Former Libertarian Presidential Candidate Passes Away

Harry Browne, who was the Libertarian Party presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000, is reported by multiple sources to have died yesterday. I just confirmed the general information with Jim Babka of DownSizeDC. DownSizeDC intends to be distributing pertinent information by e-mail and on their website later this evening.

Pending a statement from family or friends, the best (speculative) published source of information about his condition is currently on Wiki:

In June of 2005 an unknown neurological illness confined him to a wheelchair. After spending a considerable amount of time in the hospital, he resumed some of his writing and speaking, though it was uncertain whether he will walk again. He succumbed to illness on 1 March 2006.

Wiki also provides some additional biographical information:

Harry Browne (17 June 1933 – 1 March 2006) was an American free-market Libertarian writer and investment analyst.

He was born in New York City to Bradford and Cecil Margaret Browne and currently resides in Franklin, Tennessee.

Browne was the presidential candidate of the United States Libertarian Party in 1996 and 2000. He was an investment advisor for thirty years and was, immediately prior to his death, Director of Public Policy for the libertarian Downsize DC Foundation.

He came to prominence in 1970 with his first book, How You Can Profit From The Coming Devaluation, which correctly predicted the devaluation of the dollar and subsequent inflation. Browne’s second book was 1973’s How I Found Freedom In An Unfree World, which focused on maximizing personal liberty. This book became an instant classic in libertarian circles. You Can Profit from a Monetary Crisis was Browne’s third book and reached #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. He continued to author books and articles on investing through the late 1990s. […]

More recently, Harry Browne had continued working to increase the popularity of libertarian goals to reduce the size and scope of government. In addition to writing and making appearances on behalf of the Downsize DC Foundation, prior to his death he hosted two weekly network radio shows; one on Saturdays dealing with politics, and the other on Sundays dealing with financial topics. Browne also worked with the Free Market News Network, of which he was the President. Via Free Market News, he had his own internet-based television show called This Week In Liberty. He was also working on a book called The War Racket just prior to his death, but had stated that the book was not near completion, with no definite publishing date.

Members of both the Libertarian Party and entire the libertarian movement have lost a great leader and spokesperson for the cause. Harry, you will be missed. We at HoT would like to offer our condolences to Harry’s family and friends.

I last saw him at the 2004 Libertarian Party convention where my wife and I shared a banquet table with Harry, Pamela and a few other people. While he looked as though he had aged a bit, his wit was sharp and his eyes sparkled with life. In every correspondence we’ve shared since then, that same sparkle was present, motivating me to do more for the cause of liberty.

If Harry Browne was still with us, I think he’d still be trying to motivate each and every one of us to reach our highest potential. I’ll close with one of his quotes which I’ve kept taped to my monitor for years; I think he’d have liked it that way: “The important thing is to concentrate upon what you can do – by yourself, upon your own initiative.”

Additional information is available here.

UPDATE: Lew Rockwell has more here. Reason has more here. Press release here.

Stephen Gordon

I like tasteful cigars, private property, American whiskey, fast cars, hot women, pre-bailout Jeeps, fine dining, worthwhile literature, low taxes, original music, personal privacy and self-defense rights -- but not necessarily in this order.

  1. Damn, this is extremely sad news. I first heard of the LP in 1999 after visiting Harry’s website. I clicked on a link to hear his streaming radio show and was enthralled by everything he was saying. He was articulating exactly how I felt for years but could never quite express. After 20 minutes or so I called in to clarify his position on Social Security. Just like that, in 60 minutes time I had discovered my political home AND was actually talking to the presidential candidate I would be voting for. I was quite humbled at the experience. How could it have been so easy? It would’ve been next to impossible to talk to Bush or Gore – and still is. I’m grateful I got to meet and chat with Harry a few times since. He will be sorely missed.

    We should honor him by working harder than ever this election year to advance our political goals to make America a better place. I know I will. Rest in peace, Harry.

  2. Wow. This sucks. He was a great fighter for Liberty and I just wish he could have seen his dream come true. I have only been in the movement for a little over a year, but he has been a great idol, hero whatever for me. My condolensces to his family and friends and everyone in the Freedom movement. I’m not religious at all but, god bless him.

  3. Such a sad day for lovers of freedom and liberty. Harry, you never be forgotton. Rest in peace dear brother.

    I just recieved my new Ohio license plates I ordered in Harry Browne’s honor. They read… CUT GOVT …
    I will display them proudly Harry.

  4. My experience was similar to Jon’s and I am glad that I had a few moments with Mr. Browne at the 2004 LP convention in Atlanta.

