The economic turmoil of today provides an appropriate time to pause and remember the many accomplishments of Milton Friedman. Friedman may have passed away in November of 2006, but his tremendous accomplishments - and our debt to him - must not be forgotten.
To help us all remember Dr. Friedman's impact on free markets and individual liberties, the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) will be hosting the annual Legacy of Milton Friedman Day in Montana on July 31, Friedman's birthday. Along with approximately 50 other organizations sponsoring events across the country, the purpose of the nation-wide event is to help keep Friedman's legacy alive.
Legacy of Freedom Campaign
What: Celebration to honor Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman
When: 11 a.m., Friday, July 31, 2009
Where: PERC office, 2048 Analysis Dr., Bozeman, MT
Who: Open to the public. Please join us for refreshments. Director of Publications Laura Huggins will share with us the story of how Dr. Friedman inspired the founding of PERC.
PERC will be celebrating the Legacy for Freedom Campaign along with 50 other organizations sponsoring events across the country.
Friedman is honored around the world as one of the greatest champions of freedom in our time. When Friedman started writing in the 1950s, Communist tyranny dominated half the world, and was aggressively moving to take over the other half. It was an open question whether freedom would survive at all.
Indeed, during that era, the "free world" itself had lost its faith in freedom. Government management of the economy was considered more efficient than the chaos of the free market. The communist-inspired concept of "centralized economic planning" inspired similar attempts to centralize our own economy and hope it was enough to keep up.
We had lost sight of our founding idea: government that exists to protect the liberty of the individual, and a society that draws strength from that liberty.
Friedman worked long and hard for over half a century to restore that idea. His brilliant mind, his generosity with his time and talents, and his knack for cutting through the fog and explaining ideas clearly brought him success after success.
Friedman was influential in many other areas as well. His influence was crucial in ending the peacetime draft, which is one important reason our military is now the most powerful fighting force the world has ever seen. If you force people to do things, Friedman explained, they don't do them nearly as well as if you get them to do things voluntarily.
In his last decade, Friedman concentrated on educational freedom. School choice, which lets parents choose the right education for their children instead of handing them over to a government bureaucracy, was his last great crusade. He and his wife Rose founded the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation in 1996 to promote school choice for all students. Currently, there are 24 school choice programs in operation throughout the nation, serving 160,000 students in 14 states plus the District of Columbia.
So on July 31, take a moment to reflect on the many achievements of one of America's greatest scholars, a man who loved liberty and devoted his life to preserving, protecting, and defending it.