Here’s a letter to the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Democracy in Chains author Nancy MacLean misrepresents my criticism of her connecting the work of my late colleague James Buchanan to that of John C. Calhoun (“Nancy MacLean Responds to Her Critics,” July 19).  My criticism is not that she “drew a parallel between Buchanan’s political economy and that of John C. Calhoun.”  Instead, my criticism – as I say plainly in the essay linked in your report – is of her claim that the core ideas of Buchanan (and of others scholars who work in Buchanan’s tradition) come from John C. Calhoun.  Had MacLean merely “drawn a parallel” between Buchanan’s efforts to study and compare different constitutional rules and Calhoun’s similar efforts, I’d have raised no protest.  But by asserting in her interview with the New Republic that Buchanan’s ideas “trace back to John C. Calhoun” – and in her book describing Calhoun as the “intellectual lodestar” of Buchanan and others who work in the classical-liberal tradition – she is demonstrably mistaken.

First, Buchanan never mentions Calhoun in any of his vast writings.  Second, in an appendix to The Calculus of Consent – his most famous book (co-authored with Gordon Tullock) – Buchanan not only explicitly identifies several political thinkers as inspiration (nearly all of whom, by the way, pre-date Calhoun), he also explains in detail how their works influenced his own; these explicitly identified precursors to Buchanan’s political thought include Johannes Althusius, Thomas Hobbes, Wilhelm von Humboldt, David Hume, James Madison, and Baruch Spinoza.  Again, they do not include Calhoun.

Somehow overlooking Buchanan’s own very clear mention of the thinkers whose ideas he found to be especially influential, MacLean – contrary to all available evidence – claimed in her book and in her interview that the major inspiration for Buchanan’s ideas is Calhoun.  That claim is not only unsubstantiated, it is preposterous.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
andMartha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
James Buchanan Hall
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030

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Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on July 20, 2017

in Virginia Political Economy

… is from page 19 of my late Nobel laureate colleague James Buchanan’s 1983 article “The Public Choice Perspective,” as this article is reprinted in James M. Buchanan, Politics as Public Choice (2000), which is volume 13 of the Collected Works of James M. Buchanan:

There are important normative implications to be derived from the public choice perspective on politics, implications that, in their turn, carry with them an approach to institutional reform.  To the extent that voluntary exchange among persons is valued positively while coercion is valued negatively, there emerges the implication that substitution of the former for the latter is desired, on the presumption, of course, that such substitution is technologically feasible and is not prohibitively costly in resources.  This implication provides the normative thrust for the proclivity of the public choice economist to favor market-like arrangements where these seem feasible, and to favor decentralization of political authority in appropriate situations.

DBx: Only someone completely ignorant of the most basic tenets of economics from Adam Smith forward – and ignorant also of the history of the great debates over the centuries between those who, on one side, attach little or no value to individual freedom and those who, on the other side, value individual freedom as an end in itself (that is, for reasons beyond whatever instrumental uses such freedom might have for society) – could even begin to infer from Buchanan’s normative stance the utterly mistaken conclusion that he was an enemy of the many and a friend only of the privileged few.  And perhaps more to the point, that someone – even if she has produced a book that is purported to be about the work and influence of Jim Buchanan – either has not really read much of Buchanan’s work, or, if she has read much of it, is unable or unwilling to understand it.

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On his Facebook page – and in light of the monumental distortions that run throughout Nancy MacLean’s Democracy in Chains – Pål Foss helps to set the record straight:

TO LOVE DEMOCRACY WELL WE MUST LOVE IT MODERATELY: Buchanan’s legacy.

James M. Buchanan’s political economy should be read as part of a big European tradition in political philosophy following Alexis de Tocqueville (Democracy in America) and John Sturt Mill (On Liberty ) on the nature of democracy who feared that democracy may threaten liberty. Mill and Tocqueville feared the democratic revolution and particularly the modern passion for equality may threaten liberty. Tocqueville asks what becomes of people when they are overcome by this passion? The growth of state power and the homogenization of state power society as results of homogenizing of society as two consequences of equalizing conditions. The growth of government inspired many of Buchanan’s earlier writings. What Mill, Tocqueville and James Buchanan teaches us is that to love democracy well, we must love it moderately. Buchanan knew Tocqueville and Benjamin Constant, he complained abouit not learning much from Montesquieu. These insights are important for those who struggle to establish democracy we need to deal with the fragile, complicated, and often contradictory nature of democracy. To present a critical theory of democracy, as public choice theory does is very different from attacking democracy.

