Ewan McGaughey of King’s College, London and The London School of Economics and Political Science writes in the Modern Law Review (vol. 78 at 1057, 1067) about a Nazi theorist Johannes Zahn (of whom I confess to never having heard before) who apparently "formulated exactly the arguments pursued by Bainbridge’s director-primacy theory today":
This is not to say there is any evidence whatsoever that Nazi apparatchiks like Zahn (who became a partner in Germany’s largest private bank and died in 2000) had any direct influence upon, or contact with, Jensen and Meckling, Easterbrook and Fischel, or Bainbridge. And initially there were differences between them and the deranged comedy of corporate law’s Doctor Strangelove. Jensen and Meckling’s nexus of contracts formulation had been extended to all creditors, employees and others, and, like Easterbrook and Fischel, they had initially advocated shareholder primacy within this nexus. As already explained, this was, in effect, to advocate primacy for asset managers and banks. Bainbridge, however, has remarried the nexus of contracts concept back to director primacy, and for it has endured significant criticism.
As I read that passage, I cannot help but conclude that McGaughey is invoking the reductio ad Hitlerum to discredit arguments made by Jensen & Meckling, Easterbrook & Fischer, and yours truly (at least I'm in good company). After all, a classic version of the reductio ad Hitlerum is to impugn an idea by implying that some Nazi or another held a similar idea, which is precisely what McGaughey is doing here despite that limp opening qualifier. And the last sentence clearly seems intended to loop me back to Zahn a.k.a. Dr. Strangelove, thereby doubling down on the insults by association.
In my book, that makes Jack Coffee's attacks on yours truly--one of which McGaughey takes pains to cite--look like weak milk. To use what I suspect most people would agree is the most vile of the guilt by association logical fallacies to try to discredit our ideas is cheap, intellectually dishonest, and beneath contempt.
Update: I should note that McGaughey's article purports to be an extended review of Marc Moore's book Corporate Governance in the Shadow of the State. Even though I disagree with much of Moore's analysis, and he disagrees with much of mine, I'm a big fan of Moore's book. His treatment of opposing arguments is scrupulously fair, even handed, and professional. He scores some telling points without resorting to the sort of offensive analogy on which McGaughey relies. I highly recommend comparing his book and my The New Corporate Governance in Theory and Practice to get a good sense of the state of the debate. In any event, in neither will you find the reductio ad Hitlerum. To the contrary, you'll find several cases where Moore is actually complimentary about some of my work.