The references in the posts come from the interview between Ebenstein and Hayek that is an Appendix to Chicagonomics.
I turned to the interview first because of a Tyler Cowen mention of it. But, now I am reading the main content of the book and am absolutely horrified.
It is quite simply the most vicious attack on libertarianism I have ever read.
Contemporary libertarianism is dead dogma. It is hostile to new ideas....First, it should be pointed out that Mises did not derive his advocacy of a free world based on praxeological self-evident truths, To be sure, praxeology was at the foundation of his study of economics and society, but it was not the justification he used to advocate for a free society.
Moreover, that some ideas are of enduring worth does not mean all public policy positions are carved in stone, as many contemporary libertarians appear to believe...
According to the conservative author Russell Kirk in 1981:"The representative libertarian of this decade is humorless, intolerant, self-righteous, badly schooled, and dull."...
[M]any contemporary libertarians take their extreme antigovernmnet positions for granted (or, in some cases, amazingly, derive them from self-evident, deductive premises-Ludwig von Mises's "praxeology")
In his role as advocate, he was a utilitarian (This differed from Rothbard's approach).
So what does Ebenstein prefer over libertarianism?
He prefers the University of Chicago "classical liberal" approach. He provides as an example of what this means as opposed to libertarianism by quoting a passage by University of Chicago economist Henry Simons from his book A Positive Program For Laissez Faire:
[Classical] Liberals cannot wisely oppose all "socialistic" experimentation, they should not fear its possible successes...Libertarian prophecies of impending doom, save for global war, are as romantic as adolescent-radical notions of how all social problems can be solved.Ebenstein makes the point that the University of Chicago was a place of open scholarship and highlights this via a comment by Milton Friedman:
The evidence is clear that the economics department at Chicago historically has been a very diverse place. This came about, Friedman argued, because of an insistence from the start that "intellectual quality and intellectual quality alone be the base of appointemnst to the faculty."Yeah, right. Here is Friedman in the interview with Ebenstein on why Hayek wasn't allowed to teach in the economics department at Chicago:
[T]hey refused [him a position in the economics department]. I was there at the time, but in a very junior capacity. I was not involved in the decision in any way. But in retrospect, I think they were right....That said, at least Friedman recognized the importance of libertarians Ralph Raico and Ron Hamowy, who studied under Hayek:
[T]hey didn't agree with his economics. Prices and Production, his capital theory-if they had been looking around the world for an economist to add to their staff their prescription would not have been the author of Prices and Production.
Hayek's influence on Chicago...was not through the economics department....Hayek's influence was much more through the students he brought, through the group that established the New Individualist Review---his influence there was very strong and very great.