Editor's note: Harry Browne, libertarian
author and activist, died Wednesday, March 1, 2006. The following piece
originally appeared on Antiwar.com Nov. 20, 2001. We reprint it in memory of
this great friend of peace and liberty.
I love America.
I love every concept the Statue of Liberty stands for that individual
liberty is held above the objectives of government; that, as Washington and
Jefferson said, America imparts good will toward all and threatens no one; that
this country is so big-hearted and prosperous it can welcome people from all
over the world fleeing oppression or poverty.
I love the Bill of Rights the most noble document ever written to define
the limits that government should obey.
I love the concepts of free speech, absolute privacy, and religious freedom
embodied in our traditions and our Constitution.
I love the rule of law the right of accused persons to confront their
accusers, the right to an attorney, the right to remain silent, the right to
refuse admission to government officials wanting to enter your home or office.
These are just some of the things that have made America unique in the history
of the world. They are a direct cause of America's prosperity, of our security,
of what makes America attractive to so many would-be immigrants.
The "Hate America" Crowd
Unfortunately, too many Americans seem to have
little love for that America. They are quite willing to throw away the concepts
I've described in order to satisfy a lust for revenge against the September
They're willing to abandon our cherished liberties giving the government
the power to do anything it wants. They assume falsely that such
invasions of liberty and privacy won't affect them, even though the history
of government demonstrates that what's applied against suspected terrorists
today will be applied against innocent Americans tomorrow.
They're willing to abandon free speech wanting to shut up those who don't
join in the rah-rah cheering as President Bush abandons the essence of what
made America unique and great.
They're willing to abandon the rule of law and transform America into a police
state where any law-enforcement agency, military court, or intelligence
agency can act as prosecutor, judge, and jury to decide your future.
They're willing to let innocent Americans die by encouraging our government
to bomb innocent foreigners at will, almost guaranteeing that there will be
further terrorist attacks against us.
They're willing to continue transforming what was once a worldwide love of
America into a hatred for America caused by the correct perception that
American presidents believe they can force any foreign nation to do their bidding.
They make no objection when congressmen pass bills without reading them
first or having any idea what's actually in them bills that take away
your liberties, pile more government debt on your family, and give the president
the power to do whatever he wants, as though he were a Roman Emperor.
Words and Deeds
These people may not actually hate America. They
may even profess to love America, but they show no understanding of what made
America the precious nation it is. Here is what some of their sentiments amount
- Contrary to the American respect for peace-loving people, they think our
hurt entitles us to hurt others even people who didn't hurt us.
- Contrary to the American tradition of individual responsibility, they want
to treat all Afghans as though they're bin Laden, and all Iraqis as though
they're Saddam Hussein making no distinction between the innocent and
- Contrary to the American ideal of individual liberty, they think freedom
may be a nice concept but state security is more important.
- Contrary to the American tradition of independent thought, they assert that
questioning your government is unpatriotic, paranoid, and tantamount to treason.
- Contrary to the distrust of government that marked the Constitution and
the Bill of Rights, they think that despite all the mistakes our government
has made allegiance to the Fatherland is your highest duty.
- Contrary to the American way of good will toward all, they acknowledge that
America is being transformed into an armed fortress, but say that's the price
we must pay to be a superpower.
Those aren't the sentiments of people who recognize what made America the most
attractive place on earth to live. But in the supreme irony, these people label
those who protest against the destruction of American ideals "America-haters."
Where Do You Stand?
Do you love America?
If so, isn't it time you spoke out on behalf of America before the president
and Congress take away the rest of what made this the land of the free?
Or are you just as happy to see America transformed into one more bureaucratic
warrior state, like so many of those in Europe and Asia?
I love America the one symbolized by the Statue of Liberty the
America that was the beacon of liberty, providing light and hope and inspiration
to the entire world. I want that America back.
The warmongers may say they're patriotic Americans, but they're willing to
discard everything unique about America in order to satisfy their lust to avenge
the September tragedy.
The desire for revenge is understandable. But the rush to permanently abandon
the wonders of America to satisfy a temporary rage is not.