Thursday, March 23, 2006

Another sad day for liberalism.

It is sad to report another death in the firmament of liberalism. Michael O’Dowd recently passed away. Mr. O’Dowd was, among other things, an author, an executive director of Anglo American and the chairman of the Anglo American and De Beers Chairman's Fund, as well as chairman of the Free Market Foundation of Southern Africa for 27 years. Leon Louw, of the FMF, writes of the many faces of Mr. O’Dowd:

“When I mentioned Michael O’Dowd the economist and the author of The Problem of Government Failure published in the Journal of Economics to members of the English Academy, they said I must have his name wrong because he was probably the brother of the Michael O’Dowd known in literary circles. Later, my mother referred to another Michael O’Dowd in the Historical Association. It turned out there were many Michael O’Dowds. There was the scientist published in the Journal of Science, the Sunday Times Business Man of the Year, and the social worker, known to social workers throughout the country, who would give guest lectures for Professor Cecile Muller in the Wits University Social Work department.”

“The best-known Michael O’Dowd was the political scientist famed for the controversial Rostowian “O’Dowd Thesis” vindicated by the role economic growth played in ending apartheid. But there were others: the jurist writing authoritatively on constitutional law and the meaning of an “open society”; the author of books on diverse topics from Dickensian literature to Marxism and the history of the industrial revolution to strategies for the new millennium; the NGO activist; the educationalist on the Councils of Universities and recipient of honorary doctorates; the social scientist chairing the HSRC, and so on. They were all, of course, one remarkable man.”

Margie Keeton, an associate of O'Dowd's said: "He believed passionately in freedom and human potential, and he was a formidable advocate of the liberal cause, politically and economically."

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