Freedom is living your life as you want to live it.

Harry Browne's Freedom Principles

-Summarized By Grandpa & F. Mann


Harry Browne, deceased, was a Libertarian and prototype PT. He was a personal friend & greatly admired by Grandpa. Here are some of Harry Browne's ideas as expressed in his book HOW I FOUND FREEDOM IN AN UNFREE WORLD:

Freedom is living your life as you want to live it.


Anyone can break free & enjoy a high degree of freedom immediately.

 But some things stand in our way. These are mental attitudes that can be overcome:

 Hoping to be free, many people want to “save the world.” They engage in continual social combat, joining movements, urging political action, writing letters to editors and Congressmen, and educating or persuading people. They hope that someday it will all prove to have been worthwhile.

 But as the years go by, they gain no happiness and see little change. Small victories are won, but defeat sets them back. The world continues on its path to wherever it’s going. Until they die, hopeful do-gooders remain enslaved...

 Their plans, their movements, their crusades none of these things have worked. And so the un-free man continues to babble, to dream, to complain & condemn, and to remain exactly where he is.

 Is there a better way to find freedom in an unfree world?


 There’s a way that depends entirely upon you choosing the P.T. path for yourself. At a stroke, you can begin to live your life as you want to live it no matter what others decide to do with their lives.

 By trying to change, lead, or influence others, you’re always trying to accomplish something that is out of your control. On the other hand, you can use methods completely under your control to free yourself from a stroke.


There are two basic reasons why most people remain enslaved:

1) They’re unaware of the many options and alternatives available to them; 2) They accept without certain challenge assumptions that restrict their freedom.

2)These are the “assumptions traps.” As long as you don’t challenge these assumptions, they can keep you enslaved.

 If you want to increase your freedom, Grandpa’s book, Bye Bye Big Brother, is a must-read. Harry said: “I don’t know of any other books that even come close to providing you with such powerful self-liberating information.”

 Harry's brief overview:



Identity Trap #1: The belief that you should be someone other than yourself. You need to be true to yourself. Find out who you are; be yourself; do things your own way.


Identity Trap #2: The assumption that others can be convinced to do things the way you would. You can’t control others. You can only control how you perceive and deal with them. Harry Browne says, "You can have tremendous control over your life, but you give up that control when you try to control others—or let others control you."


Morality Trap: The belief that you must obey a moral code or religion created by someone else. In order to become more competent (and free), you need to strengthen your understanding of the links between your actions and their consequences. Morality is basically a set of very general rules concerning what to do and what not to do. Blindly using someone else’s moral code tends to reduce your competence because it prevents the forming of proper cognitive links between actions and consequences. To be free, you can and must create your own moral code.


Unselfishness Trap: Altruism is the belief that you must put the happiness of others ahead of your own. You know yourself and what you want. Therefore, you are much more competent to maximize your satisfaction and happiness. Do your own thing. Take care of yourself.


Because we live in an "expanding-pie" world, it’s possible to maximize personal value while at the same time adding to the value of others. We maximize our own personal value by tolerance and encouraging others to choose freely. The usual assumption that "selfishness" and "greed" are evil needs to be questioned. The great British philosopher, Adam Smith, observed that if everyone in any group or country is left completely free to pursue their own interests, it is as if an invisible hand produces the greatest good for the greatest number of people. In other words, in a Libertarian or Anarchic world, people will have more of everything.


Group Trap: The belief that you can accomplish more by sharing responsibilities, efforts, and rewards by collective action with others than you can by acting on your own; the belief that others can or should speak for you. To overcome the Group Trap, your life and your organizations can be arranged in such a manner that the links between actions, results, and rewards are as direct as possible. Small is better. For example, instead of hiring additional personnel for your business, work is subcontracted to independent operators.


Government Trap #1: The belief that governments perform socially useful functions that deserve your support.


Government Trap #2: The belief that you have a duty to obey man-made laws that lobbyists or moralists have put in place to benefit their clients—not you.

Government Trap #3: The belief that the government can be counted upon to carry out social reforms you favor.


Government Trap #4: The fear that the government is so powerful that it can prevent you from being free.


