Mr. Chitester says his “absolute favorite” moment in the series [“Free To Choose,” which Chitester brilliantly conceived and produced] is at the end of episode five, “Created Equal.” Friedman is at Monticello, talking about the challenge of judging Thomas Jefferson, a man who wrote one of history’s greatest documents for liberty even as he owned slaves.
“Milton concluded the episode with the following quote: The society that puts equality before freedom will get little of either. The society that puts freedom before equality will get a great measure of both.”
“Free to Choose” drew an average three million viewers an episode and was later broadcast all over the world. The companion book, reworked from the transcripts by Milton and Rose, was eventually translated into 17 languages and became the bestseller for nonfiction in the U.S. that year.
Economic pessimism, sadly, is always in fashion. I suspect that if Deirdre McCloskey and I had titled our book Let Us Run Your Lives Or Everybody Dies: How the Bolshevik and Bureaucratic Deals Will Keep You Safe and Secure in the Age of Pandemics and Terrorism and Environmental Catastrophe rather than Leave Me Alone and I’ll Make You Rich: How the Bourgeois Deal Enriched the World, we’d probably sell more copies.
Holman Jenkins – again, on all matters Covid, one of the very few voices of sanity in the mainstream media – rightly bemoans what he calls “the mosaic of misrepresentation” of Covid-19 realities. Two slices:
A realistic picture would suggest tens of millions of Americans have encountered the virus without fuss. It would suggest the death risk for any individual is flu-like—as Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, and many other experts have been telling us since February.
The bigger numbers might suggest we are grappling with a natural phenomenon over which we exercise little control.
Let’s recap. Unlike the flu, 160 million of us of aren’t vaccinated against the new virus. None of us, school age and up, have resistance from previous encounters. Local hospitals face a Covid challenge two or three times bigger than their annual flu challenge simply because so many more of us are susceptible. Plus there’s the non-negligible risk of a severe reaction when our immune system encounters a virus it hasn’t encountered before.
All of us would rather not get the disease. All of us benefit from putting it off until hospitals learn how to treat it—even though the risk for each of us is flu-like.
But the reality principle doesn’t ignore us even if we ignore it. The test-and-trace silver bullet, which epidemiologists once promoted, Dr. Fauci now admits is impractical because of a large number of asymptomatic cases. Germany, once a role model, admits it has been able to trace only 25% of confirmed cases, which probably means 5% of true cases.
We battle the virus, though, while being fed a colossally distorted picture of the epidemic and its progress by an incompetent and sociopathic press.