A lot of debate in political philosophy in many countries is on the demands that morals make on politics from outside of politics. Tocqueville and Buchanan do in different ways begin with the modern regime par excellence – democracy. Democracy is everywhere and it is important to discuss its strengths and its weaknesses. They discuss, not the abuse of power by Kings and dictators, but how democracy may be abused.

Tocqueville observed the equality of modern conditions in modern society. Equality of conditions proceeds from democracy as a political regime.

All three thinkers feared the tyranny of the majority, and discuss this in their differing ways. It is useful to read Buchanan’s concern with the problems of democracy into a broad tradition of European authors. Isaiah Berlin (positive and negative liberty, as it relates to liberty and democracy), Raymond Aron (political sociology of modernity), Ralf Dahrendorf (current and classical contradictions of democracy the ‘New Social Conflict 2nd edn’) , FA Hayek (democracy should be constitutionally limited for epistemological reasons and in order to protect vulnerable minorities CL & LL&L), Josef Schumpeter, (the incentives of democratic man) , Pierre Manent (philosophy and the nature of democracy) and is to name just a few). They discuss political philosophy and sociology, to James Buchanan’s work see this as a sustained attack on democracy seems false, unfair and misleading.

Nancy Macleans book seems to suffer from several shortcomings, two of the worst being poor understanding of Buchanan’s and the public choice theory’s theoretical basis in economics and willful distortion of what he says and quoting him out of context.

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From left-leaning writer Rick Perlstein’s Facebook page on July 14th (link added):

It pains me very deeply to say this, as Nancy Maclean is a friend whose past work I deeply admire, and whose broad political aims I share, but I totally endorse this article about her book “Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for Democracy.” Maclean really does, at times, distort quotes from the subject to claim they mean the opposite of what they actually mean. Yet more damningly, in my opinion, the foundation of the entire book is a conspiracy theory that suggests that if you understand THIS ONE SECRET PLAN, you understand the rise of the right in America in its entirety. Which suggests you don’t need to understand any of a score of other important tributaries, some of them not top-down conspiratorial at all but deeply, organically bottom up, which gave us the political order of battle we know now. That you don’t need to read anything else. Which is actively dangerous to historical understanding.

(HT Steven Hayward)  Hayward, who has now read MacLean’s book, correctly notes that “there is literally a howler on every page.  The book ought to be withdrawn by the publisher.”

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In her hallucination-as-history book, Democracy in Chains, Nancy Maclean writes – with absolutely no evidence – that the late Nobel laureate economist Jim Buchanan, who was born and bred in rural Tennessee, was influenced by the southern agrarian Donald Davidson, who taught at Vanderbilt University.  Here’s MacLean on page 34:

When he [Buchanan] left Tennessee for New York to do his military service in 1941, the new graduate seemed to see through lenses wholly crafted by Donald Davidson.  New York City was to the Nashville writer a veritable cussword, a synecdoche for all that is wrong with reform-minded America.  “I felt I was in enemy territory,” Buchanan said of his first encounter with America’s leading city, surrounded by “strange beings.”

MacLean supplies no footnote to any material that might lend evidentiary support to her purely speculative claim that Buchanan was influenced by Davidson.  Again, the reason is that in all of the vast published writings of Buchanan, there is no mention of Davidson.  I’ve not gone through all of Buchanan’s unpublished materials, but in those that I’ve seen, I find no mention of Davidson.  (Also, to repeat, in the nearly three decades that I knew Jim, I never once heard him mention Davidson, at least not that I recall.)  And MacLean – who has gone through some of Buchanan’s unpublished papers – provides no citation to any mention by Buchanan of Davidson.  Presumably, had MacLean found any such mention by Buchanan of Davidson, she’d quote it or at least point her readers toward it.

In the above-quoted passage, MacLean leaps from the fact that a young man from rural Tennessee did not like New York City to the conclusion that that young man was under the influence of the southern agrarian Donald Davidson.  What other explanation can there possibly be?!  Oh, I know, here’s one: It’s very common for young men and women who grew up in small, southern agricultural towns to be overwhelmed by New York City when they first encounter it – so overwhelmed as to find that city strange and disagreeable and even sometimes hostile.  MacLean, though, must be unaware of this very common negative reaction of rural- and small-town folk to Gotham, for the explanation that she finds most compelling for the young country-bumpkin Buchanan’s dislike of NYC is that he must have somehow absorbed the ideas and ideals of Donald Davidson!

