In perhaps the oddest local ideological pairing since Grover Norquist did the Cuban Revolution, the late economist and conservative icon Milton Friedman will be remembered during an event this evening at Nick-a-Nee’s, the fabulous and slightly scraggly Jewelry District watering hole.
Here’s part of the word from Ocean State Tea Party in Action’s invitation on the Friedman centennial celebration:
The birthday celebration will start at 6:30 with a brief program featuring John Tomasi who pioneered the Political Theory Project at Brown University. He will introduce his work, Free Market Fairness, reconciling beliefs in economic liberty, like Friedman’s, with a liberal perspective of civil rights that concerns itself with outcomes for the least fortunate. This is groundbreaking work integrating libertarian and liberal philosophies, and propelling Tomasi to the head of the debate over whether any such reconciliation is really possible.
Because Tomasi hails from the classic liberal tradition, the Stephen Hopkins Center for Civil Rights is engaged in a search for a modern liberal foil to offer critique of his presentation. And the setting and musical conclusion promise a diverse audience that may engage him as well.
Although former House Minority Leader Robert Watson has been known in the past to shoot an occasional game of pool at Nick-a-Nee’s, the bar seems more of a liberal redoubt. It was the scene of fundraisers for former state Rep David Segal.
No word on whether there will be an appearance by former Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey, who shares a Friedman connection with lefty journo Greg Palast.