Selfish gays caused financial meltdown, says Harvard prof Ferguson

Conservative firebrand, and Harvard professor, Niall Ferguson stepped into a bit of a firestorm the other day when he tried to explain why famed economist John Maynard Keynes’ theories are, at their core, wrong.

You see, Ferguson explained, Keynes was gay, and everyone knows that gays are selfish.

Even worse, Ferguson appeared to suggest that the financial meltdown was the gays’ fault.


Niall Ferguson, photo via IMF.

Niall Ferguson, photo via IMF.

UPDATE: Ferguson has apologized. That’s nice. I’d like to see the video/audio of what he said first, then we can discuss the sincerity of his apology.

Tom Kostigen at Financial Adviser has the details:

Speaking at the Tenth Annual Altegris Conference in Carlsbad, Calif., in front of a group of more than 500 financial advisors and investors, Ferguson responded to a question about Keynes’ famous philosophy of self-interest versus the economic philosophy of Edmund Burke, who believed there was a social contract among the living, as well as the dead. Ferguson asked the audience how many children Keynes had. He explained that Keynes had none because he was a homosexual and was married to a ballerina, with whom he likely talked of “poetry” rather than procreated. The audience went quiet at the remark. Some attendees later said they found the remarks offensive.

It gets worse.

Ferguson, who is the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University, and author of The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die, says it’s only logical that Keynes would take this selfish worldview because he was an “effete” member of society. Apparently, in Ferguson’s world, if you are gay or childless, you cannot care about future generations nor society.

So to recap: Keynes was gay, married to a ballerina, liked to talk about poetry, and didn’t have kids.  So that made him selfish, which made his economic theories worthless.

Kostigen says that it’s even worse than this.  He says Ferguson is in fact blaming the entire financial meltdown on the gays.

There’s another possible angle to Ferguson’s offensive comments. You see, Ferguson rather-famously has had a long-going feud with liberal economist Paul Krugman. Krugman has been married twice, the first time to an artist, and has no  children:

Ferguson was a McCain adviser for the 2008 presidential campaign.  You might remember him as the author of an error-riddled piece in Newsweek attacking the President a while back.

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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175 Responses to “Selfish gays caused financial meltdown, says Harvard prof Ferguson”

  1. Hue-Man says:

    “Niall Ferguson, not content to simply let go after apologizing for his suggestion that famous economist John Maynard Keynes’ sexuality meant he didn’t care about the future, has now penned an open letter decrying his critics and defending some of his controversial comments about Keynes.”

    One of his Harvard students should remind him: When you’re in a hole, stop digging. HIs basic argument seems to be “I can’t be a homophobe because….” Reminds me of Stephen Colbert’s routine with the picture of his “Black friend”.

  2. Skeptical Cicada says:


  3. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Rude, unhappy and a homophobe (or self-loathing) to boot. You’re quite a catch.

  4. emjayay says:

    It wasn’t a real apology for the reasons you stated.

  5. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Sorry, but I can’t understand you with Niall Ferguson’s cock down your throat.

  6. . . . and the Old Boy his self has a bit of a thin skin, with a freaky streak of an apparent vexatious litigant:

    . . . in a rather tawdry class by his self as well:

  7. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Nah, Hugh, see instead your own comment at the Washington Times last month: “There is a very small group calling the shots here, and my guess is, they’re predominantly Jews, Atheists and Homos.”

    A better avatar for you would be a white pointy hat.

  8. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Gee, Hugh, your own comment at the Washington Times just one month ago–“There is a very small group calling the shots here, and my guess is, they’re predominantly Jews, Atheists and Homos.”–pretty much tells us all we need to know about your raving bigotry in its myriad forms.

  9. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Well, it’s a shame if John is avoiding commenting because of that. The Kurtz video was a disgusting spectacle. Whether Collins had been engaged to a woman in the past was never even any of Kurtz’ business to start with, and Collins was never ever under any obligation to delve into his own sexual history when coming out. Kurtz giggling like a little school girl in that video just destroyed my ability to ever take him seriously again.

