What a legacy Dale Haywood has left for us! It’s a legacy best measured not by the numbers of his audience, which includes thousands of students over four decades, but by the nobility and constancy of his message. He never wavered, never lost an ounce of passion, never “leaked.”
Early in his life, he settled on firm principles. He spent the rest of his life living them and teaching them. The power of what he said was magnified year after year by the very fact that he didn’t conform to the whim du jour. Dale Haywood was the antithesis of the Groucho Marx character who proclaimed: “Those are my principles. If you don’t like them, well, I have others!”
Two of Dale’s former Northwood University students came to work for me at the Mackinac Center. One of them, Justin Marshall, told me this: “Dr. Haywood had a profound impact on my life and the direction it took after college. He is one of the greatest single reasons why I believe so strongly in freedom and the market system today.” The other, James Hohman, who diligently transcribed the speech you’re about to read from a video recording, said Haywood was “a master at showing what freedom meant.”
I, too, was a Haywood student, though not in the traditional, classroom sense. I was a student in the way that just about anybody who ever met him became his pupil. His personality instantly drew you in and made you want to learn. The very best students of Dale Haywood learned a lot more than just economics and philosophy. They learned that to persuade, you must be warm, cheerful, considerate, thoughtful, thorough, and quick to share a laugh. You must really care about people. Dale was enough of an accountant to know the importance of a bottom line, but he took pains to explain economics and philosophy in terms of real people and their everyday lives.
Dale was a collector of great quotes and on Oct. 3, 2005, I asked him what his favorite one was. More than one came to his mind. H. L. Mencken’s famed description of an election as an “advance auction of stolen goods,” and Milton Friedman’s “There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” were high on his list. But when pressed, Dale gave the edge to this one from William Graham Sumner: “All history is only one long story to this effect: Men have struggled for power over their fellow men in order that they might win the joys of earth at the expense of others and might shift the burdens of life from their own shoulders upon those of others.”
Throughout his teaching career (and he was always teaching, one way or another, in every waking moment and in every personal interaction), Dale must have had that Sumner quote in his thoughts. To him, personal responsibility didn’t mean you get from the government what you can’t persuade your fellow citizens to give you freely. Being a responsible, able-bodied adult doesn’t mean you seek to be a burden on others. He thought the Golden Rule said what it meant and meant what it said.
When I asked Dale what economics or philosophy book he would recommend if he could get people to read just one, he chose Henry Hazlitt’s classic “Economics in One Lesson.” It’s one of the best primers on the free economy ever written. If any reader of this document would like to take Dale’s advice and secure a free copy of that book or assist in its distribution, I invite you to contact the Mackinac Center.
The speech you will read here was Dale’s last public address, but it was the first in what we have now christened as the annual Dale M. Haywood Intern University Lecture Series at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Students who comprise each summer’s class of Mackinac Center interns will read this speech and listen to weekly presentations on similar themes by other lecturers. It is exquisitely fitting that a man who made a student of everyone who knew him should have a lecture program for students named for him.
Dale Haywood was one beacon for liberty whose light will never go out.
President, Foundation for Economic Education
President Emeritus, Mackinac Center for Public Policy