Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Recalling George F. Will, Live

Back around 1990+/- a year or two, I had the pleasure of seeing the great Dr. George F. Will speak live to a college crowd.  I dearly wish I could find a transcript from that tour.  The whole speech was memorable and several passages were relevant for my current book project.  Full disclosure:  I am a huge George F. Will fan.

"There are more Communists on the Harvard faculty than there are in Russia today."  He used that saying on television and in the speech.  I am trying to find his exact words describing how he described the Communist phenomenon.  Quoting him directly, with a proper reference, is preferable to paraphrasing.  So, I will paraphrase here and use this in the draft, hoping to replace it with a passage from a transcript:

There are many books in libraries around the world on the process to turn any society into a Communist society.  Indeed, a command directed system is an efficient way to turn an agrarian society into an industrial society.  However, there is not one book in existence on how to go the other direction, from a Communist system to a free market system.

Professor Will was both correct and incorrect in his estimation of available 'instruction manuals' for the free market.  Hayek, Rothbard, Friedman, Williams and Soewell all had great bodies of work at that time for getting government out of economic micromanagement.  The entire Libertarian movement is based on this notion.

One book that may not exist, and the world would be better off if it does not exist, is a manual to transform a Soviet system to a Liberal Democratic system, which is not much more than rearranging deck chairs and turning government assets into private assets for the pleasure of government.

He made a great showing on Charlie Rose a few years later with a good perspective on 21st century China:

Will shines in spite of the noise coming from the interviewer:

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