I received a very nice note from someone suggesting an open letter in response to Nancy MacLean’s latest work of fiction. Here’s my reply:
Thanks for suggesting that I and other classical-liberal scholars write an open letter expressing our many sound reasons for regarding Nancy MacLean’s attacks on economists James Buchanan, Milton Friedman, and W.H. Hutt as nothing but a river of ridiculous nonsense. But I concur with the advice that you report receiving from Deirdre McCloskey: MacLean is best ignored.
MacLean reveals in her work that she’s either as stupid as a stump or driven delusional by her ideological priors. A third possibility is that she’s an outright liar. My suspicion, though, is that she doesn’t lie in the sense of being aware that what she writes and says is utterly detached from reality. But regardless of whether she’s stupid, delusional, or deceitful, neither she nor any of the pathetic souls who swallow her preposterous tales deserves attention from anyone whose time has any value at all.
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030