Milton Friedman passed away. It is sad.
Just the other day, I was trying to think of any current intellectuals who are actively defending the ideals of classical liberalism ... like Mr. Friedman. David Horowitz does a great job showing the extent to which the left wing has infiltrated and effectively controls large portions of the academic world. I like the guy. Horowitz is a former Communist intellectual who realized that the classical liberal tradition was a better path to peace than the modern progressive path. Horowitz does a great job showing the methodologies used by the left to infiltrate and control schools and media. His works, however, does not lay the foundations for returning to the classical liberal ideals.
There's armies of neocons who realize that something is deeply wrong with our modern culture and are marching around as culture warriors. These people are marching around and arguing negative issues like efforts to prevent gays from having "gay marriages." The culture warriors are right on many, many issues, but they are not really laying a good foundation for freedom. The clumbsy messages given by culture warriors can easily be manipulated by the left. A great example is the way the left manipulates efforts to defend the traditional family and marriage as hatred of gays.
I like the Cato Institute. Unfortunately, they've been marginalized from the right because they were opposed to the Gulf War, the invasion of Afghanistan and the Iraq War. They are marginalized from the left because the sheep on the left associate them with George Bush.
Recently, a number of historians have come forth to challenge the one-dimensional histories held by progressives. A great example is The Victory of Reason by Rodney Stark. This work argues that the Dark Ages were quite as intellectually dark as progressives claim. It is in these Dark Ages that we find the roots of capitalism and freedom that made the west a great success. Aristotle's Children by Rubenstein explores the history of reason in Western culture that has been censured from the schools by modern progressive. Other works like "The God that Did Not Fail" and "How the Irish Saved Civilization" take stabs at showing how Christian communities worked to preserve and teach the great works of culture despite constant onslaught by plagues and the various thugs that routinely sacked cultural centers in the Dark Ages.
These are worthy efforts that counter progressive thinking by arguing that there may be portions of Western culture worth preserving. You can gleen from the works a little bit about why the west was successful. However, they aren't really a good systematic treatises on why we should preserve freedom.
A decade ago there was a slurry of books like "Christian Martyrs of the Twentieth Century", "Death by Government" and "The Black Book of Communism" that enumerate the atrocities committed by communists in the last century. Unfortunately, the progressives of the modern century are too stupid and sheepish to realize that the clever little methods they use to attack Bush and rise to power are simply a rehashing of the same tricks that led to the genocides of a century ago and that continue in Sudan.
In recent years, we have seen George Soros turn the efforts of Karl Popper to defend an Open Society into its opposite. George Soros is an interesting character. He was born in Budapest Hungary. He escaped to the west where he perfected a slew of anti-market tricks to manipulate financial exchanges. These tricks made him extremely power. He has learned to manipulate markets against his enemies and all sorts of fun Machiavellian tricks. Under the guise of a 401C called the "Open Society Institute", Soros now use his wealth to support a variety of "progressive" efforts to turn the US and world into the Budapest of his childhood.
In some ways, I fear that all efforts to preserve freedom will be turned into its opposite. I am sure that there are ways to twist the works of Milton Friedman into its opposite. If you have read the works by Karl Marx, you will enjoy the systematic way that he twists the philosophy of Adam Smith into their opposite.
The word "progressive" once referred to efforts to create an even playing field in the market by removing inherent inequities in the market. Today, the word is more often used in efforts to destroy the free market. The word "liberal" once referred to efforts to liberate, and not to enslave people.
I am said for Milton Friedman's passing.
I simply wish that I knew of people successfully carrying on the defense of freedom. I look around me. The few defenders of freedom there were lurking around here and there appear to be in retreat.