  10. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Wow, the two of you make quite a pair of unhappy little turds. I’m an asshole for asking a question and getting a rude response. Lovely behavior.

  11. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Seems pretty spot on to me. Oh, and I’ve read his actual remarks and his apology as well.

  12. Skeptical Cicada says:

    You’re the one being an asshole. Racing to the comment board to be an apologist for bigotry yet again. God, you need some fucking major therapy.

  13. UncleBucky says:

    HAH. So this means that Ferguson is a real piece of work. That IS consequential! :D

  14. Sweetie says:

    He also retracted his apology.

  15. Sweetie says:

    You read the comment so it said what you wanted it to say, not what it said.

  16. Sweetie says:

    Ann Coulter’s schtick is all about pomposity.

  17. Sweetie says:

    He is hardly the only person like this at Harvard.

  18. benb says:

    This guy bitching about paying child support? Is that why he’s pissed at non-procreators? Or suffering some kinda Midlife Crisis/Sex thing where he’s bitter that he’s done all the Het things (wives, kid, work) he thought he was supposed to do and now realizes that all he really wants is to juice that tall, skinny, young, blond stud, Rupert. in the back bathroom on the third floor of the library?

  19. karmanot says:

    Having once been on a faculty I will attest to that!

  20. karmanot says:

    She couldn’t have helped but notice the lipstick on his diapers.

  21. karmanot says:

    Of Andrew Sullivan it can be said: “a ‘poseur’ who ‘hasn’t bothered to understand the basics, relying on
    snide comments and surface cleverness to convey the impression of
    wisdom. It’s all style, no comprehension of substance.” birds of a feather!

  22. karmanot says:

    It calls for major exorcism!

  23. SkippyFlipjack says:


  24. FrankBronson says:

    Do you think bleach will be enough? Maybe they should consult an exorcist or CDC.

  25. karmanot says:

    I doubt it, having heard it’s not buff.

  26. Scumbag Ferguson. Harvard should fire this clown asap.

  27. karmanot says:

    Yep, not to mention those Hedge Fund boys!

  28. karmanot says:

    Probably needs a walk-in for that collection of size 16 pumps.

  29. karmanot says:

    Yes, there’s always Larry Summers, who thinks women can’t make the grade in scientific or economic studies…..He being the expert that brought us the Bush Depression.

  30. karmanot says:

    Some how that conjures up a gentleman in waistcoat standing in second position with a lace hanky up his sleeve, trying to resurrect the significance of Alexander Pope.

  31. karmanot says:

    Which explains how Dubya got through.

  32. karmanot says:

    It’s selective with Harvard. For example, in the 1910 set of Harvard Classics I inherited, there is absolutely no mention, as far as I can determine, or any significant reference to Karl Marx, whose economic theories transformed the world. Ivies like their classics collections free of unpleasantness, don’t ya know.

  33. karmanot says:

    Yep. I ‘ve met very few social workers or public defenders who prepped at Exeter.

  34. karmanot says:

    I agree, incompetence gained at an IVY is far more advanced. BTW Both Cornell and the U of M Ann Arbor are still trying to bleach out the stain she left behind during her time there.

  35. Mary O'Grady says:

    How pathetic.
    W’s parents were unable to buy his way into the University of Texas Law School. The law school’s Dean Keeton wrote to George H. W. Bush, “There is a place in the world for young George Bush, but that place is not the University of Texas Law School.” So, it was Harvard Business School for him.

  36. BeccaM says:

    Unless we figure out how to use gravity towing and haul the Earth further away from the sun.

    Which in theory isn’t impossible.

  37. Ninong says:

    I doubt it will affect his employment at Harvard. Besides the fact that he is tenured, Harvard should have known when they took him on that he has been using that same argument against Keynes for more than the past two decades.
    Every chance he gets he points out that Keynes was a “homosexual,” therefore all of his positions can be dismissed as the mere musings of “one of them.”

    In his book, “The Pity of War” (published in 2000), in dismissing Keynes’ warnings during the early years of World War I, Ferguson threw in this bitchy dig, “Even his sex life went into decline, perhaps because the boys he liked to pick up in London all joined up.” That wasn’t the only time he brought up Keynes’ sexual orientation.

