the daily doyle

I Love Milton Friedman
June 17, 2011, 12:25 am
Filed under: General stuff, Political stuff

With such a definitive title, it’s pretty obvious this article isn’t going to be especially critical of Milton Friedman.

Anyone reading the title probably had one of the follow thoughts:

1. Yeah man, righteous, Milton was the grooviest.

2. What? He was the worst – wrong, wrong, wrong, and partially responsible for the bloodshed and violence of the Pinochet regime in Chile.

3. Who?

Those in category 3, who didn’t even know the name Milton Friedman, need a better education. Mr. Friedman was an economist and also a statistician, a Nobel Prize winner, from back in the day when winning a Nobel Prize meant something. He would be considered very, very conservative by today’s meaning of the word yet he often said, “I’m no conservative; I’m a liberal; I believe in freedom.”

For category 2 folks, you have even further to go. You have to UN-learn what you already know and then take a fresh look at the greatest economist of the modern era. I’m looking forward to comments from anyone in this category.

And category 1, we’re on the same page. You get it. In terms of economics, freedom, government and a true respect and love for people, Friedman had no peers.

Just to get the dry stuff out of the way, Friedman was born in 1912 and died in 2006. He was chiefly an economist and Professor of Economics, teaching at the University of Chicago for decades. He was an adviser to President Ronald Reagan.

“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.” -Milton Friedman

He advocated free-market solutions to just about everything. He was opposed to almost all government intervention. As such, he strongly opposed the popular Keynesian view of economics, which advised that governments should borrow money and spend big to get the economy going in times of economic hardship. Those who call themselves “liberal” generally opposed and sometimes even hated Milton Friedman.

Friedman was involved in the economic recovery of Chile throughout the 70s and 80s. Through public talks of his own in Chile and through Chileans who studied under him at the University of Chicago, Friedman’s economic free-market principles worked their way into the culture there and led to a faster economic growth in Chile than any other Latin American country through that period. Unfortunately part of that time, Chile was ruled by a brutal military government and those who opposed Friedman have attempted to blame him for various acts of violence and human rights violations.

Though he’s gone, he left a legacy of his books and many writings. There are also many videos, from his many television appearances and lectures on college campuses. Many are available on YouTube.

If you’re in category 2 or 3 as described above, you can begin your education, or re-education, simply by searching for his name on YouTube.

Friedman definitely holds some controversial viewpoints such as legalizing drugs and (his critics’ favorite) eliminating the requirement that physicians be licensed. You’ll have to read his book Capitalism and Freedom, or listen to his lecture on the subject to understand why.

This short article is not intended to fully cover Friedman’s views, only to generate interest and to get the readers to look further into the subject, to find their own agreements and disagreements.

In the videos particularly and in books as well, one thing comes through very clearly. Friedman has a genuine respect and love for people. He has unending confidence that people will do the right thing if given the freedom to do so, a vast departure from the common belief among many today that man will only do good if forced by an oppressive government.

I encourage all readers to look further into the principles of this great man, Milton Friedman.


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

OK Doyle, I am glad you educated me about Friedman. Never heard of him till I read your post.
I love him too!!!!!!! As you know, in Scientology we believe man in general is basically good. That’s proven by the fact of helping people to get rid of pain and upsets, they get more kind and love their families and groups.
However, I have kept up somewhat with Ron Paul, who has been telling our country we should have Free Market principles.
With all the philosophy I have read I find that the central governments who use force do not help the people they are supposed to represent,but indeed harm them. And yes, Friedman you are right; suppressing people and not allowing them to choose their acts do not do good in this case, but do acts that are harmful.

Only a very, very few percent of the general groups -2 1/2 percent have had a horrendous thing a long, long ago and have made them do harm even if given the freedom to act as they want. But if the people in general are educated to look for the charactistics that these people have: called “suppressed people” and when they can spot them, they then cannot be harmed by them.
So, Friedman, you are right about people acting for good of others when given the freedom to do so; and a forcebul and suppressive government will only harm people, and will cause harm, not good for people.

Pouring paper money out only brings about inflation, the sit we have now in our country.

It does seem that what Friedman and Ron Paul, too know what works, but it seems hard to get others to agree.
The Young people of our present day, are supporting Ron Paul and his son.

Hope people will see the actual truth of these principles from Friedman, and Ron Paul!

Mary Collins

Comment by Mary Collins

I’m so glad to help provide some information you didn’t have. I’m glad you are one of the ones who get it. You’re so smart and so right, and really the first thing you wrote, that man in general is basically good IS the key.
Treating people as “bad” works, for 97.5% of the population and does not work for the rest. And that’s our government today. Let’s hope that Milton Friedman comes back soon, with a more debonair, better-looking body and becomes one of our great leaders over the next few decades.

Comment by doylemills

Milton Friedman is one of the biggest reasons I’m proud to have attended the University of Chicago (though I never got closer than meeting his son at a party).

and it is really saying something that even Paul Krugman had nice things to say about him:

Comment by Rich Byrd

I did not know you were a University of Chicago guy. Good for you! Glad you like Milton Friedman, you’re one of those who get it. Too bad Barack Obama was never in his class.
Looking at my article, I really don’t think I fully communicated the message I wanted. It seems to me, and this is opinion, that politicians, especially Democrats, have a sort of disdain for people, look down on them, and believe them incapable really of taking care of themselves, of making their own decisions. Milton didn’t have that. He had an unabridged LOVE for people and a certainty (right or wrong) that people were good and could be trusted by and large. It’s a beautiful thing to perceive how strongly he felt that man is good.
This is a sublety that’s hard for people to get and, to a degree, hard to write about. Democrats seem to care about people. They want to do everything FOR people, help them, all that. And yet, all this desire to do things for them and to control them, seems (to me) to be rooted in a belief that the people are incapable, stupid, hopeless… Milton didn’t have that prejudice.

Comment by doylemills

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