Moving on.  The words that MacLean quotes above from Buchanan are from his 1992 autobiography, Better Than Plowing.  (Hmm…  I wonder why a devout Southern Agrarian would describe his life as an academic as being better than a life of toil on the soil.  Anyway….)  So MacLean, presumably, has read Buchanan’s autobiography.  But one wonders how carefully she has read it, for as Phil Magness points out on his Facebook page, on page 109 of that same autobiography Buchanan writes the following; it appears in a part of the book where Buchanan relates the fondness he realized relatively late in his life for having a rural homestead and farm (which he had, near Blacksburg, Virginia):

As chapter 2 should have made clear, my early life could scarcely have produced in me some romanticized yearning for the drudgery of the yeoman farmer. And, through the middle decades of my life I felt no yearning to return to the soil, to seek out my roots, to engage with nature directly in some continuing struggle to transform the wild into the fruitful.

Phil proceeds to correctly note that “Buchanan’s interest in rural aesthetics was his late-life retirement project – a rediscovery of something that he self-consciously ran away from in his youth because it had little interest to him at the time.  MacLean completely misses that even though he spelled it out for her.  It’s hard to see how her doing so was anything other than an attempt to shoehorn Buchanan into the caricature she had already created for him.”

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I’m going to write a book about Duke University historian Nancy MacLean’s stealth plan to undermine the United States Constitution in order to subject all Americans to Soviet-style central planning and state terror.

My book, of course (being academic), will be larded with footnotes, many to unpublished materials not available to the public.  In my book, which will run to well over 300 page, I will claim – in the breathless tone fitting for the revelation of such an unbelievable and frightening plot – that all of the evidence that I painstakingly sifted through and studied carefully points to Nancy MacLean being influenced by Joseph McCarthy and Joseph Stalin (as well as, as will become obvious, Pol Pot).  She is, I will demonstrate, an admirer of these men as well as of their ideas, ideals, and tactics.  The fact that there is no evidence in her many published works of her naming McCarthy, Stalin, or Pot as influences will not deter me from nevertheless drawing the connections that, I know in my heart of hearts, are there.  Likewise, the fact that much of what MacLean does write and say seems on its face to imply her opposition to Soviet-style governance will not distract me from seeing through to her true, Soviet-like designs for her fellow Americans.

MacLean’s brilliant if quirky scholarship, I shall reveal, makes her a central player in a stealth scheme to slowly re-create the Soviet Union in the U.S.

Assuring my readers that I’m an accomplished scholar who has examined all of the relevant source material, I will include near the very beginning of my book the following passage:

A Quiet Deal in Durham

I can fight this [institution of private property rights and individual freedom], she concluded.  I want to fight this.

Find the resources, she proposed to the left-wing billionaire yearning to bring a Stalinist-like regime to the United States, for me to write a book praising Stalin and criticizing John Locke and everyone else who dares to support private property.  I will use my book to excite people everywhere to raise their voices and votes against all who support private property rights and freedom of contract in any form.  It would be an academic book, but one with a quiet political agenda: to defeat those who dare to stand in the way of turning the United States of America into a completely centrally planned, Soviet-style economy and society.

Wow!  Did Nancy MacLean really say all that!  My readers will be impressed with my discovery of this hard evidence of her evil intent.  The careful reader, however, will realized that I have no footnotes to any of the italicized passages.  A very careful reader will sift through the evidence to discover that the italicized words are not quotations at all.  They are merely my hallucination of what Nancy MacLean might have said as she launched what I also hallucinate to be her evil plot to Sovietize America.  I put completely made-up words in Nancy MacLean’s mouth in a way that excuses any reader for believing that MacLean really said the italicized words.

Of course, I’m not really going to write any such book because not only have I no evidence that MacLean yearns to Sovietize America, but I have no reason to believe any such fanciful notion.  You see, I – like most people – am unwilling to elevate any hallucinations, or even vague suspicions, that I might have into an account of reality that is passed off as factual.  Nancy MacLean, however, is not like most people.  She recklessly believes her hallucinations and passes them off as factual.

