Monday, July 30, 2012

Remembering Milton Friedman on His 100th Birthday.

I can remember precisely where I was the first time I met Milton Friedman. I was standing in the grand ballroom of the Fairmont Hotel atop Nob Hill. I was there for a banquet sponsored by the think tank where I worked. Someone brought over Milton and Rose Friedman to introduce them.

Of course I knew who they were. I had watched Free to Choose on television. I had read the book. Earlier I had read Capitalism and Freedom. I had followed his career for years. So, I was more than thrilled to meet someone I considered a hero.

Now, so many news accounts of his life have referred to him as a “giant” in his field. He was called “larger than life”. So perhaps it would come to many as a great surprise that he was not much over 5 feet tall. And I have to admit that was the first thing that struck me when he came walking up to me with Rose at his size; she stood no taller than he did.

My first thought, which I did not express, was: “Dr. Friedman, you write so much taller.” And he did. He wrote the words of greatness. He wrote about high ideals and principle.