Posts Tagged ‘ harry browne

Harry Browne on Child Labor

The late, heroic Harry Browne on child labor:


Child labor was disappearing in America by the end of the 1800s. The first federal child labor law was passed in 1938. Government didn’t end child labor, technology did.

In the early 1800s, farm families needed every member of the family to work long hours just to stay even. When the Industrial Revolution began, children went to work in factories because they were more productive there, their hours were shorter, and they could contribute more to their families. As technology improved, it became possible by the end of the 1800s for one person to produce enough to support an entire family – and child labor no longer was necessary.

Before you boycott companies that use child labor in foreign countries, ask yourself what will happen to the children if those factories are closed down. Will they go into prostitution or stealing? They are working in the factories because they have to – to help support families who can’t survive , as we can, with just the adults working. They are choosing the best alternative available. Take away that alternative and they will have to turn to something worse.


Harry Browne on Force

The late, heroic Harry Browne on the use of force:

Libertarians recognize that force is the least efficient means of handling social and political questions. Any successful businessman can tell you that you achieve very little by trying to intimidate your employees; you accomplish much more by providing the proper incentives to motivate them to do voluntarily what you want them to do. In the same way, political force breeds resistance, injustice, and inefficiency; it is vastly inferior to arrangements that allow each individual to make his own decisions.

Libertarians may argue in their spare time about the details of a free society we haven’t seen yet, but probably most of them have the same objective — to reduce the use of force to the absolute minimum possible, whether that means a society with no government or very little government. The objective of reducing force is neither radical nor unpopular; undoubtedly a vast majority of the population, if asked, would agree with the objective and, if any thought is given to the matter, wouldn’t fault us for being more consistent in striving toward that objective than they are.

Of course, there are many politicians — Democratic and Republican — who say they stand for smaller government, but they never do anything to try to make government smaller. Even more telling, what separates them from Libertarians is their response to newly discovered social problems. No matter what a Libertarian’s ideology tells him about the final goal for society, he thinks initiating force is the last resort.

But the standard Democratic and Republican politician thinks of force as the first alternative.