    Just yesterday Cambridge professor and economist Michael Kitson tweeted, “Niall Ferguson’s empty apology. These were not ‘off the cuff’ remarks. I heard him make the same over 20 years ago.”

    When asked to elaborate, Prof. Kitson explained that he heard Ferguson use the same argument against Keynes in answer to a question following a presentation on German hyperinflation in the 1920’s. It was back around 1990/91 in the Rushmore Room at St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge, that Ferguson argued that Keynes did not care about future generations because he was a childless homosexual.

    Paul Krugman accurate pegged Ferguson.

  38. FrankBronson says:

    You are right about both points, less so on the first. There are plenty of people at all of the highly selective schools who are not from the top .01% of wealth (the “right” families), but there sure arent many kids in the Ivies from families below the top 20% that’s for sure.
    The Ivies are feeders for the corporatist network, thats true as well. In America the success of a particular person is now mostly determined by the wealth of the family of origin, rather than by individual merit-and thats been going on since the 1980 or so.
    The right slathers on about the evil of liberal university educated elites not because there is such a thing, but because in order to keep their flat earth constituents in line and voting against their economic interest. The powers in the gop going after the imaginary people that the knuckle draggers resent to keep them pissed off and voting gop. It works.

  39. rmthunter says:

    It’s not even the supposed academic standards — people, mostly from the right families, go to Ivy League schools to meet other people from the right families and start forming their networks.

    That’s one reason I find the right’s fulminations again the liberalism of universities so funny — individual professors may be liberals, and even areas of study may seem to have a liberal cast (especially in the social sciences), but the schools themselves are the incubators of the conservative, corporatist old boy network.

  40. rhallnj says:

    If I had to pick the intellectual leaders of modern conservatism, I would name John Roberts (law),Grover Norquist (taxes), and Kris Kobach and Charles Murray (white supremacy). They are all Harvard men. This University just does not deserve the respect accorded to it.

  41. FrankBronson says:

    Being well educated at top flight institutions is a necessary but not sufficient condition to be a professor or even a politician. Not every one who attends good schools absorbs anything. Ferguson clearly got by in his schools as a grind and became successful by sucking up to the rich. Ann Coulter attended an Ivy, W went to Yale and Harvard. Its not about pomposity-its about incompetence. Every graduating class at every excellent institution has somebody at the bottom of the class.

  42. Stev84 says:

    It’s called tenure. No matter how much you fuck up you can’t be fired.

  43. Stev84 says:

    This is way worse than global warming. The oceans will literally boil away over time as the sun becomes hotter.

  44. Just like Corporal Schickelgruber, find a scapegoat. Allowing the idle rich to steal from the rest of us in avoiding taxes and receiving welfare should be the cause of the financial mess.

  45. BeccaM says:

    And do we need more evidence of the unconsciously homophobic attitudes even from those media outlets that are often sympathetic to LGBT causes?

    How about this article title from MSNBC: “Harvard professor apologizes for ‘stupid’ gay remarks.”

    Not ‘…stupid ANTI-gay remarks’ or ‘stupid homophobic remarks.’ But ‘stupid gay.’

  46. rmthunter says:

    I had a thought on that subject: Which is more selfish, a gay or lesbian couple willing or even eager to adopt a child who otherwise has no parents, or a straight couple who are determined to pass on their own genes?

  47. Ninong says:

    Yes, but he confessed his “serious sin,” so all is forgiven. His wife had the most pained expression on her face as she stood silently next to him.

  48. mtblaze says:

    I’m tired of this game of making outrageous remarks and then apologizing for them when the heat comes down. I believe none of those apologies and even if I did, I could not trust any remark by the person who plays that game. Life is too short for this continuous bullshit.

  49. mtblaze says:

    I care for future generations and I’m convinced that in the long run we are all dead. I’m sure that Keynes felt much the same way.

  50. FunMe says:

    I hear an accent. He’s English? He says he’s a Thatcher loyalist. That says it all.

