Tributes to past and presents champions of the free society
Rose Friedman passed away August 18, 2009. I met many times with Milton Friedman, her husband and co-author of many books, I do not recall ever seeing Milton alone. Rose was always at his side. I just can imagine how lonely she must have been during these months without Milton. The book which describes Rose’s personality in more detail is “Two Lucky People” published over ten years ago. In those Memoirs Milton writes that in the field of public policy, “Rose has been an equal partner, even with those publications, such as my Newsweek columns, that have been published under my name.”
She was the sister of Aaron Director, another great economist, who she wrote was, in a very basic sense “responsible for all her good fortune.” Rose had many talents to help that good fortune materialize. She put them to work by co-authoring Free to Choose and Tyranny of the Status Quo. "Free to Choose" was turned into a PBS series. As I led a team who bought the original Spanish broadcast rights, I recall each and every segment of those programs. The Spanish series can be watched on-line as part of the outstanding on-line library at the Universidad Francisco Marroquin, [http://www.newmedia.ufm.edu/gsm/index.php?title=Libre_para_elegir], one of Atlas’s leading partners in the Americas.
Rose was also one of the founders of the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation, devoted to freedom of choice in education. They chose one of Atlas’s most loyal and important supporters, Gordon StAngelo, to lead such endeavor. Through their intellectual legacy and their foundation the Friedmans will continue to do good. They left a daughter Jane and a son, David, who continues in their tradition, just a little more daring. David is using his great intellect to promote the free society, not only by teaching and writing but also by promoting innovative solutions to create new political and social systems by “seasteading” (homesteading in the sea).
All those lucky people who met Rose will always remember her charm, wit, and intelligence. I was lucky to be part of the 2002 ceremony when Milton received his Medal of Freedom. President Bush said jokingly in his speech that Rose was known for being the only person to ever have won an argument against her husband.
Rose Friedman’s lived for a public policy that would give citizens “ever wider freedom to follow their own values and tastes, so long as they do not interfere with the ability of others to do the same.” We will honor her by continuing to work for that ideal.