I feel like I just got sucker-punched. Harry Browne is gone. I’d heard he’d been ill for the past year or so, but I had no idea how ill and that we’d lose still another libertarian light so soon.
I owe two things to Browne.
In 1971, I read his “hard money” bestseller How You Can Profit from the Coming Devaluation. It was an excellent introduction to economics for a high school kid like me. Before then, I hadn’t understood that inflation was more than just “rising prices,” and I’d never even heard of “fractional reserve banking.” Browne turned that light on for me.
Then, in 1973, I read Harry’s How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World. It was the first “self-help” book I’d ever read. I’d been a libertarian for three years, but Browne showed me how to integrate the philosophy into my lifestyle. And my instinct to stay away from the polls was confirmed by that book.
I pretty much lost track of Browne until he popped back onto my radar in 1996 as the LP candidate for president. His candidacy, so contrary to his anti-party positions of the early ’70s, put me off. But damn, he sounded good in those few-and-far-between media interviews. For the past decade, he was an extraordinary spokesman in the Establishment media for the hard-money, anti-war, libertarian movement. I enjoyed his radio broadcasts, his cable TV appearances, and his columns very much.
I’m gonna miss Harry Browne.