Professors Attack Milton Friedman but Real Enemy is Freedom

In an interview in Reason Magazine Milton Friedman said

"I start from a belief in individual freedom and that derives fundamentally from a belief in the limitations of our knowledge, from a belief—that nobody can be sure that what he believes, is really right..so--.The most attractive position—is putting individual freedom first.

There's a great deal of basis for believing that a free society is fundamentally unstable—we may regret this but we've got to face up to the facts....I think it's the utmost of naiveté to suppose that a free society is somehow the natural order of things.

It's fortunate that the capitalist society is more productive, because if it were not it would never be tolerated. The bias against it is so great that—it's got to have a five-to-one advantage in order to survive.
I think a major reason why intellectuals tend to move towards collectivism is that the collectivist answer is a simple one. If there's something wrong, pass a law and do something about it."

More than 100 faculty at the University of Chicago, where Mr. Friedman won the 1976 Nobel Prize in economics, are trying to stop the university from putting Mr. Friedman's name on a 200-million dollar research center. The institute, which will focus on economic research was officially unveiled last May. A few weeks later, about 100 professors signed a letter calling on the university to reconsider the project. Since then, 172 faculty along with more than 1,000 students and alumni have signed a petition opposing the institute.

“He was the darling of the Reaganite revolution and the American right,” said Bruce Lincoln, a professor of the history of religions who is leading the charge against the institute. “He was a scathing critic of the state playing a role of any importance.” If the institute goes ahead, Prof. Lincoln said it will attract “a certain kind of donor who is a great cheerleader for Friedman's politics,” and that donor will try to “steer research in a direction that's going to advance the cause.” He said the recent economic turmoil has bolstered opponents. “It's now a whole lot more obvious to everyone that [Mr. Friedman] got us into some problems and that he didn't have the final solution to everything that makes an economy work.”

Friedman Attacked

However, Friedman had long warned of the dangers of easy credit backed by the government.

“Therefore active monetary (e.g. easy credit) or fiscal (e.g. tax and spend) policy can have unintended negative effects. In Capitalism and Freedom (1967) Friedman wrote,
"There is likely to be a lag between the need for action and government recognition of the need; a further lag between recognition of the need for action and the taking of action; and a still further lag between the action and its effects.[9]”

Wikipedia on Friedman

A book by Naomi Klein defaming Friedman http://reas
has become popular in leftist circles while fellow economists have both praised and criticized Friedman. Krugman On Friedman.

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Just a few questions

Again, I'm just trying to wrap my head around some of these ideas. So I'll ask a few questions.

I start from a belief in individual freedom and that derives fundamentally from a belief in the limitations of our knowledge, from a belief—that nobody can be sure that what he believes, is really right..so--.The most attractive position—is putting individual freedom first.

Okay, and let's suppose we put individual freedom first. Something bad happens; a similar person will just say the same thing in the future. A vicious cycle of NOT learning from your past? Or a vicious cycle of not testing possible futures?

I thought we limited freedom exactly because of our gained collective and observational knowledge. Maybe rewinding the tape is necessary yet again (after billions of people) to really see what happens?

There's a great deal of basis for believing that a free society is fundamentally unstable—we may regret this but we've got to face up to the facts....I think it's the utmost of naiveté to suppose that a free society is somehow the natural order of things.

I agree with the above quote. Except I'm unsure of which facts we should be facing up to?

This goes all goes back to being somewhat new to these ideas.