Harry Browne on AOL

The following is an edited transcript of the 94.09.27 America Online Libertarian Party Forum Chat with Harry Browne, a contender for the Libertarian Party's US Presidential nomination in 1996. This chat was held in the Cloak Room of the Politics Channel on AOL, just days before Browne was scheduled to appear in debate with major-party presidential contenders, as part of the CityVote preferential primary project.

In editing this transcript, the chat host, Jim Merritt [Presbyte], has eliminated "housekeeping talk," and has slightly rearranged the sequence of entries, to permit as many member questions and guest answers to be contiguous.

The chat room quickly filled to capacity, sustaining a peak of 48 attendees throughout much of the hour, and well over 40 for most of the hour. There were some technical difficulties during the first few minutes. Merritt was dropped from the system twice, and by the time he reappeared online and started this log, backup host and "greeter," Brian Carlisle [AnchorMan3], had just introduced Browne [HBrowne96].

95.09.27 6:03:27 PM Opening "Chat Log 95.09.27" for recording.

Presbyte   : Harry, do you want to wade right in?
HBrowne96  : Yes.  Let me have the first question.
Libertyn96 : How do you plan to save social security?
HBrowne96  : I want to sell govt assets and use the proceeds to 
             buy private annuities for people
             now dependent on SS.  They'll never have to worry 
             about Congress changing benefits
             again.  For others, they'll never have to pay the 15% 
             SS tax again.
GO PAT GO1 : Mr. Browne, do you feel that abortion is murder?
BOSWELLSYN : Is anyone here aware of any conservative-based 
STINGRAYZR : conservative stores?
AHoward76  : Mr. Browne, what is your stand on the UN and Bosnia 
             -- arms embargo, etc.?
HBrowne96  : The US has no biz in any of these areas.  I will 
             bring all the troops home and get us out
             of all these areas -- Somalia, Haiti, the UN, NATO, 
RRfree     : ? Don't you have to sell govt assets just to pay off 
             the debts run up?  Many $tril.
HBrowne96  : You're right.  After taking care of SS.  We go on to 
             sell more assets & hope there are
HBrowne96  : enough to get rid of the fed. debt entirely.  If not, 
             pay it down as far as possible.
Trekbw     : How did we get 40 people in here?
Harpo3     : How soon will you eliminate the national debt?
HBrowne96  : If we can get $12 trillion for the fed. assets, we 
             can do it in 6 years.  Otherwise, there
             should be a yearly principal payment in the yearly 
Presbyte   : May I break in with a reminder? 
Presbyte   : We're observing protocol, please.
             Anchorman is sending you instructions as you enter 
             the room.
             Please ask your question when called upon.
AHoward76  : Mr. Brown, what about Perot?
             Why didn't he invite you to Dallas?
HBrowne96  : Perot will further split the vote of all those people 
             who believe gov works and want to fix
             it.  I hope to get the votes of all those who know 
             that gov doesn't work, and want to reduce
             it as far as possible.
Trekbw     : Clap, clap.
Libertyn96 : clap,clap
HBrowne96  : He didn't invite me to Dallas because he doesn't want 
             another 3rd party candidate./
AHoward76  : thank you
GO PAT GO1 : HBrowne96, you are talking just like a Republican.  
             Accually just like Pat Buchanan.
HBrowne96  : Buchanan talks like a libertarian.  Unfortunately, 
             he'd probably govern like a Democrat.
AHoward76  : amen
JHunterS   : When is your book going to be available?
HBrowne96  : My book will be available October 23 -- in all 
             stores.  "Why Government Doesn't Work."
STINGRAYZR : pat is for restricted trade where libertarians are 
             for free trade
GO PAT GO1 : Mr. Browne, why do you beleive Mr. Buchanan will 
             govern like a Democrat?
Libertyn96 : pat's a socially intolerant witch-hunter
Trillian77 : Pat-- protocol!!
AnchorMan3 : *** Folks let please hold all comments until called 
GO PAT GO1 : sorry
HBrowne96  : PB believes he knows what's right for people -- just 
             as Dole, Gramm, Clinton, & the others./
PFJW       : Pat is the greatest and best hope of the Democrats. 
             As a liberal, I request that the Republicans
             nominate him.
JM4Liberty : Mr. Browne, what is the role of firearms in a free 
HBrowne96  : What people want them to be.  As long as they aren't 
             used to threaten or coerce, there
             shouldbe no restrictions on them whatsoever./ 
Freematt   : Can you compare your tax reduction program with 
             Republican Steve Forbes?
