Pubdate: Fri, 07 Jul 2000
Source: Lima News (OH)
Copyright: 2000 Freedom Newspapers Inc.
Contact:  PO Box 690, Lima, Ohio 45802-0690


After being nominated for president by the Libertarian Party on
Sunday, author Harry Browne said his job was to build the party for
victory later in the decade, not to win this year. It was a necessary
dose of realism in the campaign but, we noticed, it didn't dampen the
cheering enthusiasm of the 1,200 people attending the party's
conventionin Anaheim, Calif.

Browne also was the party's 1996 nominee, garnering 485,798 votes,
less than 1 percent of the total national vote although double the
party's 1992 performance.

Given those numbers, the Libertarian Party's real hopes for electoral
success seem to lie at the local level. At the national level, its
purpose is really to leaven the debate with ideas that voters won't
hear from any other source. It can be argued that libertarian ideals
have already had influence at the edges of mainstream politics, for
example in proposals to privatize some government services or to
legalize at least the medical use of marijuana.

Browne's acceptance speech included many fine ideas on liberty that
should be adopted by the major parties.

But Browne's acceptance speech demonstrated how far toward true
limited government and personal freedom a Libertarian would take the
nation if given the chance:

"Only a Libertarian is going to free you from the income tax, end the
war on drugs, let you out of the prison of Social Security and end the
foreign" wars and entanglements, he said.

"Only a Libertarian is going to set you free. We are the people who
want you to be free to live your life as you want to live it, not as
Al Gore or George Bush wants you to live it. We want you to raise your
children as you think is right, not as some bureaucrat thinks."

In attacking the "insane war on drugs," he movingly told the stories
of the victims of that war. One of them was author Peter McWilliams,
who just two weeks ago died in California choking on his own vomit
because a federal judge denied him the medical marijuana that sharply
reduced his nausea, even though medical marijuana is legal in that
state. "Peter McWilliams always said his main enemies were not human
beings, but ignorance," Browne remembered.

Quoting Steve Kubby, the 1998 California gubernatorial candidate who
also was arrested for using medical marijuana that keeps his cancer in
remission, Browne said, "Peter McWilliams was a victim of an overdose
of government."

Browne called for eliminating the income tax, which would limit the
government "to its constitutional functions." When the government is
less involved in running people's lives, there will be more
"benevolence, tolerance and diversity" because people would no longer
be using the government to attack one another.

This would be, the candidate said, "an America at peace with itself.
No one will ask for your papers, stick a number on you or force you to
give up a percentage of your income."

Even though we are not affiliated with the party and do not endorse
candidates, we are glad the Libertarian Party is in the fray. It is
important that consistent voices speaking for individual freedom and
limited government are heard amid the me-tooism of today's
big-government major parties, and Harry Browne's voice is one of the
most consistent.

We share many of his ideas. And perhaps we share another trait.
Entering a presidential race he is sure to lose, Browne on Sunday
quipped: "I went for my physical and was diagnosed with chronic optimism."
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