The Spring issue of the Claremont Review of Books (subscribe here) is out with the magazine’s usual ration of high-quality reviews and essays. Yesterday we previewed Colin Dueck’s review/essay on the folly of liberals, who mistook the end of the Cold War for the end of geopolitical competition. Today we turn to our very own, very prolific Steven F. Hayward’s review of two books on the postwar revival of free market thinking, preeminently by Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman.
Ever since the housing bubble burst into a banking crisis free market conservatives — who had spent the past 30 years winning all the best economics prizes and listening as our arguments were aped by our opponents — have lost the “narrative” to the left’s Keynesian champions. Steve asserts that a less triumphalist Right would have noticed that, despite appearing to carry all before the strength of our reasoning, “practice wasn’t really following our self-congratulatory narrative.”
Two recent works on free market thought, Steve writes, reflect America’s loss of confidence in the truths of free market principles — principles that have taken the blame for the banking crisis. Steve is not without hope for free marketeers: it is something after all to have the stronger arguments even if, for the time being, no one seems willing to listen.
As he does frequently on Power Line, Steve acts as a historian tracing the intersection of intellectual and political history. To my surprise, as he considers the books under review, Steve suggests that “Hayek is the more important figure in the long run than Friedman, despite Friedman’s greater fame and policy influence.” Please check out Steve’s “The Road to Freedom.”