Milton FriedmanMilton Friedman, (1912-2006) Nobel Prize-winning economist, economic advisor to President Ronald Reagan, "ultimate guru of the free-market system"

Milton Friedman Quote

“The heart of the liberal philosophy is a belief in the dignity of the individual, in his freedom to make the most of his capacities and opportunities according to his own lights…This implies a belief in the equality of man in one sense; in their inequality in another.”

Milton FriedmanMilton Friedman
~ Milton Friedman

Capitalism and Freedom, 1962

Ratings and Comments


David L Rosenthal

My how word meanings change so much over a few decades.

Robert, Sarasota

His words are not what really matter - what matters is the intent and the heart that expressed them. The world today is fast becoming a pit of inequality - this, more than any other time, is being spearheaded by the current administration. The world sees the corruption and greed in America and how easy it is to manipulate its people with convenient sound bites - if the worlds most powerful country can behave in this manner then let's follow them - what's good the Elephant is good for the Gander. Please, please, bring back the Liberals before we sink into oblivion.

E Archer, NYC

Absolutely.

Mike, Norwalk

David here is absolutely right. The heart of today's liberalism is: immorality, modification of history to justify self preservation, socialism - denying the dignity of the individual, and everything antithetical to anything that would promote the dignity, morality, and liberty of the individual. If the quote were in the vain of liberals such as Washington and Jefferson it would here deserve 5 stars

Robert, Sarasota

Immorality is the domain of the Republican Party - the list is endless with fraud, child abuse, corruption, greed, murder, etc., etc. Leave Liberalism alone it can defend itself very easily against and compared with the current administration. Without Liberalism America would be another despot, another quagmire of corruption, fascism, and fundamentalism. Washington and Jefferson were only a few there were many other liberals that were the very foundation of America. Alas, if we are not careful all that will be lost to greed and we will slip into the annals of the shortest lived empire. It's amazing how the far-right attack Liberals by the very things they themselves are perpetuating. The fascists were very clever of this type of propaganda and it's going on today -- when you have a one party state and winner takes all what else would you expect. This last 6 years has shown a steady decline along all fronts of humanitarianism and world peace. O we have so much to learn and I wonder if we are able to advance and pull ourselves out from this desperate situation we are in today.

Mike, Norwalk

Robert, Though the Republicans have, as you've alluded to, there own brand of immoral fascist tyranny, the liberals brand of criminal activity, anti-Constitutional direction and individual destruction must needs be defended in the face of moral and individual freedom.

Ken, Allyn, WA

Robert, it seems that old saw about pots calling kettles black is still true. From my perspective, I see conservative speakers on college campuses being physically assaulted, mobs storming stages and shouting down speakers with whom they disagree. Typical brownshirt tactics. Who are the Fascists? The liberalism of Jefferson et. al. was about freedom to speak one's mind without fear of being physically attacked. Classical liberalism can indeed work if left alone, but liberalism was hijacked decades ago by communists and socialists, and individual freedom is the furthest thing from their minds.

Robert, Sarasota

Then they are not Liberals... I thought brownshirts were the product of a fascist army like Hitler and Mussolini. I wouldn't call kids storming a stage (I think it happened twice) brownshirst. Ken, I suppose you are against social security. Fortunately there are many Liberal Republicans otherwise we would be a real trouble. There are also many Conservative Democrats lets just revert back to the definition of words and not rely on the media or personal agendas.

E Archer, NYC

Mike, the "heart of today's liberalism" is compassion. The liberals have continually fought for the 'equal rights' embued in the Declaration of Indpendence -- in particular, discrimination based on religion, race, and sex. The liberals carried the banner for jews, blacks, and women for decades. Are there socialists among liberals? Yes. Are there fascists among conservatives? Yes. The fact remains that there will always be a political spectrum of ideals and solutions -- no 'side' has got it right. The abuse of power is equalliy shared between the political left and right -- that is why we are not supposed to give politicians carte blanche.

David L Rosenthal

Not all democrats are socialists, but all socialists are democrats.

Logan, Memphis, TN

Umm, then on the same note, not all Republicans are fascists, but all fascists are Republicans.

David L. Rosenthal

Well, if you research which congressmen have cordial relations with Fidel Castro, you will discover that most of them are democrats. Now pt whatever label you like on it, the system in Cuba is clearly and completely totalitarian, which does not bother the businessmen and congressmen who want to normalize relations with Castro's regime to improve their incomes. I think that whoever approves of this is despicable, whatever his party affiliation. It just so happens that most of those who approve are democrats. So is fascism worse than totalitarianism., or are they just two points near the same end of the same continuum? Then look at China and the barbaric practices that seem to be overlooked by republicans and democrats alike, and explain to me in what way the parties are essentially different, while the majority agree to extend preferred-trading-partner status to the regime responsible for millions of deaths of innocent people.

