Today we celebrate the birthday of one of history’s most influential men – Nobel laureate Milton Friedman! He was an ardent advocate of economic liberty and the free market, warning of the dangers of government intervention… a prescient thinker, indeed. Friedman, a member of the “Chicago School” of economics, did more to lift the world’s poor out of poverty than any centrally run government program ever did.

To celebrate the occasion, here are some of my favorite Friedman quotes:

  • Hell hath no fury like a bureaucrat scorned.
  • If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.
  • Many people want the government to protect the consumer. A much more urgent problem is to protect the consumer from the government.
  • Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.
  • The greatest advances of civilization, whether in architecture or painting, in science and literature, in industry or agriculture, have never come from centralized government.
  • There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

His personal life is also to be admired – he was married to Rose Director Friedman (a phenomenal scholar in her own right!) for 68 years, and they collaborated on a number of books and projects together. One of their wonderful lasting legacies is the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, which works to advance a system of K-12 education where every parent, regardless of race, origin or family income, is free to choose a learning environment that was best for their child.

Happy birthday, Dr. Friedman – we miss you very much.