We're More Ambitious than the Republicans Are
by Harry Browne
September 22, 2000
(In 2000, syndicated columnist Ann Coulter decided to run for Congress in Connecticut as a Libertarian. When Libertarians in the state realized that her only purpose was to take votes away from Republican Congressman Chris Shays, to punish him for not voting for Bill Clinton's impeachment, the Connecticut Libertarian Party refused to endorse her. To retaliate for this slight, Miss Coulter published an article in Human Events, a conservative weekly newspaper. I sent this article to Human Events as a rebuttal to her article. I don't know whether it was published.)
In "I'd Burn My Neighbor's House Down" [September 15] Ann Coulter says she wanted to run for Congress in Connecticut against Republican Chris Shays. But she was thwarted by the Connecticut Libertarian Party— which declined to endorse her, despite her celebrity status. Her article makes it clear (apparently unintentionally) why the Libertarians had no choice but to turn her down.
Her only apparent reason for running was to get a Democrat elected— to pay back Shays for voting against the Clinton impeachment.
Conservatives seem to have given up on their noble goal of reducing government. And so now many of them ignore all the violence Democrats and Republicans do to the Constitution with federal interventions in education, health care, law enforcement, and the like. Instead they content themselves with trying to punish President Clinton for petty crimes and misdemeanors. But Libertarians are more concerned with the destruction of our liberties, our bank accounts, and our privacy. We just don't have the time or desire to help Miss Coulter settle her grudge against Chris Shays.
She seems to believe that Libertarians are obsessed with the Drug War. It's true that Libertarians care deeply about the crime the Drug War has spawned (as in the era of Alcohol Prohibition); the children killed in drive-by shootings; the imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of harmless, non-violent drug users and sellers; and the fact that 90% of all invasions of the Bill of Rights over the past 30 years have been committed under the cloak of waging the insane War on Drugs.
So perhaps we are obsessed with the Drug War. But then we're also obsessed with the Constitution— and with the intrusions on our lives caused by the income tax, forced Social Security, a reckless foreign policy, the loss of gun rights, and numerous other issues. Meanwhile, Ann Coulter is obsessed with Bill Clinton's impeachment — as though removing Bill Clinton from office would have reduced the federal government by a single dollar or a single invasion of our lives.
It may seem foolish that Libertarians didn't rush to embrace a celebrity when she offered herself as a Congressional candidate. But I'm afraid we're more ambitious than she is. We haven't given up on America. We're not trying to make the best of a bad situation. We want freedom, not revenge.
So, instead, we're pushing to accelerate the rapid growth in a party that's determined to do away with big government by the end of the coming decade. Instead of offering school vouchers, patients' "Bill of Rights," prescription-drug boondoggles, and other Democratic Lite proposals, Libertarians are working to free you from the income tax, set you free from Social Security, end the insane War on Drugs, restore your right to defend yourself, limit the federal government to just its constitutional functions, and end the senseless foreign policy that puts your children at risk of fighting and dying in a foreign war.
We hope you'll join us. You can find out more at www.HarryBrowne.org.