Sound Bites for Liberty


Time for more sound bites for liberty, courtesy of Harry Browne! Browne, co-founder of DownsizeDC, was the  Libertarian Party’s Presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000 and is recognized as one of the finest-ever libertarian communicators. His liberty sound bites, which would later be compiled into a book, Liberty A to Z: 872 Libertarian Soundbites You Can Use Right Now! (with a foreword by Ron Paul) are one of the reasons why.  (Ron also paid tribute to Browne’s life with a speech in the U.S. House after his death in 2006.)

A quote from an article sums up why we should follow Browne’s lead: ‘Every libertarian who wants to be a better communicator would do well to study Harry’s phrases, and follow his example of being prepared with short, persuasive, and memorable answers to common questions about libertarianism.’

Here is a sampler of sound bites for liberty you can use to promote the philosophy of liberty on your campus and beyond:

Anarchy: “Some people say that libertarians want anarchy. But anarchy is what we have now. Our cities aren’t safe, our schools are centers of violence, the politicians have turned the rule of law into a chaotic web of millions of regulations and mandates. Libertarians want to restore order by removing, wherever possible, the destabilizing influence of government.”

Anti-trust Laws: “The standard argument for anti-trust law is that a large company can eliminate all its competition through low prices and giveaways – and then raise its prices to the sky after the competition is gone. And yet no one has ever cited a real life example of a company that was able to do this. The day a company tries to abuse its customers, new competition suddenly sprinigs out of the bushes – except when anti-trust laws [and other government interventions] prevent companies from entering a market to compete.”

Corruption: “It is pointless to talk about corruption in government. Every government program is corruption, because it is organized on the basis of who has the most political influence. Thus corruption – the buying and selling of legislators – is inherent in every government program.”

Defense & The Military: “The Constitution authorizes the federal government to defend us from enemies – not run around the world creating enemies. The politicians justify U.S. military power by saying, ‘It’s still a dangerous world out there.’ But if it is dangerous to us, it’s because our government has repeatedly stuck its nose in matters that are none of our business – and thereby created enemies all over the world.”

Environment: “Most pollution takes place on government property – on government lands and roads, in government lakes, rivers, and streams. If someone dumped garbage on your property every day, you’d call the police and get them to stop the trespasser from polluting your property. But government allowed companies to dump toxic wastes in its lakes and streams, and to clear-cut or strip-mine its lands. Then, when public outrage became overwhelming, the government responded by passing new laws and setting up new agencies that harass companies and property owners who have always kept far better care of their property than the government has.”

Free Market: “The free market punishes irresponsibility. Government rewards it.”

Freedom: “Whatever the issue, let freedom offer us a hundred choices, instead of having government force one answer on everyone.”

Health Care: “Today [as of 2003] 51% of all health-care dollars in America are spent by governments – not insurance companies, employers, or individuals, but by governments. If there is a crisis in health care – and there certainly is – the government, not the free market, is responsible for it.”

Politics: “The great delusion of political activity is the belief that you can have the government do exactly what you want – that, somehow, you can get it to perform some function for some good purpose, with nothing bad thrown into the bargain – and that the program you envision will be carried out dutifully by thousands of bureaucrats in just the way you think it should be handled.”

Responsibility: “Government seems to operate on the principle that if even one individual is incapable of using his freedom competently, no one can be allowed to be free.”

Safety Net: “The most secure safety net in the world is the generosity of family, friends, churches, service clubs, foundations, the United Way, and other charitable agencies. These people are determined to help. Government bureaucrats are determined to enlarge their power by keeping as many people as possible on welfare.”

Selling Liberty: “If you want to win an argument, appeal to natural rights or economic theory. If you want to win a convert, appeal to self-interest. No one will pay much attention to you until you show how your proposals will change his life for the better.”

Taxes: “Federal, state, and local taxes take [again, as of 2003ish] 48% of the national income. That means if you and your spouse both work, one of you is working for the government and the other is working for your family.”

Stay tuned for another ‘Sound Bites for Liberty’ post within the next week or so. The next edition will be liberty sound bites specifically about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to help be prepared for Constitution week (Monday, Sep 13th-Friday, Sep 17th)

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