Friedman ended the draft – SKOUSEN CAFE

Friedman wasn’t a quixotic academic tilting at windmills. Instead, he was someone who actually changed policy. He was a practical political economist. Patrick Byrne, the chairman of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, credited Friedman for creating the all-volunteer army and ending the draft. Byrne referred to the following story, retold here from Milton and Rose Friedman’s memoirs, “Two Lucky People.”

“In the course of his [General Westmoreland’s] testimony, he made the statement that he did not want to command an army of mercenaries,” Friedman wrote. “I [Milton Friedman] stopped him and said, ‘General, would you rather command an army of slaves?’ He drew himself up and said, ‘I don’t like to hear our patriotic draftees referred to as slaves.’ I replied, ‘I don’t like to hear our patriotic volunteers referred to as mercenaries.’ But I went on to say, ‘If they are mercenaries, then I, sir, am a mercenary professor, and you, sir, are a mercenary general; we are served by mercenary physicians, we use a mercenary lawyer, and we get our meat from a mercenary butcher.’ That was the last that we heard from the general about mercenaries.”


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