Harry Browne, fully Harry Edson Browne

Browne, fully Harry Edson Browne

American Writer, Politician, Financial Consultant and Libertarian Activist

Author Quotes

A government that isn’t trying to dominate the world, one that focuses on national defense rather than offense, should be able to fulfill its constitutional duties to defend the country and provide a federal judiciary for around $100 billion a year. While that may seem small next to today’s $1.8 trillion budget, it’s actually no less than what our government thrived on for most of America’s history. The biggest obstacle to such a budget comes from the promises the politicians have made. They have run up outright debts of $5.6 trillion, which costs over $200 billion a year in interest expense. In addition, the government has made promises to veterans and government employees. And the federal government has underwritten insurance against low farm outputs, natural disasters, bank failures, and much else.

As president, I will have a litmus test: Does the judicial candidate believe absolutely that the federal government has no authority beyond the specific powers enumerated in the Constitution? Judges who pass the litmus test will recognize that the federal government has no business in education, health care, law enforcement, welfare-or abortion. The judges I appoint will recognize that the Roe v. Wade decision was a judicial fraud-that five of the nine justices found it in their wishes, not in the Constitution. I expect the Supreme Court to overturn that ruling someday, so that the federal government no longer will set the rules for every state. Instead, I expect to see a checkerboard of state [laws]. Some states may choose to outlaw abortion, and others might have few, if any, restrictions. Do I believe the states should outlaw abortion? I do not, but why should my opinion matter? I’m only running for President, not Dictator.

A Libertarian society of unfettered individualism spreads its benefits to virtually everyone - not just those who have the resources to seize political power.

Before the 1960s, a person who needed help appealed to a local charity (such as the Salvation Army) or to the town government. The downtrodden individual had to explain how he got into trouble and how he intended to work his way out of it. He was monitored closely to assure that he was telling the truth and that he stuck to his plan to get back on his feet. And he knew that the money he received came from the pockets of his neighbors. Federal welfare requires nothing more than filling out a form.

A little government involvement is just as dangerous as a lot - because the first leads inevitably to the second.

But, actually, it is only Americans who say that our freedoms and prosperity are the reason foreigners hate us. If you ask the foreigners, they make it clear that it's America's bullying foreign policy they detest.

A possibility is to eliminate the income tax entirely, and put a 5% retail sales tax in its place. To prevent it from becoming a political football, there should be no exemptions-not for food, medicine, or anything else. Most likely, the repeal of the personal and corporate income taxes would reduce prices enough that, even with a 5% sales tax, most things would cost less than they do today. But even if prices didn’t fall, the 5% tax would be much less oppressive than the current income tax. The estate, gift, Social Security, and capital gains taxes would also be abolished. You would never again have to file a tax return, never have to fear the IRS, never have the government going through your records. The federal government should reimburse every retailer for being a tax collector-by taking only 95% of whatever the retailer collects. The rest should be a fee to the retailer. The tax would produce about $250 billion-which can amortize the national debt and get rid of it.

Can you think of a single area of government in which George Bush hasn't already made things worse than Bill Clinton did?

A secure individual... knows that the responsibility for anything concerning his life remains with himself-and he accepts that responsibility.

Communities don't think, don't believe, don't want, don't have needs, don't have interests and don't make decisions. Only individuals have minds that generate desires and needs - and only individuals can make choices and decisions.

A welfare state is frightened of every poor person who tries to get in and every rich person who tries to get out.

After the 1991 war against Iraq ended, many people continued to feel the US had been right to become involved. Some of them said, in effect, “Going to war was the right thing to do, but it didn’t settle anything because the US didn’t go all the way and remove Saddam Hussein from power.” So, despite killing thousands of people and spending billions of dollars, the war failed to settle matters. Why? because the government mishandled the project. But when has the government handled anything correctly? Was is just one more government program.

