More on “The Increasingly Libertarian Milton Friedman”

In the journalistic/academic circle of life, Milton Friedman
biographer Lanny Ebenstein in a new article available at
Economic Journal Watch riffs (at least partially) off
Reason review written by me
of Ebenstein’s own edited
collection of Friedman rarities,
The Indispensable Milton Friedman

Ebenstein’s new journal article, like my review, is called
Increasingly Libertarian Milton Friedman

It does a very thorough job demonstrating that as Friedman’s
career and knowledge went on–and especially when he shifted from a
professional active academic to a professional public intellectual
activist–he became more and more libertarian in his views.

From the article’s precis:

This article traces the evolution of Milton Friedman’s
ideological views over the course of his adult life. It finds the
evolution to be from a moderate liberalism to a definite classical
liberalism and then, during the last 50 years of his life, to an
increasingly robust libertarianism. Friedman explicitly
acknowledged a change in his views on a number of policy issues;
also, sometimes even if his opinion on an issue did not change, the
strength with which he held and promoted it did. A significant
point in Friedman’s life was his retirement and relocation to San
Francisco in 1976. There he became almost exclusively a public
policy advocate, and his mode of discourse shifted significantly
away from empirical demonstration and toward invoking and applying
what he considered to be the broad verities and maxims of the
outlook he had established for himself.

It’s worth pointing out that Friedman’s increasing
libertarianism wasn’t just based in shifting away from
empiricism toward maxims. In cases like public education and public
money his increasing libertarianism came from an increasing
recognition of some actual history of public and private education
(as Friedman told
me in my 1995 Reason interview
with him), and
recognition of
historical costs of government money

from Hit & Run

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.