Friedman doesn’t dispute that people have responsibilities to other people, but rather that the government is simply an inefficient means to meet those responsibilities (by interfering with the free market, which Friedman asserts has been the best way to lift the greatest number out of poverty). Furthermore, he argues that the government causes and maintains poverty in the case of black teenagers by failing to provide a decent education so that they fail to learn basic skills in government-run schools, and through the minimum wage which distorts the market, preventing more opportunities for work.
On the other hand, one of the moral cornerstones of the progressive movement is that but for the Civil Rights Act among others, and building the Great Society (and but for a group of people acting on principles, and eventually making those principles into laws and institutions) black folks would have remained not only excluded from the job market, but from the legal rights granted to citizens and held in slavery and bondage by the laws.
Here is Thomas Sowell (heavily influcenced by the same Austrian School Of Economics) debating welfare and schools with the then State Of Pennsylvania Secretary Of Welfare:
Any thoughts and comments are welcome.
Addition: It just occurred to me that Friedman’s view of liberty is one of voluntary cooperative action. Anything more is an injustice to the individual and a serious threat to individual liberty (transferring too much power to the State through social programs like Social Security, Welfare etc and the injustice of taxation upon individuals and the dangers of the well-intentioned and do-gooders from the New Deal on). The voluntary exchanges that occur between people pursuing their own self-interest in the marketplace has been the greatest driver of human freedom and the greatest liberator from the natural human conditions of poverty, privation and want. Friedman merges Adam Smith’s invisible hand and Thomas Jefferson’s separation of powers: Free To Choose
Noam Chomsky also shares a view that the individual ought to be free to enter into voluntary cooperative action (community councils or faculties in universities), but believes that to be achieved by perhaps only anarchy (where he retreats) or anarcho syndicalism, or libertarian socialism. I don’t find anarchy to be tenable in protecting individual liberty. Via Youtube: (1 of 3) Kant, Chomsky and the Problem of Knowledge.
Leo Strauss may not have been a believer, but he did want the individual to be free from the structures that developed in Europe these past centuries. The triumph of Reason (historicism and positivism which lead to relativism and nihilism) over some form of Revelation, or revealed truth. Harry Jaffa At The Claremont Institute: ‘Leo Strauss, the Bible, and Political Philosophy’
Food for thought.
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