Niall Ferguson’s apology is an epic fail

8 May, 2013 at 13:21 | Posted in Varia | 17 Comments

fergusonFerguson’s “unreserved” apology is nothing of the kind. He does not apologize for his past efforts to smear Keynes. He tries to make it appear that the latest smear was a one-off, unthinking quip. It was neither. He apologizes for being “insensitive.” What could that mean in this context where he is supposedly agreeing that what he said was false – not true but “insensitive?” Ferguson simply made up the part about Keynes and “poetry.” Ferguson’s spreading of homophobic tropes isn’t “insensitive” in this context – it’s false and it is nasty.

Ferguson apologizes for forgetting that Keynes’ wife suffered a miscarriage. But what is the relevance of that fact to Ferguson’s smear or apology? Is he saying that the pregnancy falsifies his implicit smear that Keynes wasn’t “man enough” to have sex with a woman? Did he think gay or bisexual males were sterile or impotent? Why did he emphasize his claim that Keynes married “a ballerina?”

Why didn’t Ferguson apologize for his substantive misstatements? As a historian who has read Keynes he knows that Keynes’ quip about “in the long run we are all dead” had absolutely nothing to do with claiming that the longer-term health of the economy was unimportant or a matter in which Keynes was uninterested.

William K. Black

Added 8/5: And as if this wasn’t enough, Ferguson now has an article in The Harvard Crimson where he accuses his critics of being “among the most insidious enemies of academic freedom.” Read it yourself, but it’s in my view even more pathetic than his original statements. Who can take this guy seriously anymore? I for one certainly can’t.


  1. Is there some reason to think the following is untrue?:

    By looking at his journals, Evan Zimroth tries to decode the private life of John Maynard Keynes:

    Keynes obsessively counted and tabulated almost everything; it was a life-long habit. As a child, he counted the number of front steps of every house on his street. Later he kept a running record (not surprisingly) of his expenses and his golf scores. He also counted and tabulated his sex life.

    The first diary is easy: Keynes lists his sexual partners, either by their initials (GLS for Lytton Strachey, DG for Duncan Grant) or their nicknames (“Tressider,” for J. T. Sheppard, the King’s College Provost). When he apparently had a quick, anonymous hook-up, he listed that sex partner generically: “16-year-old under Etna” and “Lift boy of Vauxhall” in 1911, for instance, and “Jew boy,” in 1912.

    • Thanks a lot Bob. That kind of impressive scholarship is really helpful for enhancing the understanding of the economics of Keynes …

      • Is this false? If it is indeed false, we should all know it and discredit it. It’s out there on a “liberal” web site.

        • It’s totally uninteresting where this “article” has been published.
          Swedish Television aired a series of programmes a couple of years ago, where, among other things, one interviewed party leaders and asked them if they had ever shaved their scrotum. I guess most of us others had been more interested in learning something about their suggested policies, etc etc. Garbage is garbage no matter where it’s published.

          • 1. Does that mean the allegation is true?

            2. Does that mean that it’s irrelevant if one of Keynes’ alleged hobbies was purchasing sexual favors of young boys from their impoverished parents (which is the allegation I’m questioning).

  2. Every genius deserves his limerick

    I’m the best
    I’ve put myself to the test
    I always pass
    Albeit the odor suggest nothing more than gas
    Fuck the rest (he, he)

  3. Some of the readers of this blog may be unaware about that Swedish poeple are completely uninterested in whom other people go to bed with. It is considered being private matters of these people.

    Apparently, some people, particularly English speaking people, are EXTEMELY interested, and tend to be very eager to pass judgments about it. It’s a kind of vicariuos sex, I suppose. They can’t get partners, and have to sneak into other peoples relationships as a substitute…

    • I’m sure the poor underage boys purchased by Keynes from their poor parents shared your Swedish “progressive” views on the purchasing of the services of poor underage boys for sex by old rich English guys.

      Also for the record and in response to this silly insinuation, Justin Raimondo, head of the the very Austrian School and biographer of Murray Rothbard, is very gay.

      • And Austrian theory is bogus irrespective of his or anybody else’s sexuality, perversion or even crimes. By the way, effective demand is logically consistent and backed by evidence, irrespective of Keynes’ personal traits (whether they are true or not). The question is not what the Swedish people think about sexuality, but that this has nothing to do with science. Science is about logic and evidence.

        • 1. Who would argue that if people don’t “effectively demand” something that they won’t buy it and it won’t be produced? This begs the question as to why those people suddenly find themselves poorer than they and the producers of those goods had predicted and what should be done about it. The Austrian analysis of that situation is self evident and true. The Keynesian analysis is convoluted, contrived and bogus and based upon ignoring the obvious.

          2. Keynes seemed to be on a personal jihad against “bourgeois” values, like, inter alia, thrift. Then there is that eugenics thing. So his personal values really do seemed to have seeped into his economics.

    • So there are no bigots in Sweden which is utterly free of people with any sort of sexual hang-ups, while Uk (60 ish million people consists entirely of repressed “curtain twitchers”! Bingo 2 lazy stereotypes + what are you trying to say anyway ??

  4. Exactly Keynes’ quote is out of context. But the childlessness charge is a thinly veiled reference to the supposedly ‘unnatural’ character of homosexual love, I think. Note that this is and was an all too common ‘critique’ of Keynes, as noted by Brad DeLong, who shows that even Schumpeter used it in his obituary of Keynes.

  5. Bob Roddis, I am constrained by Professor Syll’s strictures regarding argument/abuse. Congratulations – we now know that there are more crass ayatollahs defending their dogma than the estimable Ferguson, yes I mean you. Convoluted is a description of your attempts to impose a moral relativism in order to achieve ….? Milton Friedman / chicago boys cosy relationship with the Murderous Agusto Pinochet,where is your rationale re their morality? Do tell

    • Being a long term anti-Chicago School person, I would probably say that Pinochet’s murders and torture is worse than Keynes’ pedophilia. Why do I have to defend the quasi-Keynesian Chicago School?

  6. I’ve just had a look at the referred to above. I can now confess to having been made uneasy by an organisation that is avowedly pacifist. After all today we live in a world where Buddhist Monks have been inciting pogroms (sri lanka /burma).
    I don’t expect their abolition of the “millitary industrial complex” would lead to a concomitant increase in expenditure on a Uk/Nordic/European style “welfarist” state. I would be intrigued to see how many leftists would feel “included” if they were to propose such a thing on that forum. So what if their frontman is gay, gay people are as capable of reactionary thought as anyone else, as evidenced by the current coterie in British Tory Party. Mentions of new world order etc incline me to consign to curiosity of Usa category along with Ross Perot. Ron Paul and … former Scot Niall Ferguson!

    • is not “pacifist” but I’m glad to learn that welfare-statists think that being antiwar is “reactionary”. Which is reason 58 I always put the term “progressive” in quotes.

      Scott Horton manages to get interviews with many antiwar “progressive” types despite being fully Austrian, libertarian and Ron Paulian:

  7. Ok you are not an apologist for Milton. Lets turn to a succession of posts where you propose that he was also an anti-semite / child molester eugenicist (nazi ?) etc etc etc. Tendentious will do, I promise not to use lazy shorthand labels like reactionary any more as I wouldn’t wish to offend your evident “amour propre”.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Blog at
Entries and comments feeds.