The Corner

The Worker’s Friend

I may not have fully understood Thomas Frank’s latest column: He seemed to be arguing that to criticize Hyde Park is to side with the old Daley machine, but he may have been trying to get at something less ridiculous. This bit, however, I get just fine:

True, there is a clique of professors in Hyde Park who are “alien” to working-class interests, as I know from having lived there for 15 years. Those professors are conservatives, however: members of the University of Chicago’s law and economics departments who have given that institution much of its world-wide fame.

Their hostility to the working class is not to be doubted. They have dreamed up ways to get the New Deal ruled unconstitutional. They have railed against labor unions and higher minimum wages while cheering lustily for Nafta and grotesque pay inequality. At this very moment, in that diabolical neighborhood of Hyde Park, the university is setting up a lavishly funded Milton Friedman Institute in order to better worship the greatest free-market evangelist of them all. (Fittingly, it will occupy what used to be the Chicago Theological Seminary.)

Yes, Friedman has a lot to answer for. The end of conscription and the taming of inflation were hell on the working class.

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.


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