I had a real good idea what this book would say – I figured it would be preachin’ to the choir. Mostly because of that, I really took my time getting around to reading it. Published in 1979, I let it languish in my library for almost 30 years. Well, as it turns out, it was indeed preachin’ to the choir. And this choir really enjoyed the preachin’ it got.
Not to exclude Rose Friedman, but…
Here’s my take: Milton Friedman valued our individuality. He felt that the collective acts of individuals pursuing their own interests would provide much more, in terms personal satisfaction and economic resources than the results of individuals acting in a collective. It follows then, his basic tenet that without economic freedom, there cannot be political freedom.
The fusion of economic and political freedom becomes the optimum result. Note, Friedman was much too realistic to advocate utopia – he certainly knew that there was no perfection in any approach, but held firmly to the value of recognizing each individual life as having a value that exceeded that of the state. Frankly Francis says: True That!
A few thoughts directly from Friedman:
“A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both”
“One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results”
“I think the government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem and very often makes the problem worse”
“I say thank God for government waste. If government is doing bad things, it’s only the waste that prevents the harm from being greater”
Here’s a quote about Friedman by George Schultz that I think is worth aspiring to – “Everyone loves to argue with Milton, particularly when he isn’t there.”
Milton was philosophically a libertarian. Politically, he was a Republican, but that, he explained was for expediency, perhaps much the same as Congressman Ron Paul.
During his lifetime he was recognized with the John Bates Clark Medal (1951), the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics (1976), and in 1988, both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science. Big Stuff!
I must say that as reading Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” strengthened my existing perceptions, reading Freidman solidified my existing beliefs.
It is distinctly your own unique and wonderful life – Do yourself a real favor and read this book.