require a second ballot, with a run off between current chair Alica Mattson and convention director Ruth Bennett. Ms. Bennett is the only openly gay candidate for an officer position, though there are others running for at large seats.

R. Lee Wrights – America needs secure open borders

26 Apr
Long time libertarian blogger R. Lee Wrights is one of the better known of the 10 or so candidates seeking the Libertarian presidential nomination next week in Las Vegas:

America needs secure open borders

by R. Lee Wrights

BURNET, Texas (April 14) – America has always had an “illegal immigration”
problem. Just ask any Native American. During a conversation with a
Cherokee chief several years ago I asked him, “What did the native tribes
call America before the white settlers came here?” He looked me straight in
the eyes and solemnly replied, “Ours.”

This immigration debate is a classic example of why libertarians must
become better communicators. Libertarians and others advocating immigration
law reform talk about “open borders.” Conservatives, on the other hand,
insist America must have “secure borders.” Both sides use these terms as if
they were mutually exclusive. They’re not. They’re opposite sides of the
same coin. It’s possible to have borders that are both open and secure.

The problem is that the term “open borders” is not specific enough to
convey to a listener what we actually mean. When some people hear the words
“open borders” they immediately envision an invading army marching across
our borders unchallenged. On the other hand, when others (particularly
libertarians) hear open borders, all that it means is accessibility for
peaceful people to come and go.

As far as I’m concerned, we have open borders now. You go through a
checkpoint at the border and if you are on the up and up, you’re allowed to
pass unmolested. The border is kept both open and secure this way, at least
in theory. Building walls and fences do not keep people out, and really
only serve to keep people in.

People who complain about “illegal immigration” usually insist that anyone
who wants to come here should “get in line.” The problem is there is no
“line,” at least no line that makes any sense, as this
* from Reason magazine illustrates. The real problem we have is not the
immigrants themselves as much as America’s immigration laws.

The Emmy award-winning investigative report John Stossel did a program last
year that dramatically illustrates this point. If you’re from India, for
example, have a doctorate and want to come to America and become a citizen,
the immigration process takes five to seven years. Most people would agree
that’s relatively reasonable and doable.

But if you’re an unskilled laborer from Mexico and want to come to America
and become a citizen, the same process takes about 130 years. We’ve made it
impossible for these people to immigrate legally. It’s no wonder people are
swimming the Rio Grande. We have literally made it easier to swim the Rio
Grande than to climb Mount Bureaucracy.

Not surprisingly, government has “created” this illegal immigrant problem.
When people start screaming about the illegal immigrant problem, are they
complaining about people coming from India to burden our system by taking
advantage of already over burdened government programs? No. Generally they
are complaining about people coming from south of the border. Why? Because
we’ve made it impossible for them to come here legally.

Libertarians can become better communicators if we stop using broad and
general terms too easily misunderstood by our audience. Instead of building
walls we should work to expand the doorway leading to the American dream.
The Libertarian position on immigration should advocate for “secure open
borders” coupled with reform of the ridiculous immigration laws and phasing
out of onerous welfare programs, to make it easier for peaceful people to
come here to live, work, prosper and become productive members of our

*R. Lee Wrights, 53, a libertarian writer and political activist, is
seeking the presidential nomination because he believes the Libertarian
message in 2012 must be a loud, clear and unequivocal call to stop all war.
To that end he has pledged that 10 percent of all donations to his campaign
will be spent for ballot access so that the stop all war message can be
heard in all 50 states. Wrights is a lifetime member of the **Libertarian
Party <>**and co-founder and editor of the free speech online
magazine **Liberty For All <>**. Born in
Winston-Salem, N.C., he now lives and works in Texas.*

*Lee Wrights for President
<>*Contact: *Brian Irving <>
*, press secretary

R. Lee Wrights for President

17 Mar

Libertarianism Is Different Because It’s About Peace 

by R. Lee Wrights

BURNET, Texas (March 17) – As I’ve crisscrossed the country the past few months visiting Libertarian state party conventions, I’ve had plenty of time on the road between stops to reflect on what I’ve heard from my fellow libertarians. And what I’m hearing from an increasing number of them is that they’re ready to make a difference in 2012 simply by being different, by being true libertarians. 

Libertarianism is all about non-aggression. The philosophy of life which guides all libertarians and which drives some of us to plunge into the political process is the exact opposite of what motives Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives. We leave people alone. They tell everyone how to live. We’re good neighbors. They’re nosy neighbors. We’re for peace. They’re for war. 

As I’ve said many times, I’m running for president of the United States not to do things, but to undo things. I am, proudly, part of that vast libertarian conspiracy that wants to take over the government so that we can leave you alone. My good friend Anthony Gregory called libertarianism “the ultimate anti-war philosophy.” I can see manifestations of that truth at every event I attend. When I started this campaign more than a year and a half ago, I was motivated primarily by the many young people I met who asked why the Libertarian Party wasn’t taking the lead in the antiwar movement. But as this campaign has progressed, I’ve been encouraged and reinvigorated by the fact that people of all age groups have been just as receptive to the message to stop all war. 

In a speech at LibertyFest West, Adam Kokesh said, “The message of liberty is of love and empowerment and we shouldn’t be on the sidelines shaking our heads because we’ve realized something that others haven’t. We should be right there in the game, taking charge and showing people that there is a better way, that survival and reproduction are better off in a free society, that freedom is the greatest thing we can do for our own security because it’s the greatest thing we can do to provide for our own prosperity.” 

