I've finished reading this book. I like Browne's assertion that the individual is the only legitimate judge of how he or she shall live. But I disagree with him on some points.
1. Consequentalist morality.
Browne asserts that morality is entirely relative to the individual, and that such a system works:
Neither do I have to worry about whether anyone is "getting away" with anything. I am not the world's policeman. I know that everyone will experience the consequences of his own acts. If his acts are right, he'll get good consequences; if they're not, he'll suffer for it. The consequences are the only standards that matters -- and I'm certainly not needed to impose those consequences. (349)
This strikes me as incredibly unrealistic. Under this moral system, if a thief breaks into your house and robs you, he hasn't done anything wrong so as long as he doesn't get caught and face consequences.
At minimum, a moral code requires individuals to respect each others' lives, liberty, and property, because...well, because people have a right to live, live as they choose, and have stuff so as long as it doesn't infringe on other people's rights to do likewise.
Harry Browne rejects marriage as a concept. He thinks that no relationship should be a permanent commitment, but only at the consistent mutual desire of all of the parties involved. To an extent this is true, but he envisions love as an uncontrollable emotion that can either come and go. But love can be an action verb, a conscious decision made between consenting parties. Marriages can be crushing and soul-consuming, but they don't have to be.
I see the decision to be a parent to be a permanent commitment over a lifetime. I may not always financially support my daughter for her entire life, but I will always love her, and I will certainly support her until she is able to take that responsibility for herself. Browne proposes that if a parent grows weary of a child, simply place that child up for adoption and be free. In his understanding of parenting, a parent is not morally required to remain in the parent-child relationship indefinitely. Browne himself had not seen his own daughter for nine years at the time that this book was published, and he was okay with that, because it was an acceptable price to pay to get free from his marriage. As he sees it, the desire to be free is cause enough to abandon spouses, children, and anything else that impedes one's personal freedom.
I disagree. The desire to be free does not provide justification to abandon all commitments of responsibility.