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Archive for March 8th, 2019

This exchange wasn’t even a contest and mercifully ended moments after the opening bell.

In the video clip (or transcript below) taken from a 1979 Phil Donahue interview with Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman, Friedman counters Donahue’s feeble, heart wrenching pleas for an egalitarian, socialist society governed by man’s better nature and strikes a clear, succinct blow for why free-market societies thrive and are the only societies that actually improve the lot for the masses.

Donahue conducted the interview at a time when hosts adhered to the principles of propriety and decency and permitted their guests to finish a thought or sentence before offering their comebacks or follow-up questions.

Now, hosts are mandated to follow politically-correct discussion techniques, which means they rudely interrupt, ridicule, or shout-down any guest who disagrees with their established position.

Donahue actually personifies the fool who can’t be separated from his folly, regardless of the facts, logic, and common sense presented. He automatically defaults to his foolish position and rejects Friedman’s position, regardless of the reasoning behind it.

The exchange with Friedman was 40 years ago, and though much older now, Donahue remains none the wiser.

Transcript

Donahue:  You see around the globe the mal-distribution of wealth, the desperate plight of millions of people in underdeveloped countries.

When you see so few haves and so many have-nots, when you see the greed and the concentration of power … did you ever have a moment of doubt about capitalism, and whether greed’s a good idea to run on?

Friedman:   Well first of all, tell me, is there some society you know that does not run on greed?  Do you think that Russia doesn’t run on greed?  Do you think China doesn’t run on greed?  What is greed?  Of course none of us are greedy; it’s only the other fellow who’s greedy.  The world runs on individuals pursing their self-interest.

The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaucrats.  Einstein did not construct his theory under order from a bureaucrat.  Henry Ford didn’t revolutionize the automobile industry that way.

The only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty you’re talking about, the only cases in recorded history, are where they have had capitalism and largely free trade.

If you want to know where the masses are worst off, it is exactly in the kinds of societies that depart from that.  So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear, that there is no alternative way so far discovered of improving the lot of ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system.

Donahue:  But it [capitalism] seems to reward, not virtue, as much as ability to manipulate the system.

Friedman:   What does reward virtue?  Do you think the communist commissar rewards virtue?  Do you think a Hitler rewards virtue?  Excuse me.  If you’ll pardon me, do you think American presidents reward virtue?  Do they choose their appointees on the basis of the virtue of the people appointed or on the basis of their political clout?

Is it really true that political self-interest is more nobler somehow than economic self interest?  You know, I think you’re taking a lot of things for granted.  Just tell me where in the world you find these angels who are going to organize society for us?  I don’t even trust you to do that!

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