That’s what this campaign is all about. As the Libertarian candidate for president in 2012, I can, and will tell people exactly what libertarians really stand for, not what they’ve been told we believe. I won’t have to think about how to answer a question with a true libertarian response because I already know that whatever the question, freedom is the answer. 

More than that, I’m determined that whoever is the Libertarian presidential candidate in 2012 is just as committed and just as able to do the same. While I respect Dr. Ron Paul as an advocate for libertarian ideas, and greatly admire the commitment and dedication of his supporters, I don’t think he’ll be the Republican nominee. 

That means that the only presidential candidate speaking for liberty in the 2012 election will be the Libertarian candidate. So I want all Ron Paul supporters to know that their help and support will not only be welcome, but will be sorely needed to guarantee that liberty has a genuine and fearless champion come November.
R. Lee Wrights, 53, a libertarian writer and political activist, is seeking the presidential nomination because he believes the Libertarian message in 2012 must be a loud, clear and unequivocal call to stop all war. To that end he has pledged that 10 percent of all donations to his campaign will be spent for ballot access so that the stop all war message can be heard in all 50 states. Wrights is a lifetime member of the Libertarian Party and co-founder and editor of the free speech online magazine Liberty For All. Born in Winston-Salem, N.C., he now lives and works in Texas.

Lee Wrights for President
Contact: Brian Irving, press secretary

R. Lee Wrights on Fair Tax

7 Jan


The Fair Tax Isn’t Fair, It’s a Farce 

There cannot be a good tax nor a just one; every tax rests its case on compulsion.”
– Frank Chodorov

by R. Lee Wrights

BURNET, Texas (Jan. 7) – The so-called Fair Tax is not fair; on the contrary, it is a farce based on fallacies and falsehoods. Sadly, some libertarians have fallen for the bogus arguments uttered by proponents of this national sales tax and bought into the idea that this is the “best we can hope to get.” This is a justification very similar to the flawed reasoning that induces some people to vote for the “lesser of two evils.”

One of the core values of libertarianism is the right of people to keep all the fruits of their labor. No taxes are fair. All taxes are, at their root, immoral because they involve the use of force to take money from people, money that rightfully belongs to them, and give it to others. That is why libertarians would fund most government services with voluntary user fees.

The most dangerous claim used by advocates of the Fair Tax is that it’s “revenue neutral,” that it will allow the federal government to collect just as much money as the income tax. Fair Tax supporters say this as if it were a good thing. It is not. The greatest danger facing our nation isn’t terrorism, global warming or the energy crisis. It is out-of-control, unbridled government spending. It is our $15 trillion federal debt, which grows every day.

This leads to the second most dangerous, and very disingenuous claim by Fair Tax advocates, that it repeals the income tax. It does not. The Fair Tax Bill merely repeals various sections of the federal tax code relating to the income tax. The bill leaves the 16th Amendment intact; most tellingly, it uses tepid language about the 16th Amendment, saying only that Congress “finds” that it “should be repealed.”

This clearly leaves an opening for Congress to reinstate the income tax once the national sales tax is in place. Given the addiction to spending and the lack of integrity that pervades our government, I’m convinced that even if the Fair Tax passes, it’ll be implemented without doing away with the income tax — thus giving us the worst of both worlds. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if some congressman championed “bringing back” the income tax as the only solution to a future “debt crisis.”

The most egregious and demeaning aspect of the Fair Tax, however, is that it puts every American man, woman and child on welfare. Here again proponents turn common sense, the meaning of words, and basic economic principles upside down. They call making all citizens wards of the state a good thing. Every household graciously receives a monthly check from the beneficent federal government. This dole is supposed to make sure all Americans can consume “their necessities of life free of tax,” according to This is not an “entitlement,” they explain, but merely a “rebate (in advance)” of what they would pay in taxes. And it is “progressive,” say the Fair Tax folks, because everyone gets the same, whether they make poverty-level wage or a million dollars a year.

Of course, you get the “rebate” whether you pay the national sales tax or not. If you buy everything used, grow your own food, and never spend a dime on any taxable thing, you still get a check from the government once a month. And once government starts sending out checks, how many people will vote for anyone who promises to make the checks bigger, and against anyone who might make them smaller, or get rid of them?

The Fair Tax does nothing to solve the problem of a bloated, overspending, overreaching, tyrannical federal government. That is why I do not support this tax — or any tax — for any reason. The goal of the Libertarian Party is to get rid of big government, not find new ways of financing it. The most direct and effective way of ridding ourselves of the hundreds of federal programs intruding on our liberty is to cut off the means of funding them. Harry Browne said it best: “Abolish the income tax and replace it with nothing!”

Our forefathers made one mistake. What they should have fought for was representation without taxation.”
– Fletcher Knebel, historian

R. Lee Wrights, 53, a libertarian writer and political activist, is seeking the presidential nomination because he believes the Libertarian message in 2012 must be a loud, clear and unequivocal call to stop all war. To that end he has pledged that 10 percent of all donations to his campaign will be spent for ballot access so that the stop all war message can be heard in all 50 states. Wrights is a lifetime member of the Libertarian Party and co-founder and editor of the free speech online magazine Liberty For All. Born in Winston-Salem, N.C., he now lives and works in Texas.