Speaking of hope, or more particularly of how important it is to give people legitimate hope, here’s a good example of how not to do it. This is an exchange between Milton Friedman and a supposedly young Michael Moore. I say “supposedly” because I don’t see any resemblance, not because I don’t think he’s really young in this video. If it is Michael Moore, he was obviously a bright student and also obviously much better looking than he is now. What happened, Michael?? (One YouTube commenter wrote, “I don’t know about the gas tank blowing up but Michael Moore certainly blew up since this video was made.”)

The person who posted the video seems to think that Friedman won the exchange and “put Moore in his place”, but I think Friedman comes off as an arrogant and socially inept blunderer.

He’s technically correct, of course, but

  1.  he fails to convince either Moore or most of the student audience, and
  2. more importantly, he fails to recognize or take heed of the genuine concern for human life that Moore reveals by asking this question. He tramples all over it. Doesn’t even mention it.

This was a rather foolish thing to do. It alienated a lot of people quite unnecessarily. All he needed to do was to begin his answer by acknowledging the good-heartedness and compassion that was implied by Moore’s question. That would have been half the battle right there. But he did not. It probably did not even occur to him. 

He is right to point to essential principles, but first he should have recognized the principles that led the young man to ask his question.

Instead, he comes off as an unfeeling “economic animal”. Ha! He had a great opportunity and he blew it.