Happy Daniel Davies Day!

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

Daniel Davies of

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


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