HBrowne96  : I haven't seen Forbes' program.  I want to eliminate 
             the income tax entirely, with no
             replacement.  This can be done by shrinking the fed. 
             govt to its constitutional functions.
             That would leave a budget of less than 1/3 the 
             current.  Eventually, I want a budget of $100
             billion -- which would include a stronger defense 
             than we have now./
Freematt   : How should legitimate Gov't be funded then?
HBrowne96  : The current excise taxes & tariffs bring in more than 
             that.  At the end of my 6-year program
             we could reduce those to $100 bn.  But the income tax 
             & the SS tax go out the first year./
Presbyte   : I'd like to thank everyone who has waited patiently 
             for their chance to speak.  The queue is long.
Presbyte   : But we are getting around to everyone.
JimnLes    : How would you control the multiplicity of federal 
             police forces?  specifics?  No more Ruby Ridges?
HBrowne96  : The Constitution specifies only 3 fed. crimes -- 
             piracy, treason, & counterfeiting.  All
             normal  crime is local.  There is no reason for a 
             fed. police force.  State govts can
             contract for whatever national services they need.  I 
             would do everything possible to get
             rid of the FBI, CIA, BATF, etc./
JimnLes    : Great, thanks.
Trekbw     : Clap, clap, clap, clap!!!!!
JHunterS   : What kind of TV or Radio spots  do you have airing in 
             Pasadena for the CityVote Debates?
GO PAT GO1 : Keep the CIA, ditch the FBI & ATF!
HBrowne96  : I'm not sure what commercials are running.  I'm 
             running so hard I can't keep up with it
             all.  But my campaign staff handles all that.  I know 
             we're running ads in NH.  I'll be
             campaigning in Pasadena & some other CityVote cites 
             during Oct.  I hope to see you
             at a function./
CompSpec16 : Is the electorate really ready to embrace liberty, or 
             is it just disillusioned with government?
HBrowne96  : It is disillusioned with govt.  Realize we will never 
             have everyone agree with us 100%.
             That isn't the way victories happen in the world of 
             ideas.  We will get a majority sooner or
             later and institute a libertarian govt that will be 
             an inspiration to state & local govts
             everywhere.  I want to see govt cut to a 1/3 its 
             current size as a start.  That's possible i
             in today's climate if the prez is determined to see 
             it happen -- no matter who controls
             Congress.  /
Deslbreath : Would you abolish the Federal Reserve and return US 
             to a gold standard?/
HBrowne96  : Yes and Yes.  The FRS serves no useful purpose, and 
             does an enormous amount of harm./
Teppy      : Hot LP topic in Pittsburgh: A minority of 
             (here; not me BTW) prefer Land Value tax.
             What are your thoughts? (vs. Sales Tax) /
HBrowne96  : I can't comment, as I haven't thought about it.  It's 
             not a fed. issue, which is where I'm
             preoccupied right now.  Land taxes are still taxes on 
             someone's property.  It's a question
             of how large the tax load is altogether, I guess.  
             Sorry not to be more definite about
HBrowne96  : this one, but I'm preoccupied with federal taxation 
             -- where land taxes don't come into play./
Teppy      : Thanks; This will probably come up at the convention.
GO PAT GO1 : This is a two part question: Do you agree with most 
             Americans that abortion is murder, and
             do you favor a national sales tax to replace all 
             other Federal taxes?
HBrowne96  : Abortion: I believe until science demonstrates 
             otherwise that life begins at conception, so
             I think abortion is wrong.  However, govt doesn't 
             work, and so I don't want govt furthering
             my aims in this area -- anymore than I would ask it 
             solve some other social problem.
             We need to win this one by education.  Ask govt to do 
             it and you'll make it worse -- or
             have you noticed that already?
LS1776     : Ok, I'm forgetting Irwin Schiff, this guy has my 
GO PAT GO1 : Don't you feel that abortion is murder, and that 
             there are already laws against murder?
HBrowne96  : Sales tax: The only virtue of a 5% sales tax is that 
             it is better than a 15-39% income tax.
             But the plan I propose in my new book includes no 
             replacement for the income tax.  The
             sales tax would be a backup only if there aren't 
             enough assets to pay off the SS recipients
             and liquidate the fed debt.  Thanks for the Q.
RRfree     : You mentioned national debt, what about SS people, 
             retired and disabled, lump sum for them?
Presbyte   : Sorry we lost you from the queue for a moment JGelt. 
