Category: Friedman Day 2012

Watson: Friedman’s Support for Gun Rights Championed Freedom Over Tyranny, Liberty Over Misery | Friedman Day 2012

Our freedom is under attack, constantly.  Freedom comes under attack in the media, in our courts, in schools, in our own halls of government, even in our own homes and streets. Milton Friedman was a guiding light for the advocates of a free and just society and was also the tireless advocate of lower income and less advantaged. He clearly outlined many times his beliefs on what constitutes freedom and how lucky we are to live in a free society. Policies he advocated will always be an inspiration and give direction to those struggling to protect the rights of free society.

Friedman was a supporter of gun rights and the right of self-defense. He praised John Lott, the current leading academic scholar for his work in support of the Second Amendment. “This sophisticated analysis yields a well-established conclusion that supports the wisdom of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution rather than of those who would limit the right of law-abiding citizens to own and carry guns.… Lott has done us all a service by his thorough, thoughtful scholarly approach to a highly controversial issue.”

With the Aurora Colorado shooting fresh in everyone’s mind, those that wish to curtail our freedom should take note of the principles of freedom. Limits on freedom have consequences. Those that wish to take advantage of those that are not free and not able to resist usually do so simply because of that fact. Governments that wish to abuse their power against the public historically have turned to gun control laws before the force of tyranny is unleashed on the general public.

The reasons we have the Second Amendment are embedded in our own independence as a country and as individuals, and we are not the only country that has that tradition. The freedom to own firearms within our constitution served to protect the population against those that desire to take our freedom away. We should never forget the most horrific regimes are always the most aggressive towards regulating individual rights.

Reasons behind “gun control” are not always sinister, but sometimes terribly misguided and absurd. Take Michael Bloomberg for example. The head of Mayors Against Illegal Guns recently came under scrutiny for suggesting law enforcement officers go on strike until we get more gun control laws passed. Making that suggestion as Mayor of New York City is a felony in the State of New York. Bloomberg has been on the wrong end of many other oddball public policy positions recently suggesting that the big apple ban large soft drinks, happy hour, fatty foods, and limit the availability of baby formula to newborn children and mothers. It is safe to say that Mr. Bloomberg falls outside the mainstream.

The shooting in the Aurora Colorado move theater was not unlike many other mass shootings in recent memory. The shootings that occurred at Luby’s, Columbine and Virginia Tech share a commonality with the Aurora movie theater as they all happened in so called “gun free zones.” Aurora City Code makes it illegal for anyone to carry a firearm on the premises of a posted “gun free zone” even if that person has a concealed carry permit. Evidence that “gun free zones” are a breeding ground for all kinds of crime is overwhelming and rarely headline news in the mainstream press. Depending on what facts you want to cite, between 2,100 and 6,800 people use their guns in self-defense every day in the United States alone; unfortunately, that fact is rarely applauded or reported by political commentators.

To those that truly hate freedom there is always some new boogeyman to be attacked. The ‘gun show loophole,’ ‘assault weapons,’ ‘high capacity magazines,’ and now ‘online ammunition’ are only the latest in this coordinated attack. The constant meme of the ‘gun show loophole’ is actually an organized attack on freedom designed to strike at the very heart of the gun rights freedom movement. Firearms and ammunition used in these crimes were not purchased at gun shows.

So called ‘assault rifles’ that are supposedly only used by criminals actually account for a fraction of the crime in the country and far less crime is committed with rifles or shotguns. Most rifles in circulation could be classified as an ‘assault rifle.’ The thing that makes an ‘assault weapon’ are not the specifications of the rifle, it’s the person operating it. The Smith & Wesson semiautomatic rifle used by the movie theater shooter is most commonly used for hunting, target shooting and home defense. The same goes for the Remington Model 870 pump shotgun. The two Glock .40-caliber semiautomatic pistols are commonly used by both police and civilians for personal defense. After the “assault weapons ban” expired there was not an increase in crime. Neither the Luby’s or Virginia Tech shootings involved a single rifle or shotgun. The “AK-47’s” Obama crassly addressed in his recent speech were curiously absent in not only these, but almost all other recent crime. The thousands of AK-47’s and other weapons recently given by Obama’s own administration to Mexican drug cartels in the Fast and Furious scandal were curiously absent from his speech.

‘High capacity magazines’ and ‘internet ammunition sales’ are just more boogeymen for freedom haters to decry. The fact that these exist and people use them for legitimate purposes is enough to drive any freedom hater crazy. But much like the gun show boogeyman, the actual problem perceived by the freedom haters isn’t actually what they hate, it is the political and individual freedom we have that they truly despise.

On Milton Friedman’s birthday let us celebrate all of our freedoms and why we still have them.

Phil Watson is Executive Director of the International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights. (


Nansen Malin: Washington’s Charter School Initiative Is One Milton Could Support | Friedman Day 2012

It is fitting that, in the year that marks Milton Friedman’s 100th birthday, Washington State has Charter Schools Initiative 1240 on the ballot. As one might expect of an economist that championed free enterprise, competition and open markets, Milton Friedman believed in school choice. The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice he established has worked since its inception to improve the quality of K-12 education in America through universal school choice.

The current state of public education in Washington State is long overdue for the type of reforms advocated by Dr. Friedman. The state’s monopoly on public schools has produced a bloated monolith that consumes more and produces less each year. The teachers union has blocked the ability of districts to intelligently staff the schools with tenure requirements and wage and benefit demands. The increasing regulatory control seized by the State and Federal governments from the local school districts has limited them from responding to local conditions. As Dr. Friedman warned “This centralization produces deadening uniformity. It destroys the experimentation that is a fundamental source of progress.”

The Charter Schools Initiative is a modest start in reforming our schools. The creation of up to 40 charter schools will allow a few thousand students (often in areas with failing public schools) to obtain a better quality education. Free from many government rules and regulations, and with more flexibility to determine staff, curriculum and budgets, these truly local schools have the opportunity to exhibit what they can accomplish once separated from the ossified bureaucracy of our current public school system.

What Initiative 1240 provides is an alternative to the public school monopoly. Stuck in a continuing spiral of increasing costs and lower scores, the citizens of Washington State deserve an educational system that offers some opportunity for improvement. This small initial introduction of competition in education will present the option to experiment to provide better results. In following years we can hope to build on the successes of charter schools, expanding them across the state and finally providing real change to the students of our state.

Schools competing to attract students by providing a better education, administrators paying teachers according to their performance, local schools being run locally; these are all policies Milton Friedman believed passionately in. Wouldn’t it be great to celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth by passing Initiative 1240 this fall, and starting Washington State down the road  of school choice?

Nansen is Washington state director for Americans for Prosperity. Her posts should not be construed as endorsements for a specific candidate and are not necessarily the opinion of NW Daily Marker.


Duke University’s Dr. Munger Speaking Tuesday in Seattle at FREE Freedom Foundation Friedman Day Event

In case reading our Friedman Day compilation of posts from notables such as Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and other outstanding voices has not satisfied your craving for a conversation about free markets and liberty, the Freedom Foundation is hosting an special event Tuesday evening in Seattle featuring Duke University professor Dr. Michael Munger.

Entrance to the event is FREE and will be held at the Columbia Tower Club in Seattle between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. Tuesday evening.

Again, the event is FREE but space is limited. To reserve your seat, please RSVP through Eventbrite or by calling 1-800-769-6617.

From the Freedom Foundation’s release:

RELEASE: Freedom Foundation Host Friedman Day Event in Seattle

This evening, the Freedom Foundation will host a Friedman Day reception at Columbia Towers in Seattle. The event honors the late Milton and Rose Friedman and their contribution to promoting free markets.

The guest speaker for the evening is Dr. Michael Munger from Duke University. Dr. Munger will present a paper that explores a new concept for what defines a transaction as “voluntary”—an idea at the very core of our understanding of freedom. His proposal offers intriguing possibilities for bridging the divide between supporters and skeptics of free markets. Agree or disagree, the talk is sure to provoke a better understanding of economics and appreciation of the challenges of policymaking.

”It is an honor to celebrate the legacy of Milton and Rose Friedman, two amazing and innovative thinkers who did so much for economic freedom and educational choice,” said Trent England, vice president of policy at the Freedom Foundation. “The Friedmans are important because they were not ivory tower intellectuals, but cared about putting ideas into practice to help everyday people. Dr. Munger has likewise worked to make the idea of voluntary exchange correspond better with ‘common sense,’ offering valuable insights to policymakers and anyone who cares about human freedom.”

The event is sponsored by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice and is also cosponsored by the Discovery Institute. Recently, the Freedom Foundation partnered with the Friedman Foundation to discover what Washington voters believe about educational choice. Read about more about the poll here.


Brett Malin: Disarming Liberals is a Skill Today’s Conservative Leaders Can Practice Better | Friedman Day 2012

One of Milton Freidman’s greatest skills was his ability to effortlessly disarm liberals when they trot out their standard, shopworn canards.

President Obama’s $1 trillion stimulus package went mainly to the hiring of government employees, so their continued spending would stimulate the economy. Many times Milton Friedman had lectured that this is a fallacy; there is no free lunch, every dollar the government spends is taxed, borrowed or taken by devaluation from the productive sector. More money is spent, but the overall production of goods and services is still the same; so how is the economy stimulated?

For those who believe capitalism a corrupt system, run by greed, Milton Friedman had a simple explanation. Greed, better identified as self-interest, is present everywhere; nowhere does there exists such perfect angels that do not act in their own self interest. What’s more, human history shows that our greatest successes have come in those countries with free markets and private property rights; it is in those countries that deny economic freedom that you find the same grinding poverty that plagued mankind for millennia.

Why shouldn’t the government use inheritance taxes to appropriate a man’s wealth when he passes? After all, he is dead and has no need for material goods. What’s more, would men not still work hard to improve their lot in life, even knowing the consequences once they are gone? Milton Freeman’s insight was convincing. The only human motivation as powerful as self interest is the desire to improve the circumstance of one’s children and family. The impulse to give your children a better life than yours is universal in the human spirit. Absent that, Friedman asks, what remains but to consume your life’s savings before you die? No assets accumulated or long-term investments made, just wasteful consumption. The destructive effect of this policy on the long term economic health of a society is obvious, with no long term growth, just the dispersal of all gains made with each generation.

If only today’s conservative politicians could demolish the left’s stale arguments so easily and completely.

Brett Malin is a noted political blogger with  His company, MR Data Corporation provides statistical analysis for Fortune 500 companies. (


McKenna: Free Market Solutions Are Breath of Fresh Air for Gasping Economy | Friedman Day 2012

Today marks what would have been the 100th birthday of Milton Friedman, one of the world’s preeminent voices in economics. I attended the University of Chicago for law school, but everyone understood that the headlines were being generated by Dr. Friedman and his colleagues at the Chicago School of Economics. He not only won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, but was an author and an adviser to President Ronald Reagan.

Keynesian economics dominated the field in the early half of the 20th century, arguing for more government management of the economy, high public spending, and frequent monetary supply adjustments. Friedman instead called for an economy as free as possible from the involvement of its government, ideas that felt like a breath of fresh air in the ‘70s, a time of wage-and-price controls, oil shocks, and stagflation.

Friedman earned his Nobel Prize for his work in stabilization policy. His simply-stated beliefs gained further traction and influence when he became an economic advisor to President Reagan’s presidential campaign. His popular book Right to Choose quickly inspired its own think tank dedicated to personal, economic and political freedom.  Mr. Friedman’s willingness to champion all aspects of an individual’s freedom from government has made him a champion for conservatives and everyone who believes that economic freedom is personal freedom.

Friedman’s theories remain relevant today, especially as so many politicians feel the lure of picking economic winners and losers through their policy choices. As we observe Friedman’s 100th birthday, I know that the path to job growth is to support job creators, creating competitive conditions through tax reform, increased use of competitive contracting, and harmonized regulations. A top-down, command-and-control economy doesn’t work, whether it’s being run from D.C. or Olympia. Friedman clearly articulated a better way, and that’s worth celebrating today.

Rob McKenna is the Attorney General for the State of Washington and a candidate for Washington State Governor. During his more than 17 consecutive years holding public office in state and King County government, Rob has brought together colleagues from across the political spectrum and taken a lead in pushing through innovative solutions to some of our most pressing problems. Rob earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Washington before earning his law degree at the University of Chicago. (


Hays: Friedman’s Defense of Liberty Must Be Carried On | Friedman Day 2012

Like many Americans, I loved liberty without much thought to its origins or utility, and then I encountered the great authors of liberty: Hayek, Bastiat, Rothbard, Von Mises and Friedman.

Revealed by these authors was a simple truth: liberty is one of the few values that is both a means and an ends.  Knowing the value of liberty as an ends is easy stuff.  We compare the oppression of fascism and communism to the joys of Democracy and limited government.  It’s true a few radicals fail to grasp this, but most normal Americans cannot escape the truth that it is better to enjoy liberty than oppression.

The great contribution Professor Friedman makes to society is to focus on liberty as a means – a means to a just and prosperous society.   Our belief that free people are more likely to be prosperous people is ultimately the defining difference between classical liberals and today’s progressive left.  The question of the utility of liberty is therefore the battlefield on which most all public policy is ultimately fought.

The great man’s work Free to Choose frames the debate in a way meant to be most persuasive to the left.  Something to remember is that today’s progressive movement has shifted far from the utopian and sometimes anarchic roots of the peace movement of the 70’s.   I urge you to read books from this period such as EF Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful and Human Scale by Kirkpatrick Sale.  You will find much to admire in these books – and you will note the deeply disturbing shift in the left’s intellectual energy away from human liberty and towards affirming the power of the state.

As we acknowledge Professor Friedman on the anniversary of his birth I hope we all remember that the intellectual challenge of defending the utility of liberty will always be with us.   Good luck and Godspeed in this work.

Alex Hays is the descendant of Washington’s earliest pioneering families who settles in what is today Olympia in pre-territorial days. He serves as the President of the Justice for Washington Foundation, the Executive Director of the Mainstream Republicans of Washington and leads the youth leadership organization, Action for Washington. He attends St. Patrick Catholic Church in Tacoma and hopes to become a competent sailor sometime after Rob McKenna is elected Governor. 



McMorris Rodgers: Celebrating Milton Friedman | Friedman Day 2012

Dr. Milton Friedman was one of the greatest champions of freedom in my lifetime and one of the greatest economists of all time.  On this day – what would have been his 100th birthday – we are inspired to preserve his memory and the wisdom of his free market philosophy.

Dr. Friedman’s philosophy can be summed up with his simple phrase: “There’s no free lunch.”  When it comes to politics, every dollar that is spent by government has to be paid for by someone else–either through taxes or borrowing or inflation.  Government cannot create wealth; it can only redistribute it.  And yet, far too often, redistributing wealth also destroys it. As Friedman pointed out, “One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results” and  “the government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem.”

Dr. Friedman’s 1962 treatise, Capitalism and Freedom, was a revelation for free-market defenders – a rare jewel in the 1960s political culture that was madly in love with “Keynesianism” and “Big Government.”  His 1980 book, Free to Choose ­– the best-selling non-fiction book of that year – built on that work and helped pave the way for Reaganomics and the greatest boom in history.

In the 1980s and 90s, Dr. Friedman’s influence was remarkable.  In America and throughout the world, there was a consensus that low taxes, few regulations, balanced budgets, and sound money was the path to prosperity.  For some reason, we have strayed from that formula in recent years – and with disastrous consequences.  The time for a rediscovery of Milton Friedman has come.

Dr. Friedman once said, “Governments never learn. Only people learn.”  On this – Dr. Friedman’s 100th birthday – please spread the word about his ideas and his remarkable legacy.

 Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers represents Washington’s 5th Congressional District and serves as Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference. (



Manweller: Free Markets Have Won the Economic Debate, So Why Are We Still Arguing? | Friedman Day 2012

The thing I like about “free markets” and “free trade” is the “free” part. Markets and trade are the only mechanism mankind has ever crafted that organizes billions of people, moves goods and services all over the globe, increases the standard of living, and paves the way for peace and stability without forcing a single person to do anything they don’t want to do. Markets and trade create wealth and liberty and they do it without an ounce of coercion. Everything in a market is voluntary. No one forces you to buy anything. No one forces you to produce anything. If you get rich in a market system, it is because people GAVE you their money. If you get rich in a socialist system, it’s because you TOOK someone’s money. That single difference is what makes markets a moral system and bureaucratic systems nothing more than legalized theft.

The other thing I like about free markets and free trade is that they work. Socialism doesn’t work. Communism didn’t work. Markets work. I often tell my students that the world fought an 80-year “battle of ideas” over who and what should control the actions of mankind. On one side we had the Karl Marx/John Keynes/Government side and on the other we had the

Adam Smith/F.A. Hayek/Milton Friedman/Market side. The market side won. The good guys won. Communism collapsed. Globalization and markets spread. East Germans moved west, not the other way around. Ireland is mimicking Reaganomics. No one is mimicking Marx. Well, I shouldn’t say that. There are three places in the world that still hold to the view of Karl Marx: Cuba, North Korea, and Sociology departments in American universities.

When I was the guest speaker at the Discovery Institute’s Slade Gorton Lecture Series in Seattle, Washington, I was asked what I would do to change the State Legislature. I said I would go to Olympia and pass out Economics 101 textbooks to every member of the House and Senate. I also said I would stand outside on the corner and hold up a big poster of a supply and demand curve yelling, “This is a supply and demand curve. Learn it. Love it. Obey it.” I should note I had a few cups of coffee that afternoon.

I admit I am an unabashed crusader when it comes to educating people about markets and trade. I honestly believe that if I could educate liberals with regards to how markets work, why messing with them always makes things worse, and how free trade and open markets will bring about a world without war, I would die a happy man. Unfortunately, at the rate things are going… I can never die.

A lonely Republican in Academia, Professor Manweller is the author of “The Right Opinion: A Heretic’s Voice from the Ivory Tower”.  In addition to hosting a radio show, guest lecturing, editorial writing, and teaching his two young sons Friedman’s Free Market Theories, Manweller is busy knocking on doors seeking the State Representative position for the 13th Legislative District. (



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