Make Your Friedman Prize Predictions:
The Cato Institute announces here that tomorrow, Thursday, April 20, it will announce the recipient of the 2006 Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty. Here is a description of the prize:
Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty

The Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty carries a cash award of $500,000 and is presented every other year to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of human freedom. Previous winners of the prize include Hernando de Soto and Peter Bauer. Friedman, perhaps the greatest champion of liberty in the 20th century, graciously agreed to lend his name to the award and in a statement said:
Those of us who were fortunate enough to live and be raised in a reasonably free society tend to underestimate the importance of freedom. We tend to take it for granted. It has made us in the West more complacent, so having a prize emphasizing liberty is extremely important.

There are quite a large number of people around the world who have acted in ways that have promoted the cause of liberty, and have promoted the cause of liberty under circumstances which were personally very difficult, involving very serious costs to themselves. There are many more worthy candidates than there are prizes."
The 2006 award will be presented to the winner at a dinner on May 18, 2006, at the Drake Hotel in Chicago.

So who do YOU think WILL get the prize? Post your guesses here. (It won't be me as I assume the winner has already secretly been notified.) Even better if you post the reasons why the person deserves the prize AND why you think he or she will actually win. I suppose you can also guess who you think OUGHT to win and why they won't, but I wonder if anyone without inside information can actually name the eventual winner.
Richard Epstein
4.19.2006 3:50pm
David Friedman's work, ariculating the case for liberty on consequentialist and pragmatic grounds make him worthy of the Milton Friedman prize.

Alas, since he's Milton Friedman's son, he won't get it.
4.19.2006 4:34pm
Randy Barnett (mail) (www):
In the interests of encouraging serious guesses, I decided to delete the previously posted attempts at humor. Not that they were particularly offensive (except in their lack of humorousness), but they were not in the spirit of the request for real guesses.
4.19.2006 5:11pm
tefta (mail):
Those of us who were fortunate enough to live and be raised in a reasonably free society ...

Randy, Where was that reasonably free society?
4.19.2006 5:34pm
Reader (mail):
I assume the person has to be alive, so Pope John Paul II and Reagan are both out. But Margaret Thatcher lives . . .
4.19.2006 5:35pm
Randy Barnett (mail) (www):
A reasonably free society includes moderated comments.
4.19.2006 5:36pm

Though it tends to go to economists.

So this is less a prediction than a suggestion.
4.19.2006 5:39pm
tefta (mail):
Well, Kristof won the Pulitzer, so it's only fair for Krugman to win Milton Friedman award.
4.19.2006 5:55pm
How interesting that Prof. Barnett considered my seriously posted suggestion of Pope John Paul II to be nothing more than an attempt at humor. I would have assumed the late Holy Father's contributions to the cause of human freedom are beyond dispute, and the occasion of his passage seems an appropriate time to honor him. If there's a joke here, I sure missed it.
4.19.2006 6:10pm
Nathan Jones (mail):
I have $1 on Professor Sally Jacobsen. It is a long-shot but the payoff would be huge...
4.19.2006 6:13pm
Jacob T. Levy (mail):
Most likely: James Buchanan-- I'd say better-than-even odds.

Second most-likely: Margaret Thatcher-- say, 4-1.

Third: Vaclav Klaus-- say, 20-1.
4.19.2006 6:15pm
Steve, I agree, if that was your comment, it should not have been deleted. Regardless of one's views on the merits of the suggestion, it can certainly be advanced in good faith.

Prof. Barnett's post authorized comments stating who the commenter thinks "OUGHT to win."
4.19.2006 6:17pm
Aung San Suu Kyi ?

She has certainly "promoted the cause of liberty, and [...] promoted the cause of liberty under circumstances which were personally very difficult, involving very serious costs to [herself]".

But she likely would be unable to be present at the Drake to accept the award. She has been under house arrest by Burma's socialist military dictatorship, the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) since the early 1990s, when she was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize.
4.19.2006 6:29pm
Randy Barnett (mail) (www):
My apologies to Steve, but since the Friedman Prize only goes to living persons,** and given the string of facetious suggestions previously posted, I assumed your post was in jest. As the others weren't really funny either, it was hard tell the difference.

