Is It Loony to Want You to Be Free?

by Harry Browne

May 18, 2000

On Monday May 15th, Boston Herald columnist, Don Feder, swung his razor-sharp hatchet at me ("Goofy may be a Libertarian"). Mr. Feder did his best to make me seem "impractical" and "delusional."

For example, referring to the Libertarian Party he wrote, "The party's position on defense is equally loony. In a Browne presidency, no American soldier would set foot on foreign soil."

So George Washington was loony when he advised against entangling alliances? The Founding Fathers were loony when they agreed?

For George Washington, it would have been sheer lunacy for the United States to interfere in Kosovo, Bosnia, Somalia, Rwanda, Libya, Lebanon, Nicaragua, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Vietnam, Korea, and Cuba. Perhaps Mr. Feder can tell us what is loony about wishing our government hadn't caused the deaths of thousands of innocent people.

Mr. Feder says, "Libertarians have taken a good idea opposition to bullying government and turned it into a crusade for a utopian agenda." It's obvious that he prefers the Republican approach: state a good idea opposition to bullying government and then do everything possible to make government bigger, more expensive, more intrusive. Condemn Democratic proposals for government interference in health care and replace them with Republican proposals for government interference in health care. Wherever society seems to lack something, pass a law, increase a government budget, or put new people in prison.

The 'Utopian' Agenda

What, actually, is the Libertarian "crusade for a utopian agenda" that Mr. Feder refers to? It's very simple. I want you to be free free to live your life as you think it should be lived, not as George W. Bush, Al Gore or even I think you should.

I want you to be free to raise your children by your values not those of educational bureaucrats who see your children as little soldiers in their plans to remake the world. I want you to keep every dollar you earn and spend it, save it, give it away as you think best instead of being allowed to keep only what the politicians don't have plans for.

I want to repeal the income tax by forcing the federal government to give up every activity not authorized in the Constitution the same Constitution Mr. Feder pretends to revere. I want to unlock the door and let you out of Social Security so you can plan a truly safe, secure, prosperous retirement for yourself.

I want to repeal the thousands of gun laws that disarm you while leaving criminals free to terrorize you. I want to end the insane War on Drugs that has turned the drug business over to criminal gangs who compete with violence, prey on your children at school, and turn our streets into shooting galleries.

There isn't space here to deal with all Mr. Feder's attempts to make this concern for your freedom seem loony. So I invite you to visit my website at to get my detailed views on a wide range of issues from abortion to the environment to foreign policy to immigration and beyond.

I know Mr. Feder fancies himself a conservative Republican. That used to mean patriotic fervor, the Founding Fathers' conception, and limiting government to its constitutional functions. It's too bad Don Feder seems to think these American values are goofy.