              Please go ahead! :-)
HBrowne96  : One more thought on the sales tax.  All the proposals 
             now being made include huge
             sales or flat taxes to replace the current system 
             because there are no cuts in govt.  My
             plan reduces govt to 1/3 its current size so that the 
             overall tax load is reduced
JGELT      : You want to privatize the space program, what about 
             exploration?  It's of value and I
JGELT      : think its of value but it's not commercially viable.
HBrowne96  : Government doesn't work.  If there's no commercial 
             value to the space program, why do it?
             If there is, someone will find a way to fund it.  I 
             don't know how, but then I don't know
             how this computer I'm typing on works -- but people 
             who know a lot more than I do about
             them have found a way to make them work -- for a 
             profit.  The same thing would happen
             with any worthwhile use for a space program./ 
Saugdougla : Harry, hello.  How is the fund raising going so far? 
               Arizona ballot drive?
HBrowne96  : We've raised over a 1/3 million $ already.  Plus 
             we've raised money for ballot drives.  We'r
             We're now ready to head into the second level of 
             fund-raising -- over a wider area.
             Incidentally, about 1/3 of the funds raised so far 
             have come from outside the LP.  We are
             able to attract a lot more broad support than 
             previous campaigns.  Our time has come.  We
             need to take advantage of it.  Your help -- of 
             whatever kind -- will be very valuable.  Call
             the campaign office at (800) 314-8611 for literature, 
             to make a donation, or just to get on
             the mailing list.  Thanks to everyone who has helped 
             up to now.  Your help got me into
             the City Vote debates on national TV.  /
Saugdougla : thank you
STINGRAYZR : if all taxes are just "theft" then why is an exise 
             tax or tariff more moral? Where do we draw
             the line?
HBrowne96  : The object of our quest is to make govt a lot smaller 
             than it is now, w/o compromising
             any principle to do it.  The key issue is the 
             direction we go, not the destination.  After
             we've reduced govt by 2/3, we can meet in the Super 
             Bowl and argue for 6 months over how
             much further we want to go.  Until then, let's make 
             life a lot better than it is now./
STINGRAYZR : thanks and great to hear about your funding working 
Wearer     : Please talk about the impact of a more libertarian 
             world on leisure time?
NathanBaum : In the last debate, Gore skewered Perot with the
             line, "that's not illegal. Do you have any hook 
             prepared for the cityvote debates? In particular 
             is there any area you intend to emphasize?
HBrowne96  : Who's next, Anchorman?
AnchorMan3 : Current queue: NathanBaum, Trillian77, SteveR 007, 
Presbyte   : Baum is up.
Presbyte   : Please wait until called upon, folks.
HBrowne96  : Yes.  Tune in and see.  Friday, Oct 6.  I don't know 
             what time.
Trillian77 : An honor, Mr. Browne-- how will you reduce gov 
             size/spending, & how much time do you foresee it 
             to do this?
HBrowne96  : First year: Reduce govt by half.  Second year, down 
             to 1/3.  Over 6 years, reduce to $100
             billion.  Repeal income tax & SS first year.  If this 
             is too slow, help me find a faster
SteveR 007 : 20-year LP activist ... give 'em hell, Harry! How 
             will you respond to Perot's effort ...
             ... to start a 3d party this late in the game, when 
             media question you about it? especially
             ... given Perot's cash being something to make it 
HBrowne96  : Perot will split the votes of those who still have 
             faith that govt works.  If we get the
             opportunity to speak directly to the US people, we 
             will get the votes of the 75% who
             don't want to fix govt, but want to shrink it sharply 
             (all the polls back this up).  Your
             help will make it possible for me to get that 
             opportunity speak directly to the people.
             Help me get on TV.  Help me speak before large 
             organizations where you have contacts.
             Help me by displaying bumper stickers, yard signs, 
             buttons, and in letters to the editor,
HBrowne96  : mentioning the campaign on call-in shows, and the 
Presbyte   : KGSAM go ahead, and thanks for waiting, Sam!
KGSAM      : I've heard the Clinton people want him removed from 
             the CityVote ballot. Have you any info?
HBrowne96  : Apparently, the effort isn't succeeding.  All the 
             candidates will be on the CityVote ballot,
             but I don't know yet how many will be in the 
Brinkman1  : Greetings from Lansing, Harry!  Since Powell is a 
             carbon copy of Clinton, do you think it could
             be to our advantage to have him nominated as a 
HBrowne96  : What I said about Perot applies to Powell as well.  
             All these people think they can make
             govt work better.  I know govt doesn't work, and want 
             to get rid of as much of it as
             possible.  Let them split up the "faith in govt" vote 
             as finely as there are candidates.
             I'll take the rest./
Brinkman1  : Also, do you get more press in one month when the 
             "Independence Party"
             fails to get ballot access in California and the LP 
             has it?
HBrowne96  : As to the press, we haven't sought it yet.  We're 
             starting now.  It won't be easy, we have
HBrowne96  : to make ourselves newsworthy.  Fortunately, a lot of 
             very creative people are helping us
             in this campaign -- good writers, thinkers, idea 
             people, publicity people.  /
FGJ4RSR    : Mr. Browne What is your position about Gay Civil 
             Rights and the 14th. Amendment (Equal Protections)
             Blacks, Women, the Religious are all protected but 
             not  Gay people.
             We (gays) should be protected under the equal 
             protections clause of the 14th amend, too.
             or will you push to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 
JM4Liberty : Mr. Browne, what will you do to end the "War on 
JHunterS   : What exactly would you do about current non-violent 
             crimes laws - Drugs, Prostitution, etc.?
HBrowne96  : Gay people:  I believe everyone should be equal in 
             the eyes of the govt.  But you can't make
             everyone equal in the eyes of the individual.  Each 
             person must be free to decide for
             himself whom he'll associate with.  Otherwise, we'll 
             all be forced into relationships we
             don't like.  I don't favor extending 
             anti-discrimination "protection" to gays.  I favor
             removing it from everyone.  Let each person decide 
             for himself whom he'll deal with, buy
             from, sell to, associate with, love, cherish, and 
             honor.  Only then will peace come to civil
             society.  Now we have groups jostling with each other 
             to obtain the govt's blessing to get
             "rights" or entitlements from other groups -- 
             creating enormous group animosities./
MuniSavyon : *clap *clap*
JHunterS   : What exactly would you do about current non-violent 
             crimes laws?
Libertyn96 : clap clap
FGJ4RSR    : I heartily agree!!
Libertyn96 : right on hbrown!
HBrowne96  : If we get all the non-violent people out of prison, 
             there will room for the thugs -- w/o
             having early releases, plea bargains, etc.  I want to 
             see an end to diversion of law
             enforcement resources to chasing vice, drugs, etc.  
             Use the police to protect us from
             those who would harm us -- not those who are engaging 
             in acts we don't happen to
             want for ourselves./
JHunterS   : I agree and the police will have more resources where 
             we need them!!!
JM4Liberty : what actions will you take as president to end the 
             drug war?
CarlosJHR  : Could you elaborate more on what the federal 
             government's constitutional functions are?
             Specifically, if a state denies liberty, ought not 
             the feds intervene?
HBrowne96  : The Constititution asks the fed govt to defend us 
             against foreign enemies and guarantee a
             republican form of govt to each state (i.e., protect 
             against insurrection).  There's little
             else specified in the Constititution -- no welfare, 
             crime control, housing, SS, education,
             transportation, not even the regulation of 
             individuals or companies./
HBrowne96  : Drug war: I will immediately call off all the fed. 
             law-enforcement agencies, and then
             pressure Congress (using my veto on other matters) to 
             repeal all federal drug laws.  I
             will, on my 1st day in office, pardon everyone 
             convicted of a fed. drug non-violent drug
             charge -- as well as everyone convicted of tax 
             evasion, fed. gun control crimes, and other
             non-violent crimes.  I don't need the approval of 
             Congress for that./
JHunterS   : 
JM4Liberty : *clap* *clap* *clap*
RFGENX66   : How do you respond to charges that your way will 
             throw people into the streets?
             I'll see you Fri and Sat in West Virginia!
HBrowne96  : People ARE in the streets already.  My way won't add 
             any to that list.  My way won't
             prevent a single soul from helping anyone who needs 
             help.  State govts also will still
             be free to do anything they want -- although I hope 
             they'll see the light.  We bring a
             message of hope to anyone on welfare: We are going to 
             tear down the Berlin Wall of govt
             programs, regs, and taxes that have locked them in a 
             lifetime of desperation.  We are going
             to unleash a prosperity that will lift all people to 
             a better life.
HBrowne96  : Oops.  Forgot to say:  /
CompSpec16 : What have you changed your mind about since you wrote 
             _How I Found Freedom..._?  I notice
CompSpec16 : you're married now. /
HBrowne96  : Yes, and happily so.  My philosophy remains as is.   
