INTERVIEWER: Do you think the Chile affair damaged your reputation, or more importantly, made it harder for you to get your ideas across?It's amazing to me that Friedman tries to outline his treatment over Chile in this way. Nobody was particularly mad at Friedman for siding with the non-Communist that I am aware of. In fact domestically most of the bickering between the left and Friedman was a case of proponents of one anti-Communist vs. proponents of another anti-Communist.
MILTON FRIEDMAN: That’s a very hard thing to say, because I think it had effects in both directions. It got a lot of publicity. It made a lot of people familiar with the views who would not otherwise have been. On the other hand, in terms of the political side of it, as you realize, most of the intellectual community, the intellectual elite, as it were, were on the side of Allende, not on the side of Pinochet. And so in a sense they regarded me as a traitor for having been willing to talk in Chile. I must say, it’s such a wonderful example of a double standard, because I had spent time in Yugoslavia, which was a communist country. I later gave a series of lectures in China. When I came back from communist China, I wrote a letter to the Stanford Daily newspaper in which I said, “It’s curious. I gave exactly the same lectures in China that I gave in Chile. I have had many demonstrations against me for what I said in Chile. Nobody has made any objections to what I said in China. How come?”
It wasn't Pinochet's anti-Communism that was the concern. It was the murders, the torture, the toppling of a democracy and the establishment of a military dictatorship.
The way to defend against those charges is to just say "Look, I didn't like what the guy was doing but I had his ear so I gave some advice to heal the Chilean economy. I'd do the same for any dictator's ear that I have."
Say that. Don't try to pawn it off on some paranoid double-standard. If he had gone to China in 1951 (he went to Chile two years after Pinochet's consolidation of power) instead of 1980, or Cuba in 1961 the same concerns would have been raised.