Thursday, June 19, 2008

"Left Wing" Milton Friedman on Legalizing Drugs, and Why Drug Laws Kill 10,000 People Per Year

In this video, economist Milton Friedman explains his position on why drugs should be legalized, how drug laws created the market for crack cocaine ("the stronger the drug laws, the stronger the drugs") and why the government's drug laws result in 10,000 additional deaths per year.

Bottom Line: Contrary to the position of the University of Chicago faculty that Milton Friedman was a right-wing, conservative economist, this video clearly demonstrates that Milton Friedman was a libertarian, and not a conservative. Friedman's advocacy of drug legalization would immediately disqualify him as a Republican and/or a conservative, and would demonstrate that on at least this topic, Friedman was actually radically left-wing.

Would the anti-Friedman faculty at the University of Chicago agree with Friedman that drugs should be legal (in which case they should drop their objections to the "conservative" Friedman Center), or would they align themselves with the right-wing, conservative Republicans in the "War on Drugs" (in which case they are conservatives themselves)? Seems like a no-win outcome for them?


11 Comments:

At 6/19/2008 9:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Milton Friedman was the personification of homo economicus. If a public policy did not stand up to a logical analysis of the data, then it had to be wrong. Milton Friedman loved ideas and logic. Can we say that only one side has the right answers and the other, the wrong ones? Surely, not.

It is merely a coincidence that the "left wing" also favors legalization for very different reasons.

It is like comparing Sherlock Holmes to Watson..."you know my methods". Let us not mistake the jedi for the novice.

 
At 6/19/2008 10:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link to the video. I am reading Freedom to Choose right now, and just finished a bunch of Ayn Rand.

I am happy to find really intelligent people who think like me.

 
At 6/20/2008 7:11 AM, Anonymous Machiavelli999 said...

I think the whole "left wing" vs "right wing" conflict is misleading. At least if you think that one is for liberty and one is not.

Both the Democratic Party's and Republican Party's platforms are for infringing on liberty just in different ways.

The true "liberals" are the libertarian s and the Democrats and the Republicans are just two different type of conservatives.

 
At 6/20/2008 7:24 AM, OpenID typewriterking said...

You may be close to right on the republican part, but being an advocate of drug legalization by no means ostricizes one from conservatism. William F. Buckley was also an advocate of legalization, and I seem to recall George Will being in that camp, as well.

 
At 6/20/2008 8:11 AM, Blogger Monkeydarts said...

The whole left-right idea has always been inadequate. Cutting North-South against that East-West (Liberal-Conservative) line is Authoritarian-Libertarian. That's why a lot of people who normally vote for Republicans can't stomach the very Authoritarian McCain. Of course, the Liberal Authoritarian Obama is no better.

 
At 6/20/2008 8:28 AM, Anonymous Eric said...

This is whats frustrating about our current political situation. Under bush,t he republicans have almost ocmpletely abandon their classicaly liberal / liberatarian leaning roots. Also in recent years, the Dems have abandon the New Democrat Coalition of the 90's and turned back to big labor socialist authoritarianism. We only have an option this election over what ways we want the governement to control us more. There is no longer a party of freedom. Taft, Goldwater and even Reagan are rolling in their graves right now.

 
At 6/20/2008 12:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't the whole "Milton Friedman wasn't a right-winger" discussion a bit off base? So what if someone wants to classify him as "right-wing", he was a Nobel Prize winner who remains perhaps the most influential economist of our time, and with Free To Chose likely did more to raise the awareness of economics among the general public than anyone in recent generations. Isn't that sufficient to warrant the honor, regardless of where someone might view him politcally? As has been stated, in many ways he was socially liberal, but his economic ideas were solidly free market. If it's that belief in the free market that the UC faculty finds so objectionably "right-wing", I find that to be very scary, indeed.

 
At 6/20/2008 12:25 PM, Blogger bobble said...

"I am happy to find really intelligent people who think like me."

LOL. i usually find that people who think like me are really intellegent too.

"This is whats frustrating about our current political situation. Under bush,t he republicans have almost ocmpletely abandon their classicaly liberal / liberatarian leaning roots."

ain't that the truth. goldwater is spinning in his grave.

 
At 6/20/2008 12:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon. 10:29,

Just a word of caution. You are very apt to be insulted should you continue the practice of comparing Nobel prize winners to yourself.

Great geniuses who show us their vision temporarily stimulate our pre-frontal cortex giving us the momentary illusion of genius. The experience is much like painting an outstanding picture after visiting an exhibit of the work of Turner or Monet. We are not the genius but a reflection of their very rare abilities and vision.

More importantly, you are inspired by ideas and well reasoned argument.

I think you might also enjoy the work of Edmund Phelps, Charles Krauthammer, Peter Drucker and Charles Murray. Milton Friedman's Free to Choose is also available on video. A highlight is the debates which following each program in the series. Would also recommend Commanding Heights by Danield Jurgen, a well researched and superbly written book.

Cheers.

 
At 6/20/2008 5:07 PM, Blogger Marko said...

To be honest, I wish anti-drug laws killed even more people a year.

Drugs are bad. Get over it. Do you expect the government to allow the sale of prescription medications that have a good chance of killing you? Then don't expect them to ok new stuff to make you high. Stick to alchohol, it is grandfathered in.

Of course in theory, I would like people to be allowed to buy whatever crap they want and inject themselves with it, but only when I don't have to pay their hospital bills any more like I do now.

 
At 6/03/2009 12:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How does being a libertarian make Friedman left wing? Left wing idealogy counts fascism, communism, socialism, and other forms of highly centralized, goverment controlled, totalitarian enterprises as it's spawn. How on earth is it possible to include Libertarianism with left wing?

 

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