The above are mostly Harry Browne’s thoughts.


Grandpa adds the following:

Government Trap #5: The belief that government people can do anything better than other people. Government people & politicians don’t have any special magical powers. In truth, they are very good at causing problems by fixing things that are not broken.


Government Trap #6: The belief that governments will produce beneficial results. They don't, and they won't.


Because government people essentially collect their income from producers of wealth like Mafia sellers of “protection,” they don’t have to produce anything worthwhile to survive. In fact, their incentive is to create problems so they can grab more power, employ more regulators & collect more taxes to "solve" problems they create.


Government Trap #7: The belief that the government represents the people. They don't. Individuals must always represent themselves to be free. To think otherwise is a delusion.


Government Trap #8: The belief that government can conjure up resources from thin air. Everything government has, was essentially stolen by threat of force – fines, prison, etc.


Government Trap #9: The belief that government provides protection.  On the contrary, governments throughout history have caused more misery, premature death, and destruction than all diseases and accidents combined.


Government Trap #10: The belief that the government must do certain activities or functions. The government consists of people. These people don’t have any special magical powers. Aside from setting standard weights and measures and very limited police functions, we can't think of anything that can't be done better, cheaper, more efficiently by private, non-government enterprises or voluntary organizations.


Government Trap #11: The belief that the government must or can control people. Do you need to be controlled?


Most people can and do often relinquish self-control unwittingly because they are unaware of the PT options.


Government Trap #12: The belief that you have to do something about solving government problems. Wrong! You are best off solving your own problems. In addition, instead of putting your hopes in politicians, you may also want to persuade a few others to solve their own problems by dropping out and becoming PTs. If enough people solved their own problems, the problem of government disappears for them.


Government Trap #13: The belief that government exists as a volitional entity. This is an aspect of the Group Trap. When dealing with "government," you always have to deal with individual human beings. Often they are corrupt perverts and hypocrites like the now-deceased long-term head of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover.


Realizing this helps make you much more effective in warding off any attempts by individual government people to violate your freedom. Rather than having to handle "the government," you have to handle one or a few specific individuals. Frederic Bastiat said. "The State is a fictitious entity by which everyone expects to live at the expense of everyone else."


Government Trap #14: The belief that the government’s Constitution is a valid, legal contract. All the government constitutions I know of are fraudulent hoaxes. For a contract to be valid, it must be entered into knowingly, intentionally, and explicitly. Have you ever signed on to any so-called "constitution" of any supposed "country?" Beyond this, every Constitution is interpreted by national leaders and others to bend plain language of high minded constitutions to serve their own interests –not yours.


Government Trap #15: The belief that government can make laws. In the final analysis, the noises and scribbles that emanate from the mouths and pens of government officials are just noises and scribbles bought and paid for by powerful pressure groups. Any power you ascribe to these noises and scribbles are your choice.


The vast majority of people believe that government people's noises and scribbles constitute "the law." There are also hordes of bureaucrats, police, and judges who regard "the law" as sacrosanct. Lawyers exist mainly to circumvent the law for their clients. However, if government officials or politicians suspect you disrespect their "law," they tend to feel threatened. They may become extremely vindictive. There are times when your freedom will depend on your ability to convince the authorities that you will respect ”the law."  Every PT must give lip service to obeying and giving full compliance to all laws. Of course, all people of intelligence (just like lawyers), are interested in quietly circumventing, ignoring, or changing any laws unfavorable to them.


The easiest way to be free is to depart the jurisdiction where the local laws or morality are not your style.


Despair Trap: The belief that other people can prevent you from being free.

Wrong! You are always free to move on and get a life. Just get up and go.


Rights Trap: The belief that your rights will make you free. You are supposed to be a country where the LAW or a Constitution guarantees certain individual rights. Government officials swear an oath to uphold the Constitution. Yet there are thefts, frauds, robberies, rapes, murders, etc. every day. Furthermore, government officials themselves violate individual rights in the form of harassment, surveillance, unwarranted arrests, imprisonment, property confiscation, and endless taxation. In recent years, asset confiscation, selective prosecution, citizens' assassination, kidnapping, and even torture have been made “legal” despite clear constitutional prohibitions. Your rights these days are determined by individuals with the power to do as they please with you. Accept it or escape from it.


