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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Be A Milton Friedman Libertarian

No, I'm not necessarily exhorting you to adopt the substance of his beliefs as a libertarian. There are many differences and legitimate arguments among libertarians, and for now my policy here at The Humble Libertarian is to operate under a "truce" and explore and openly discuss our differences while using our common love of liberty as the vast common ground upon which to advance our ideas and social agenda.

What I am saying is that we need to be more like Milton Friedman in terms of our style and presentation of those ideas and that social agenda. This is something I heard at a fantastic speech (by George Mason University Professor of Economics Russ Roberts) this past weekend at the Students for Liberty Conference in Washington.

He said (and I am paraphrasing from memory here): "We need to be good representatives of libertarianism. Ultimately people are concerned about whether a libertarian society will be a good society, and we must show them it will be a good society by being good people. We need to be more like Milton Friedman in our presentation of libertarian ideas. Watch him speak sometime. He's always very polite, very witty, and he always smiles."

Here are some examples:


  1. One of the true geniuses of the 20th Century... I admire him greatly, this man was as clear-thinking a visionary as could be... and always worth listening to.

    His smile and calm demeanor you emulate were born of great confidence, not hollow, embittered arrogance like Obama... Freidman knew what he was talking about, he knew that he knew it... and that history would support his position over the long run.

  2. Touchdown! Featuring Friedman on your blog is always a winner. I have featured all of the videos you have here on my site in the past.

    In fact today, I posted a short essay in which I quote Friedman concerning inflation.

    I count myself as a Friedman/Cato libertarian, and have done so for a good many years. One of my saddest days was when he passed away from this earth.

  3. "His smile and calm demeanor you emulate were born of great confidence..." That's exactly what Friedman exudes- pure confidence. Nicely put.

    Grant, I remember that day too. I was in college when it happened. He will be missed, but his ideas live on.

  4. Yes, Friedman was the greatest deliverer of libertarian thought that I have ever seen; his ability to turn someone's question on its head is just amazing. I love to watch Friedman youtube videos over and over again.

  5. I wish he were around today to talk about the policies of the present Administration and Congress.

  6. He was a great communicator of ideas; not without his problems, but solid nonetheless.

  7. You are familiar with, I presume? The open source, collected works of the Austrian economists: Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich von Hayek, Murray Rothbard, and the like, as well as the current scholars and advocates of the Austrian school of free market thought? I have been delving into the economic side of things, for wont of a politics that features man as the agent of liberty and justice that he strives to be, and myself, as a classical libertarian/"minarchist" sort (oy, labels), I have found the Austrian school to be the best informed and best equipped to answer to matters of money, market, and private property and its antecedent in natural rights and individual liberties.

  8. Hey Tracy! Thanks for commenting. I was wondering when you'd pipe in ;)

    Yes, I would describe myself as an Austrian more than a Friedmanite. I love Friedman, but I'm closer to Hayek. If you click the link in the sidebar to the Top 100 Libertarian blogs and websites, Mises is near the very top of the list.