The Corner

Politics & Policy

Nancy MacLean vs. Tyler Cowen

Nancy MacLean has a book on the libertarian economist and political theorist James Buchanan. It seems to conduct a drive-by on another libertarian writer, Tyler Cowen (who is among other things a fellow columnist for Bloomberg View). Russ Roberts has the goods.

Here, for example, is Cowen commenting on proposals to change the Constitution for libertarian ends: “While weakening checks and balances would increase the chance of a very good outcome, it also would increase the chance of a very bad outcome.”

And here’s MacLean’s description of Cowen’s views: “The economist was creating, it seems fair to say, a handbook for how to conduct a fifth-column assault on democracy.

“‘The weakening of checks and balances’ in the American system, Cowen suggested, ‘would increase the chance of a very good outcome.’”

Roberts documents several other distortions, none of which lend themselves easily to innocent explanations. It’s enough to make you wonder whether MacLean’s attacks on her main subject, Buchanan, which have been credulously received by liberals, are on the level.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

Most Popular

Books

The Plot against Kavanaugh

Justice on Trial, by Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino (Regnery,  256 pp., $28.99) The nomination and confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court was the political event of 2018, though not for the reasons anyone expected. All High Court confirmations these days are fraught with emotion and tumult ... Read More
Politics & Policy

He Just Can’t Help Himself

By Saturday, the long-simmering fight between Nancy Pelosi and her allies on one side and the “squad” associated with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the other had risen to an angrier and more destructive level at the Netroots Nation conference. Representative Ayanna Pressley, an African-American Massachusetts ... Read More
White House

On Gratitude and Immigration

Like both Rich and David, I consider it flatly inappropriate for the president of the United States to be telling Americans -- rhetorically or otherwise -- to “go back where you came from.” In consequence, you will find no defense of the president from me, either. What Trump tweeted over the weekend was ... Read More
Education

Gender Dissenter Gets Fired

Allan M. Josephson is a distinguished psychiatrist who, since 2003, has transformed the division of child and adolescent psychiatry and psychology at the University of Louisville from a struggling department to a nationally acclaimed program. In the fall of 2017 he appeared on a panel at the Heritage Foundation ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Pelosi’s House of Pain

Not so long ago — as recently as the cover of the March 2019 Rolling Stone, in fact — they seemed like the best of friends. I'm referring to Nancy Pelosi and the members of "The Squad": Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and (not pictured) Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley. They shared some good ... Read More