Free to choose 2

Today, July 31, is the 98th anniversary of the birth of the great free-market economist, Milton Friedman. He died four years ago.

This is how he and his co-author wife Rose conclude their book Free to Choose, first published in England in 1980 [when and where they both signed a copy for me, of which I am still the proud owner – JB].

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 it 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. [Emphasis mine]

That could have been written today, and needs to be remembered always.

The choice is still with us. May the American electorate use it well in November and with every election to come.