Brad DeLong has
to be Daniel Davies Day (dcubed, I guess), and the most entertaining celebration
thereof is happening over in the comments section of Marginal
Revolution, where Tyler Cowen attacks Davies’s attack
on Milton Friedman.
Cowen’s commenters and Davies himself are doing a magnificent job of debating
the question as to whether Milton Friedman was or was not a Republican hack,
so I shan’t enter that debate. But much less attention has been focused on the
meat of Cowen’s argument, which is essentially that Davies never knew Friedman,
and therefore can’t claim to speak with much authority on his views.
Davies presents Friedman as a shill for the Republican Party; I’d like to
know how many (public or non-public) conversations he has had with Friedman
about the topic of the Republican Party. I’ve been present for a few, and
while I’m open to feedback from Davies, my guess reading his post is that
he hasn’t been there for any. Yet he writes with a tone of certitude: "it’s
clearly not intellectual honesty that makes American liberals act pretend
that Milton Friedman wasn’t a party line Republican hack."
Of course the problem with Republican hacks (regardless of whether Friedman
was one) is that they toe the Republican party line in public statements for
mass consumption even when they can be very critical of the Republican party
in private. (The corollary, naturally, is also true of Democratic party hacks,
although the Democratic "party line" is a much less well-defined concept.)
But I’d also like to point out that the Daniel Davies of D-squared
Digest is a rather different animal to the Daniel
Davies of Crooked Timber, who in turn is a rather different animal to the
Comment is Free. D-squared Digest is the place where Davies allows himself
to go off half-cocked, or to get really econonerdy should he be so inclined.
His well-formed arguments are more likely to be found at Comment is Free or
Crooked Timber; his screeds, meanwhile, land at D-squared Digest. So when Cowen
attacks Davies for something he wrote on his "this is where I vent"
blog, and says that Davies should list his "personal anthropological experience
with the subjects under consideration" whenever he posts there, I feel
he’s kinda picking on the wrong blog, as it were.
In any event, and regardless of what you think of his views on Milton Friedman,
Davies is a hugely entertaining writer who is much more right than wrong on
most things, and especially on matters relating to finance (about which he doesn’t
blog nearly enough, probably because that’s his day job). So enjoy Daniel Davies