Milton Friedman - Socialist

Justin Schwartz jschwart at
Wed Jun 10 11:58:17 PDT 1998

> Well, I was told that the commandant of the Auschwitz camp was a rather
> cultured person as well. He would play classical music to silence off the
> screams of people being gassed next door.

Actually Rudolf Hoess was a brute and a person of no culture whatsoever, as you can discover by reading his autobiography, Commandant of Auschwitz. No screams could be heard from the sealed underground gas chambers. Franz Stangl, Commandant of Sobibor and then Treblinka, who was also not very cultured--he's been a minor Austrian policeman before--is the source of the classical music story. His wife would play the music, though. S

The VonBrauns and hi-tech
> wizards that pioneered modern rocketry also created the Dora "Mittelwerke"
> - a murderous forced labor camp manufacturing V-2 missiles.
Well, Von Braun didn't craete Dora, he just used it. It was created by more organizationally minded Nazis.

> The Pinochets and Polpots were probably very sincere individuals too. For
> that matter, General Sherman reportedly had a very warm attitude toward the
> Southerners.

I would not put Sherman in this group. He wasn't a brute or a murderer--at least till later, when he headed up the US Army in the Indian Wars. He also proposed, perhaps not altogether seriously, shooting the Southern aristocracy, said it was the only way to deal with the problems of the South. He may have had a point. (I grew up in Virginia).

> In the world of charming tyrants, I have less and less problems with
> burning intellectuals and leaders at stake for the consequences of their
> policies - whether intended or not - their personal charm notwithstanding.

I don't like this kind of talk. People can advocate what they like and should be able to do so freely. If leaders committ crimes, they should be able to be held to account, but commiting crimes is different from advocating ideas, even those, like Friedman's, with bad consequences.


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