Categories
Books Random Thoughts

The relevance and prescience of “Free to Choose”

I just finished Milton Friedman’s book “Free to Choose”. This book was published back in 1979 when the country went through one of the worst recessions since the Great Depression (Seems to keep happening doesn’t it?). Comically Friedman had the opinion that socialism had been adequately relegated as a failed ideology but what he failed to foresee is the Millennial Generation. He did not know that the parenting philosophies of the Baby Boom Generation would bring back the cycle of socialist utopian ideas.

Given the current state of the nation and the opinions of people under the age of 35, I doubt Milton Friedman is discussed much in political science or economics classes in high school or universities. He should be. This book should be in every curriculum.

The final conclusion in the book says it all.

The two ideas of human freedom and economic freedom working together came to their greatest fruition in the United States. Those ideas are still very much with us. We are all of us imbued with them. They are part of the very fabric of our being. But we have been straying from them. We have been forgetting the basic truth that the greatest threat to human freedom is the concentration of power, whether in the hands of government or anyone else. We have persuaded ourselves that is is safe to grant power, provided it is for good purposes.

Fortunately, we are waking up. We are again recognizing the dangers of an overgoverned society, coming to understand that good objectives can be perverted by bad means, that reliance on the freedom of people to control their own lives in accordance with their own values is the surest way to achieve the full potential of a great society.

Fortunately, also, we are as a people still free to choose which way we should go — whether to continue along the road we have been following to ever bigger government, or to call a halt and change direction.

Milton Friedman – Free to Choose

Consider the democrat presidential candidate debates that just occurred this past week. How many of them stand for personal AND economic freedom? Every single candidate wants more control over your life and your wallet. Sure, it’s all in the guise of doing good things for the “middle class” and the “poor”. But that’s the danger. Centralized control over the distribution of wealth only leads to abuse. Human beings are fundamentally flawed that way.

That’s not to say anything is better on the republican side either. They want to do the same thing through different means. The budget deal that just passed the house and senate is proof that few republicans are interested in restraint with our tax dollars.

We need to ask ourselves what has the ever expanding government done for us? Has it liberated us to pursue happiness? Has it made life better? With all the money we spend on war, on education, on the environment, on subsidies for business and the poor have we ever seen an improvement? It seems to me the larger government has grown and the more money we spend on all these things have only made things worse. Maybe it’s time for a change in direction.

Amazon link to Free to Choose