    We just need to continue the message behind his presidential campaigns:

    I am running for president because it is obvious that no Democrat or Republican is ever going to stop the relentless growth of the federal government. …only a Libertarian is going to set you free.

    Thanks Mr. Browne!

  5. I am proud to have voted for Harry in 1996 and 2000 and it was an honor to meet him at the 2000 LP convention.

    He was a man of rare class, dignity, and wit.

    His book “How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World” is a modern classic.

    He will be missed by many.

  6. Harry’s book “How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World” really changed my outlook on life. It’s safe to say a lot of us wouldn’t be here if not for him.

    Very sad news. Let’s hope he gets some kind of special reward for his efforts in life.

  7. I really got to get that out of the library and read it again (How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World). It’s been a while. And his books are all that’s left of him for many of us.

  8. I met Harry at the 2000 West Virginia LP convention and got to sit a foot away from him for an hour or so. I both loved and hated Harry, loved him prior to 2000 and then hated him for his role in the Perry Willis affair, the disgust of which made me quit the LP for 2 years. I’ll never understand why.

    I voted for him for President of the USA twice. That alone is a pretty good indicator of how well he lived his life. He made a difference, and the good he did for liberty was immeasurable.

  9. I sure am glad that I got to meet Harry in October and tell him what an inspiration he is! I had a feeling it might be my only chance, since he was confined to a wheelchair. He spoke really well then, nonetheless.

  10. Now, with the untimely passing of Harry Browne, it is more important than ever that WE THE PEOPLE step up to the plate and carry on the battle for individual liberty and freedom that Harry most courageously led for so long.

    We will miss you greatly, Harry. Thanks for inspiring us to do our best, to be our best, and, to make this a freer, better world for our fellow citizens and for our children.

  11. Harry, thank you for opening up my eyes to the second most precious gift after life. I will do my best in my own way to educate as many people about liberty as possible. You will never be forgotten sir.

  12. Wow, what a huge loss to the liberty movement. Lew Rockwell’s blog comments on Harry’s passing (linked in the article) are excellent. Harry will surely be missed.

  13. This is a damn shame. Harry Browne, more than anyone else, is the person who brought me into the libertarian movement and the Libertarian Party.

    Back in 1996 on the weekend of the 4th of July I had just gotten home from working that night and I was eating and flipping throught the TV channels while reading the TV guide. I happened to leave the TV on C-SPAN while doing this and I heard all of these points of view that expressed how I felt about politics. It turned out that I was watching Harry Browne at the 1996 Libertarian National Convention. I was so impressed that I threw a tape in the VCR and recorded it. I then brought it to my place of work the next day so I could give it to a friend that I worked with that shared a lot of my political views. At the time I considered myself to be an independent that leaned towards Ross Perot. My friend was a disgruntled Republican. He was just as blown away by the tape as I was and the next day we both called the 800 number and..

  14. ordered information packets and then we both joined the Libertarian Party. Shortly after this I happened to find Harry Browne’s book “Why Government Doesn’t Work” at a bookstore and it really expanded my understanding of the issues.

    I met Harry Browne in person at one of his Exploritory Presidential Campaign meetings and I got him to autograph my copy of his book “Why Government Doesn’t Work.” Harry seemed like a really good guy and he gave a good speech and did a Q&A session afterwards.

    I saw Harry in person again at the 2000 Libertarian National Convention but I didn’t get to talk to him that time.

    In my opinion, Harry Browne was one of the best speakers and writers that the libertarian movement had. I’ve posted his articles to numerous internet forums. I’ve also made copies of his 2000 campaign video “The Great Libertarian Offer” and his speech to the 2000 Libertarian National Convention and given these video tapes to numerous people.

    A few months ago

  15. I started listening to his radio program on a regular basis on (you can listen for free over your cell phone (just make sure you call during free minutes) or over the internet) and I heard Harry talk about his illness but he made it sound like it wasn’t as bad as it was. I noticed that his program hasn’t been on lately but I figured that it would be back soon. I’m really disappointed to find out that it won’t.

    Harry Browne, you were a great freedom fighter who will be missed by many. RIP.

  16. Harry Browne was a great standard-bearer for the Party. We’ll continue your work down here; you enjoy the rest you deserve.

  17. I first learned of libertarianism in 1998. In 1999 I was producing a talk show (the host was a libertarian) and we had Mr. Brown on. It was listening to Harry for an hour where I finally realized where I was politically and philosophically. From that day on I have been a staunch supporter of the LP.

    Harry Brown was certainly a great party leader for some time. I hope his passing inspires the next great leader/s.

