In tomorrow’s (Saturday’s) Wall Street Journal, I defend Milton Friedman against charges – specifically, charges leveled by, in one case, by Nicholas Wapshott and, in a second case, by Paul Krugman – that he (Friedman) was ethically unclear or intellectually duplicitous. Here’s a slice from my essay:
Milton Friedman combined soaring academic credentials with a remarkable virtuosity at explaining to the public why free markets are economically and ethically superior to even well-intentioned government plans and regulations. He was throughout his long life and career a special target of those who would preserve what he and his wife, Rose, called “the tyranny of the status quo.” This status quo consists of interest groups, bureaucrats and politicians who—with help from cheerleaders in the media and the academy—use government to enlarge their own pocketbooks and to stroke their own egos, all at the expense of the general public.
If Friedman was secretly upbeat about powerful government or, worse, misleading the public, then the voice of one of history’s greatest advocates of free markets would be silenced. In fact, Milton Friedman’s advocacy of free markets was as principled, consistent and honest as it was brilliant.