University of Virginia's Hostility to Coase, Buchanan, et al.

George Leef

Here is an excerpt from Jim Powell's book The Triumph of Liberty:

Intellectual adversaries became hysterical. Some reportedly suggested these men might be fascists. Around 1961, Kermit Gordon, who headed the Ford Foundation's economics funding program, told University of Virginia President Edgar F. Shannon Jr., that continued Ford Foundation support for the economics department was jeopardized by the "Nineteenth century Ultra-Conservatism" of Buchanan, Tullock, Coase and Nutter. The economics department was secretly evaluated, and the ensuing report recommended (1) "Additions should be made to the staff of full professional members of different 'modern' outlook"; and (2) "Care should be taken in making or renewing non-tenure appointments, as well as those of higher rank, to avoid recruitment from the Chicago School." Accordingly, Shannon ordered a purge. Coase left for the University of Chicago. Three times the university refused to name Tullock a full professor, and after the third refusal, in 1967, he accepted a professorship at Rice University, Houston. The following year, Buchanan went to the University of California at Los Angeles. Nutter left to become Assistant Secretary of Defense for international affairs. Many of the students these men attracted went elsewhere. Thus did the University of Virginia force out two future Nobel Laureates and a lot more talent as well.

But never forget that liberals are deeply committed to free inquiry and exchange of ideas.

Image: Ronald Coase / AP

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