Grassroot Perspective – Jan. 23, 2003-Rule of Law is Paramount, Friedman Now Says; Some Truths Johannesburg Should Remember; Reflections on the Battle of Ideas

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Dick Rowland Image ‘Shoots (News, Views and Quotes)’ – Rule of Law is Paramount, Friedman Now Says Ten years ago, Nobel laureate Milton Friedman had just three words of advice for countries crawling out from under communism: Privatize, privatize, privatize. But now he says he was wrong — that establishing the rule of law is probably more basic than privatization. In fact, in some countries, privatization without the rule of law is just stealing. Friedman isn’t alone in changing his mind to champion the role of law in societies. Robert Lawson, economics professor at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, and an author of “Economic Freedom of the World,” published annually by the Economic Freedom Network, has elevated the rule of law over the role of taxes as the key building block of successful economies. The report rates 123 of the world’s economies and the best-off turn out to be those with trusted legal systems — where people can own and transfer property with confidence. The two top countries in economic freedom are Hong Kong and Singapore, and while neither is very democratic or politically liberal, both once belonged to Britain and drew on British common law — as did 8 of the top 10, including the U.S., which came out at number 3. Economic freedom was on the wane in the 1970s, but picked up speed in the 1980s, the report contends. On a 10-point scale, average economic freedom worldwide rose from 5.1 in 1975 to 6.6 in 2000. Lawson reports a general worldwide trend toward an expansion of the rule of law, holding the line on taxes, and promoting sounder monetary policies and freer trade. Also, governments are getting smaller and regulation is less onerous. Source: Brian Mitchell, “Economic Freedom Depends on Rule of Law, Survey Says,” Investor’s Business Daily, July 9, 2002. For more on Legal Systems, see: Above article is quoted from Daily Policy Digest 7/9/02 – Some Truths Johannesburg Should Remember The anti-globalization contingent attending the U.N. Earth Summit on “sustainable development” in Johannesburg is convinced the world is in trouble. But observers say they might want to keep the following in mind: The average resident of a poor nation lives nearly twice as long as his 19th-century counterpart — and most of humanity enjoys better health and longevity than the richest people in the richest countries did just 100 years ago. Thanks primarily to U.S. medical researchers almost all the major killer diseases prior to 1900 — tuberculosis, typhoid, smallpox, whooping cough, polio and malaria — have been nearly eradicated, and child death rates in just the last 20 years have been halved in India, Egypt, Indonesia and scores of other nations. Worldwide, fewer people in absolute numbers died of famine in the 20th century than in the 19th century — even though the world population is some four times larger today that it was 100 years ago. Illiteracy has fallen by more than two-thirds in the U.S. and by an even greater percentage in many poor nations. Pollution is a favorite topic among the anti-growth crowd. But U.S. smog levels have declined by about 40 percent, and carbon monoxide is down nearly one-third since the 1960s — even though we now have nearly twice as many cars. By any measure, natural resources have become more abundant and cheaper, and life has improved thanks to free market capitalism, observers say. If only the intellectual elite in South Africa would deregulate their economies and cut tax rates and government regulation, poverty could be alleviated in a generation or two. Source: Stephen Moore (Club for Growth), “Surer Way to Sustain the Planet,” Washington Times, August 30, 2002. For text, see: For more on Environment, see: Above article is quoted from Daily Policy Digest 8/30/02 ‘Roots (Food for Thought)’ – Reflections on the Battle of Ideas By Matthew J. Brouillette If you love liberty as much as I do, you wake up everyday to a war-a war of ideas, a war of competing philosophies of freedom, a war on our basic human rights to life, liberty, and property. And the truth is that it is a war that can be downright discouraging. If you’re keeping score-and I encourage you not to-the time-honored virtues that made this country the freest, most prosperous nation in history are taking hits on a daily basis. Now don’t get me wrong. I am an optimist to the core of my being — I already know the end of the story. But I must admit that it is very easy to fall into the trap of pessimism. Yet I can’t. I have two small, smiling faces at home that force me to get up and fight every day. In fact, I even burdened my daughter with my cause by naming her Liberty! But when I think about things in an historical perspective, I am reminded of those people who have gone before us in this fight for freedom. They most definitely had reasons to throw in the towel — but didn’t! Consider William Lloyd Garrison. This man spent his entire life trying to abolish slavery in America. He never led or managed much more than a small band of followers. But it was his steadfast determination and passionate commitment to the cause of freedom that made him a catalyst of significant change. For thirty-five years, Garrison published more than 1,800 issues of his anti-slavery newspaper, The Liberator. And, today, I draw my inspiration from the editorial in the first issue of his paper on January 1, 1831-more than 30 years before Garrison’s dream of abolition would be realized. His words encourage me in the justness and urgency of our own current struggle for freedom. Here’s what he wrote: “I am aware, that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. No! no! Tell a man whose house is on fire, to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen;-but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest-I will not equivocate-I will not excuse-I will not retreat a single inch-and I will be heard!” In 2002, despite what may appear as insurmountable opposition to our cause, remember that we are on the winning side! Remember William Lloyd Garrison and stay the course. Let me conclude with a quote from Samuel Adams-a man who many times, I am sure, felt like giving up in his struggle for freedom. He reminds us that “It does not take a majority to prevail. but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.” Do not equivocate, do not excuse, and do not retreat a single inch. ”Matthew J. Brouillette is president of the Commonwealth Foundation, a free-market public policy organization in Pennsylvania. This article was excerpted from his closing remarks at the Commonwealth Foundation’s Third Annual Dinner. Above article is quoted from ‘Evergreen (Today’s Quote)’ From Reason Magazine 10/02 comes this: Residents of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, would be wise to register their bicycles. City officials say the registration helps reduce bicycle thefts and makes it easier to return stolen bikes. In case that doesn’t convince bikers, the city has added an extra incentive: If police catch a biker without the decal showing he’s paid his registration fee, they seize the bike and give it to the homeless. GRIH Comment: Oh, ducky! Just think, given enough bikes to sell, some of the homeless could rent a house. Oops, then no longer homeless. But could buy a car. Don’t you love those incentives? For example, enterprising homeless could visit schoolyards & scrape off decals before calling the cops. ”See Web site” ”for further information. Join its efforts at “Nurturing the rights and responsibilities of the individual in a civil society. …” or email or call Grassroot of Hawaii Institute President Richard O. Rowland at or (808) 487-4959.”