Saturday, June 27, 2009

Day 174 - June 27th

I very rarely talk politics with anyone. Why? Because my views are not ideological and would most likely upset anyone who was a hard core follower of either of the political parties in the U.S. Although I lean towards conservatism in some ways, in others I lean the other way. I am not a Jeffersonian nor a Hamiltonian, but see the advantages and disadvantages in both their thought processes. I don't agree with either the Republicans nor the Democrats on many points.

And I've been mildly uncomfortable with the Milton Friedman/Chicago School direction the Republican party began publicly moving in the mid 80's and was very discomforted with the apex of the Friedman method in New Orleans and Iraq. But I didn't know why.

Until I read this book. Does Naomi venture into cliche's and hyperbole? Certainly. Does she come from a particularly University-liberal stance? Most likely. But she has a lot of facts behind her research and when her conclusions are supported by statements from Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, well, it's hard to label it as rhetoric. Granted, like all statistics, she manipulates some of the results, but most of them speak loudly for themselves. I've looked for conservative counterpoint and read both The Cato Institute and The New Republic's belated rebuttals and found them sadly lacking in substance and filled with even more hyperbole and irrelevant accusations rather than a true defense of the Chicago School, which I expected. I did not find anything from the Heritage Foundation, the biggest Friedman defense group in the country, which surprised me.

The book has stunned me. It has cast the past several decades in a new light and in some ways, made me sad to know what the Washington insiders have done to so many areas of the world. I've always been baffled why the United States supported Pinochet, Saddam and several other dictators. Now I understand the economic reasons and it saddens me.

I would highly recommend this book. But have a happy book nearby for when you need to recharge your batteries. I actually read four other books during the two weeks I took to read this one. Because otherwise I might've descended into anger and I didn't want that. At least it ended on some upbeat notes. That was good! So read it all the way through, it'll be rewarding to finish it.

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