For anyone who’s ever despaired of arguing with her critics…

In the midst of the controversy over the Phillips Curve, Nobel Laureate Paul Samuelson wrote to economist Alvin Hansen:

Milton F[riedman] is a bloody nuisance. In the end he is not right in his provocative stands, but it takes valuable time rebutting his arguments….Having just returned from UCLA where (as in Virginia and Washington) the place is jumping with energetic libertarian nuts, I realize that so much of one’s scientific life has to be occupied in sterile debate.

h/t Yann Giraud (and Doug Henwood for forwarding this post to me)



  1. Douglas storm March 8, 2012 at 12:44 pm | #

    That’s the way the con has always worked, by distraction. ALEC is a Friedmanian con at its core. The states are now full of ALEC foot soldiers who simply introduce junk legislation with the left hand to keep one busy arguing while their “honest” work goes forward with the right hand.

  2. Shane Taylor March 8, 2012 at 1:04 pm | #

    Energetic Libertarian Nuts sounds like a diabetes-inducing breakfast cereal. The mascot should a mischievous leprechaun, but instead of charms, the sugar would be in the shape of gold coins. Each box would contain one of twelve Ron Paul miniatures.

    Then again, when lectured by libertarians, I often have the feeling of being trapped in a high chair.

  3. pragmatic sustainability March 9, 2012 at 4:21 pm | #

    Biologists battling creationists have had this lament as well.

    It is called the Gish Gallop.

  4. Dan March 13, 2012 at 11:25 am | #

    Personally I preferred Solow’s: “Everything reminds Milton Friedman of the money supply. Everything reminds me of sex, but I try to keep it out of my papers.”

    But I guess you have to be into monetary policy to really appreciate it.

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