  51. Houndentenor says:

    I don’t think that was her wish. People often get cancer and are in need of such medical care. Besides, her wishing has no effect on his health. Unless she has some unproven magical powers, it’s absurd to think that someone wishing harm on another actually causes them harm. It might not be nice but it’s in no way an actual assault.

  52. Hue-Man says:

    I just read Feruguson’s apology which on its face is a real apology and timely. It doesn’t, however, explain the original statements. Having spoken to large groups (without a prompter) and taught students, I know the pressures of coming up with the correct turn of phrase or the right anecdote. At no time, however, did I blurt out something which was contrary to my beliefs or understandings; e.g. “The moon is made up of Swiss cheese, not Gorgonzola.”

    So either Ferguson was momentarily deranged or he meant what he said (and his apology was to avoid the on-going consequences of his statements). I’ll keep my probability percentages to myself.

  53. Houndentenor says:

    He’s already made an apology although the apology hardly explains why he said something so outrageously stupid in the first place. Andrew Sullivan comes to his defense in an odd sort of way. (see his blog) that is baffling because we all know at least one person who is kind of racist but has at least one friend of a different ethnic group that they get along with very well. Just because he is friends with Sully and “accepts” his partner doesn’t mean he’s not a homophobe in general. Plenty of people compartmentalize their prejudice. His comments make him sound like an anti-gay bigot and his apology does nothing to dispel that idea. He comes off as a pseudo-intellectual. Harvard really should be able to find more qualified teachers.

  54. Bronxite52 says:

    What would the response have been if someone had used the “someday you might need a cancer nurse” comment as a rebuke against Ferguson at the Altegris forum? He becomes the victim and we lose. People should stick to the topic.

  55. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Why are you being an asshole? If you don’t know, just say so or shut up.

  56. James Peron says:

    Having read Ferguson’s actual remarks and his apology this headline is a gross exaggeration of the facts.

  57. BeccaM says:

    Maybe it’s a closet full of stuff that’d make J. Edgar Hoover drool with envy.

  58. Sweetie says:

    Read the post, not just the headline. Your question was answered.

  59. BeccaM says:

    Given we can create hurricanes and destroy major cities simply by existing, what you describe is almost trivial.

  60. Sweetie says:

    Most of the people who earn them are idiots and insane. Most of them believe in God.

    This means they’re worshiping society without knowing it.

  61. SkippyFlipjack says:

    So you don’t know the answer either.

  62. Sweetie says:

    The higher the education level is per capita, the lower the birthrate.

  63. Sweetie says:

    Tenure. The nice thing about it is that it gives idiots like him an incentive to expose themselves.

  64. Sweetie says:

    The Ivy League is vastly overrated.

  65. Sweetie says:

    Putting words into someone’s mouth in order to attack them is what’s low. Your attack is unfounded.

  66. Sweetie says:

    Harvard students were on the nightly news years ago saying that they should never get anything less than a B in a course simply because they’re Harvard students — even if they don’t study at all for the course.

    A Harvard prof backed this up by saying that he was highly unusual for giving students Cs.

  67. Sweetie says:

    He is a great example of the fact that Harvard just ain’t all that.

    The Ivy League worship in our culture needs to stop. It’s undeserved.

    Pompous twits can come from any school, students and faculty included.

  68. Sweetie says:

    Read the article and the post before posting next time.

  69. Houndentenor says:

    People like this decide what they believe and then they look for reasons to rationalize their bigotry. It only makes sense to other bigots. There’s certainly no logic in any of this nonsense.

  70. SkippyFlipjack says:

    I’m still not understanding the headline of this post. “Selfish gays caused financial meltdown, says Harvard prof Ferguson“. Tom Kostigen said it; John repeated it. Has either explained how they come to this conclusion? Can someone explain this logic?

  71. Bronxite52 says:

    I think Ferguson should be deported. However, your comment sounds like you are wIshing cancer on him. That’s about as low as it gets. Two wrongs don’t make a right. I wish you’d kept your ugly thought to yourself.

