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Free To Choose

I finally finished Milton and Rose Friedman’s Free to Choose: A Personal Statement. The book’s facts and figures are outdated, but its message is even more true today than when it was published 25-some years ago. The book is highly recommended. (I have a copy that I am no longer using). I purchased the book about 4 years ago, for my economics class at BYU. I never ended up reading it for that class, as it was optional reading, but I always meant to. When I finally started, at least a year ago, I made some good progress but the book went to the wayside before long. A new recent thrust has finally seen me finish the book. Hopefully this is a sign of more to come.

The Friedmans are actually more libertarian than I am – which is something hard to come by in this world (although I have met a few since I became affiliated with the Libertarian Party of King County). In actuality, I am about really only a hardcore libertarian at the national level. I encourage states and local governments to take more active roles, as their citizens desire. Personally I feel that, in that sort of environment where people of a state had to live with the consequences of their policies, and the consequences would be clear because there would be no national homogenization forced by the federal government, the limited government model would tend to prove to be the most effective. But I could be wrong, and I think that people who think they have better ideas (greens, communists, socialists, democrats, and republicans, to name a few) should be allowed to try out their (as I see them) misguided terrible ideas. I just want to be able to leave wherever they plan to carry out their idea without leaving this country that I love. Anyway, I digress.

The fact of the matter is that America is in the position of leadership that we enjoy today because it brought together a unique blend of economic freedoms, which lead to prosperity, and personal freedoms, which keeps government minimal, helping to maintain those economic freedoms. However, ever since the Great Depression and the Second World War, government has become larger and more intrusive, and with this change our personal and economic freedoms have dwindled. Fortunately for us, the technological revolution has kept the economy growing. Otherwise, with the amount of governmental interference we see in the economy today, I feel that the economy could have very well stagnated completely.

The economic freedom to rate of growth relation is perhaps the easiest thing to see if you only know where to look. What amazes and saddens me is that so many people are so ignorant or apathetic about this data, and willingly choose to allow our government to continuously usurp more and more of our choices away…

The trend will not stop. Liberals, pay heed: the government that can take my money without my consent (confiscatory taxation) is the same government that can repress your freedom of speech without blinking an eye. Conservatives, pay heed: the government that can tell someone who they can and cannot marry is the same government that can tell you who can and can not own a gun. The centralized power now in the federal government is the most dangerous thing this country will ever face. No terrorist or foreign nation can defeat the United States. Only we can defeat ourselves. All great nations fall not from without, but first from within. In this country, we are well on our way to proving once again that history does not lie.

Those that fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them…

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