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Ferguson Apologizes

Via the BBC:  Niall Ferguson apologises for Keynes remarks

Prof Ferguson has now apologised “unreservedly” for what he called “stupid” and “insensitive” remarks.

He was asked to comment on Mr Keynes’s famous observation of “in the long run we are all dead”.

In unscripted remarks during a question and answer session, the high-profile historian and writer said Mr Keynes was indifferent to the long run because he had no children, and that he had no children because he was gay.

[...]

“My disagreements with Keynes’s economic philosophy have never had anything to do with his sexual orientation,” he wrote.

“It is simply false to suggest, as I did, that his approach to economic policy was inspired by any aspect of his personal life. As those who know me and my work are well aware, I detest all prejudice, sexual or otherwise.”

Also of significance (as a commenter in the earlier thread also noted):

In 1926, Mr Keynes married Lydia Lopokova, a Russian ballerina, and Prof Ferguson also said he had forgotten that she had miscarried.

See my earlier post on the subject here.

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About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor and Chair of Political Science at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. He is the author of Voting Amid Violence: Electoral Democracy in Colombia and is currently working on a comparative study of the US to 29 other democracies. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging at PoliBlog since 2003. Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. arguingwithsignposts says:

    OK, Steve, would he have apologized if he hadn’t been called out on this?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  2. @arguingwithsignposts: Clearly not.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  3. legion says:

    Fergusen has been arguing against Keynes’ theories for ages, and he has been proven utterly and unreservedly wrong. Rather than accept this and move on, like any competent scientist, his instinct has been (even before this incident) to attack the character of the man making the argument rather than the argument itself. Fergusen is a sh*tty excuse for an academic, and undeserving of respect.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  4. Stonetools says:

    Test

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  5. Chris Sherlock says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    So what do you want him to do now? I don’t think there’s anything else for him to do…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. anjin-san says:

    Kind of a typical conservative apology. “I’m sorry I let people know what I really think”…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  7. legion says:

    @Chris Sherlock: It’s not so much what Fergusen should do – it’s that other people and organizations should stop treating him seriously as an academic. He’s a hack and a bigot. In any kind of decent society, he shouldn’t be able to make a living – let alone as comfortable a living as he does – based on only those two sad critera.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  8. swearyanthony says:

    As others have pointed out: far from this being a one-off, this is something Ferguson has done, repeatedly. So as well as being flat out *wrong* on economics, he’s either a nasty bigot or a cheap hack. I am sure this will affect his career. Oh wait…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  9. Stonetools says:

    I sense an epic Krugman column coming.

    Again, I think the problem is that in the current crisis Keynes was proven right again, conservatives were proven wrong-again. Conservatives hate that and won’t admit that, so they snipe, lie, obfuscate, or just seethe in silence. We see that in conservative posters and commenters here and everywhere else on the Internet. Conservatives will say anything about liberal economics and economists, except ” You were right, and we were wrong”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  10. al-Ameda says:

    In 1926, Mr Keynes married Lydia Lopokova, a Russian ballerina, and Prof Ferguson also said he had forgotten that she had miscarried.

    … an artful way of saying, “crap, I didn’t know that!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  11. Ben Wolf says:

    @legion: People don’t generally respect Fergusons’s work any more. His regular gig nowadays is giving speeches confirming whatever the 0.01% want to hear. The unemployed should be drafted, Keynesians are fags, America should conquer and garrison Africa, the Middle East and Asia with the sons of the poor, etc.

    Only at schools like Harvard are “scholars” of Ferguson’s character tolerated and given respect, which should be a claer examplw of which universities to avoid if you want a real education.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  12. gVOR08 says:

    @legion: @Chris Sherlock: Ferguson should stop lying about Keynes and many other things. But he won’t. As J. K. Galbraith said, vaguely remembered, ‘Shilling for the wealthy pays better than crusading for the truth.’

    As Paul Krugman has said, some of our rulers have been monsters. Ferguson may qualify. They should be treated as such. They should be shunned by their peers and should certainly not be published. But that’s not how we do things. http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/11/05/the-monster-years/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @legion:

    Rather than accept this and move on, like any competent scientist,

    I think I see the problem. Never mind “competent”, he’s not a scientist. He is a historian.

    @Chris Sherlock:

    So what do you want him to do now? I don’t think there’s anything else for him to do…

    He could start by shutting the f up.

    @swearyanthony:

    So as well as being flat out *wrong* on economics, he’s either a nasty bigot or a cheap hack.

    The problem here is not that he is a hack and a bigot, it is people taking advice on economic policy from a historian.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0