  18. His passing is now on the Drudge Report: “LIBERTARIAN LEADER HARRY BROWNE DIES…”

  19. Thank you, Harry for being a Champion of Liberty! Though you will be missed, groups like ourselves will carry on the work of freedom. You will continue to inspire us!

  20. Though I admired his Book How I Found Freedom, I recall that Browne made the point that one ought not involve oneself in politics etc because it was a waste of time and fruitless. Then he ran for president.

  21. Fred, he discussed exactly that issue in the second edition. I don’t have my copy with me, or I’d quote from it…

  22. Rest in Peace, Mr. Harry Browne.

    Alexander S. Peak
    President, College Libertarians of Towson
    Towson University, Maryland

  23. Rest in peace Harry.

    I regret not having voted for Harry in 1996 or 2000. I still hadn’t found the light yet back then.

  24. I was actively involved in Harry’s campaign in ’96 while living in Arkansas. His stance and work really got me excited about libertarianism. I saw him briefly at the ’04 convention in Atlanta and I wish I’d taken the time to introduce myself and shake his hand. We’ve really lost one of the best freedom advocates out there. You’ll be missed, Harry!

  25. Very sad. :-( He’s the first President I ever voted for. I had the pleasure of meeting him in 2001. Such a warm, sincere, down-to-earth man.

  26. Harry Browne was a wonderfully effective communicator, both in writing and speaking. I have benefited from his financial writings and appreciated this advice immensely. I was impressed by his ability and willingness to actively work for our Libertarian Party and for individual liberty. I met him briefly on election night in 2000 in Atlanta and was honored to do so. Our world would be such a better place now if he had been the US President from 1997 through 2004. Harry Browne touched so many people favorably and enriched their personal lives so vitally that his legacy will continue into the future.

  27. I am a former Libertarian who, like many of you, first heard of the LP from Mr. Browne. I am now a Christian and have since quit the party.

    All these comments have brought a question to mind. With all due respect to the late Mr. Browne, I am a little perplexed with so many commending him to ‘rest in peace’. Did he ever express any sort of faith in anything not derived from reason alone? Did he have a hope of eternal life? Personally or publibly, did he ever express faith in Jesus Christ’s work on the cross to forgive his sins? I followed Mr. Browne for about three years and never heard much of this from him.

  28. I am now a Christian and have since quit the party.

    You say that as if they’re mutually exclusive.

    I am a little perplexed with so many commending him to ‘rest in peace’.

    Really? Where do you live? In America, that’s a common thing to say for all people of any religion (or none) who’ve died. You must be easily perplexed.

    Did he ever express any sort of faith in anything not derived from reason alone? Did he have a hope of eternal life?

    He doesn’t need to have, for people who DO believe to wish it for him. People don’t need to actually REQUEST good wishes, for you to give them.

    Personally or publibly, did he ever express faith in Jesus Christ’s work on the cross to forgive his sins?

    Why should he? If he believed in heaven at all, there’s no proof that your way is the only way to get there.

  29. I am truly heartbroken at the loss of Harry Browne. He was the most pure libertarian I’ve ever known. I voted for him twice, I’ve read 3 of his books, and helped out with his 2000 campaign. I always thought of Harry as my model of what a libertarian should be. I wish I had half of his ability to convey libertarian philosophy in a clear, concise, articulate way that is understood by all and offends none. He was always cool and calm under pressure and never succombed to harshly telling someone off even when they deserve it….as I often do.

    Unfortunately the LP is being overrun with “Republitarians”, and it will take someone like Harry Browne to get the party back on track.

    Harry knew full well that one can not support the war in Iraq and be a Libertarian at the same time. I wish he were alive and well. The world was a far better place with him in it. I’m happy his suffering is over, but still deeply saddened that the cause of liberty has lost one of our greatest champions.

  30. Paul Weir, what a strange thing to comment on. No one here is trying to promote any particular faith or lack thereof.

  31. p. weir,

    All these comments have brought a question to mind. With all due respect to the late Mr. Browne, I am a little perplexed with so many commending him to ‘rest in peace’. Did he ever express any sort of faith in anything not derived from reason alone? Did he have a hope of eternal life? Personally or publibly, did he ever express faith in Jesus Christ’s work on the cross to forgive his sins? I followed Mr. Browne for about three years and never heard much of this from him.

    Have you ever heard Mr. Browne deny the Christian faith, or profess a different faith? If you have not, why would you assume to answer the question for him?

    Matthew 6, 5 “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.

  32. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.[b] 7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.

