Dazzling Knowledge

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Reason on Milton Friedman

Brian Doherty on Milton Friedman:

If you or your children have not been forced into the armed services in the past three decades—which you haven’t—thank Friedman. He was the intellectual sparkplug for the Nixon-era Gates Commission that convinced Nixon a volunteer army is both workable and the right thing to do.

Who should decide where our kids go to school, and who should control the money used to pay for it? We should. Thus, Friedman’s advocacy for decades on behalf of school choice and education vouchers, which became his main policy focus during his later years through the efforts of the Milton and Rose Friedman Foundation.

Who should decide what we can eat and how we enjoy ourselves? We should. Thus Friedman’s controversial arguments for ending the war on drugs.

Who should decide how we get to spend our money? We should. Thus, Friedman’s writing and speaking on behalf of tax and spending cuts anywhere and everywhere. The day he won the Nobel in 1976, he was schlepping himself around to a talk in Detroit on behalf of a Michigan state level amendment to limit state government spending. He did this sort of thing tirelessly for over 50 years, agitating for liberty and choice in venues both exalted and everyday, never thinking that any audience was too small or unimportant. His belief in the propriety and effectiveness of personal control over our own resources always energized his plumping for Social Security reform to give us more personal control over our retirement savings.


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