I’ve stayed quiet on Harry Browne, mostly on “don’t speak ill of the dead” grounds. Besides, I said my piece on Browne’s surrender-immediately foreign policy back in 2004 (see here and here). But I can’t let all the eulogizing pass without mentioning something.
Browne violated Libertarian Party conflict-of-interest rules to secure the nomination in ’96. (His campaign was also accused of mis-spending funds, though that’s a murkier issue.) When Liberty magazine reported on this in 2001, the LP responded by refusing to grant press credentials to my fellow Liberty intern Jim Barnett at the 2002 convention (he ended up having to buy a party membership). This was pretty petty and stupid, especially since Liberty is, other than LP house-organs and activist’s newsletters, pretty much the only magazine that has consistently bothered to take the Party seriously.
I certainly appreciated Browne’s small-government advocacy, and I was heavily influenced by Why Government Doesn’t Work. But I’m afraid that “honest” isn’t the first word that comes to mind when I think of him.
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