Friday, March 03, 2006

Harry Browne, libertarian writer, dead at 72

In keeping with Masonic tradition, I don't ever expect to discuss politics on this blog. Still, I want to mark the passing of a rather interesting footnote in recent political history.

I've always been fascinated by "third parties" in the U.S. Two political parties never did seem like enough to me — we need other viewpoints.

The John Anderson breakaway-thing in 1980 interested me, as did the LaRouche Social Democrat movement, the more recent Green Party / Ralph Nader campaign, and of course, the Libertarian Party. My fascination wasn't necessarily because I agreed or disagreed with any of these parties' ideals or platforms, but I found their very existence as an outside-the-box point-of-view to be important for the political health of the nation. Personally, I'd like to see a multi-party political system in our country.

On March 1, two-time Libertarian Party presidential candidate Harry Browne died from complications of Lou Gehrig's disease. He was 72. He garnered nearly 1% of the vote in 1996, and around 1/2% in 2000.

Harry Browne was a libertarian writer focusing on the free market, an investment analysist, and, as I said before, a two-time presidential candidate. I first heard about Browne in the mid-1980s, when I read his book How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World. It wasn't really a book about laying low so much as just doing your own thing without crowing about it. That's why I was amazed to hear ten years later than he was making himself into a pubilc figure by becoming the front man for a political party and running for President.

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  1. I like that he always had an answer for everything.

  2. Libertarian thought is really pretty straightforward, making having an answer for everything fairly simple.

    In a nutshell, the Libertarian philosophy is this:

    Speaking here of adults capable of making their own decisions, if an act does not involve fraud or force, there should be no law against it. In a libertarian society, that's pretty much the only rule.

    Very few issues can't be resolved using that philosophy.

    One issue that presents a philosophical difficulty is abortion. Banning abortion creates a "force" against a pregnant woman, but allowing abortion creates a "force" against the unborn child.


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