  72. pappyvet says:

    With 10% of the population controling 90% of the wealth and off shore accounts holding billions if not a trillion dollars to avoid taxes, and Ferguson undoubtedly knowing this, it makes you wonder what kind of country they are desperate to create. It may be on the continent,but it isnt America

  73. Ted Hayes says:

    I wonder if we who are gay are responsible for Ferguson’s head being up his ass.

  74. mike31c says:

    Except bigots like you prevent gay families from adopting the kids you breeders reject.

  75. FrankBronson says:

    Im not sure that I would go so far as to say that Ferguson is intellectually competent. His degrees are no imprimatur of competence either. One can get a perfectly respectable degree from a top flight school merely by persevering and grinding away.

  76. FrankBronson says:

    How about Carnival Cruz? He is definitely overcompensating for something hidden.

  77. FrankBronson says:

    Calling Ferguson a poseur is an insult to poseurs all over the globe. Declaring Fergusons work as “all style and no comprehension or substance” would serve as an excellent epitaph for the entire conservative movement that has made Ferguson a rich man.

  78. FrankBronson says:

    No, its more likely that the apology will be more widely distributed and that the wise and serious people who take Ferguson’s counsel seriously will just think its no big deal anyhow because they hold the same view.

  79. FrankBronson says:

    There will be no consequences to him, just as there were no consequences to Sarah Palin for her “Dont Retreat, Reload” slogan or her use of crosshairs on Gabby Gifford. Bigotry, violence, ignorance and intolerance are the stock in trade for the conservatives and their paid mouthpieces like Ferguson.

  80. FrankBronson says:

    Ferguson couldnt answer any of these because he is fundamentally selfish and he believes that the rest of the world is as well.

  81. FrankBronson says:

    Ferguson supports the Wise Use movement, which is the center piece of gop environmental and land policy and which is also a creature of fundamentalist Christians in the US who believe, yes, that there is no reason t take care of things because the Lord is just about to show up. Look it up. Its terribly sad that adults in power are allowed to formulate policy based on ignorance and bigotry. And its more sad that the most ignorant bigots are almost always conservatives.

  82. FrankBronson says:

    Fergusons conclusions about virtually every matter he writes about are every bit as unfounded as this. What a jerk.

  83. arcadesproject says:

    This is a Harvard Perfessor? Harvard’s standards sure have gone down the toilet. (In the most refined possible sense, of course.)

  84. karmanot says:

    Going with flow often ends badly. :-0

  85. Mighty says:

    We gays are now the ultimate power in the universe!

  86. samiinh says:

    Two billion years? Really? Try less than 200 years. Of course none of us will know, but the course we are on it looks like a fare bet.

  87. samiinh says:

    I’ve often thought Marco was too pretty to be straight.

  88. I’ll wager that even at his most cynical Keynes gave several dozen more shits for the long term than your average Republican.

  89. A truly mean joke. :D

  90. d3clark says:

    He calls Keynes “effete.” I’m not sure how insulting that is coming from a couch potato PhD in history.

  91. d3clark says:

    Apparently, his prediction was wrong. The audience seems to have not been favorably impressed with his remark.

  92. caphillprof says:

    The financial meltdown was caused by the lying, cheating, and stealing of the financier class and their politician enablers. Nothing more; nothing less.

  93. NCMan says:

    that’s what I was thinking. We have this guy saying that gays don’t have kids and therefore ruin the economy. But, we have conservatives saying we can’t get married because then kids won’t have both a mother and father.

    So, which is it? We don’t have kids and destroy the economy? Or, we steal the kids from stable heterosexual families?

  94. rhallnj says:

    Harvard has both Rogoff and this jackass?

  95. samizdat says:

    Aaaah, yes, the Community Reinvestment Act dog-whistle.

  96. JayRandal says:

    Homophobia by GOPers becoming extremely disgusting. Some of them are ultra-hypocrites whom
    are secretly Gay or Bisexual. They should be outed. Hint Sen. Rubio as one of them. Anyway as a
    Gay American myself I am disgusted by bigots in GOP.