E Archer, NYC

I have never met a 'party man' either Republican or Democrat who could admit his party's faults and the opposition's contributions -- the same for devotees of religion. Talking politics is just that - talk, talk, talk. And that is what the powers-that-be want -- to divide us and to quarrel amongst ourselves while they go smiling to the bank. The almighty dollar officially rules now, and all power belongs to those that issue it -- and it isn't Congress. Boycott credit, and watch the tower crumble.

David L Rosenthal

Politics is imperfect by definition. Most religion is the invention of men, and whatever was invented by men is likely to bring degradation and suffering, once men with twisted agendas gain control of it. Congress still has the power to do something useful to counter the effects of the Federal Reserve's sacking of America, but why should they rock the boat? After all, no one, but no one, interferes with congressional salary increases and perks. Most of Congress is bought and paid for. Am I a socialist for saying so? I still prefer the degrading system we have to the impostions of so-called communist regimes, which are not what they claim. Socialism is evil and degrading, as is capitalism, when it is abused; but at least the capitalists let you eat and complain.

Jack, Green, OH

My, how some people bristle at the mere mention of the word liberal. Reagan sure did a fine job indoctrinating his conservative base by.not even saying the word liberal, but referringg to it as the "L word" ...as a sort of esoteric code word or euphemism for evil. .. But look where those fiery supporters have gotten us in the years they had control of the government. Reagan raised the deficit from $60 billion to $200 billion This conservative government, in addition to having a very seamy, scandal-ridden character, after inheriting a surplus, raised the deficit to a record $500 billiont. It is surprising that any conservative would criticize something by a conservative such as Milton Friedman

David L Rosenthal

Clinton is really the one who set up the conditions under which the deficit exploded. And He is the one who was not removed by impeachment by a single vote. And he is the one who has a record of criminality unequaled by any other president. Just the facts.

Mike, Norwalk

Archer, I am a devotte of religion and can freely and openly admit the degradation there of (by way of organized and otherwise). None of that effects the Christ, his doctrines, or who he is. I believe that feminism, though having made great strides for the advancement and equality of women, has ultimately done more harm than good; the same for America's liberal/conservative Democrat/Republican movements. I am still a devotee of the process and I believe there there to be many individuals progressing the human specie, religiously and politically.

David L Rosenthal

Mike: Amen

Robert, Sarasota

Amen Jack, Logan, and E - The trouble is that the conservatives can NEVER take responsibility for there own Watch they ALWAYS blame it on the Democrats or Liberals. The Democrats ALWAYS came back to save the day. We won two WW and we continue to save America from its own greed.

David L. Rosenthal

The Democrats are responsible for raping the Social Security fund, which was protected until they joined it with the general fund. The Democrats were responsible for Vietnam, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Democrats were responsible for Ruby Ridge and Waco.

Robert Edwards, somewhere in the USA
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Robert Edwards, somewhere in the USA David L. Rosenthal 11/19/19

Don't go there, otherwise you will fail miserably.. 

Robert, Sarasota

David, no you have it wrong it's the Republicans that rape the coffers of Social Security Fund (this fund was created by the Liberals) and then blame the Democrats. It's all there to be seen let me know if you need back-up. This has always been the GOP MO do it and then go on the offensive and blame the Democrats - the examples are endless... We have 68% who do not approve of the job Bush is doing - until we change our system we will continue to have Presidents that would not pass one hour in open dabate. I like the way the Republicabs hand over the country every eight years for the Democrats to clean up the mess they left behind and what a mess they will leave behind this time. Though I may be wrong, they may use those ........... voting machines again.

Mo, Ball
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    Mo, Ball    9/30/07

    i think... Boooooooorrrrrrinnnnggggggg..................................................................................

    CBM, Tallahassee

    As a DemLiberpublican could we get passed cognitive dissonance created by our own labels to looking at some frightening, deeper truths? Our counrty is being profoundly changed at its core. Our freedoms are being stripped from us. Name a happy socialist country. I've been to Cuba and it is a SPINE CHILLING world. Dave Ramsey's hope is in moral capitalism. Nationalizing banks, corporations? Socializing medicine? Where will the Canadians go for good healthcare? The left wing of our eagles emblem is for compassion, the right is for responsibility, can we afford it. Our right wing has been broken for a long time by both parties. We will all pay for this irresponsibity. And I would be careful, Liberal Tyranny is still tyranny. Before you finsh the coolaid consider this, while parties play politics over waterboarding, the Taliban are outside of a capital city of the nation that has nuclear weopons. Game over. We The People better pull it together

    Holly, Louisville

    Today's version of liberalism isn't the liberalism of Washington and or any other of our founding fathers. Original liberalism was a champion of the rights of the individual and mostly FREEDOM. Today's liberals are quite the opposite, especially in fiscal regards. Now the only thing they are truly liberal with, is other people's money. Liberals today are more about a reworking of Mao's Great Leap Forward movement than anything else. Their income redistribution stance is only the beginning. At the same time, the conservative Republican party has been hijacked itself by the Christian Right and they attempt to govern and control personal morals which is an antithesis to our constitution. Both parties actively work to rescind and restrict FREEDOM.

