Wide World of Wisdom: The Phil Donahue Show: Milton Friedman- Freedom vs. Fairness
Milton Friedman has a point when he talks about freedom vs. fairness. When he says he’s not for fairness, but for freedom. Give people the freedom to live their own lives and resources to make that happen for them. And that gets to things like quality education and rule of law and what’s been called quality of opportunity. Not quality of result, but quality of opportunity is where everyone, or most people, no economic system is perfect, they all have their strengths and weakness’s, but where all the people have the power to make the best out of their lives. And have a quality of life based on what they put into their lives, what they produce for society.
Thats what you get in a liberal democracy which is individual liberty. Quality of result, is where we all put our money into one pot essentially and government passes some of that money, perhaps not much of it back to the people based on what they feel they need to support themselves. Which is what your would get in a socialist society, or a social democracy. With freedom, people can live their own lives and make the best out of them based on what they do with them. And you give them a quality education, then they’ll have a good opportunity to make a good life for themselves. And the fairness comes from making sure that everyone has an opportunity at a quality education. And with rule of law and that everyone is treated fairly under law.
Fairness, is not about some people doing great in society and then taking some, or a lot of their money, to give to the less-fortunate in life who aren’t self-sufficient and don’t have a great life. And perhaps have to collect public assistance for them just to survive. Fairness, would be empowering the less-fortunate so they can become self-sufficient. Empower them to go back to school, or go to school so they can get the skills and job training that they need. To get a good job, make a good living and become self-sufficient in life and not need public assistance in order to survive. Fairness, is not about taking money from people who went to school and made themselves productive in life and giving to people who can’t support themselves and collect public assistance.
But reforming our public assistance system that does this, that just doesn’t give people Welfare checks for an indefinite period of time and expects nothing from them, but uses those resources to empower people so they can support themselves. And again that gets to education. If you get a good education, your chances of doing well in life are so much better than people who don’t. Milton Friedman once said that if it’s a choice between freedom or fairness, he would choose freedom. Because without freedom there is no fairness, because then everyone would be the same. And not have the freedom to make the best life for themselves that they can. Because we would all be dependent on government.
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