I had planned to sit down this evening and write a little something in honor of the wonderful Milton Friedman on the 101st anniversary of his birth. But I just read last year's post and realized that, in terms of what this great man means to me, I couldn't express myself any better than I did then (save for adding Frederic Hayek and Don Boudreaux).
Today marks the 101st anniversary of the birth of one of modern history's truly great American citizens, Nobel Laureate Economist Milton Friedman (1912-2006). I believe I have quoted Dr. Friedman more than any other individual since I began blogging almost three years ago. And of all the personalities who have influenced my thinking, when it comes to economics, he is right up there with Frederic Hayek and, more recently, Don Boudreaux. He was indeed a most gifted communicator.
While he was a passionate champion of free markets, limited government and, most of all, personal liberty, I was always struck by the sincere respect he displayed for those who would challenge his ideology. Not that he wasn't direct when necessary, but, in spite of his utter command of every debate, he always expressed his views in gentlemanly fashion.
While there's much to be said about his wisdom, and his talents as an economist; his character, his style and his effectiveness as a communicator is what, to me, made him most unique among the "dismal scientists" of the 20th Century.
Here is Dr. Friedman, a true gentleman and scholar, helping Phil Donahue (who confused, as so many do today, capitalism with cronyism) understand the importance of the free enterprise system: