Not only does the proprietor of Cafe Hayek destroy Britisher Nicholas Wapshott's foolish contention that
"Friedman's attitude toward government was much closer to that of pro-interventionist John Maynard Keynes than to that of Keynes's famous free-market opponent, Friedrich A. Hayek," he exposes Paul Krugman for the dishonest numbskull he is.
The dishonesty, in Mr. Krugman's telling, consists in an alleged contradiction. On one hand, Friedman the scholar claimed in his famous "Monetary History of the United States" that the Great Depression was worsened by the Fed's failure to keep the money supply from falling. But, on the other hand, Friedman the public figure claimed that the Depression likely would have been far less severe in the absence of the Fed. "I'm sorry," Mr. Krugman wrote in the letter, "but those are contradictory positions." ...
... Friedman's argument here is no more contradictory or dishonest than would be the argument of, say, a physician who, having unsuccessfully warned a patient not to rely for medical care upon a witch doctor, points to the witch doctor's failure to administer appropriate mouth-to-mouth resuscitation as the cause of the patient's death.Pow! A right to the chops.
Obviously, Boudreaux admires Milton Friedman, as do I:
Milton Friedman combined soaring academic credentials with a remarkable virtuosity at explaining to the public why free markets are economically and ethically superior to even well-intentioned government plans and regulations. He was throughout his long life and career a special target of those who would preserve what he and his wife, Rose, called "the tyranny of the status quo." This status quo consists of interest groups, bureaucrats and politicians who—with help from cheerleaders in the media and the academy—use government to enlarge their own pocketbooks and to stroke their own egos, all at the expense of the general public.
If Friedman was secretly upbeat about powerful government or, worse, misleading the public, then the voice of one of history's greatest advocates of free markets would be silenced. In fact, Milton Friedman's advocacy of free markets was as principled, consistent and honest as it was brilliant.
I couldn't have said it better myself.