(**But Peter Bauer died before the banquet at which he was to be formally awarded the prize.)
4.19.2006 6:58pm
I nominate Ronnie Earle, District Attorney in Austin, Texas. His prosecution of Tom DeLay has led to a massive unraveling of a great threat to both our economic and political liberties in the United States House of Representatives.
4.19.2006 7:01pm
Evan (mail) (www):
Posner seems like a reasonable guess that no one has said thus far. But Posner is obvious and "in the box" thinking.
4.19.2006 7:27pm
Humble Law Student:
George W. Bush There I said it!
4.19.2006 7:39pm
Been There, Done That:
well, maybe Barnett is being diplomatic but I'd think suggesting the Pope was a joke, too.

The catholic church has had a decidedly mixed record on promoting liberty, and that's putting it mildly. this is an organization that does not shirk from being the official regligion in many countries, and in many of them is able to limit speech that it finds offensive. it advocates for all sorts of restraints on human behavior, some of which are widely seen as repressive.

does the pope really need a prize? if he's everything you think he is, he doesn't.
4.19.2006 7:55pm
Witness (mail):
Janice Rogers Brown
4.19.2006 8:22pm
Steve in CA (mail):

I think you've got the wrong Czech named "Vaclav."
4.19.2006 8:30pm
Howie (mail):
Steve in CA - you beat me to the punch.
4.19.2006 8:39pm
Jerry Falwell, founder of Liberty University and of the National Liberty Journal, is probably the most deserving of an award for advancing liberty. He has consistently been a greater supporter of economic freedom than anyone in the Bush Administration or the Democratic Party; he recognizes that Americans must fight abroad to secure our freedoms at home; and he has nuanced and well-thought out understanding of what liberty really means, that is, the very concept of liberty is more complex and beautiful than one might first think (for example, I doubt that Falwell would consider that liberty includes the freedom to engage in deviant conduct).

But considering the Cato institute's bias against social conservatives, I highly doubt that Falwell stands a chance at all.
4.19.2006 9:46pm
Mark H.:
Well, it ought to go to the "American Soldier," but since it probably has to be an indvidual, I'd go for Sistani in Iraq.
4.19.2006 11:04pm
Preferred Customer:

Since it is awarded every other year, I would think Viktor Yuschenko would make a worthy recipient. While his governance since the Orange Revolution has been marred by both scandal and ineffectiveness, his contribution to human liberty and the personal consequences of that contribution are remarkable.
4.19.2006 11:27pm
Jacob T. Levy (mail):
Wrong Vaclav

As a prediction about what Cato will do, I'd say the likelihood of Havel winning by himself is probably quite low, though I'd be happy to be proven wrong; I can imagine Cato trying to offer them a joint prize, and can imagine Havel not agreeing to it.
4.20.2006 12:13am
With all due respect to Prof. Barnett, his error in deleting a genuine suggestion because he assumed it must be facetious perfectly exemplifies why free speech is important - so that knowledge isnt filtered through anyone's preconceptions, assumptions or narrow-mindedness. Certainly, he is at liberty to moderate comments to his post, but doing so is nonetheless a violation of the spirit of free speech that is espoused by many on this blog - including Prof. Barnett himself. Freedom of speech is not a property of governments alone - it is an empty ideal if those who preach it do not practice it within their own spheres of control.
4.20.2006 2:13am
Tim Morgan (mail):
I would place this award in the hands of the Fabulous Five (ginsburg,breyer,stevens,souter and kennedy) for their repeated efforts at liberating us all of the bonds of patriarchal hegemony and freeing themselves, and thereby, presumptively,an entire generation of future supreme court justices, from the limiting powers of the constitution. Nothing promotes freedom abroad like destroying it by judicial fiat at home (with a bit of help from international legal opinions..
4.20.2006 2:30am
Ron Paul.

Or if actual results are more important than the underlying beliefs, Gorbachev, who took 200M people from "no freedom" to "low average".
4.20.2006 5:24am
Jacob T. Levy (mail):
Nobody was right:

Mart Laar
4.20.2006 10:38am
lee (mail):
Sistani, Yeah Ayatollah("kill them in the most severe way possible"(homosexuals))Sistani. Now there's a real beacon for the advancement of Freedom.
4.20.2006 12:13pm
Bob Bobstein (mail):
I have a feeling it's going to be someone that no one's ever heard of before, maybe from Eastern Europe, probably the Baltic states.
4.20.2006 2:13pm
Freedom of speech is not a property of governments alone - it is an empty ideal if those who preach it do not practice it within their own spheres of control.

I gladly accepted Prof. Barnett's gracious apology. Let's not preemptively disqualify him for the 2008 award just because he misinterpreted one comment.
4.20.2006 6:39pm
arbitraryaardvark (mail) (www):
I predict the winner will have a name containing "aa".
4.20.2006 7:41pm