Saturday, September 16, 2006

Required Viewing

OK, I'll apologize for the infrequent posting lately. A few things have been getting in my way for the past week or so: 1) the start of the school year, always a busy time with plenty of distractions, 2) a vague lack of interest in current events...I've been much more relaxed since I've been back from the summer, and I think part of it might be that I've been spending less time frantically searching the internet for something in the news that will offend me enough to write a post on it (this is definitely a positive development...and if it leads to fewer posts, so be it), and 3) Season 1 of "Lost". Oh man, it's so good. I'm completely addicted.

But today I came across this video of Milton Friedman being interviewed in 1975 on PBS about limited government. This was the year before Friedman won the Nobel Prize in Economics. It's awesome. A transcript is available here, but here's a part that I really liked:

HEFFNER: Yes, but it interests me that you just said that mankind is selfish and greedy. And that has always been the battle cry of those who have said; therefore, we must impose controls upon them.
FRIEDMAN: Therefore, we have to put power into the hands of other selfish and greedy men. Now I want to apologize for what I said. The great bulk of mankind. There are always conspicuous exceptions, not everybody. And also for each person there is an exception. People are selfish and greedy in one aspect of their activity. They are unselfish and generous in another.
HEFFNER: No, I understand that, but -­
FRIEDMAN: I don't mean to be making a -­
HEFFNER: I understand, but again that is the philosophic basis of the argument that government must step in.
FRIEDMAN: But it's a false argument, because it assumes somehow that government is a way in which you put unselfish and ungreedy men in charge of selfish and greedy men. But government is an institution whereby the people who have the greatest drive to get power over their fellow men, get in a position of controlling them. Look at the record of government. Where are these philosopher kings that Plato supposedly was trying to develop?

Indeed. An even ignoring the obvious opportunities for corruption that accompany power, what makes people believe that the government (run by people) will be any better at avoiding errors than people themselves?

So I have two recommendations for you today: watch this 28 minute video and you'll have a better understand of where I'm coming from, philosophically (but from from an economic perspective), with regard to my beliefs in limited government. Then, if you missed it when it was on TV and haven't watched it on DVD yet, go get Season 1 of "Lost". Believe me, it's fantastic.

2 Comments:

At 10:53 AM, Blogger Molly said...

You're right; both are fantastic!

 
At 11:17 AM, Blogger Speedy said...

Lost - great stuff. I got into it later in Season 1 and missed the majority of season 2 this past year so I'm gonna have to catch up. However, I've become totally "addicted" to way to many tv shows! Grey's Anatomy, Veronica Mars, Bones, How I met your Mother, Vanished, and the best - Battlestar Galactica! So I just grab eps online and then watch in chunks! I'm not usually around when they are on tv... Ok I watch way to much tv :) Although in my defense, I usually have the eps playing in the corner of my screen when I'm doing other work on the cmpt at home, or while I do dishes. It's all about the multi-tasking my friend :)

 

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