if in our attempts to win a little more liberty and efficiency today we pragmatically choose not to man the barricades for ultimate ideals, do we not risk being labeled (however unjustly) as unprincipled compromisers? And worse: do we not delay, perhaps forever, the prospects of achieving our ultimate ideals? If at every moment we pragmatically reach only for what is currently achievable rather than for what is in principle most desirable and good, then won’t we lose sight of our ultimate aims? Won’t our reach become so inadequate and so lazy that we’ll become incapable of ever grasping for genuine, significant change? (emphasis mine)Read it at The Library of Law and Liberty
Vouching for Freedom - Friedman’s Principled Pragmatism in Liberating Education from State Administration
By Don Boudreaux
Boudreaux offers one of several articles on the site celebrating the 50th anniversary of Milton and Rose Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom. Growing up in a very liberal (Democratic) household, I went through college with an uninformed, negative view of Milton Friedman’s political biases. When I read this book a few years ago it greatly changed my views on Friedman and the role of the state. Still pursuing my own answers about the correct role of government, these questions frequently cross my mind.
The bold question, in my opinion, is especially important regardless of one’s political orientation. Policy discussions often turn to political constraints and trying to effect change at the margin. I often worry that our political system places too much emphasis on effecting change at the margin and too little weight on whether those changes move policy in a direction that aligns with our “ultimate aims.” I agree that answers to these questions remain elusive, if even possible, yet still hold that thinking through these questions is an extremely worthwhile exercise.
What are your thoughts on the matter?