In choosing your future actions, you will always be better off carefully considering the probable consequences of your actions -- rather than acting in accordance with your "rights" or any idealistic ideas about saving the world.


Utopia Trap: The belief that you must create better conditions in society before you can be free. You’re far better off and much more powerful if you concentrate on changing and improving yourself ‘ and creating your own personal utopia of freedom and wealth rather than trying to transform society.


The would-be world-changers are powerless. They dream of remaking the world, but they can’t. Unfortunately, many altruists exert efforts where they have no power and minimal influence. Free PTs recognize that they can’t change the world. And so they concentrate on using the power they do have to better their own lives. They realize that they can choose not to be involved in situations or confrontations that don’t suit them.


So they look for situations that do suit them. And they and YOU will discover far more opportunities than most people imagine exist.


A free person doesn’t try to remake the world or his friends or his family. He merely appraises every situation by the simple standard: Is this what I want for myself? If it isn’t, he looks elsewhere. If it is, he relaxes and enjoys it without the problems most people take for granted. A free man uses his power of choice to make a comfortable life for himself. Period. Don't worry about other people.


The power of choice? You have it. But you forfeit it when you imagine that you can choose the “right path” for others. Or that government will do things for you. Choose for yourself from an infinity of exciting, happiness-producing alternatives?


Burning Issue Trap: The belief that there are compelling social issues that require your participation. Sorry, the world will turn without you pushing it.


Previous-Investment Trap: The belief that time, effort, and money spent in the past must be considered when making a decision in the present.


You know the old saying, "Don’t throw good money after bad.


"In every case, the question is: With what assets you have now, what is the best way to use them to get the most in the future?" What you’ve paid to get where you are now is irrelevant; those resources are gone and can’t be retrieved. Kiss the past good-bye.


Box Trap: A box is any uncomfortable situation that restrains your freedom. The box trap is the belief that the cost of getting out of a box is too high to consider. The problems associated with maintaining a false image are part of the box trap. To get out of a box, consider three factors that are the disadvantages of the box:


  1. A) The price you pay for remaining stuck in the box;
  2. B) The cost of escaping from the box; and What you could do after escaping the box, that is, the benefits you gain by escaping the box.


  1. C) Obviously, marriage or citizenship could be a box. Here’s a very important principle: the sooner you pay the price to get out of a box, the less it costs you. In other words, the longer you stay in a box, the more it costs you.


Certainty Trap: The urge to act as if your information were totally certain. Firstly, our perception is limited and subject to error.

 Secondly, information evolves continuously. Tomorrow we’ll know more than today. Some of what we know today will be proved wrong by what we discover tomorrow.

 Because we always act on incomplete or on at best partially correct information, we take risks in everything we do.

 Harry Browne said:

 The individual who ignores these risks can lose his freedom in three important ways:


  • He’s likely to take risks that would be unacceptable if he were to recognize them, and by acting rashly, he can get himself into boxes that restrict his freedom.


  • When things don’t go his way, the previous certainty can turn to despair and depression: after all, he was "so sure." Now that he’s discouraged, his emotions can tempt him to run from his bad consequences into a worse situation. In other words, he’s fallen into the Emotional Trap.


  • By accepting opinions as absolute fact, he can allow his freedom to be restricted by the information that may not be true."

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What do you think about Harry Browne's Freedom Principles?

Here are some questions you can use to note your thoughts while reading and answer below when reading HOW I FOUND FREEDOM IN AN UNFREE WORLD.

  1. What makes you think the HOW I FOUND FREEDOM... will be interesting?
  2. Why do you think "Grandpa," wrote HOW I FOUND FREEDOM...?
  3. Something you liked about it.
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  7. Summarise it in one written sentence.
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  13. Was there any mind-blowing piece of information you hadn't thought of before that you can use?
  14. Did HOW I FOUND FREEDOM... change your opinion or perspective about anything?
  15. Do you feel different now than before reading it?
  16. What feedback would you give "Grandpa"?
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