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I lost a lifelong hero last night

(This is what I posted in the blog at the DownsizeDC.org site when I heard the announcement that Harry Browne has died last night, http://www.downsizedc.org/blog/2006/mar/02/harry_browne_r_i_p )

I first heard Harry Browne speak in the early 70s on NBC's Today Show, where he was promoting his book, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World. I had never heard someone speak with such clarity, rationality, and insight about any subject. I was blown away, not only by his charisma (he was charming), but also by how reasonable his ideas sounded. At first opportunity I rushed out to buy the book and then devoured it. I found the book so remarkable that I have never stopped rereading it. In fact, I continue to have my students read, analyze, and react to Harry's ideas in the courses I teach at my university.

I have been voting in presidential elections since 1972, the year
after I turned 18. When I first registered to vote I felt that affiliating with an established political party would be tantamount to letting someone else do my thinking for me. I therefore registered then as an independent and stayed that way for many years. But when I heard that Harry Browne was running as the Libertarian Party's candidate for president, everything changed for me. Because of Harry, I discovered a party that I could enthusiastically join because libertarians promote freedom for everyone.

Thank you, Harry. You have been a great light for showing us how to find freedom. Your work has inspired me to devote my life to spreading your insights and wisdom to as many people I can.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 2nd, 2006 09:15 pm (UTC)
I just heard about that. I've never heard of Harry Browne much in the past, but now I'd like to read up on him. Any recommendations?

I actually just registered to vote under the Democratic party. I considered going indepdendent but I'd really like to be able to vote in the primaries. Who knows, maybe I'll change in time.
Mar. 2nd, 2006 11:30 pm (UTC)
I'd start with How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World and then read Why Government Doesn't Work.

What I left out of my post was that I was a registered Democrat for a few years before Browne ran on the LP ticket. And the reason for this was that I finally had a child in school, and school board elections were essentially decided in the primaries, where every candidate cross-registered as a Democrat and Republican. As an independent, I had voted Democratic all time because I hated the way Republicans tried to dictate morality. True, I didn't like government programs based on taxes, but I figured as long as my money was going to be extracted from me involuntarily, it might as well be spent to support education, the arts, and so forth rather than on the military industrial complex.

I was very happy to discover the Libertarian Party and now feel like I have a home.
Mar. 3rd, 2006 03:41 pm (UTC)
Why Government Doesn't Work definitely sounds like something I'd like to check out.

See, I'm right now still in the process of figuring out my politial beliefs. When I was younger, I was one of those trendy hardcore liberals who argued without truly thinking about it, which makes me quite ashamed now. Now I'm just trying to figure out a few things before I come to any major conclusions. Most importantly, I need to define what I believe is the role and purpose of government, and then how the individual ties into this and the role of the individual in society. I'll probably devote a large part of this upcoming summer to reading political philosophy.

So thanks for the book recommendations, I'm looking for anything from all different view points right now to help me really get a solid grasp on my political beliefs.
Mar. 3rd, 2006 04:15 am (UTC)
Harry Browne
I have learned a great deal from the little exposure that I have had to Harry Browne's works. Bruce Springsteen said, "Well now everything dies baby that's a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back". Mr. Browne will continue to come back as long as folks like you spread his word. I had a copy of "How I found Freedom" on a shelf for many years. I don't think that I read it until you turned me on to some of his ideas. Thanks!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )