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Nothing is so permanent as a temporary gov program
Nothing is so permanent as a temporary gov program

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The December weather was surely chilly in Sweden, when in 1976 Milton Friedman came forward to accept his Nobel Prize in Economics. The cold he could live with. Widespread, loud, and painfully ignorant protests were a little trickier. Professor Friedman was a household name at the time of his commendation, thanks to the regular column he'd been writing for Newsweek for nearly twenty years. Not necessarily everyone had been reading it, unfortunately. The Washington Post churlishly complained Friedman had only won the prize because the Economic Nobel was financed by the Swedish Central Bank, and 'central banks love Friedman.'

Friedman had been advocating abolition of the Federal Reserve for years, but never mind that. Liberal Nation sneered, "Onward and upward with central banking. Hail to its high priest from Chicago!" The Nation has not been known to promote any alternatives to a central bank before or since, and seems unlikely to do so given its support for a strong central government and heavy regulation. Its momentary disdain for central banking is almost as baffling as the mystery of why they thought Friedman supported it.

In fact, Friedman wanted no truck with central banking, and held fiscal policy would always be more effective than monetary policy when managing aggregate change in the economy. His proper legacy is one of small government, low regulation, and privatization whenever possible. He is the father of the 'Chicago School' of libertarianism, author of widely-read works like Capitalism and Freedom and Free to Choose, prolific columnist, and frequent advisor to heads of state around the world. He did not always get along quite so well with Rothbard and other followers of the Austrian, praxeological tradition, but the enormous strides he made for libertarianism's intellectual side are beyond question. I was lucky enough to meet the man shortly before his death and found him quiet, humble, and polite, and also willing to give me his autograph. The world is a dimmer place without him. Today the Milton and Rose Friedman Foundation carries on his work in school choice, a field in which he was nearly the first to stand for privatization. You are 'free to choose' this sticker for your shopping cart, so as to honor his brilliance and perspicacity.