             But, naturally, I have grown in the
             past 20 years and some of my techniques and 
             strategies have changed.  Forgive me for
             not answering at greater length, but this forum has 
             to end within 36 hours./
KerouacMan : ::::waving to Pamela behind Harry::::
Presbyte   : Eye On Gov, please go ahead.  (We have time for one 
             or two more Qs, to go by the schedule :-(
Eye On Gov : How can we overcome the media's bias against our 
             party . Alot is being said about the
             opportunity for a 3rd party but noy much about us 
HBrowne96  : We need to be very creative.  As I said earlier, we 
             have a lot of very good people working
             on this.  Anything you can do to get me on radio/TV 
             shows, press interviews, etc. will
             be very helpful.  We haven't sought press attention 
             before now.  We've been laying the
             groundwork for the general campaign while getting LP 
             support.  Now we're ready to go
             after the media.  For example, I'm appearing at a 
             luncheon of National Review editors in
HBrowne96  : two weeks, and there will be many more such opps.
Eye On Gov : I'm here to help..
JHunterS   : Try Talk Back Live @ CNN in Atlanta , They had Nancy 
             Lord on recently
HBrowne96  : Thanks Eye on Gov and JHUnter.  We appreciate it./
             Call us at (800) 314-8611 if you can help in any way, 
             or if you want literature.
JM4Liberty : How can I get a seat at the CityVote debate in 
HBrowne96  : Call the campaign office.  Large donors get first 
             consideration.  (Surprise!)/
NathanBaum : I'm a good writer and unusually smart. What should
             I do to help
HBrowne96  : Nathan, Please call the campaign office.  Thanks for 
             the offer.  /
HBrowne96  : The blessings of liberty touch everyone.  And liberty 
             is America's destiny.
Presbyte   : Well, that's about all the time we have for this 
             evening.  This is the fastest hour we have ever
Presbyte   : spent in this chat, and I would like to thank Harry 
             Browne for such an enjoyable evening.
JM4Liberty : Thanks very much, Harry! Give 'em hell!
HBrowne96  : Let's make this a free country again.  Thanks for 
             coming tonight.
AHoward76  : Thank you Harry, you have my vote!
Trekbw     : Very good.
KerouacMan : ::::applause
Presbyte   : And thanks to all of you, who joined us here!
Eye On Gov : Your very encouraging, Harry
Doggoneme  : clap clap clap clap clap clap
Trillian77 : Thank you Mr. Browne! Got our votes!!!
Brinkman1  : CLAP! CLAP! CLAP!
Saugdougla : You have my support, Harry!!!!
RRfree     : You got my vote!
Trekbw     : :::::applause clap, clap, clap
STINGRAYZR : the lib's scare people. Shouldnt we have a slow cozy 
             feeling plan to reintro freedom?
JimnLes    : I agree, Stingray.  We scare people to death. 
JHunterS   : Kick there a@#! Harry
LibertyLvr : LOUD CLAPS!!!!!
MuniSavyon : Thank you, Mr. Browne ..
SteveR 007 : Keep up your fiery spirit, Harry!
Libertyn96 : got my vote too!:::::::applause::::::::
EGBrady    : *Hooray for Harry!******
KerouacMan : WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO!!!!!
AnchorMan3 : *** Conference protocol is over.  :D
Presbyte   : I will be posting information on how you can vote for 
             Harry in electronic straw polls on the Internet.
Trillian77 : clap clap clap
RFGENX66   : Get an appetite youll have some good Italian Friday 
             night in Clarksburg WV Harry!
Trekbw     : :D?
Libertyn96 : :::::::applause::::::
EGBrady    : ****applause****
JM4Liberty : Anybody interested in privately-funded space 
             colonization visit the SpaceLaunch Foundation
             at http://www.spacelaunch.org
LS1776     : Hear hear, Browne for President.
Presbyte   : Remember that libertarians get together in this chat 
             room every Wednesday night at 9PM ET (6PM PT)
             I hope to see you next week, too.
NathanBaum : Harry is kicking butt on the stardot strawpoll. I 
             don't think this is an accident. People on the web
             are exposed to lib ideaas, people elsewhere aren't, 
             and the difference is notable.
Trillian77 : YAY!!!
Trekbw     : Cutting gov't by 2/3 is interesting, but he will need 
             at least 60 Republicans/libertarians in the senate
             and a lot more conservatives than are in there right 
KGSAM      : Well done.
BRUCE1789  : im with u harry....go go go
EGBrady    : To Hell with 'GO PAT GO!'  :-)
Trillian77 : **standing ovation**
JM4Liberty : Also, visit Liberty Renaissance at 
Presbyte   : Thanks again to all, and good night!
             LOG IS OFF.
Trillian77 : Night, Pres! Thanks!
95.09.27 7:02:15 PM Closing Log file.