William Coleman, author of Economics and its Enemies, gave a lecture on the history of anti-economics. He sees two main sources of hostility to economics. First,

The paradoxical truth is that nothing is more unpopular than the pursuit of the public interest. For every member of the public is a vested interest who wants preference and privilege, rather than the cold equality before the law of the free market. Barring fortuitous circumstances, for any economic interest there is always a regulation/intervention that will improve that interest’s position relative to what it would enjoy in the free market. No one, in other words, has a vested interest” in the completely free market.

In addition to self-interested opposition to economics, there is ideological opposition. One form of opposition is what Coleman calls “irrationalism.”

While right irrationalism sees science as subversive of authority; Left Irrationalism sees it as constructive authority. Left Irrationalism condemns science and expertise as tools of social control, holds scientific authority to be an extension of political authority

For Discussion. Coleman says, “I would venture that ‘anti-economics’ is now the leading demonology of the intellect.” Is he overstating his case?