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We the People are the Solution

Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2022
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by Diana Erbio
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9 Comments
Solution

Milton Friedman, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1976, correctly pointed out to Phil Donahue (a famed TV host) in a 1979 interview that greed exists not only in capitalistic economic systems, but also in other systems like communism and socialism. Greed is based in human nature, not inherent to any particular economic system. That is why the outcome of economic systems must be measured by the RESULTS not the INTENTIONS. He reminded us that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Too many Americans expect that their problems be solved by some faceless bureaucracy. They look for answers in yet another unaccountable government agency. We must once again realize that we are the solution.

Social scientist, Alexis de Tocqueville noted that in 1830’s America, if something needed to be done, the Americans simply did it. 

“Just tell me where in the world you find these angels who are going to organize society for us.” That was the challenge Milton Friedman posed to Phil Donahue in response to Donahue’s question to him about whether he ever had doubts about capitalism due to its “greediness” factor.

Milton Friedman, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1976, explained in that 1979 interview and throughout his long career how free market capitalism, although not perfect, had lifted more people from poverty than any other system. Friedman also recognized and spoke out about the necessity of personal responsibility. He warned that government could not and would not bear responsibility. Individuals bear responsibility.

People engaging in free market capitalism do have ethical responsibilities, and kindness should have an important role. George W. Bush campaigned under the banner of  “compassionate conservatism”; however, I believe adding “compassionate” gave credence to the false narrative that conservatism is somehow not compassionate. How is individual freedom not compassionate? How is the natural born right to pursue one’s happiness not compassionate? What is compassionate about government bureaucratic agencies making choices for the individual? 

Milton Friedman correctly pointed out to Phil Donahue that greed also existed in other systems like communism and socialism. Greed is based in human nature, not inherent to any particular economic system. That is why the outcome of economic systems must be measured by the results, not the intentions. After all, isn’t the road to hell said to be paved with good intentions?

The free market system, coupled with the insistence that all players adhere to the same rules, has proven to have had the best economic outcomes for societies that followed that path. Social scientist, Alexis de Tocqueville noted that in 1830’s America, if something needed to be done, the Americans simply did it. They did not wait for the government to attend to it.  He wrote this observation of centralized government, “It excels in preventing, not doing.”

Today it seems that too many Americans expect that their problems be solved by some faceless bureaucracy. They look for answers in yet another unaccountable government agency. We must once again realize that we are the solution.

We must cultivate both persistence and moral values in the next generation. We must teach by example to never give up, and put forth the truth that Milton Friedman spoke to Phil Donahue, which was that angelic leaders will not magically appear and organize a problem-free Utopia for all to live in. We must encourage tomorrow’s adults to look to themselves for solutions to societal problems, and pass on the idea that we are the better angels we are looking for.

Diana Erbio is a freelance writer and author of “Coming to America: A Girl Struggles to Find her Way in a New World”. Read more in her series Statues: The People They Salute, at www.dianaerbio.wordpress.com/blog and visit the Facebook Page. Subscribe to her Substack Newsletter.

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Jim Pollino
Jim Pollino
1 year ago

It took 3% of the population to defeat the British. What’s the problem?

Jim
Jim
1 year ago

It took 3% of the population to defeat the British. What’s the problem?

David Millikan
David Millikan
1 year ago

Don’t forget that DICTATOR Beijing biden THREATENED AMERICANS to give up our guns and 2nd Amendment Rights to PROTECT ourselves from DICTATOR Beijing biden and his TYRANNICAL government. Saying we need F-15’s to fight the government.
How wrong he is.
ONLY a FASCIST DICTATOR would THREATEN AMERICANS like that.
Yet, DICTATOR Beijing biden commits TREASON and ESPIONAGE EVERY DAY and let’s in MILLIONS of ILLEGAL ALIEN TERRORIST. But DICTATOR Beijing biden doesn’t want us to PROTECT ourselves from ALL his TERRORIST and CRIMINALS including himself and his administration.
But DICTATOR Beijing biden and SWAMP QUEEN pelosi HIDE behind Barbwire, National Guard, Secret Service, Fascist Bureau of Intimidation, Capital Police, Private Bodyguards ALL ARMED with ASSAULT WEAPONS and MORE.
But AMERICAN Citizen’s are to be DEFENSELESS.
I will NEVER give up my guns or ANY of MY U.S. CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS.

Linda Baker
Linda Baker
1 year ago

Unfortunately my generation born in ’50s has raised a generation of spoiled brats and now they’re raising a generation of snowflakes. We need the pioneer grit back in this beautiful America.

PaulE
PaulE
1 year ago

Excellent article that is very well written. Yes, the message is we are the ones that have the power to make our own futures, if we are brave and bold enough to act in our best interests to achieve our goals.

This nation was NOT built by people waiting around for some leader to hand them a free and prosperous future. It was built by people who knew where they wanted to go and put in the real effort to reach those goals. Something that is sorely lacking in a lot of the American public today. If the United States is to survive and thrive, then it will be the people themselves that make it happen. Not some government bureaucrat making pretty speeches and dropping helicopter money we don’t have.

Michael J
Michael J
1 year ago

The only thing that seems to prosper is an ever growing obese government that creates bureaucracies out of thin air. It’s under this guise to sub-rule the very people, they swore to serve by imposing draconian regulations at whim, because “only they know better”. They actually seem to get away with it until a disaster occurs, then it will be revealed government is incapable of handling anything anything but public service announcements. Our government only operates somewhat in fair weather, they won’t feed you or stock your shelves in times of crisis, it’s everyone for themselves, as it has always been.

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