In his elegy on the death of Yeats, W. H. Auden includes a puzzling couplet:
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise.
Auden must have observed the tendency of those living in freedom to take their bounty for granted.
One free man who takes little for granted and who has learned how to praise is Thomas Sowell. In his column today Sowell pays tribute to his teacher Milton Friedman on the occasion of his ninetieth birthday. Friedman changed both Sowell’s life and the modern world for the better. I can think of few intellectuals whose contribution to the twentieth century was its betterment; that task was left mostly to statesmen such as Churchill and Reagan, and to the twentieth century’s soldiers of freedom.
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“Arise and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.” Winston Churchill
“Proclaim Liberty throughout All the land unto All the Inhabitants Thereof.” Inscription on the Liberty Bell