200px-Portrait_of_Milton_Friedman.jpg

Take It to the Limits, Or, Milton Friedman at 100

Preparing to celebrate Milton Friedman’s centenary this summer, the Hoover Institution has been digitizing my Uncommon Knowledge interviews with him.  So far, just one has gone up on YouTube–the rest will follow in a few days–but that one is a beaut:  “Take it to the Limits:  Milton Friedman on Libertarianism.” 

The format was simple:  Milton, then 89, engaged in a half hour contest with a young man seated across the table from him.  As the young man asked skeptical questions about libertarianism, trying to make it look shallow or silly, Milton defended it.

Guess who won.

My, but I miss him.

By the way, beginning at 8:23, doesn’t Milton come very close to endorsing just the kind of cap-and-trade program supported by Obama, Pelosi, and, ahem, Newt?

  1. Erik Larsen

    It would be great if you could 3D hologram him à la Tupac

    I also love the video of him with the young Thomas Sowell, appearing alongside the seemingly quite bitter Francis Fox Piven

  2. Kervinlee

    I’ve watched this video more than once and always have gotten something new out of it but, how does Peter take that motorcycle helmet off and have every hair so neatly in place? Uncanny.

  3. Mel Foil

    First the government infantilizes you, by holding your hand through all the important decisions of your life, and then they coerce you into putting them in charge permanently, because by now, you don’t have the training or experience to decide for yourself. Thank God they were there to take over your life. Heaven forbid you make a mistake…and learn from it.

  4. Chris Campion

    For Peter’s scooter, I don’t think a helmet is actually required.  Maybe some water wings in case it rains, but that’s about it.

  5. Ken Burns

    Peter, why do you have a problem with cap and trade?  It is the most efficient way of dealing with a pollutant that does actual harm.  Obama, et. all. want to use cap and trade for CO2.  That wouldn’t dirty Milton’s white shirt.  I’m pretty sure he would require an actual showing of harm from the alleged pollutant before cap and trade would be appropriate.  CO2 fails that requirement.

  6. Neolibertarian
    Peter Robinson

    By the way, beginning at 8:23, doesn’t Milton come very close to endorsing just the kind of cap-and-trade program supported by Obama, Pelosi, and, ahem, Newt?

    Agreed: Friedman implicitly endorses governmental powers to control and restrict activities harmful to the environment.

    I certainly agree that protection of a living environment is definitely a legitimate function of a rational government. This well established fact predates the National Environmental Policy Act (1970) by hundreds of years.

    However, when it comes to cap & trade, the threat is much too poorly defined. So poorly defined, in fact, that an international lobbying group, IPCC, had to be given the status of final arbiter of the science in order to make the case. Even at that, a valid case has yet to be made.

    I should think we’d have a better understanding of this, were it not for the demagogues who’ve attached themselves to the issue. Even Gingrich was eventually able to spit out the cool aid.

    BTW, nifty motorcycle. Wish I could ride mine into the office every morning. It would sure save on the parking tickets!

  7. Larry Koler
    Peter Robinson

    My, but I miss him.

    Don’t we all — don’t we all? What a magnificent human being he was.

    Thanks, Peter, I enjoyed seeing this. I hadn’t seen it before and it’s really quite good.

  8. Casey Taylor

    Peter, I’m envious.  What a wonderful, ongoing, and continuous conversation you’ve had  in your life!  You have been truly blessed, and thank you for being so generous as to share that conversation with us.

  9. kesbar

    If I have half his wit and clarity at 89, I’ll have doubled what I have now.   Thank you so much for sharing this, Peter!

  10. BJRR
    Erik Larsen: It would be great if you could 3D hologram him à la Tupac

    I also love the video of him with the young Thomas Sowell, appearing alongside the seemingly quite bitter Francis Fox Piven · 18 hours ago

    “Like most people I have never seen a pollster.” Love it. Has anyone on Ricochet ever seen a pollster?

  11. Brian

    Fantastic interview!  Much that I found informative, but…..and I’m not sure I could explain why…I found that an 89 year old man wearing a calculator watch said volumes about him.

  12. Howellis
    Ken Burns: Peter, why do you have a problem with cap and trade?  It is the most efficient way of dealing with a pollutant that does actual harm.  Obama, et. all. want to use cap and trade for CO2.  That wouldn’t dirty Milton’s white shirt.  I’m pretty sure he would require an actual showing of harm from the alleged pollutant before cap and trade would be appropriate.  CO2 fails that requirement. · 20 hours ago

    This sounds right to me.   Cap and trade is better than just cap for real pollutants, because it allows those who can abate the pollutant at least cost to do so, and then sell the right to pollute to those who are less efficient at abating the pollution.  The consequence is a greater reduction in pollution at less cost.  The problem, as Ken says, is that is not clear that it needs to be reduced at all, and doing so seems to require enormous costs.

  13. Andy

     >> My, but I miss him.

    Don’t we all?

  14. Lucy Pevensie
    Peter Robinson

    Ken Burns: Peter, why do you have a problem with cap and trade?   · Apr 20 at 7:29pm

    Who said I have a problem with cap and trade?  We never got into this here at Ricochet, but I always felt Newt Gingrich was unfairly attacked for supporting the concept.  If it was good enough for Milton, it’s good enough for little me. · 10 hours ago

    I think the concept would be reasonable if and only if the threat of CO2 were real.  I’m sure Milton Friedman would not have claimed any particular expertise on whether the threat was real, but would have advised the solution if it were.

  15. Big Green

    Cap and trade is an elegant market-based solution to real pollution problems.  The issue with climate change and CO2 is that it is far from clear that CO2 poses a grave threat to the health of the planet or individuals’ quality of life.  Liberals love to use this argument although it is entirely misplaced – “George HW Bush supported cap and trade but the republicans are so radical now, they no longer support it”.  It is a complete red herring.

  16. Peter Robinson
    C
    Ken Burns: Peter, why do you have a problem with cap and trade?   · Apr 20 at 7:29pm

    Who said I have a problem with cap and trade?  We never got into this here at Ricochet, but I always felt Newt Gingrich was unfairly attacked for supporting the concept.  If it was good enough for Milton, it’s good enough for little me.