Economist Milton Friedman passed away yesterday. His contributions to conservative thought are unmatched in my estimation. His professional accomplishments in economics and general social policy include:
-pursuading President Nixon to abolosh the military draft, reasoning correctly that an all volunteer fighting force would fight harder and stay enlisted longer.
-advancing the notion of laissez-faire capitalism...that is, the government should stay out of the private market and let men acting in their own self-interest determine market dynamics. Example: it was traders who discovered Enron's crimes, not government regulators. And traders, operating in the free market, punished Enron within days of the discovery by driving it's stock price down to nothing. It would have taken the government years to figure it all out and dole out punishment.
-advocating school vouchers long before it became en vogue to conservatives. He reasoned that free-market competition in education would quickly eliminate bad schools and elevate productive schools by letting parents choose which school their kid attended. He was absolutely right.
These three things stand out to me as Milton Friedman's greatest contributions to American society. He championed the ideas of individual liberty and freedom when few others were. Reading about his philosophies stands as a reminder to me of how far the Republican party has fallen from it's conservative roots.
America needs some more Milton Friedmans.