I have heard through the grapevine that Harry Browne, one of the most thoughtful, articulate and successful spokesmen for the ideas and values of individual liberty, author, lecturer, radio host, two time Libertarian Party presidential candidate and personal hero of mine, is very ill. My understanding is that it’s a pretty bad situation.
I believe that Harry was the one who first offered a bit of structure (that I would accept) to my rampant government hatred. Libertarianism he called it, and said it was the opposite of both liberalism and conservatism. Sounded like me so far. I saw them ask him on C-SPAN what he thought about abortion, and he said he thought that Article II had not enumerated any power over that issue to the president, and that therefore it was none of anyone’s business what his opinion was. I never heard a politician say that before!
I read Why Government Doesn’t Work, and learned that it didn’t matter who was in charge so much as that there was a massive leviathan for someone to be in charge of. As he told me in 2003, “The trouble is not the abuse of power, but the power to abuse.”
I have long enjoyed his columns and journal entries, as with ruthless accuracy and adherence to principles of individualism, yet with a manner so kind and full of understanding for those whose fallacies he’s correcting, he has stood against every form of tyranny over the people of this country he clearly loves so much. Unlike many libertarians who I find myself disagreeing with on major points, I’ve always been able to count on Harry to get it right, and put liberty first.
For my first shot at understatement of 2006, I’m going to go with: Had he been elected president in ’96 or 2000, we would be living in a land at peace with our Bill of Rights whole and intact.
My best to Harry, his wife and family, and hopes for a strong recovery.