The loss of the Freedom Forum explained in the last Daily Freedom means the entries that were the winners of Harry Browne's How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World were also lost.
Since those entries were very individualistic expressions of individual reasons for seeking personal freedom, I did not want to lose them. I have reproduced those entries in this Daily Freedom.
The three winning entries for the Win
Harry Browne's Book contest are posted below.
I have made a couple of very minor edits of these entries, but otherwise they are exactly as submitted, each in the style of the individual entrant.
Please feel free to comment on these entries.
The entry by, Brian Nelson
Why I want Harry's book, what freedom means to me, and why I can't live without Freedom...
As much as I love Ron Paul, Lew Rockwell, Ayn Rand or other prominent Libertarians, I feel like Harry Browne is the greatest hero of all, because he has taken the Libertarian philosophy and made it complete; by having the vision to apply it to all aspects of life (personal, political, relationships, family, business, etc.). I've been a fan of Harry Browne ever since I caught his brief interview on FoxNews just after the Afghan war had begun back in October of 2001. I was 20 years old at the time, and he caught my attention right away as being one of the only voices I saw in mainstream media speaking out against the Afghan war, and doing it with such great clarity and sincerity.
I grew up a white Christian kid in the suburbs, but my first love was always rap music. It just came natural to me, it wasn't about any kind of image, or about being rebellious to one's parents or any other such stereotypes; I just had a sincere and deep love for the art form and the culture of hip-hop. But because of this by the time I reached high school I was called a "wigger" for it, and although I never gave up my love for it, I still never quite understood why I liked the things I liked and others didn't and so on and so forth. This is just one example, but obviously there are many things that a person can grow up liking that others may not understand or agree with.
Because of my love for hip-hop I had a lot of exposure to other forms of black expression. Like for example, I was very interested in African history and even Islamic and Middle Eastern history since their was a relationship between the two. These were all just natural interests I had, but because of it, I was certainly made to feel guilty and that it was something that I should hide or suppress about myself.
Finally, when I was 18, I took the most extreme route and started practicing Islam. It was okay at first, but a lot of idea's about "ultimate truth" and "good" and "evil" started to become rooted in my head. It took me as far as the Middle East and from the ages of 20 up until 24, I was traveling back and forth from America to the Arab Gulf, places like Mekkah (for Hajj) and Medina, and the Emirates and Oman. But what I realized was something that started out as an adventure and an interest for me had taken a completely different form. And a religion that was a way of embracing my freedom and individuality while in America, was actually a prison of conformity and ignorance in another part of the world like the Arab Gulf. Ultimately, to make a long story short, I had a complete spiritual breakdown in which I had to call into question any notions of "good", "evil", "right", and "wrong", to the point I was totally confused and decided to.... START AT ZERO.
And wouldn't you know it, after hitting the wall in that life, in the middle of 2007 I remembered that political genius I had once read, listened to and liked on foreign policy issues back in 2001 and 2002, and was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy of How I Found Freedom In An Unfree World after searching and ordering from many libraries in the area.
And there was the concept of STARTING FROM ZERO.
Which was very easy for me, because I had endured an experience that completely called into question all notions of wrong, right, good and evil, in more than one society, place, time and culture. And what I had found is that we were all individuals. Harry was able to magnificently put all my experiences into words, and to give them meaning, and mobilize them in a way that allowed me to see an opportunity for me to actually be happy again. After such confusion and such turmoil, I didn't have to give up. If I instead just focused my resources on those things that meant the most to me, then freedom and happiness were right at my fingertips all along.
Well, I had came into Islam through African American culture, and so Arab culture (aside from maybe the language) was actually something I had never really liked, but sort of picked up along the way unknowingly. I had picked up so much other baggage without realizing it.
Also, rap music had changed over the years and was no longer as vibrant as it once was in the 80's and 90's, but there was still something I loved about language, music, and African history. I began focusing my resources squarely on the things I loved and enjoyed the most.
So since reading Harry's book, I've traveled 3 times to West Africa and spent 4 months there heavily submerging myself in their music and culture; and enjoying every minute of it. The parts of Islam that I liked, like the Arabic language, the historical understanding and interconnectedness of it's countries/cultures, I hung onto; and the parts I didn't like such as it's dogma, ultimate truths, fanciful tales, (that were most likely lifted from ancient astrology) and the Arab culture that gets superimposed, I left completely. Some may say that's being a hypocrite, but what it really is, is it is being me, that is what life is all about in anything we do, taking what is good and useful for us, and leaving what is bad for US as INDIVIDUALS.
So as you can see Harry's book set me free in so many ways, it is my favorite book of all time. I think without his book I would have continued to step in the mud of every last trap he warns us of in the book, and that I never could have even begun to achieve anything that resembled happiness. The only copy I have of the book is the e-book as I had to return the original copy to the library after reading it (although I wish I had told them I lost it and just paid the money). I consider Harry the greatest mind I have ever had the opportunity to learn from, and I consider this book the greatest book ever written!
