Statement on the Life of Milton Friedman

Statement on the Life of Milton Friedman

November 15, 2006

Contact:  Richard Morrison, 202.331.2273<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


Washington, D.C., November 16, 2006—The war to advance economic liberty will last forever. The effort is frustrating and often discouraging. Many freedom fighters burn out, retire from the field, become disillusioned, even cynical. Most people grow tired when their efforts are demonized, attacked and ignored. We're all human and we can do only so much. 


But one individual never retreated, never retired from the war of ideas – the war to advance individual and economic liberty. A great advocate of liberty, Milton Friedman, died today at 94. To the end, his attention remained focused on seeking ways to clarify the value and virtues of liberty. Like his predecessors, Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises, he must – from time to time – have become discouraged, concerned that the virtues of freedom were so little understood in our modern world.


He was no Pollyanna. He understood that, while the world was becoming more free, <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />America seemed eager to race down the Road to Serfdom. Nonetheless, that assessment led him not to despair but, rather, to an ever determined effort to advocate the virtues of liberty. His public persona remained that of the Cheerful Warrior.


Those of us who survive, who remain in this fight can – and should – take courage from his example. Few of us will live as long; even fewer will be able to match his achievements. Still, we can continue the struggle, do our part to leave the world a bit better, striving always to advance freedom. And, in doing so, we will benefit greatly from the intellectual ammunition and the personal example he leaves us. For that and much more, we should all mourn and honor this great man.