A Tribute to the Late Harry Browne

A Tribute to the Late Harry Browne

by Ron Paul by Ron Paul

Before the US House of Representatives, March 30, 2006

Mr. Speaker, America lost a great champion of liberty when Harry Browne passed away on March 1, at the age of 72. Harry had a passion for liberty and knowledge of a wide variety of subjects. His communication style, as he himself so marvelously put it, focused on converting his opponents rather than winning the argument. These attributes helped make him one of the most effective proponents of the freedom philosophy I have had the privilege of knowing. Harry’s numerous books and columns, his radio and internet broadcasts, and his speeches educated millions in sound economics and the benefits of a free society. Harry motivated many people to become activists in the movement to restore American liberties.

Harry first came to public attention in the 1970 when he penned a best-selling investment book, How You Can Profit From the Coming Devaluation, which foresaw President Richard Nixon’s abandonment of the gold standard and the ways the American economy would be damaged by the inevitable resulting inflation. Harry’s book helped many Americans survive, and even profit, during the economic troubles of the seventies. It also introduced millions of people to the insights developed by followers of the Austrian school of economics regarding the dangers fiat currency poses to both prosperity and liberty. How You Can Profit From the Coming Devaluation is generally recognized as the founding document of the hard money movement, which combined the insights of the Austrian economists with a practical investment strategy.

Harry’s third book, You Can Profit from a Monetary Crisis, reached number one on the New York Times bestseller list. Other popular books by Harry include How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World, The Great Libertarian Offer, and Why Government Doesn’t Work. I was pleased to write the foreword for one of Harry’s books, Liberty A-Z: Libertarian Soundbites You Can Use Right Now, a collection of direct, thought-provoking, and often humorous responses to the questions advocates of the freedom philosophy face.

During the nineties, Harry worked to advance liberty as a presidential candidate, columnist, and radio talk-show host. He also hosted an internet-based talk show and founded DownsizeDC, a grassroots advocacy group whose goals are accurately summed up in its title. Even while struggling with Lou Gehrig’s disease, Harry maintained a full schedule of writing, hosting his radio show, and speaking around the country.

Harry’s efforts were not limited to the economic realm. He understood the threat to liberty and prosperity posed by global crusades for democracy, as well as the importance of opposing restrictions on civil liberties. Harry’s outspoken defense of civil liberties and the Framers’ foreign policy of nonintervention took on added importance in the last years of his life. Unlike many self-styled advocates of liberty, Harry Browne never attempted to curry favor with the political establishment by focusing solely on issues of economic liberty. He never combined advocacy of low taxes and regulations with active support for militarism and restrictions on personal liberty.

In all his educational, financial, and political work Harry served as a model for everyone who works for the free society. Harry was principled and uncompromising in message, while temperate and respectful of differing opinions in delivery. He avoided the histrionics too common in today’s talk show culture, and he never personalized his arguments. Even when an opponent resorted to ad hominem attacks, Harry always kept his presentation on the high ground of ideas and principles. In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I extend my sympathy to Harry Browne’s wife, Pamela, and daughter Autumn, as well as the many he befriended in his years in the freedom movement. I pay tribute to Harry Browne for his lifelong efforts on behalf of individual liberty.

Dr. Ron Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.