Over at the Foundation for Economic Education's Anything Peaceful blog, Sheldon Richman highlights libertarian journalist Henry Hazlitt's 1959 book, The Failure of the "New Economcs", which offers a startling take on famed economist John Maynard Keynes:
The more I read the more I thought: Keynes was surely joking. No one in his position could really be that confused, contradictory, and ignorant of economic logic. It had to be a gag on the economics profession, an emperor-with-no-clothes experiment.
Thus I smiled when I got to Hazlitt's statement in chapter XXV, "Did Keynes Recant?" (p. 398):
If it was a joke, Keynes helped inflict much misery and oppression on innocent people just for a laugh. I guess for the elitist Keynes, the well-being of the masses can't be allowed to impede his bold and daring lifestyle. It is for people like him that secularists like me wish there was a place of fire and brimstone.
Keynes was a brilliant man. Much of what he wrote he wrote in tongue-in-cheek, for the pleasure of paradox, to épater le bourgois [shock the middle class], in the spirit of Wilde, Shaw, and the Bloomsbury circle. Perhaps the whole of the General Theory was intended as a huge (400-page) joke, and Keynes was appalled to find disciples who took it all literally.