    RIP, Harry Browne! Whatever your religion or lack thereof was.

  33. And p. weir, just in case you pray that those who do not share your faith may not rest in peace, heed the words you profess to follow, Matt. 5,

    43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor[g] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,[h] 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren[i] only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors[j] do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

    Have a nice day.

    PS Jesus Is An Anarchist so please be kind.

  34. I was just curious if Mr. Browne ever said anything which indicated in what or whom he placed his faith. If he did not believe in eternal rest, why wish it to him? That’s all. But if he did believe I would like to know.

    I don’t have any ill will toward the man. In fact, I greatly admired him, especially when I was a Libertarian.

    If a man has received Christ to save him from his sins, he is bound to mention as much to someone at some time in his life. Praying out loud so that people will think you are extremely spiritual rather than to be heard by God is indeed hypocritical. Testifying of Christ is not.

    Don’t mistake me, I do not wish to see anyone enter a Christless eternity in the Lake of Fire. It’s love for all such people and my God that would drive me to preach the Gospel: that Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead according to the Scriptures so that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.

  35. The world was a better place with Harry Browne in it. I will not forget his inspiring persona.

  36. Harry Browne’s philosophies not only touched those in America but has also spread to here in Australia.

    I wish his family my deepest sympathies and hope that they realise that Harry’s spirit and work will live on throughout the world for decades to come. His writings and speeches have turned many war mongering conservatives and social engineering liberals into peace and freedom loving individualist who want to do nothing but live and let live. The world is a much better place thanks to him.

    Paul Weir: I realise that you’re convinced that I, as an atheist jew, am destined for an eternity in hell unless I find Christ. I also support your right to say it here, where most of us are mourning and saddenned by the loss of a great man. I hope you extend that same right to me when I say that Christ was a leader in love. Not wishing salvation on those who didn’t believe in him is an act of hate. If I do end up somewhere when I die, I’m pretty I’ll see you there.

    Sydney, Australia

  37. Harry is the most articulate spokesman for a free society that I’ve ever heard speak. Had he been allowed to debate in the Presidential debates in 1996 and 2000, the country would have heard words that would have made them stand up and cheer in their living rooms. And, although he would not have won the Presidency, the other politicians would have have gotten the message and the world would be a very different and better place today.

    The Democrats and Republicans prevented Harry from debating, because they realized his message would be detrimental to their hold on power. And all Americans are worse off today because of it.

    Rest in peace, Harry Browne. No one has ever expressed the true values of Liberty with more class, gentlemanliness, and style.

    If only the media could have discovered this guy.

  38. It was with great sadness that I heard the news of Harry Browne’s death, and I extend my sympathies to his family.

    I feel as if I knew the man, although we have never met. I so enjoyed listening to his take on things. He was my rock, my Rock of Reason on the internet, in a world with out-of-control government and a useless mainstream media that is only too happy to go along for the ride. Harry always said the right thing, and articulated it so well. I could always rely on him to stick to his principles. He was such a great role model for all of us.

    The world is a better place for having had Harry Browne in it, and we have all suffered a great loss. Thank you, Harry Browne, for all of your efforts in promoting liberty during your lifetime. Rest in peace.

  39. Harry Browne was a great man. He was really one of the greatest men alive in the world at the time he died. I think someday, many many moons from now, that will be recognized.

  40. Harry Browne was my heroe. He educated me thoroughly on his internet radio talk show on libertarianism. Without him there is a great void. I feel deep sadness. He most eloquently and rationally explained what real freedom means. I hope we are so lucky some day to have someone that can take his place. But I doubt it.

    I beg all of you who read this to help support keeping his website up of all his past radio shows. They are timeless. They explain the principles of freedom more than any other book.
    May Harry now have eternal bliss or whatever he believed in the hereafter.
    Let us please keep his voice alive.

  41. “I am now a Christian and have since quit the party.”

    I’m a Christian, and although I’ve never officially joined the party, I don’t see them as being mutually exclusive in any way.

    “Did he ever express any sort of faith in anything not derived from reason alone?”

    He was a Lutheran, I believe. He mentioned, in a discussion with a guest, on one of his first four episodes of This Week In Liberty that he didn’t believe God opposed homosexuality. I don’t think he seemed to like bringing his religious views up in public. Perhaps he saw them as being very personal.

    “Anyone else find it a little cheap that they plugged DownsizeDC’s “Read the Bills Act” in the press release about his death??”

    Not at all. I suspect strongly that Mr. Browne would have approved of its mention.

    Alexander S. Peak
    President, College Libertarians of Towson
    Towson University, Maryland