1.) It involves Milton Friedman (a.k.a. "Uncle Miltie"), the beloved old man of conservative/libertarian economics,
2.) I just had to draw attention to this arrogant statement by the reporter, Simon London: "Listening to him it is easy to understand why his formula appealed to political leaders - think Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan - who craved black-and-white answers to complex questions."
There are few liberal tropes which are more irritating -- or untrue -- that the line about conservative ideas being "simplistic." It is true that conservative ideas are simple in that they postulate a few direct lines of policy to address social problems, but the objection usually implies that liberal ideas take more notice of complex factors. Wrong. Conservatives propose a few things: less government, more freedom, respect for tradition, strong defense, tough criminal sentencing, etc.; liberals also propose a few things: more regulation, more government control, more personal autonomy, more power to international bodies so that war will be averted, more criminal "rehabilitation."
If anything, conservatives are more cognizant of complexity, since they emphasize that tinkering with complicated systemic processes can produce results that nobody can forsee. In addition, conservatives are painfully aware that there are only trade-offs in life, that perfection is impossible, etc. Therefore, they favor a few simple ground rules and propose letting other things take care of themselves -- better not to screw things up. As Ronald Reagan noted: "There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers."
The nihilistic principles to which London's sort of thinking can be put are illustrated by a line I once saw in an American history book, indicating that Reagan's foreign policy was "simplistic" -- i.e., calling a totalitarian empire that had slaughtered tens of millions of people "evil" was too black-and-white. Liberals are not too worried about "simplistic" answers when they propose limiting gun access as a simple way to bring down crime, or suggest not going to war as a simple solution to outside belligerent activity -- but woe to anybody who proposes a "simplistic" solution that favors the United States or human freedom in general.
Incidentally, am I the only one here who thinks that London probably left out some of Friedman's remarks that may have thrown his limited mea culpa in a different light? I can't remember his name, but a guy who is now on the shortlist to run the Fed is in favor of a monetary growth rule very similar to Friedman's famous proposal. That would hardly indicate, as Paul Krugman has put it, that "monetarism is dead."
This isn't an admission that his idea was wrong, just that it is difficult for government to do it successfully.
It is unethical for a company to profit by fraud, however that does not obviate the need for a company to profit honestly in a free market. Friedmans initial remark, though directly to the point (simplistic?) is none the less as true today, as it was twenty years ago.
No, he has not. The article is pure liberal spin, and does not support the opening statement.
But that's the way complex problems get solved, and it takes character and intellect to do so. Compare that to the dominant method of the Left -- they "solve" complex problems with a complex lie, thus creating another complex problem down the road, which keeps themselves and big government in business.