If you doubt me, read her book, Democracy in Chains.  (I cannot bring myself to link at this blog to such an abominably bad work, but you can find it on Amazon.)  Or, short of reading her book of tales, read, if you haven’t already, Mike Munger’s brilliant review of it.  Here’s the part of Mike’s review that is relevant to this Cafe Hayek post:

Early in Democracy in Chains, in a preface entitled “A Quiet Deal in Dixie,” MacLean recounts an exchange, a conversation really, between two conservatives. One is the president of a major southern university, the other is an academic worker intent on reverse-engineering a repressive sociopolitical order in America, working from the ground up, using shadowy methods and discredited theories.

The academic writes a proposal for a research center where these ideas can be given a pestilential foothold, a source of viral infection hidden in a legitimate academic setting. The goal, as MacLean tells it, was to begin a Fabian war to re-establish a repressive, plutocratic society ruled by oligarchs. MacLean has actually examined the founding documents, the letters in this exchange, and cites the shadowy academic as saying: “I can fight this [democracy] . . . I want to fight this.” (xv, emphasis in original reference).

In his proposal, the professor expands on the theme, which I quote directly from Democracy in Chains(xv, emphasis in original): “Find the resources, he proposed to [the University President], for me to create a new center on the campus of the University . . . and I will use this center to create a new school of political economy and social philosophy.” Wow! That’s pretty big stuff.

Except . . . there’s something odd. The italicized text above is written in the first person and is also italicized in the original setting. But, the italicized passage has no quote marks. It’s not footnoted.

I was curious about that omission, so I tracked down the founding documents themselves: “Working Papers for Internal Discussion Only—General Aims” (1959) and “The Jefferson Center for Studies in Political Economy and Social Philosophy” (1956) (both from Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.). And it turns out that the reason there are no quote marks, and no footnotes, is that this exchange, and in particular the first-person italicized portion, never actually took place. It’s not a quote. No, seriously: It’s not a quote. It’s made up. Fabricated. Fictional.

MacLean, to her credit, never actually claims it is a quote, although a careless reader could be excused for thinking it was, given the first-person voice and the italics.

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… is from page 46 of Richard Epstein’s excellent 1995 book, Simple Rules for a Complex World:

The insistence on the autonomy of the person, and on the dominance of private over collective property, is an effort not to promote greed and selfish behavior but to create many small separate domains in which informal norms can take over, at far greater precision and at lower cost [compared to that of formal rules designed and enforced by the state].

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First, Phil Magness:

I’ll offer one more quick observation on the ongoing controversy about Nancy MacLean’s Democracy in Chains.

In several recent interviews MacLean has presented her work as an “intellectual history” of James Buchanan. A few historians have come to her defense as well, taking a similar line and also suggesting that MacLean’s critics either don’t understand or are “misreading” the methods and “best practices” of intellectual history by focusing upon her thin documentation of the figures she presents as Buchanan’s intellectual influences.

This line of argument unintentionally reveals a critical oversight in MacLean’s treatment of Buchanan. It also shows that the claim about “intellectual history” methods is largely hollow. That oversight is the 17th century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes.

If you are even minimally familiar with the work of Buchanan, you should know that one of the most important, recurring, and indeed ubiquitous thinkers that he engages across his vast body of scholarship is Thomas Hobbes. I’d even go so far as to suggest that it’s impossible to accurately write an intellectual history of Buchanan without understanding the deep complexities of his decades-long engagement with Hobbes’ work and his adopted role as Hobbes’ frequent interlocutor (yes, there are other figures like Frank Knight and Knut Wicksell who warrant similar notice for their formative influences on Buchanan’s political economy. Hobbes is a central figure – both utilized and engaged – in Buchanan’s political theory).

Nor is any of this a big secret. Buchanan probably refers to Hobbes a hundred times or more in his collected academic works, and three of his major books centrally engage what he calls the Leviathan model of government in a direct and obvious reference to Hobbes’ famous work.

So where is Hobbes in Nancy MacLean’s purported “intellectual history” of James M. Buchanan? Almost completely absent. He appears only once – a passing reference on page 33, where he is quickly cast aside and replaced by a completely imaginary connection to the obscure segregationist Agrarian poet Donald Davidson as the supposed source of Buchanan’s Leviathan concept.

