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Tuesday, March 07, 2006 

Pride: RIP Harry Browne

I am not sure how I missed this, not paying attention I guess.

Two-Time Libertarian Presidential Candidate Harry Browne Dead

Harry is one of people I hold in high regard in the political arena. I voted for him twice (yep, I was the one) and met him personally many times. He was the first (and only) Libertarian candidate to be polished in his presentation and thoughtful of his (and the party’s) image with the majority of voters. He was a very smooth orator, though not a smooth as many of the major party candidates. This captivated me on a personal level. In one-on-one encounters he had tremendous personal charm, the likes of Presidents past. Harry was at his best when he took questions for a sometimes hostile audience. In my first encounter, he and I clashed on the abortion issue. I was at the 1995 rally because I wanted to find out about him and the party. I agreed with the party on many things, but I was still a single issue voter (Pro-Life). He took my questions with ease and grace and while he did not convince me that the Libertarian position was the right one, I felt that I had my first rational discussion with someone opposed to my point of view on the subject. After the rally, he sought me out to continue the discussion, which blew me away.

His book “The Great Libertarian Offer” made an impact on me and changed many of my philosophies of government and taxes. The link takes you to the text of the book; it is well worth your time. He never held any illusions about actually winning the race, he was in it to spread the word and upscale the party in the minds of voters. I think he was very successful in that regard. Unfortunately, the party has devolved since his political retirement back into squabbling purists, druggies and assorted nuts. After the 2004 debacle, I no longer consider myself a member of the Libertarian Party. Harry Browne opened the door for me to enter and have a look around. I can’t be the only one he did this for.

Harry gave the party a chance to break out into the mainstream, but it could not continue to build on Harry’s legacy.

NOTA in 2008!

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