Editor’s note: This is the first of a five-part WorldNetDaily
series running all this week on those third-party presidential
candidates that will appear on most state’s ballots Nov. 7. They are:
Harry Browne, Patrick Buchanan, John Hagelin, Ralph Nader and Howard
Phillips. Today’s report profiles Libertarian Party presidential
candidate Harry Browne.
By Julie Foster
© 2000, WorldNetDaily.com, Inc.
“I am running for president because I want you to be free … free to
live your life as you think it should be lived, not as Al Gore or George
W. Bush thinks you should live it,” writes Libertarian presidential
| Libertarian presidential candidate
An investment adviser by occupation, Browne is making his second consecutive presidential bid this year. The
Libertarian Party was founded in 1971 and has quickly grown, landing Browne on the ballot in 49 states for the 2000 election — more than any other third-party candidate. But just who is Browne, and what does his party, often mocked as the political home for pot smokers and the government-hating fringe, actually stand for?
Browne, who writes exclusive commentaries for WorldNetDaily, summed up his positions on the issues:
“Everyone who is running for president, except for me … believes he knows best how to run your life. And I’m the only one who does not believe that I know how to run your life. I think you should run your life. I think you know far more about you than any politician could, and I don’t believe anybody has the right or the intelligence or the wisdom to run your life for you,” said Browne.
The author of 11 books, Browne’s most recent publication is titled, “The Great Libertarian Offer,” which explains his philosophy in detail.
“I want freedom in my lifetime,” he stated. “I want to be rid of the income tax. I want to be rid of Social Security so that I can keep every dollar I earn and spend it and save it, give it away as I see fit. I want to get rid of the war on drugs so we bring peace to the cities and we let a million non-violent people out of prison and make room for the truly violent people. I want to end all the intrusions on the Bill of Rights. Republicans and Democrats aren’t interested in those things.”
Third-party candidates consider themselves to be “anti-establishment” choices — meaning they are outside the traditional Democrat and Republican political circles — and are generally supportive of fellow system-buckers. While Browne expressed fondness for Constitution Party candidate Howard Phillips, he drew bold lines between their platforms.
“Howard Phillips is probably the closest to me of all of them (philosophically), but he still believes he knows how to run your life,” Browne said. “He just thinks that in some way, smaller government will be better for you — but not because you should be free to decide for yourself, necessarily, but because he has decided that smaller government is better. But in the areas where smaller government isn’t better, then he wants to impose his way upon you, because he believes that’s good for you, and it’s good for America — good for the fatherland. I just don’t see that in any way, shape or form, and it’s none of my business what you do with your life, so long as you don’t intrude upon the person or property of anyone else.”
Responding to Phillips’ assertion that law comes from God, which is the “will of the sovereign,” Browne further clarified differences between the Constitution and Libertarian parties.
“Please understand, I know Howard. I have a great deal of respect for him, and I like him very much. But people who make statements like that are really saying that they know what God wants — that they know what God believes. And the reason we have freedom of religion in this country is because it’s based on the assumption that nobody, really, can impose his view of what God thinks and what God wants on everybody else,” the Libertarian explained. “I don’t care if religious people want to run for office — that’s fine. They can do that. But when they try to then use that government, those politics, to impose their way upon people who have different religious beliefs, then we’re all in real trouble.”
Despite Browne’s admitted similarity to Phillips, Patrick Buchanan is perhaps the Libertarian candidate’s closest rival in terms of vote count. The Reform Party has historically gained more votes in presidential elections than Libertarian hopefuls, particularly with the candidacy of Ross Perot, founder of the Reform Party. But Browne did not mince words when discussing his rival, calling Buchanan a “welfare queen” for taking federal campaign money.
“I qualified for almost a million dollars in matching funds in the primary, and I turned it down,” Browne remarked. “I mean, I couldn’t possibly go to you and say, ‘I want to get government out of your life, but first I want to collect mine.’” Politicians who claim they want smaller government yet accept federal matching funds for their campaigns are guilty of “hypocrisy,” he added.
As for critics who believe third-party presidential nominees merely worsen the chances of victory for major-party candidates, Browne indicated such criticisms lead to defeatist attitudes.
“I guess we will never have anything but Republicans and Democrats, because a vote for anybody else is a wasted vote, and that means that we must give up and decide that we will never be free, that we will never get government out of our lives, that we will just always have to make the best of a bad deal choosing between two candidates, neither of which is attractive to us,” he said.
“You may not win with the Libertarians this year, but you certainly aren’t going to win with George Bush or Al Gore, whichever one of them is elected,” Browne continued, saying both the Republican and Democrat candidates propose growing the size and scope of government through programs such as education, health care and Social Security.
“But if you vote Libertarian, you may not win this year, but … you at least have the opportunity (to know) that your vote is contributing to a movement that will grow because of those votes and be large enough by the end of this decade to actually elect a Libertarian president, a Libertarian Congress and bring about the freedoms that you seek. In fact, if you vote for somebody you don’t agree with, you’re wasting your vote.”
Browne said he sees Libertarians as a “major” party in four years and perhaps even occupying the White House and controlling Congress by 2008. “The party is growing very rapidly,” he noted. “We’re two-and-a-half times the size we were four years ago, and if we just keep on at the present growth rate, we probably will be in a position to challenge the major parties within 2 to 4 years.”
Though none of the third-party candidates have enjoyed the massive press coverage given to Bush and Gore, Browne has made appearances on popular shows such as Fox News Channel’s “Hannity and Colmes” and the “O’Reilly Factor,” and CNN’s “Talkback Live.” But like Phillips, the 67-year-old financial guru was excluded from a debate hosted by NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Urging Americans to re-evaluate their political affiliations, Browne said, “The most important political question you can ask yourself is: Do you want smaller government? And if you want smaller government, as 9 out of 10 Americans do, then the first thing you have to do is to stop supporting the people who are making government bigger. You must say to yourself that, ‘I will never again endorse, vote for, support, encourage in any way somebody who is making government bigger,’ and that includes George Bush, Al Gore, Pat Buchanan, Ralph Nader. All either have records of making government bigger, or they’re … proposing all kinds of new government programs. So if you want smaller government, and you’re voting for people who are making government bigger, then obviously you are working at cross purposes with yourself, and you’re assuring that you will never get smaller government.”
Browne is spending this week campaigning in Washington state, and will hold a rally in Baltimore, Md., at the end of the month.