So not only does MacLean appear to have invented a non-existent connection to Davidson. In doing so she unintentionally jettisoned a central figure – Hobbes – from Buchanan’s corpus of scholarship.

DBx: I count in the complete Indexes (2002) to the Collected Works of James M. Buchanan 70 different page entries for Thomas Hobbes.  Because many of those entries are to multiple pages – for example,”383-385″ – and because on many of the pages on which Buchanan mentions Hobbes he does so multiple times, the number of times that Buchanan, in his Collected Works, references Hobbes is significantly more than 70.  In contrast, the number of page entries in the Indexes to John C. Calhoun, to Donald Davidson, or to agrarianism (southern or otherwise) is zero.

In the Indexes significant numbers of page entries appear also for Armen Alchian, Kenneth Arrow, Robert Barro, William Baumol, Gary Becker, Duncan Black, Geoffrey Brennan, Ronald Coase, Antonio de Viti de Marco, Anthony Downs, Milton Friedman, F.A. Hayek, David Hume, W.H. Hutt, J.M. Keynes, Israel Kirzner, Frank Knight, Dwight Lee, Abba Lerner, Erik Lindahl, Charles Lindblom, James Madison, Alfred Marshall, Karl Marx, J.S. Mill, Ludwig von Mises, Richard Musgrave, Robert Nozick, Mancur Olson, Vilfredo Pareto, A.C. Pigou, Michael Polanyi, Amilcare Puviani, John Rawls (who is among the most-referenced, and usually quite favorably), David Ricardo, Lionel Robbins, Paul Samuelson, Amartya Sen, Henry Simons, Adam Smith, George Stigler, Andrew Whinston, and Knut Wicksell.  Again, though, none – nada – zilch – zero appear for either Calhoun or Davidson.

These facts – and they are as straightforward and as accessible as facts about a scholar’s work get – are completely at odds with Nancy MacLean’s thesis that major (or even minor, for that matter) influences on Buchanan’s ideals, thought, and work are Calhoun and Davidson.  Once again, the fact that Davidson taught at a college (Vanderbilt) that Buchanan never attended but which was in the same state where Buchanan was born and raised is not at all evidence, circumstantial or otherwise, that Buchanan was influenced by Davidson’s teachings and writings.  Therefore, MacLean’s assertion that major influences on Buchanan were Calhoun and Davidson is not history or scholarship; rather, it’s fabrication, plain and simple.  She mistakes one of her hallucinations for the factual record.  This mischaracterization of Buchanan is all the more inexcusable given that it plays a key role in MacLean’s false narrative.

Second, here’s David Gordon who, apparently unlike Nancy MacLean, actually read carefully an article by Alex Tabarrok and Tyler Cowen that MacLean mentions and – no surprise by now – that she utterly misunderstands and, hence, misrepresents:

As I mentioned in an earlier article, Nancy MacLean’s Democracy in Chains has aroused controversy, in large part owing to her many inaccuracies and misleading remarks.  I’d like in this note to call attention to a few more of these.

She begins the book’s Prologue with a summary of an article by Alexander Tabarrok and Tyler Cowen, “The Public Choice Theory of John C. Calhoun.” These authors, colleagues of Buchanan at George Mason University, “have called the antebellum South Carolina senator ‘a precursor of modern public choice theory,’ another name for the stream of thought pioneered by Buchanan.” (p.1) So far, so good; but she goes on to say: “Both thinkers sought ways to restrict what voters could achieve together in a democracy to what the wealthiest among them would agree to.” (p.2) ) In fact, Tabarrok and Cowen  discuss Calhoun’s doctrine of the “concurrent majority” under which all the major interests in society have to approve legislation; but they do not say that Calhoun took the wealthiest to be among these interest groups. They further point out that Calhoun did not intend his unanimity criterion to apply literally to “every member of society.” She does have a footnote to her statement; and, since the paragraph consists of her summary of Tabarrok and Cowen’s article, one would anticipate a citation to this article. But the reference is to another article by Cowen, one that does not discuss Calhoun at all, and mentions Buchanan only in a footnote.  (p.245, note 4)

MacLean’s summary of the article also omits Tabarrok and Cowen’s conclusion that “Unlike Buchanan, Calhoun does not subscribe to normative individualism and contractarianism.” In their view, Calhoun’s “lack of ethical foundations shows up in his defense of slavery.” By omitting the authors’ conclusion, MacLean makes it appear that they agree with her that both Calhoun and Buchanan aimed to thwart the interests of the people in favor of a narrow elite of the wealthiest.

