Thoughts on equality from Milton Freidman

Equality of outcome (everybody ends up with the same) is a naive pipe dream. Unfortunately it is a dream that the left still clings to. Milton Friedman dedicates an entire chapter of his book Freedom To Choose on the subject of equality. It is a clear, logical and unsentimental look at the best way to achieve true equality. The conclusion of the chapter sums it up best:

“A society that put equality-in the sense of equality of outcome-ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom. The use of force to achieve equality will destroy freedom, and the force, introduced for good purposes, will end up in the hands of people who use it to promote their own interests.

On the other hand, a society that puts freedom first will, as a happy by-product of freedom, end up with both greater freedom and greater equality. Though a by-product of freedom, greater equality is not an accident. A free society releases the energies and abilities of people to pursue their own objectives. It prevents some people from arbitrarily suppressing others. It does not prevent some people from achieving positions of privilege, but so longs as freedom is maintained, it prevents those positions of privilege from becoming institutionalized; they are subject to continued attack by other able, ambitious people. Freedom means diversity but also mobility. It preserves the opportunity for today’s disadvantaged to become tomorrow’s privileged and, in the process, enables almost everyone, from top to bottom, to enjoy a fuller and richer life.”

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