The Dishonesty of Naomi Klein:

Her bestseller, The Shock Doctrine, has been subject to some withering critiques, some of which she attempts to rebut here. I don't have the time or interest to get deeply involved in this back and forth, but I did give in to the temptation to click on one of her links. She writes, "If you are concerned that I am exaggerating Friedman's support for the brutal regime of Augusto Pinochet, read a letter Friedman wrote to Pinochet."

Okay, I read the letter, dated April 21, 1975. The only sentence in the letter that can remotely be construed as support is when Friedman writes, "I know that your administration has taken important steps and plans further ones to reduce trade barriers and to liberalize trade, and that as a result Chile's true competitive advantage is better reflected in its trade today than for decades past. This is a great achievement." But surely encouraging sound economic policies is hardly the same as "supporting the brutal regime."

As Johan Norberg explains, Friedman was

in Chile for six days in March 1975 to give public lectures, invited by a private foundation. When he was there he also met once with Pinochet for around 45 minutes, and wrote him one letter afterwards, arguing for a plan to end hyperinflation and liberalize the economy. That was the same kind of advice Friedman gave to communist dictatorships like the Soviet Union, China, and Yugoslavia, yet nobody would claim he was a communist.

Norberg adds that Friedman "turned down two honorary degrees from Chilean universities that received government funding because he thought it could be interpreted as a support for the regime". Finally, Friedman wrote in 1975,

I approve of none of these authoritarian regimes—neither the Communist regimes of Russia and Yugoslavia nor the military juntas of Chile and Brazil. . . . I do not regard visiting any of them as an endorsement. . . . I do not regard giving advice on economic policy as immoral if the conditions seem to me to be such that economic improvement would contribute both to the well-being of the ordinary people and to the chance of movement toward a politically free society.

Klein herself is a great believer in "sanctioning, boycotting, and divesting" from countries that she doesn't like. Yet even she admits that this is a strategic decision, subject to cost-benefit analysis (thus she acknowledges that boycotting the U.S. and other nations for their policies in Iraq and elsewhere would be pointless). And it's the height of dishonesty to suggest that because Friedman gave economic advice in a letter to Pinochet, that somehow made him a supporter of Pinochet's "brutal regime."