Friday, August 01, 2008

On Drug Policy, Friedman Was Probably MORE Liberal Than Any UC Faculty Who Signed The Letter

A long list (about 100) of University of Chicago faculty members (mostly from liberal arts fields like political science, gender studies, sociology, history, philosophy, English, etc., and not a single economics professor) signed this letter to the UC President and Provost, objecting to the establishment of the Milton Friedman Institute on their campus. One objection in the letter is:

"When the University of Chicago invests so heavily in culturally and politically conservative thought we wonder about its commitment to strong intellectual diversity."

In this two-part interview (Part 1 and Part 2), Milton Friedman outlines his objections to drug prohibition and his strong support of drug legalization. On drug prohibition, Friedman says "The state has no right to tell me what to put IN my mouth, and more than it has a right to tell me what can come OUT OF my mouth," and "Drug prohibition has absolutely no positive effects whatsoever. Every effect I can see is a harmful effect."

Here is a copy of Milton Friedman's 1972 Newsweek column where he advocates drug legalization, at the height of President Nixon's "War or Drugs."

Bottom Line: When it comes to drug policy, Milton Friedman certainly did not demonstrate politically conservative thought, but liberal or libertarian thought. In fact, Friedman was so liberal and anti-conservative on drug legalization, he probably makes many of the signees of the letter look like CONSERVATIVES - how many of them publicly support drug legalization like Friedman did?

Thanks to Don Boudreaux for the link to the videos.


At 8/01/2008 8:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also wonder about the intellectual diversity at an institution in which 100 faculty members are all in lockstep agreement.

At 8/01/2008 11:15 AM, Blogger Audacity17 said...

The reason they think he's conservative is because they have subconsciously associated conservatism with freedom. They reveal themselves as fascists.

At 8/01/2008 12:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Liberals only seem to care about "intellectual diversity" when they don't have 100% lockdown of an institution.

At 8/01/2008 12:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think very few people are all liberal or all conservative in their views. So why label them that way? Maybe people should listen to what someone has to say instead of having pre-conceived notions.

At 8/01/2008 1:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said, Walt g.

At 8/01/2008 1:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a shame... The school should be celebrating the legacy of such a brilliant, forward-thinking man, not condemning him because less relevant academics don't like his political ideology.

Shame on you U of C.

At 8/01/2008 5:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder how many people would recognize the names of any of these faculty members in 20 years or let alone today. By contrast, Milton Friedman is known to millions.

When you dump on a Nobel laureate and one of the greatest minds of the 20th century, is it impressive? Does it require any skill? Does it engender respect? Does it achieve anything or increase the scope of human knowledge?

Do the actions of 100 faculty members diminish the legacy or ideas of Milton Friedman in any conceivable way, shape or form?

It's ironic that trying to suppress ideas is about as doomed to failure as the war on drugs.
He who laughs last, laughs longest.

At 8/01/2008 11:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is an issue where the libertarians can make in-roads with certain types of progressives who are heavily in antigovernment in their personal lives, but tend to take a more moderate approach on economic and social issues, but certainly aren't opposed to market-solutions. They just don't want to see the political patronage that seems to go with such solutions, as perhaps it has in the past.

At 8/03/2008 2:35 AM, Blogger bobble said...

MF:"Drug prohibition has absolutely no positive effects whatsoever. Every effect I can see is a harmful effect."

i think that says it all.

the drug policy in america for the last 100 years has been a costly, abysmal failure. people that want drugs still get them, only at increased cost to themselves and society.

At 8/03/2008 2:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, far too many "progressives" OPPOSE personal freedoms and choice -- in their minds, class rights and "social justice" trump individual freedom.

The OLD style liberal did indeed favor personal freedoms (read Nate Hentoff's columns for this viewpoint). But not so for many of today's statist versions of liberals.


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