Liberty A to Z
Soundbites have become an important part of political discourse. A soundbite is a short statement of one sentence, or no more than a few sentences, that sums up your opinion on a particular issue - and that makes an important point in the process.
Soundbites are valuable for much more than just press or broadcast interviews. They serve a good purpose when merely talking with individuals. Long explanations of political philosophy are sure to make people think about what they're going to have for dinner tonight while nodding their heads by rote. But short soundbites keep their attention focused on your ideas.
This book provides 872 soundbites on over 200 topics.
You'll probably like some of the soundbites and not like others. Don't worry about the ones you don't like. You need only one or two on each issue that's important to you.
I suggest that you go through the book from beginning to end - marking the soundbites you like. Pick those you'll have no trouble remembering and that you'd feel comfortable uttering. Feel free to alter the wording to make a soundbite more compatible with your style.
The soundbites are sorted by topic. There are no duplicates, although some of the items are similar to others - providing slight variations in the wording or the points made.
Where an appropriate soundbite is listed under a different topic, a cross-reference is given.
When using the soundbites in conversation, the most important point to remember is that arguing gets you nowhere.
Winning an argument is of no value. What you want is to win a convert. And people who lose arguments are more likely to beef up their current convictions instead of converting to your way of thinking.
The person you're talking to almost certainly wants to be free as much as you do. He wants to control his own life - keep the money he earns, raise his children by his own values, make his own decisions - just as you do. He just isn't as aware as you are of how possible that freedom is.
He believes there are drawbacks to letting everyone be free. He believes there are economic and social consequences that might not be desirable. He believes many things that need to be recognized, respected, and dealt with. And you deal with them most effectively when you realize that you and he are on the same side. You both want to be freer than you are now.
If you approach people on this basis, you'll find that you make friends as well as converts. Don't treat people as adversaries to be defeated rhetorically, but as potential friends who will become - with your help - new advocates for liberty.
It took ten years to develop these 872 soundbites. They are my gift to you and libertarians everywhere.
With these, plus the soundbites you develop on your own, and with a benevolent attitude toward the people you encounter, you should be well-armed.
I wish you the very best.
Harry Browne 1996 & 2000 Libertarian Candidate for President of the United States Franklin, Tennessee
Harry Browne's new book will prove very useful to those interested in advancing the freedom philosophy.
Drawing on his expertise in economics, history, and political philosophy, as well as his practical experience as a two-time Libertarian Party presidential candidate, Harry provides libertarians with direct, thought-provoking, and often humorous responses to the questions advocates of the freedom philosophy face.
Harry does not skirt the tough questions (e.g. won't the poor suffer in a libertarian society; won't a libertarian society be awash in drugs and pornography; don't we need a military garrison state to protect us from freedom-hating despots; isn't gun control necessary to keep guns out of the hands of criminals). His work will help libertarians deal with even the toughest skeptic.
Harry's book fills a gap in libertarian literature. Most libertarians have bookshelves overflowing with economic, historical, and philosophical tomes making the case for liberty. Yet, the knowledge contained in those books is useless unless libertarians know how to effectively communicate their views.
People are unlikely to investigate our ideas in any detail, much less commit themselves to working to attain a free society, until and unless they receive intelligent, plainspoken responses to their questions. My own experience as a candidate and elected official has taught me the importance of being able to communicate our ideas in a brief, easily understood manner.
As a quick perusal of this book demonstrates, this “soundbite” presentation does not require one to “dumb down” libertarianism - Harry packs a great intellectual punch into his small packages!
Harry Browne's “soundbites” are a great way to answer critics and motivate the unconverted to learn more about the freedom philosophy and, hopefully, get involved in the libertarian movement.
Therefore, I am pleased to recommend Harry Browne's book to libertarians looking for help convincing skeptics of the benefits of a free society. All those who wish to live in a free society have reason to be grateful to Harry Browne.
U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) Washington, DC
"Thanks especially for being willing to write common sense. I fear younger, or even sophisticated readers may reject it because it is simple."