Milton Friedman on Google Video

Google Video is starting to accumulate a fair amount of interesting old content. For example, here is: Milton Friedman on Limited Government. And of course, the classic Arnold Schwarzenegger Introduces Free To Choose - especially amusing now that Arnold is the Governator.

If you sit down and watch that first segment, you can't help but notice that Friedman hammers constantly on consequences, and almost never on morals. Given his reputation as one of the greatest proselytizers of freedom in the twentieth century, it's worth considering just how powerful these arguments are at reaching out and convincing people of all stripes that freedom is in their, and everyone's, best interests. It shouldn't be a hard sell to convince libertarians that an appeal to self-interest is much more attractive than lecturing on morality, but they frequently seem to be in need of a reminder. So consider this a reminder :).

Share this

"It shouldn’t be a hard

"It shouldn’t be a hard sell to convince libertarians that an appeal to self-interest is much more attractive than lecturing on morality, but they frequently seem to be in need of a reminder. So consider this a reminder"

Um... I've got news for you. Libertarians HAVE been using arguments from efficacy for about 70 years now. It doesn't work. As long as people believe that government is moral, they will still vote and support, regardless of how inefficient they KNOW government is and corrupt they KNOW politicians are.

As year-long and patient

As year-long and patient reader of this blog, isn't it time I be let in the secret, in regards to the question of Patri's familial heritage in the economic/ancap fields, if any?

especially amusing now that

especially amusing now that Arnold is the Governator.

...who seems to have forgotten some of the lessons.

It shouldn’t be a hard sell to convince libertarians that an appeal to self-interest is much more attractive than lecturing on morality, but they frequently seem to be in need of a reminder.

There's a place for everything. I was persuaded to become a libertarian on the basis of moral considerations, not on the basis of consequences.

It was a mixture of morality

It was a mixture of morality and consequences that swayed me.

At any rate, I agree that appealing to peoples' self-interest is probably the best way to spread one's political philosophy, but---for me, at least---a rather deep theory of morality is necessary so that I know which political philosophy I should be trying to persuade people of in the first place.

Then there's the possibility that political philosophies are simply arbitrary preferences, in which case no theoretical substructure is necessary (or possible?). But I don't believe that, and the line of thought takes me to Panglossian worlds that seem unacceptable.

Or perhaps we simply recognize what is moral without the need for a theory of why it is moral. That's more plausible---but I think ultimately false as well.

Patri's relations are not

Patri's relations are not secret. Are they?

If reputation among the

If reputation among the convinced is a valid measure of a proselytizer's "power," then of course Ayn Rand's arguments were equally powerful (influential?). Her advocacy for self-interest is morally based, not consequentially based. And a great number of people who call themselves libertarians cite her arguments as having influenced their moral and political beliefs.

Consider this a reminder. ;-)

One of two options: #1,

One of two options: #1, Begats:

Milton begat David who begat Patri.

or

#2 - All a big coincidence of not-uncommon last names.

(hint- read the right sidebar of the link above)

Um… I’ve got news for

Um… I’ve got news for you. Libertarians HAVE been using arguments from efficacy for about 70 years now. It doesn’t work. As long as people believe that government is moral, they will still vote and support, regardless of how inefficient they KNOW government is and corrupt they KNOW politicians are.

I couldn't disagree more. The libertarian "movement" has been a movement since only the 60s after a century of domination by statist ideas, with the biggest "movementarians" being followers of Rand and Rothbard, both strong natural rights advocates. The emphasis on the NAP is a consequence (pun) of natural rights libertarianism. If anything hasn't been working, it's natural rights libertarianism. We've had 40 years of it. It doesn't work unless people already hold libertarian moral intuitions.

Of course, liberalism has roots much older. People who have had influence outside the "movement" like Friedman and Hayek generally have argued on consequences.

Patri is a wholly unowned

Patri is a wholly unowned subsidiary of the Friedman family. The views expressed are not entirely his own, although he often agrees with them.

I noticed archive.org held

I noticed archive.org held on to this a few months ago. Both Youtube and Google Video hold the whole 10 volume series of 'Free to Choose,' as well as the five from 1990. This won’t be a regular segment but, Unfortunately, they came with limited tag words, and I only found them on Google Video when searching “Thomas Sowell.” :grin:

Um… I’ve got news for

Um… I’ve got news for you. Libertarians HAVE been using arguments from efficacy for about 70 years now. It doesn’t work. As long as people believe that government is moral, they will still vote and support, regardless of how inefficient they KNOW government is and corrupt they KNOW politicians are.

Francois - You are mixing up the question of "What rhetorical approach will convince the most people" with "What rhetorical approach will convince the majority of the people". My claim was only that arguments from efficacy will convince more people than alternatives. I don't believe that any rhetoric will convince the majority.

RKN - you do have a good point about Ayn Rand. And as a spot check, MF's current best-selling book on Amazon is ranking #5800, while AR's is #312, a pretty big difference.

In fact RKN just spiked your

In fact RKN just spiked your conclusion back over the net.

"It shouldn’t be a hard

"It shouldn’t be a hard sell to convince libertarians that an appeal to self-interest is much more attractive than lecturing on morality..."

Though she was a moralist, one can hardly accuse Rand of not appealing to self-interest.

On the other hand utilitarians like PF and MF very typically make appeals to collective interest (on the basis of net utility) rather than to self-interest.