Friday, November 17, 2006

This blog begins the day after Milton Friedman died

Milton Friedman (1912 - 2006)

In the never ending battle for freedom Milton Friedman was one of the truly greats. He has been and will continue to be an inspiration for all who value real liberty. He certainly inspired me.

As many are in their youth, I was an idealist with hopes and concerns for the world, the poor, population explosion, the environment, nuclear war ... Vietnam ... All big problems calling for big thinkers and big governments to provide big solutions. This lead, naturally, to youthful utopian dreams of world government, peace and harmony.

Then along comes Milton Friedman to cast doubt on my utopian delusions. It was on reading "Free to Choose" that I began to abandon my fuzzy neo-liberal inclinations. Government power is something to be wary of - it should be strictly limited. Individual liberty, on the other hand, has brought true peace and prosperity to millions. His thinking was clear and practical. Milton Friedman was a very wise man who said many wise things. A tiny sample:
  • "The only way that has ever been discovered to have a lot of people cooperate together voluntarily is through the free market. And that's why it's so essential to preserving individual freedom."
  • "The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem. "
  • "Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it."
  • "The power to do good is also the power to do harm."
  • "Governments never learn. Only people learn."
  • "History suggests that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom. Clearly it is not a sufficient condition."
  • "Only government can take perfectly good paper, cover it with perfectly good ink and make the combination worthless."
  • "Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself."
  • "The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties benefit."
  • "The problem of social organization is how to set up an arrangement under which greed will do the least harm. Capitalism is that kind of a system."
  • "There's no such thing as a free lunch."

Milton Friedman, rest in peace.

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