Economic freedom is an essential requisite for political freedom. By enabling people to cooperate with one another without coercion or central direction, it reduces the area over which political power is exercised. In addition, by dispersing power, the free market provides an offset to whatever concentration of political power may arise. The combination of economic and political power in the same hands is a sure recipe for tyranny.
-Milton Friedman, “Free to Choose.”
A number of years ago, when my curiosity in politics and economics had barely begun to percolate, my friend handed me an old copy of a book called, “Free to Choose.” It sat on the shelf for a while, my interest in these subjects still nominal. However, as my awareness about the dire reality of America’s predicament emerged, I found myself reaching for this brilliant and enduring masterpiece.
Fast-forward to 2011 and I find myself living in Milton Friedman’s worst-case scenario. Our country faces a crisis, but not just one of accounting. We face an existential crisis of philosophy, ideology, and vision. Friedman, and others like him, such as Thomas Sowell, understood very well where utopia-obsessed “progressive” ideology would take us. Friedman recognized that economic freedom builds defenses against political tyranny. He knew that, in order for the grand central planners to enforce their dreams, freedom of choice must necessarily disappear for rest of us. The natural result of this is the destruction of incentives that inspire free men and women to make their own dreams come true.
Milton Friedman probably would have approved of this video, in which zombies are used as a deft allegory for the out-of-control spending and debt that is currently consuming our nation. During the George W. Bush years, when Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress, Friedman spoke out about our debt’s dangerous trajectory and the overspending behind it. Imagine if he had lived to see the bloodletting that has occurred under the Democrat-controlled Congress and the Obama administration. I am sure he would have had some choice words for today’s Radical-in-Chief, and more importantly, some good advice about how to remedy our situation.
It is not often that we mere mortals are gifted with a genius like Milton Friedman. He was not only a fiercely intelligent economist, but also a deeply philosophical thinker who was able to connect the numbers and charts and graphs to eternal truths like individual freedom and liberty. For a young woman awash in the progressive inanity that masquerades as education, a student desperate for reasoned logic and philosophy, discovering the warm, bespectacled man in a modest brown suit was an electrifying moment.
I see my peers, after years of leftist indoctrination via something akin to perpetual osmosis, holding their liberty up – their freedom to choose – like some sort of primitive, sacrificial offering. They are cheerful lambs being led to the slaughter by their own self-righteous noses. Most of them have never read, watched or studied Freidman’s extensive body of work, and I worry who, if anyone, will electrify them with eternal truths and reason. And so, as a thirty-one year-old peering into the future – her own and America’s – I can’t help but feel a little anxious.
Will there be men like Milton Friedman in our future?
Guest contributor Keli Carender is a national support staff member for Tea Party Patriots as well as coordinating education and outreach for Sunshine Standard. She is currently working hard to enact the Health Care Compact in all fifty states, and is honored to be counted among the millions of citizens rising up to return power back to the people as a part of the tea party movement.