David Bergland was the 1984 Libertarian Party presidential candidate. With vice presidential running mate Jim Lewis, he was on the ballot in 39 states and won 228,705 votes -- finishing third behind Republican Ronald Reagan and Democrat Walter Mondale. In a 1996 essay, Bergland said his presidential campaign had one primary goal: educating journalists. "Our major asset was my time and my developing ability to communicate libertarian ideas," he wrote. "I set out to do as many interviews as possible with journalists and I was interviewed by over 2,000... I found that, in most cases, I was the first libertarian they had ever talked to, up close. My objective was to leave them with information and a positive attitude about the LP and its candidates that would serve as leverage for future candidates and local party organizations."
In addition to his presidential candidacy, Bergland is perhaps best known for his book Libertarianism in One Lesson. Now in its ninth edition, it has sold over 150,000 copies. In a 2005 interview, Bergland said the book is "aimed at reasonably intelligent, but non-academic, readers who genuinely want to understand libertarianism -- but don't want to be preached to or lectured. People have questions about how libertarianism might work if applied in the real world. That's what this book gives them." The book explains that "libertarians approach political, economic, and social issues by placing the highest priority on letting people solve their own problems, their own way, according to their own values. This usually results in proposals to replace clumsy, counterproductive government approaches with more effective and compassionate voluntary cooperation." Gardner Goldsmith, a talk show host on WNTK-AM (New Hampshire), called the the ninth edition of Libertarianism in One Lesson "a concise, very readable explication of the principles of libertarianism... It is a valuable book." Laissez Faire Books called it "the best brief introduction to libertarianism available today." Libertarianism in One Lesson is available for sale from the Advocates: http://www.theadvocates.org/onelesson.html.
Before his presidential campaign, Bergland had sought public office four previous times. In 1974, he ran for Attorney General of California as a Libertarian write-in candidate (before the California Libertarian Party had gained ballot status). In 1976, he was Libertarian presidential candidate Roger MacBride's vice presidential running mate. In 1978, he ran for state senate -- and was the first candidate to appear on the ballot in California with the Libertarian Party label. In 1980, he was a candidate for U.S. Senate in California against longtime Democratic incumbent Alan Cranston. That campaign earned him the Samuel Adams Society's first Sons of Liberty Award, given for California campaigns that do the best job of "upholding libertarian principles."
David Bergland has also served multiple roles within the Libertarian Party. From 1998-2000, he was Libertarian Party National Chair, a post he also held from 1977-1981. He served a total of 12 years on the Libertarian Party's National Committee, including his three terms as chair. In 1996, he was co-chair of Harry Browne's Libertarian Party presidential campaign.
Bergland has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Advocates for Self-Government since the organization was founded. Bergland spoke at several early Advocates conventions and at the Advocates' 20th Anniversary Celebration in 2005, and appears on several of the most popular Advocates tapes and CDs on how to effectively communicate libertarian ideas.
Bergland first encountered libertarian ideas in 1960, when he read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. He joined the party at the Libertarian Party of Orange County, California's organizing meeting in 1973, and was elected Treasurer at that same meeting.
Professionally, Bergland was a business attorney in private practice. From 1970-1993, he was also an Adjunct Professor of Law at Western State University College of Law in Fullerton, California and Irvine, California. Now retired, he lives in Washington state with his wife, Sharon Ayres (who served as manager of the 1996 Harry Browne for President campaign). Bergland enjoys surfing, skiing, and keeping fit with martial arts, including Kenpo karate, boxing, and kickboxing. He remains busy as a self-defense/martial arts instructor, and he lectures and conducts workshops on effective communications techniques.
"Libertarians...advocate a high degree of both economic and personal liberty. Libertarians believe that people have the right to freely engage in both commercial and private activities. Libertarians consistently uphold the right of individuals to control their own lives in all respects." -- David Bergland in Libertarianism In One Lesson (Ninth Edition, 2005)
"Because libertarians do have a basic set of principles, you know that a libertarian will always come out on the side of any issue which maximizes personal liberty and responsibility -- and which reduces government control over the individual." -- David Bergland in Libertarianism In One Lesson (Ninth Edition, 2005)