Campaign links: Jon Roland (Lib-TX-Senate)
Jon Roland Libertarian Senatorial Candidate Texas
(This is an older bio)
Born San Francisco, California, March 27, 1944. As an infant lived in a log cabin in northern California. Moved with mother to Seguin, Texas, in 1949, where he grew up and graduated from high school in 1962, high-ranking male student, with a National Merit Scholarship. Attended University of Chicago, graduating with a BS in mathematics, minors in physics and philosophy. Served in the United States Air Force as an Air Traffic Control Officer.
Roland had been precocious, learning reading, writing, and arithmetic nearly as soon as he learned to speak and walk, and spontaneously spelled the word “Christmas” before he was two. He taught himself speedreading beginning at age 7, and calculus beginning at the age of 12. Before he graduated from high school he had read entire encyclopedias from cover to cover, beginning with the Book of Knowledge at age 7, World Book, Americana, and the entire Great Books of the Western World. In the eighth grade a teacher who was a chess master taught him chess, bringing him up to about B strength. In high school he was active in an astronomy and moonwatch club and a rocketry club.
Roland’s senior year in high school was seminal in his political development. The first factor was a passage in his American Government textbook which stated that the Founders would have considered most modern legislation based on the Commerce Clause to be unconstitutional. The second was an official abuse of power. His high school principal was exercising undue control over both the student council and student newspaper, contrary to state regulations on those activities. He led a student movement to reform the student constitution, and was met with highly repressive responses from the school administrators. This led to him writing a series of articles for a weekly newspaper in the town, which eventually led to the downfall of the school administration.
While in college, Roland became involved in various political movements, including the civil rights, women’s rights, and anti-war efforts, during which he became more aware of unconstitutional practices of government. He also became involved in various sports. He explored France, Spain, and Portugal, first on a bicycle, then a scooter, during the summer of 1963. His first salaried job was as a martial arts instructor. He became a private pilot in 1964, and flew a light plane to Paraguay in 1966.
While still serving in the Air Force, he became involved in the environmental and Atlantic Union movements, and after leaving the Air Force in 1970, moved to Washington, DC, where he worked as a full-time volunteer for those causes, during the course of which he learned a great deal about the inner workings of the power structure in this country. In 1972, with four other activists, he organized an association for international federal union, sponsored by about 22% of the members of the U.S. Congress, and a similar percentage of the members of the parliaments of the then twelve NATO nations that had democratic systems. After an organizing conference in Ditchley, England, he toured the capitals of Europe, visiting members of national parliaments who were supporters to try to get them to form national branches.
During the course of this work in Washington, DC, he became acquainted with his own congressman from the 23rd District of Texas, and discovered the congressman was corrupt, representing a political machine in Laredo with ties to the Mexican mafia.
Not wanting to be represented by a crook, Roland inquired about potential opponents, and not finding any, returned to Texas, first to run a write-in campaign for Congress in 1972, then a formal run for the Democratic nomination for Congress from the 23rd District in the 1974 primary. There were no candidates in the Republican primary. Feeling that one should not say he was “running” for office without actually running, he ran on foot from town to town throughout his district, 256 miles in ten days, a method of campaigning that received a great deal of free media coverage. Officially, Roland got only about 37 percent of the vote, but there is reason to suspect he might have actually won if the votes had been counted honestly.
Roland’s family business has been real estate investment, and by 1974 he had acquired a considerable estate, but apparently he was set up for financial destruction by his political opponents, who lured him into what seemed to be a normal, good real estate investment, but which turned out to be a trap. During most of the next decade he was largely engaged in defending his position in court against a cabal of a loan shark with mob ties and a contest of his mother’s will by a renegade aunt who used sex and promises of property to try to suborn witness perjury. The shark apparently subverted his own lawyer to get a judgement that was used not to collect its face amount, but to destroy Roland’s estate and that of his dead mother.
It was this litigation and malpractice of his lawyer that led Roland to become a pro se litigant. He successfully prosecuted a malpractice case pro se against his former attorney, and even when he was represented, did much of the legal staff work.
During this period, beginning in 1976 after the death of his mother, that Roland shifted toward a career in computer work, opening the first computer store in San Antonio, Texas, and doing programming and other kinds of computer consulting. By 1984 the market had become dominated by large retail chains, and he became a one-man computer contractor. Eventually, to escape an unpromising market, Roland moved to California in early 1989.
While working as a contract programmer in California, Roland became a regular user of the Internet. His awareness of the growth of tyranny was first aroused by daily reports of the trial of Randy Weaver in the Ruby Ridge case, and then by the standoff and burnout of the Davidians at Mount Carmel near Waco, Texas. By a remarkable coincidence, a software contract brought him back to San Antonio, Texas, during the trial of the Davidians there, where his client had him working in a tall office building that overlooked the federal courthouse, and where both the prosecution and defense teams rented office space and hired temporary help.
Roland became acquainted with some of those temporary workers, and was able to acquire copies of court documents, most notably the judge’s instructions to the jury, before the jury even got them. These proved to be so outrageously corrupt that Roland decided to render them into text files and put them out over the Internet. He also reported that an FBI agent, in private conversation, had revealed that the burnout of the Davidians was intentional, that none of them were supposed to survive, and that the justification given was that the standoff was costing too much money and fatigue on the part of the agents involved. He also formed the Constitution Society, and began organizing protest groups all across the country.
The government responded by breaking into his office, stealing one of his computers (the wrong one, as it happened), and inducing, through intermediaries, his client to cancel the contract, owing him more than $70,000, which has never been paid. Later, when he returned to his office in California, he found that it had also been broken into, and two of his long guns taken. When he reported and protested that burglary, the guns were mysteriously returned, well-cleaned.
During the next few years, as computer contracts took him to various parts of the country, Roland continued to organize local protest groups, until such groups had been organized in every state. In September, 1995, while in Massachusetts on a contract, he got the domain constitution.org and created the Constitution Society web site. His goal is to put everything online that is relevant to constitutional interpretation, including all the important writings of the Founders, what they read that most influenced them, and what their contemporaries and later historians and scholars wrote about their thinking. He has also been writing many scholarly works on constitutional topics, some of which are appearing in scholarly publications. The site has emerged as a leading resource for constitutionalist thought.
In 2001 a computer contract took Roland to Austin, Texas, where he remains today, and where the Constitution Society is now based. He is active in many political and legal reform efforts. In 2002 he was the Libertarian candidate for Texas Attorney General, and also testified before the State Board of Education on civics textbooks, leading to some substantial revisions of them. In 2003 he will be testifying on biology textbooks.