But who is Francis Fox Piven? Learn more about her as she tangles with Milton Friedman and Thomas Sowell in this classic 1980 clip:
You'll notice Piven refer to "Marlene Dietrich's legs," an example Friedman uses in a segment of Free To Choose outside this clip. I'm sure Piven considers the reference sexist. Perhaps it is, perhaps not. But I think a sexual reference is apt, not only because attractive legs are attributes many people would like to have, but because the example exposes the absurdity of redistributing natural assets, sexual or otherwise.
In other words, if I am taxed when I choose to apply my natural assets to create value for others in exchange for money, that taxation is in some sense a means of redistributing my natural assets, whether a la John Rawls or a laKarl Marx.
Note also that Piven refers to Friedman as "Mr." at least twice in the clip -- which suggests she intends to signal disrespect, if not contempt. (Quite a contrast from the elitism of comrade Barbara Boxer (D-CA), who insists on the title “Senator”.) Perhaps Piven's egalitarianism extends all the way to the academy, which would at least be consistent. It can, after all, be oh so meritocratic -- as it functions like a guild and not a commune. Still, one wonders if her students at CUNY refer to her as “Ms.” or “Professor.”
I do not want to stray too much from the substance of the discussion, however. Together, Thomas Sowell and Milton Friedman make a formidable case against Pivens’ egalitarian claptrap. As I’ve said in these pages before, concerns about inequality are very different from concerns about the plight of the poor.
But that ain’t all. In this second clip, Sowell is on fire. Enjoy:
Max Borders is a writer living in Austin. He also blogs at Ideas Matter.