The purpose of the post is two-fold. I must attempt to dispel some misunderstandings which could potentially arise around my adventurous post on the evils of television. I would also like to comment on the recent death of an eminent economist who has just finished making history.
Milton Friedman, who died of heart failure earlier today in Southern California, was a brilliant economic thinker who argued for small government, individual responsibility, and common sense. Born in New York City in 1912 to Jewish parents, Friedman weathered the depression and went on to become an icon in socio-economic circles, reviving the rich legacy of classical liberalism for the 20th century. (This revival is credited jointly to Friedman and F. A. Hayek, whose book The Road To Serfdom is probably the best discussion of government theory that I have ever read.)
Friedman generally identified himself as a classical liberal, although he self-deprecatingly minimized the issue: "I don't really care very much what I'm called. I'm much more interested in having people thinking about the ideas, rather than the person." Today a lot of people are thinking about the person; I'm sure Friedman would be hopeful that this will lead them to examine the ideas.
(For those of you who are, like me, compulsively interested in these things, there is a tidy collection of Friedmanism in this post. You may also enjoy this charming, vintage interview in which Friedman brilliantly discusses minimum wage, social security, and limited government. Being a working man with a Schedule C, the lucid genius of it all almost makes me want to vote.)
But wait a minute. Was that last item a link to a video? What new standard of inconsistency is this?
Now for the excuses part. While I do not flinch at the prospect of a world without video, I am not prepared to argue, as Mander does, for the complete elimination of the medium. I distrust it, and distrust it broadly, but I must retain a place, however small, for the useful recording and retrieval of knowledge that televised technology has made possible.
Qualifications are boring, but they are preferable to the alternative. Thanks for your patience.
Image courtesy of wikipedia.com