    Holly, Louisville

    It wasn't just republicans who "raped" (why do leftists love to use that word?). Both parties RAIDED the Social Security fund and used excess monies for pet projects. Those monies are still there...on paper. The money that is gone is the fault of Johnson (a Democrat) and Nixon (a Republican). Both took advantage of excess funds being paid into the system by the baby boom generation (until then all monies paid in we're being paid out in benefits) to INCREASE benefits to seniors well over and above the funds they and their employers had paid into the system. A second issue in that Roosevelt had the program designed to pay out benefits for 3-6 years, not for today's increased retirements of 15-30 years and more. Today's seniors receive every dime they and their employer paid in within 5 to 6 years of retirement. Until recently, NO congressional politician, neither democrat nor republican would seriously address this fiscal issue other than in slight increases in retirement age, we are close to bankruptcy in the Social Security entitlement program. Bush warned congress about the detriment if not addressing the issue and democrats stood up and booed him (few seem to remember this act of disrespect and yet when one congressman said "you lie" to Obama, the sky opened up!). So quit blaming republicans...they had a leader who at least tried to come up with something new (and something that has worked in other countries) and democrats, as well as many republicans wouldn't budge. Why? Because the senior vote means too much and even though current and soon-to-retire people wouldn't be affected, the scare tactics by liberals won out every time. Truth be damned.

    Holly, Louisville

    And to Jack Green: Milton Friedman was not a conservative. He was a liberal in the classic sense: for the rights and freedoms of the individual. He was certainly not a fan of today's version of liberalism! Neither would he necessarily be a fan of conservative ideology either.

    Mike, Norwalk

    An extremely terse review of the concepts given exposes the out right lies. First: “The heart of the liberal philosophy is a belief in the dignity of the individual (absolute lie),” Today’s liberalism is a herd mentality with a statist dictator enforcing its absolute canons. Today’s liberalism is anti-family (the entity that truly believes in dignity of the individual) with its sacrificing of babies, financing of illegitimate births, investing in and promoting unemployment, enabling the profitable endowment of fatherless homes, etc. Next, “in his freedom to make the most of his capacities
    and opportunities according to his own lights...” (absolute lie) The liberal’s support and increase of compelled compliance, license, victimless crimes, larceny with impunity, and non-recognition of natural law and inalienable rights is starkly opposed to freedom, capacities, opportunities and one’s own light ! ! ! Next; “This implies a belief in the equality of man in one sense; in their inequality in another.” The duality of the statement is an absolute lie. There is only inequality. The rich liberal cries for taxing the rich out of existence while promoting safeguards, not having to mingle with the peons. Liberalism promotes a caste system of enlightened ones over the stupid masses. One only needs to look at current government seminaries (for example, common core and other infestation of false propaganda) and the pompous wind bags Reid and Pelosi to prove the point (for example, you need expensive but inferior health care, we don’t)

    Robert Edwards, somewhere in the USA
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    Robert Edwards, somewhere in the USA Mike, Norwalk 11/19/19

    Nov 10, 2017 · True Liberalism Is about Human Compassion. Libertarian, to many of us, is just a term invented after WWII due to the corruption of the meaning of true liberalism by the progressive establishment in the first half of the 20th century – especially in the US. This is how we see it, so their reading is jarring at first.
    Author: Peter J. Boettke

    Mike, Norwalk
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    Mike, Norwalk Robert Edwards, somewhere in the USA 11/20/19

    The use of the term "libertarian" for many of our understandings pre-dates your focused social mind set. For example:William Belshim wrote of libertarianism in a 1789 article describing the metaphysics of liberty. An 1839 edition of Bouvier’s Law Dictionary references a libertarian as one who acts with freedom of restraint only by the laws of nature at civil, natural, personal and political engagements. It is true, that "liberalism" once included a sincere expression of "Human Compassion". Now, liberalism is nothing more than a collectivist's excuse for a despotic compelled compliance.

    E Archer, NYC
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    E Archer, NYC Robert Edwards, somewhere in the USA 11/25/19

    True Liberalism is about "Liberty"  true spirituality is about compassion.  Your rejection of Christian ideology is merely being replicated in your version of socialist liberalism  it is a religion that lays claim to everyone's responsibility in the name of compassion, duplicating all the abuses and arrogance of the old Catholic Church (and current Islam). 