After the Columbine High School massacre, the House of Representatives passed the “Juvenile Crime Bill”-supposedly to reduce teenage violence. Conservatives supported the bill because they didn’t notice its gun-control provisions, and probably because they didn’t want to appear insensitive in the midst of a supposed crisis. Liberals supported the bill because they didn’t notice that it gave the government more power to use warrantless wiretaps, allowed police to intercept messages going to your pager, promoted drug-testing of all school children, and gave increased immunity to police who might commit violent crimes against you. As usual, the politicians had practically no idea what they were voting on. Not only is federal law enforcement dangerous, it is very expensive. As with any other kind of bill, the politicians see anti-crime bills as opportunities to enact unrelated programs for their political allies.

All government activities require coercion--violence or the threat of it. You can always locate the coercion if you look for it. First, the activity probably costs money--which was taken by force from people, whether or not they wanted the program. Almost no one volunteers to pay taxes. Second, people are coerced to participate in the program [by regulations, inspections, and required forms]. If you fail to comply, you may be forced to pay a fine or may even be sent to prison. This can happen even if you are a peaceful, productive citizen--someone who has committed no violence against anyone, has stolen from no one, and hasn’t defrauded anyone. After all the lesser penalties have been exhausted--the demands, the fines, the jail sentence-- if you continue to resist, the government will use a gun. The gun is always there. The gun is the essence of a law. When someone asks for a government program, he is saying in effect, “Tell the police to use their guns to get me what I want.”

All politicians like to pose as supporters of your family. But their “support” really means making your decisions for you: Democrats invoke “the children” on behalf of every new government boondoggle and regulation-whether to censor the Internet or put a V-chip in your television set. Republicans claim they will restore family values by stamping out drug use or posting the Ten Commandments in schools. Somehow they think you can’t instill family values in your children unless the politicians apply force. None of the politicians believes you’re capable of deciding for yourself what’s best for your family. If they really trusted you, they’d repeal the income tax-so you’d have the wherewithal to make your own family decisions, so you could afford to send your children to schools that teach what you want your children to learn, and so you could afford to have one parent at home to supervise your children according to your values.

America rules the world - by force.

America’s foreign policy should rest on four principles: Non-interference: Our government should express good will and a desire for peace toward all-threatening no foreign country, arming or aiding no foreign governments, and giving terrorists no motivation to influence our government. No foreign aid or military assistance: Little of the money reaches the average citizen in the target country. Most of it enriches the rulers-and it helps them stay in power and continue the policies that keep their countries poor. Security against attack: America should have a protection against missile attacks, since that is the means by which an invader would conquer America. Target the aggressors, not the innocent: Suppose that, even with a missile defense, America truly were threatened by a foreign ruler. A Libertarian President would target the ruler himself. He wouldn’t order bombers to kill the ruler’s innocent subjects.

Apple Computer saw a chance to profit by offering potential buyers an easier way than MS-DOS, with the Macintosh computer in 1984. Not to be outdone, Microsoft developed a competing system, called Windows, with many of the same benefits as the Macintosh, plus a few more. IBM offered another pictorial system, called OS/2, that had still more benefits. It was competition among profit-seeking companies, not regulation, that made computers easier to use. It was competition, not regulation, that cut computer prices by over 95% between 1981 and 1995. It was competition, not regulation, that made computers faster and more powerful. It was competition, not regulation, that made them more reliable. Is the computer market exceptional? Yes, it is. It is one of the least regulated markets in America. If other industries don’t progress at such a fast clip, it’s not because they’re older and more settled. It’s because they’re more heavily regulated.

The government's War on Poverty has transformed poverty from a short-term misfortune into a career choice.

You can't give the government the power to do good without also giving it the power to do bad - in fact, to do anything it wants.

The important thing is to concentrate upon what you can do - by yourself, upon your own initiative.

Everything you want in life has a price connected to it. There's a price to pay if you want to make things better, a price to pay just for leaving things as they are, a price for everything.

A great burden was lifted from my shoulders the day I realized that no one owes me anything.

When you know that you're capable of dealing with whatever comes, you have the only security the world has to offer.

You don't have to buy from anyone. You don't have to work at any particular job. You don't have to participate in any given relationship. You can choose.

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Browne, fully Harry Edson Browne
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American Writer, Politician, Financial Consultant and Libertarian Activist