H.L. Mencken once called Henry Hazlitt “one of the few economists in human history who could really write.” Another was Leland B. Yeager, who died April 23 at 93. A professor emeritus at both the University of Virginia and Auburn, Yeager passionately defended free trade, including in currencies. He defended economic freedom on the grounds that it was not only efficient but also ethical.

This is from David R. Henderson (me), “Leland Yeager, an Economist Who Could Write,” Wall Street Journal, May 6, 2018 (electronic) and May 7 (print.)

I’ll post the whole thing in 30 days.

Thanks to George Selgin for giving me the facts (that he got from Roger Koppl) about Yeager’s experience in World War II, Don Boudreaux for referencing Yeager’s excellent 1954 monograph (which I read in its entirety before writing the piece) and for looking over a draft, Liberty Fund for publishing on-line that monograph, and to my wife, Rena Henderson, for her deft edit.

Finally I appreciate Journal editor James Taranto for changing my saccharine ending to the current ending. In the final paragraph, he replaced my final sentence with a sentence that helped amplify the theme:

I should also note Yeager’s service in the U.S. Army during World War II. His love of foreign languages came in handy because, as a 19-year-old, he was a Japanese cryptanalytic translator–a codebreaker. In civilian life he was also a brilliant translator, of the sometimes abstruse language of economics into plain English.