RUSH: It would be impossible for me to do Milton Friedman justice, free-market economist. He is responsible for so much free-market thinking in this country and the world today, just an utterly brilliant man and fearless, he and his wife both. But in 1962, you remember JFK’s “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country”? Milton Friedman said, that’s bunk. Most people are out there going, “Oh, yeah, man, yeah. Don’t ask what the country can do for you, ask what you can do for the country.” People thought that was fabulous.
Milton Friedman said no, no, no, sorry, you guys are missing it. He said President Kennedy got it wrong. You should ask neither question. And here’s why. “What your country can do for you,” Friedman said, “implies that the governor is the patron, the citizen, the ward. And what you can do for your country assumes that the government is the master, the citizen, the servant. Rather, you should ask what I, and my compatriots can do through government to help discharge our individual responsibilities to achieve our several goals and purposes, and, above all, protect our freedom.”
He was appalled, he was aghast at any attitude that focused central authority on the government, in any way, shape, manner, or form because he looked at the government as the place where God-given freedom was limited, in our country, the intentions are good. He wasn’t talking about it being a tyranny, he said the natural evolution of governments is to ramp up more and more power, more and more control and to grow and grow and grow, and staff themselves with bureaucrats who never solve problems because if they did, we wouldn’t need bureaucrats anymore. Hello, state department, for example. He was truly a brilliant man. I was really honored to be able to talk to him that day for the Limbaugh Letter interview (PDF).
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