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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Milton Friedman

What a beautiful remembrance by David Warren.

Here's a wonderful passage from it:

I spent an afternoon with Milton Friedman, and his wife Rose, and Michael Walker (the founder of the Fraser Institute), in a tea shop in Whistler, B.C., almost a decade ago. The pair of them -- diminutive octogenarians from Chicago -- were like a couple of fresh-fallen teen-aged lovers, doting and inseparable, often holding hands. Even in their mid-eighties, they left an impression of guileless youth. Both were economists, both passionate, seemingly naive idealists for free markets and free men. But with a wonderful ability to pull paradoxical ideas out of the air, that followed from the simple ones they started with...

...When I would come up with one of my more fanciful suggestions for turning the world inside out, they would praise it before charitably ripping it to pieces, quoting statistics by the yard. They would make excuses for their worst enemies; they would explain the intellectual milieux from which each idiot had emerged; and always accept the idiot's right to an opinion. They were just the most cheerful, decent people you could imagine, tingling with alert intelligence.

Posted by Ezra Levant on November 21, 2006 | Permalink


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I find it interesting that we have too much to say about unruly Negroes in a comedy club, but not a word about poor old Mr. Friedman.

I guess if you are a wonderful person who does good all your life no body cares, but if you are an obnoxious asshole, the world is your stage.

Very sad.

Posted by: Duke | 2006-11-21 5:25:05 PM

The world needs more people like him.
God bless Milton Friedman. May his beautiful legacy live on.

Posted by: Conrad | 2006-11-21 6:43:05 PM

Duke wrote: “unruly Negroes”

Where I live part of the year it’s “nig-ruhs”

Duke also wrote: but not a word about poor old Mr. Friedman.

Actually Charlie Rose on PBS is having a special show devoted to Friedman on Friday night. For those who don’t get Charlie Rose a streamed version is available at http://www.charlierose.com

Posted by: No Spin Zone | 2006-11-21 7:11:08 PM

It's not quite true, Duke, that none of us have a word for Mr. Friedman. For example, last week I wrote here at the Shotgun:

Milton Friedman is dead. Last week, he wasn't dead, this week, he's dead. Life's like that. Milton Friedman was one of the great thinkers of the 20th century. Did you know that? Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, and Milton Friedman. On government, that's it. When was the last time before them? Mister, do you know anything? Adam Smith, 1776, John Stuart Mill, 1859, is this so hard for you?

What, you don't believe me? Then get out. No, I kid you, do I look like a shmuck? Well, what can I say? Why don't you listen to Mr. Friedman's own words, on government, and hear what I mean. Where? Oy, do I have to tell you everything? Here:


Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-11-21 10:18:27 PM

"Where I live part of the year it’s “nig-ruhs”"
Posted by: No Spin Zone | 21-Nov-06 7:11:08 PM

It's all in the accent. Some people call them "blecks".

"In 2005, Friedman and more than 500 other economists called for discussions regarding the economic benefits of the legalization of marijuana."
Truly a visionary, may he rest in peace.

Posted by: Speller | 2006-11-21 10:21:49 PM

I recall the discussion. And the Fraser Institute did an analysis of the taxation benefits that would come to the Province of British columbia, should the herb be made available through legitimate means. The sum of the benefit, I recall, was 2 billion in taxes per annum. Nothing came of the analysis. I reasoned that no one picked up on it, because marijuana activists really do prefer being on the edge and illegitimate.

Posted by: Lady | 2006-11-22 10:32:02 AM

The whole drug war is a U.S. institution which costs the U.S. government about $70 BILLION per year. That is a huge economic investment.

About 80% of the drug busts are for marijuana and all assets of the accused are seized whether they get convicted or not. Few fight it and are found innocent but then it is hard to fight drug charges when all of your assests have been seized and you have no money to pay for lawyers.

Obviously a lot of cops have built stellar careers on busting drug users and their suppliers. Institutional momentum plus the realization that the Drug Warriors will be demonized when the truth leaks out about what vicious smallminded fascists they have been for 70 years keep reform from moving forward.

Posted by: Speller | 2006-11-22 11:37:10 AM


I really could not care less about folks who go out of their way, to break criminal law.

Least of all, in Canada, but specially in the USA.

And, I have no sympathies for druggies either.

My fascination with the topic, is pure academic economics.

The other day, I read an article in the paper about a man, who was arrested, and supposedly beaten by the police. He argued, that although he was arrested legally, they had no right to restrain him with that much force. Fair enough, but then the article stated that although he had not had a job, for decades, he had a $1,000 a day drug addiction.

Do the math.

So, he had no job, made no contribution to society, and has decided that no one has the right to restrain him with force?

Please boys, move over!

If he were a hard working nice man, with wife and kids, a well paying job, making contribution to society, and ended up a morphine addict, after having taken too much medication for pain control, I might have some sympathies for him and folks like him. But drugs, whether legal or otherwise, are still a matter of choice, and people who do illegal drugs, are often signing the death sentence of people they have never even seen, or heard of. And, I don't like the sound of that, because every other day, I read about some nice young kid, who decided to try it, just this once... and his or her parents, who are left with forever sorrow in their hearts.

Sure, you can say "it's not marijuana", but then with the potency of that herb, and the effect it has on the brain, it will not be long until the young person, who goes overboard with use of that, erodes their intellect to the point where drugs and good times are one and the same, and that little pill simply must be nothing at all... and the rest is history.

Talk to me about the economics of it all, and you will have my attention facto pronto.

Posted by: Lady | 2006-11-22 8:42:49 PM

The economics of marijuana are that it is a weed and can be grown in nature, even in Siberia.

The fascists who made it illegal were admirers of Adolf Hitler and shared all of his views including socialism, statism, antisemitism, and last but most Eugenics.

They never justified making marijuana illegal, no studies were done on the numbers of users or it's health affects, and did it for the same reason Hitler killed the Jews.

The economics of it are such that marijuana, being an easily grown weed, sells at a vastly inflated price that ensures that criminals will always have such large profit margins that growing it for sale will gone on forever.

The high street price of marijuana and the current social effects are a function of fascist prohibition, not intrisic to the drug itself.

Here is the History of the Non-Medical use of Marijuana.
I have made this link available to you many times and I know your bigotry prevents you from bothering to read it but I'll give it another try>

Posted by: Speller | 2006-11-23 9:51:09 AM

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