    It is interesting that "Liberation" is a common theme of the 'enlightened' religions  liberation from the delusions of this world.  It is the truth that sets one free.  True Liberals want the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  They are not afraid to hear opposing views, they do not shout down and bully others — socialists do that.  True Liberals do not try to control the speech of others or censor or ban others.  True Liberals hate lies  progressive liberals call opposing viewpoints 'hate speech' and express those viewpoints in the most hateful way possible. 

    Today's so-called liberalism is a far cry from Liberty and the Responsibility that comes with it.  They are mostly the tools of oligarchs  the George Soros network of liberal organizations are the pillars of all the recent SJW resistance acts of defiance. From Black Lives Matter to the March for Women, Soros' money has been paying for protests, riots, marches, bribes, not the least of which is being connected to the false Russia Collusion hoax, the DNC Russian 'hack', and the Ukraine pay-for-play deals with Obama administration politicos, particularly the Biden's, the Kerry's, and of course the Clinton's.  But these are all big fish, and this is the game of politics  there are dozens more politicians doing more of the same, this is what they do!  If the swamp was truly drained, there would be few left ...

    cal, Lewisville, tx

    Robert, Sarasota, it was the great liberal LBJ and his democratic congress in 1967 who put the social security fund into the general budget.

    E Archer, NYC

    @Holly, Great comments! @Mike, Friedman is referring to 'classical' liberalism, not today's 'progressive' liberalism.

    Bob L., Charlotte, VT

    After reading MOST of the comments above, I've decided it must be true that "the more light we shine on a subject, the darker it gets." Some words from Alice In Wonderland keep invading my thoughts, but though I can't even remember the author's name, the work covered what I'm beginning to see as a lot of "gobbledygook;" words are defined by those who use them and undefined by those who disagree. We need a dictionary to discern the meaning of a compendium of thought ( does 'compendium' express my meaning ? ) First, I thought, Friedman wants it both ways, but then I started reading and have decided "each man to his own taste" and "let the devil take the hindmost."

    Ronw13, Yachats Or

    David is right on point. being quite respectful to the Nadiyb liberalism presented. Let each one declare there liberality clearly as not to deceive the unlearned ear. We are Brakah Liberal. Drowr. Pure and clear ! Without respect of persons. The English language can be so misleading when wanting to do so. Otherwise it must be clearly defined as not to deceive the unknowing individual. The Qadesh mindset is never to be promoted or justified.

    Vedapushpa, Bangalore- India

    A real good challenge to all Isms and the liberal/demo --conservative/Repubic political jargon. All that matters is whether one is genuinely civic or uncivic. That makes it easy both for the public and the government.

    jim k, austin tx

    Best definition of the two main political parties that I have seen is this ; "Republicans are Socialists and Democrats are Communists".

    Robert Edwards, somewhere in the USA

    “If by a "Liberal" they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people-their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties-someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a "Liberal", then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal.”
    Then I'm a Liberal too!

    Mike, Norwalk
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    Mike, Norwalk Robert Edwards, somewhere in the USA 11/20/19

    Your current depiction of a "liberal" was accurate over 200 years ago. Today, the PC "liberal" is far from that understanding. The ole adage of "he who forgets history is doomed to relive it", puts into perspective a notion of "new ideas" (not much new under the sun, just spins on old applications). The liberal of over 200 years ago new that the old enslavement of socialism was antithetical to personal sovereignty, inalienable rights, liberty, prosperity and the all around well being of individuals (health, housing, education, personal commerce, etc.).

    E Archer, NYC
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    E Archer, NYC Robert Edwards, somewhere in the USA 11/25/19

    What a bunch of 'liberal' hogwash.  You will only look forward and not behind?  How irresponsible  ignorance of the results of your actions. "Welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions"  'new' ideas will be openly accepted without regard to their content?  How about observing your previous agreements should these 'new ideas' suggest you renege? Someone who cares about the welfare of the people  do you really care about MY welfare?  I don't think so, your ideas impose lifelong obligations and duties to 'serve' others without my consent.  And anyway, 'caring' is NOTHING more than hoping or praying, what you DO matters.  You can commit all sorts of abuses as long as you do it from a caring intention  it's not criminal if the intent is to do good, right?  

    Let me ask you right here, do you have the right to compel or even legislate the behavior you want from me?  I grant you the opportunity to make your case for my support, but do I have the freedom to accept or decline?  Welcome to the congregation, Robert.  You'll have to pray and beseech your brothers and sisters to do good by their own will, for there is no other way.  Compassion cannot be legislated or demanded.  It is the physics of Love.

    @

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