Sunday, July 23, 2006

A very old couple on integration and Iraq

Mark Thoma quotes extensively from a WSJ interview ($) with Rose and Milton Friedman. As always with reading Milton Friedman interviews, I'm a happier person afterwards. Just two quotes:

"At the moment I oppose unlimited immigration. I think much of the opposition to immigration is of that kind -- because it's a fundamental tenet of the American view that immigration is good, that there would be no United States if there had not been immigration. Of course, there are many things that are easier now for immigrants than there used to be. ..."

Did he mean there was much less pressure to integrate now than there used to be? Milton: "I'm not sure that's true ..." Rose (speaking simultaneously): "That's the unfortunate thing ..." Milton: "But I don't think it's true ..." Rose: "Oh, I think it is! That's one of the problems, when immigrants come across and want to remain Mexican." Milton: "Oh, but they came in the past and wanted to be Italian, and be Jewish ..." Rose: "No they didn't. The ones that did went back."

Mrs. Friedman, I was learning, often had the last word.

"(...) In 2008, you may very well get a Democratic president" -- (Rose, interjecting: "God forbid!") -- "and if you can keep a Republican House and Senate, you'll get back to a combination that will reduce spending."

Mr. Friedman here shifted focus. "What's really killed the Republican Party isn't spending, it's Iraq. As it happens, I was opposed to going into Iraq from the beginning. I think it was a mistake, for the simple reason that I do not believe the United States of America ought to be involved in aggression." Mrs. Friedman -- listening to her husband with an ear cocked -- was now muttering darkly.

Milton: "Huh? What?" Rose: "This was not aggression!" Milton (exasperatedly): "It was aggression. Of course it was!" Rose: "You count it as aggression if it's against the people, not against the monster who's ruling them. We don't agree. This is the first thing to come along in our lives, of the deep things, that we don't agree on. We have disagreed on little things, obviously -- such as, I don't want to go out to dinner, he wants to go out -- but big issues, this is the first one!" Milton: "But, having said that, once we went in to Iraq, it seems to me very important that we make a success of it." Rose: "And we will!"

Mrs. Friedman, you will note, had the last word.

Sounds like the perfect marriage to me. *sigh*


Don said...

An extraordinary couple. They co-authored a very influentizl book 'Free to Choose' in the early 80's. An economics best-seller.

The Austrian-American business and economics writer Peter Drucker had a brilliant spouse. Drucker wrote an essay about a business Doris Drucker had started - at the age of 85! Selling a device which enabled a public speaker to easily monitor how clearly his voice was carrying to an audience which she invented to help Peter in his speeches.

Drucker himself was an unusually competent man & a bit of a polymath. Drucker's first book was published in 1939 and his last one in 2002, I believe. Among other things Peter Drucker was probably the most influential management consultant who ever lived.

He once did me the honor of replying to a letter I wrote asking for advice, replying at some length. I didn't really appreciate it completely until I read (some years later) that Drucker replies to most enquiries and letters with a variety of post cards with an appropriate check box ticked - to save time as he was a very busy man!

PA for hire said...

Couples talking and working up to discussing in heated debate, so cute and so out there in public. You should go to dinner so that all the people in the restaurant can hear. I think Rose, was it, was right go out to dinner.
I am a busy man and I would give my husband or wife a speaker system so I could hear everything I disagreed with amplified to drive me mad.