— Harry Browne From “How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World: A Handbook for Personal Liberty” P. 2
For most people, freedom remains a pleasant fantasy — something to dream of while carrying out daily obligations in the real world. They spend their lives talking vaguely of what they want in life, what they think they are missing, why they don’t have it, and who it is that prevents them from being free.
For most most people, freedom is an ‘if only.’ ‘If only it hadn’t been for my wife, I would have been a success.’ Or ‘if only it hadn’t been for Roosevelt (or Nixon or whomever), the country would be free.
The unfree person can never fully repress his urge for freedom — whether he considers his jailor to be his family, his job, society, or the government. And so, from time to time, halfhearted attempts are made to break free from the restrictions.
But unfortunately, those attempts usually depend upon the individual’s ability to the change the minds of other people — and so optimism eventually turns into frustration and despair.
Hoping to be free, many people engage in continual social combat — joining movements, urging political action, writing letters to editors and Congressmen, trying to educate people. They hope that someday it will all prove to have been worthwhile.
But as the years go by they see little overall change. Small victories are won; defeats set them back. The world seems to continue on its path to wherever it’s going. Until they die, the hopeful remain just as enslaved as they’ve always been.
The plans, the movements, the crusades — none of these things has worked. And so the unfree person continues to dream, to condemn, and to remain where he is.
There must be a better way.
There must be a way to be free without having to wish for a miracle. It must be a way by which an individual can change things without having to rally the rest of the world to his side.
Fortunately, there is such a way.
It isn’t necessary to join a massive campaign to reconstruct the society in which you live, nor do you have to patiently re-educate everyone you deal with.
There’s a way that depends entirely upon what you choose to do. You can be free without changing the world. You can live your life as you want to live it — no matter what others decide to do with their lives.
Freedom is possible, and you can have it — if that’s what you really want.”