|Milton Friedman helped to end the draft. He had opposed the concept on moral, practical, and economic terms for the longest time. In 1966, at the University of Chicago he presented a paper at a conference on the draft (remember that at this time we were in the Vietnam war - a time when the streets would sometimes be filled with anti-draft protestors).|
Here is a quote from Friedman's "Two Lucky People,"
I have attended many conferences. I have never attended any other that had so dramatic an effect on the participants. A straw poll taken at the outset of the conference recorded two-thirds of the participants in favor of the draft; a similar poll at the end, two-thirds opposed. I believe that this conference was the key event that started the ball rolling decisively toward ending the draft. That conference was attended by some key players in this national debate. Senator Edward Kennedy, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (then a congressman), and Margret Mead.
Friedman was tireless in his opposition to the draft - producing countless articles, columns and interviews, including his column in Newsweek. He was instrumental in turning around Secretary of Defense Melivn Laird, who started moving the military away from conscription. When General William Westmoreland said that he didn't want to command an army of mercenaries, Friedman asked him if he'd rather command an army of slaves.
In 1970 Friedman was one of 15 people Nixon chose for the Gate's Commision - a commission to study the feasability of an all volunteer military. In the beginning, that commission had 5 anti-draft members, 5 draft supporters, and 5 undecided. You want to know how powerful Milton Friedman was in persuasion? At the conclusion of the commission, it was 14 to zero. (The fifteenth person was unable to attend most of the commission meetings, but said the would go along with whatever they recommended.) (Nixon's interest in ending the draft came from a paper written by Martin Anderson, one of Ayn Rand's inner circle and a student at NBI, the Economist who later became Reagan's advisor).
Friedman personally lobbied congressman and senators and that was the only issue where he every did that. He continued to battle using his Newsweek columns. He joined with Marin Anderson as the prime movers in the Hoover Institute's conference on an all volunteer military force.
Friedman was to write that of all his achievements and all of his activities, the one he was the most proud of was his work to end the draft.
(Edited by Steve Wolfer on 2/26, 11:36am)