Blogs > Liberty and Power > Pinochet and Friedman

Dec 18, 2006 8:33 am

Pinochet and Friedman

Brian Doherty of Reason has a thoughtful piece on the"relationship" between the right-wing Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet, and Milton Friedman. The typical left and right analyses of Pinochet and the economic policies followed by his regime are inexcusably simplistic. So Doherty's take is a welcome example of care and nuance.

His conclusion:
Undoubtedly, Friedman’s decision to interact with officials of repressive governments creates uncomfortable tensions for his libertarian admirers; I could, and often do, wish he hadn’t done it. But given what it probably meant for economic wealth and liberty in the long term for the people of Chile, that’s a selfish reaction. Pinochet’s economic policies do not ameliorate his crimes, despite what his right-wing admirers say. But Friedman, as an economic advisor to all who’d listen, neither committed his crimes, nor admired the criminal.

Cross-posted at Free Association.

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Craig J. Bolton - 12/19/2006

I guess that I must be somewhat insensitive to these things, since I don't believe that it is a "moral" ideology or that the moral defenses of libertarianism make any sense.

in the context of the modern nation state political liberty is simply a good, like other goods, that people can purchase more of as they become richer or that, in more primitive conditions, they can purchase more of by moving out beyond the boundaries of "civilized society."