Wednesday, August 01, 2012
CHICAGO — Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said today’s chaotic world needs Milton Friedman’s “clarity of vision” and called him an “exceptional patriot” and “exceptional man who really did help change the course of history.”
Rice gave the keynote address at the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice’s July 31 celebration of its late founder, Milton Friedman. The event, attended by some 400 devotees of the Nobel laureate economist, was held on what would have been Friedman’s 100th birthday.
“I often had the opportunity to talk with Milton and (his wife) Rose,” Dr. Rice said. “They understood the power of ideas – the power of one particular idea. That’s the belief that free markets and free people will own the future.”
Rice was Provost of Stanford University from 1993 to 1999. Friedman was a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution from 1977 until his death in 2006.
At “The Power of One” dinner, Rice recalled her most memorable meeting with Friedman when he asked her, as a foreign affairs expert, if she expected the Soviet Union to collapse. When she replied she didn’t, and he said, “I did,” she chuckled, adding, “When I think about it, of course he did.”
Rice called on those attending the dinner to carry out Friedman’s greatest passion – school choice – by promoting the effort to give choice to children who don’t have it. “That is why school choice is indeed a matter of civil rights,” she said.
“I believe though that we are going to, in fact, rise from all of these circumstances and move again to a place where clarity and ideas of free markets and free peoples will be heard,” said Rice. “Heaven knows we miss every day the moral certainty of Milton and Rose. But it echoes still….”
Robert Enlow, president and CEO of the Friedman Foundation, said Dr. Rice’s inspiring speech should motivate the school choice community as it works to carry out Friedman’s vision not only this year but moving forward.
“Milton would be pleased at how much we’ve accomplished by this, his 100th birthday,” Enlow said. “But as Dr. Rice points out, there is so much more to be done.”