The entry by, Scott Marshall
Freedom to me is the right and responsibility to develop and manage my life, mind, body and my controllable environment as is suitable to the sovereign person. The measure of the person inherently, fundamentally and necessarily belonging to none other than myself. To be less is to have surrendered what is fundamentally me to another as though my life and will did not exist for any other purpose than to be subjected like a semi-conscious animal. Nonsense! Thinking man is fundamentally free by will and in that capacity is always, in any environment, sovereign unto death.
I love freedom because I choose to expend my life and my energies as I see fitting. There is no one who has ever lived, is alive today, or ever will live, more capable of judging in all matters regarding what is best for me, than myself. Even when in error, I have gleaned wisdom from life?s lessons usually as a direct result of those decisions especially when their consequence fell most squarely on my shoulders. Also, it is a love for freedom that enables me to honor its boundaries in others and when necessary, resist those that would attempt to overthrow it by force or coercion.
Ultimately, freedom is nothing more than being able to weigh all things yourself and determine your own course independently and relatively unencumbered by outside influence created by societies, governments, and other individuals. Freedom implies responsibility and one can never be free from the requirement to regulate, manage and govern themselves comprehensively, if they are to have the type of freedom they want. That being said, a good king does not fail to consider his kingdom, accept sound counsel, nor hesitate to make allies in war and peace. The founding ideal of this country was essentially for each person and state to be a kingdom unto themselves, their own sovereign, responsible entirely for and to themselves, while operating under a limited set of mutually agreed upon laws, subjected only to that shared philosophy for the preservation of a country composed of like minded sovereigns. History has demonstrated that some kings are better fit to rule than others and not all kings are willing to grow their kingdoms peacefully through mutual exchange and trade. This applies equally to those you encounter daily in our country that have forgotten the original compact and have rendered themselves unfit to rule, while problematically still wielding the power to vote collectively for our mutual destruction.
Again, if you are not free someone or something else has stolen your life and is living it for you. No one can fully develop themselves without freedom and be said to have truly lived at all without the lessons learned by reflecting upon its choices. Personal responsibility that comes with life and freedom is the scepter that each individual in this country must grasp for it to function as a productive and successful society. Currently, too large a number have passed it to an even poorer substitute and in doing so have lost the ability and will to function independently. If that condition is not reversed, the inevitable will continue in motion. Now, they resort to trespass over once esteemed, sacred and allied territory and to thrive, hold court with the old style types of rulers that believe that it is their privilege to plunder you for their and your survival. Competent leaders have been too few and far between, opportunities will be missed and decay will continue until a giant upheaval restores these imbalances and largess within our government.
In the meantime, as so much of this country?s ?freedom? and resources has been spent necessarily in defense of our personal property and individual sovereignty, I can readily relate to the unfree world portion of the title as those like me suffer anguish when pondering the insanity of continuing to feed an out of control government and its new entitlement programs as we are simultaneously invited to fund numerous watch group organizations and political parties to defend liberties that are inherently ours, against what was a popularly imposed, or at least permitted, police state monstrosity seeking to obstruct, control and herd citizens at every turn. Short of going off grid, which has its own set of trade-offs, I would like to gain insights from Brown?s book as to how to keep the freedom I have while functioning in a society where profane and inept hordes have broken through the gates, run over our treasuries in support of their failed policies, infiltrated our elected offices and do regularly affront the personal space of all independently sovereign individuals with absurd laws and stupid ideas as greedy lobbyists divide the spoils.
The entry by, David Bliss
Why do I want "How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World"?
I would like Harry Browne's book because I want to be free. Trouble is, I haven't been able to formulate or articulate all the fine points of individual freedom. But I know I want freedom; because when I read or hear others with better understanding and insight than I, part of me cries "yes! that's what I mean!"
I have a second problem, too--I keep making mistakes. What mistakes? The kind that sound good at the time. I've dabbled in libertarianism and anarcho-capitalism, and have thought that perhaps freedom is simply a matter of geography and that moving to the "free state" of New Hampshire will secure freedom for me. I've been suckered by the thought I can convert people to see my way, if only I could find the right words, as though there were a freedom incantation. I've disabused myself of those notions, but its taken a mighty long time for each.
Why I want Harry's book is that I figure it can put me on the road to knocking both these problems on the head. That's what I hope Harry's book will do--give me the insights and explain the principles so I say "yes! that's what I'm missing!".
What does freedom mean to me, and why can't I live without it?
I choose to live as man qua man, which I can do only if I am free.
Freedom means I am responsible for my own life.
Freedom means if I want success and happiness, then I must choose to create them.
Freedom means when I make good choices I can keep and enjoy the full reward of my success.
Freedom means when I make poor choices I suffer the full penalty of my errors.
Without freedom I cannot live the way I have chosen, so without freedom I cannot live.