One twentieth-century economist who certainly qualifies as an elitist was John Maynard Keynes; but not in MacLean’s telling. According to her, Keynes ‘believed that for a modern capitalist democracy to flourish, all must have a share in the economy’s benefits and governance.”(p.xxix) Where does Keynes say that everyone must have a share in the economy’s governance? She offers no support for her surprising claim.

She says that Herbert Spencer was one of  “bitter establishment opponents of Populism” (p.118), but where does Spencer discuss the Populist movement? She does not tell us. Spencer, she also says, was among those who “pretended’’ that social power does not shape markets; but once more she offers no evidence. It seems unlikely that Spencer held the view she attributes to him. He was, after all, one of the founders of sociology.

DBx: Once again, if we practice what MacLean herself practices, then we can show that MacLean is an enemy of democracy.  But because no serious scholar practices the sort of careless making of history-by-hallucination that is practiced by MacLean throughout Democracy in Chains, we don’t actually tar her with the inaccurate accusation that she is a self-conscious enemy of democracy.

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Bob Higgs Sums Up Well Nancy MacLean’s Fabulist Tale

by Don Boudreaux on July 18, 2017

in Books

Here’s a slice from Bob’s latest post:

As Michael Munger has described in detail, MacLean has undertaken to portray Buchanan as the central figure in a Koch-funded conspiracy to destroy American democracy and replace it with a racist plutocracy. She has undertaken this fantastical enterprise notwithstanding that she lacks even a freshman-level understanding of the content and historical development of economics in general and public choice analysis in particular. In short, she has set out to write about one of the deepest thinkers of the past sixty-five years in economics and political philosophy without having a clue about these areas of study. Is it any wonder that she has produced a howler?

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Who’s “Undistinguished”?

by Don Boudreaux on July 18, 2017

in Economics, Myths and Fallacies

No time is an acceptable time for spreading fake news, but now it is especially important for friends of truth and civility everywhere to call out fake news and “alternative facts.”  Alas, Nancy MacLean’s Democracy in Chains is little more than a parade of fake news, “alternative facts,” and an author’s wild hallucinations.  Consider, for example, MacLean’s description on page 99 of Jim Buchanan’s long-time colleague and sometime co-author Gordon Tullock; this description comes in the part of MacLean’s fable where she is relating the University of Virginia’s failure in 1967 to promote Tullock to the rank of full professor:

Brilliant though Buchanan and his allies might have believed the law school alumnus [Tullock] to be, he lacked training in the field in which he taught, and his publication record – apart from the book he coauthored with Buchanan – was undistinguished.

Well now.  It’s true that Tullock (1922-2014) was formally trained as a lawyer and not as an economist.  But being brilliant and precocious, Tullock – having taken Henry Simons’s famous course in economics at the University of Chicago law school – taught himself advanced economics.  The scholar whose publication record MacLean calls “undistinguished” had, by the end of 1967:

– 3 publications in the American Economic Review (the top journal in economics)

– 4 publications in the Journal of Political Economy (a top journal in economics)

– 3 publications in the Quarterly Journal of Economics (a top journal in economics)

– 1 publication in Economic Journal (a top journal in economics)

– 1 publication in Oxford Economic Papers (a high-level journal in economics)

– 1 publication in Economic History Review (a high-level journal in economics)

– 3 publications in Ethics (a top journal in philosophy)

– 2 publications in Science (a high-level science journal)

– 1 publication in the Journal of the American Statistical Association (a top journal)

– 1 publication in Il Politico (a highly respected social-science journal in Italy)

– 1 publication in China Quarterly (a highly respected journal, I am told)

(Readers can check my list by searching Tullock’s publications at JSTOR, which does not include all journals in which Gordon might have published.)

And Gordon had just published, in the Western Economic Journal, “The Welfare Costs of Tariffs, Monopolies, and Theft,” his seminal article which would launch research into rent-seeking.

Book-wise, Tullock also by then also had co-authored (with Buchanan) The Calculus of Consent (1962) and had written and published The Politics of Bureaucracy (1965).

Tullock’s publication record in 1967 was most assuredly not “undistinguished.”  In fact, it was decidedly distinguished.

Nancy MacLean doesn’t know what she’s writing about.

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