Friedman was way ahead of his time when he promoted the educational voucher concept in 1955.
“Milton Friedman’s legacy is not limited to just text books. It can be seen in the lives of the millions of families who have benefitted from his vision of school choice,” Robert Enlow, president and CEO of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, wrote in his message today encouraging liberty lovers to celebrate the legacy of the Nobel Prize laureate, born on this date #Milton102 years ago!
Friedman’s work is mentioned in the Bluegrass Institute’s Free to Learn debate: “Does Kentucky need charter schools?”
In my comments at an event earlier this week honoring Friedman’s legacy, I noted that this free-market giant knew that while this capitalistic system of economics and representative republicanism might not be perfect, nothing better has yet been found.
“So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear, there is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system,” he once said.
Not that other systems and approaches have not been tried. We’ve seen some in recent times consisting of government-funded bailouts, of private companies too big to fail, of clumsy attempts at government-run health care systems and educational monopolies.
My favorite Friedman quotes:
“If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there would be a shortage of sand.”
“Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.”
“We have a system that increasingly taxes work and subsidizes nonwork.”
“The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem.”
Along with being “the grandmaster of free-market economic theory,” as the New York Times once accurately described Friedman, there was another aspect of him that’s too often passed over and that — as one astute observer puts it — “may offer him an even greater legacy than his economic theories about limited government.”
It was to the issue of school choice that Friedman and his wife, Rose, dedicated the last decade of his 94-year-old life and to which he left foundation funding.
As the Bluegrass Institute pushes forward with school choice in Kentucky, we do so in the shadows of the Giants of Liberty — like Dr. Friedman — who effectively promoted educational freedom.