Harry Browne's Libertarian Soundbites: Regulation

Joseph Brown
Aug 8, 2010 at 12:29 PM

Some of you may not be aware of Harry Browne (1933-2006). He was the  Libertarian Party's nominee for President in 1996 and 2000, is recognized as one of the finest-ever libertarian communicators, and he wrote several books. One of his books is Liberty A to Z: 872 Libertarian Soundbites You Can Use Right Now! with a foreword by Ron Paul.

Here are some of my favorite Harry Browne soundbite quotes on the topic of regulation:

  • You should be free to choose for yourself whom you will rely on to decide what products are safe and efficient -- without government regulation running up the price of everything you buy and holding down the wages you earn.
  • Regulation slows progress by freezing innovation. Once the government mandates how something must be done, companies can no longer experiment to find safer, more effective, less expensive ways to achieve the same result.
  • Every scandal (Savings & Loan, pension funds, insider trading, toxic wastes, whatever) should be testaments to the government's inability to shield us from fraud or incompetence.
  • If regulators couldn't prevent the Savings & Loan crisis, why should we assume they'll protect us from other crises?
  • When government imposes mandates and regulations, you lose the freedom to choose what's best for you.
  • We may like to think that government sets the rules of the marketplace and acts as the referee, but in reality the government's rules are arbitrary, ambiguous, and constantly changing. And the "referee" always seems to side with the team with the greatest political influence."

The statist argument for more and more regulation is something that we will always have to be ready to defend against on campus. I'm working on a more in-depth guide for doing just that -- keep an eye out for it, as well as more libertarian soundbite quotes on other subjects!

This sounds like a great little book.

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