  97. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    I guess they missed a crevice.

  98. Zorba says:

    If he has tenure, it would be extremely difficult for Harvard to get rid of him.

  99. caphillprof says:

    Most conservative apologies are a win-win situation. Their intended audience will always remember the outrageous comment and know nothing about any apology or retraction. Unless the apology has consequences (like losing one’s job at Harvard or at least being barred from the faculty club), then it is meaningless to those who were his intended victims.

  100. josephebacon says:

    …But how could anyone associated with Harvard say that when Ted Cruz tells us that Harvard has packed its’ faculty with Communists???????

  101. caphillprof says:

    I think John is often a panelist on Kurtz’ show.

  102. BeccaM says:

    George Soros.

  103. BeccaM says:

    …and possibly his continued employment at Harvard.

  104. gaylib says:

    Where’s the story about Howard Kurtz? I find it odd that Americablog had nothing to say about that. Especially all the other coverage of the Collins story. Just curious.

  105. Ferguson is a stupid homophobe. My gay son is an oncology nurse, maybe Ferguson will need his services one day?

  106. karmanot says:

    He’s no Christopher Hitchens by any stretch. ” ‘That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”

  107. karmanot says:

    “I’m arguing that people who are “idiots” and people who are “insane” don’t earn Ph.D.s from Oxford.” ROTFL! Well, of course you are the exception.

  108. karmanot says:

    True, one would be amazed how many thousands of PhD’s live in the beltway and how many of them wait tables in Georgetown.

  109. karmanot says:

    Excuse me professor Crabby Appleton. It is statistically and theoretically possible for mediocrity to each a zenith of its own and thereby achieve a sort-of ‘intellectual competence in its own limited category. I would be curious to know why you carry water for this nit wit.

  110. karmanot says:

    It might be said that Augustine or Aquinas were intellectually competent, But both used circular logic to prove the existence of the non-existence—god. So, stating that mere intellectual competence is disappointing, confirms the long standing tradition of academic buggery.

  111. Stev84 says:

    He was right. It has nothing to with caring. In 2 billion years the surface temperature of the Earth will be too hot to sustain life or even liquid water. In 5-6 billion years the sun will become a red giant and destroy the inner planets. But it’s doubtful that humans will be around then.

  112. Ninong says:

    His original comment accurately reflected his personal views. He issued the apology only after his agent pointed out to him that saying something like that publicly could have a negative impact on his future engagements.

  113. karmanot says:

    and moronishness!

  114. karmanot says:

    And a Libertarian twit. And a pump licking Randian.

  115. karmanot says:

    Only expiring minds read Ferguson. Makes Harvard a laughing stock (although that’s rather easy to do these days).

  116. karmanot says:

    “So true, we have David Vitter for that.

  117. karmanot says:

    “Perhaps some genius Ph.D. student can analyze Virginia Woolf’s influence on modern economic” Simple, the economy will sink if she has too many debt loads in her pockets.

  118. karmanot says:

    ditto that. How the once mighty Boalt Hall has fallen. Stanford, however, deserves Candy Fried Rice.

  119. Wasn’t it Keynes who famously said, “In the long run we’re all dead.”? Apparently he didn’t care much for future generations.

  120. Niall Ferguson is a dumb ass. He has apologized…but I suspect his apology was not as well distributed as original slanderous dumb ass remarks.

  121. karmanot says:

    And your point is?

  122. karmanot says:

    What new dog whistle do they use for the Elders of Zion these days?

  123. Naja pallida says:

    Once you’ve convinced yourself that no matter what happens, you’re going to be one of those who will be “saved”, you’ve basically removed yourself from having any relevance in real-world conversations.

  124. Naja pallida says:

    Maybe he’s trying to tell us something about all those executives from Goldman Sachs.

  125. Naja pallida says:

    Unless it is a college operated as a side business of an evangelical church, they consider any amount of actual education to be “liberal”.

  126. Ninong says:

    I like what Prof. Paul Krugman (Nobel laureate 2008) had to say about him in a heated exchange. Krugman argued that Ferguson’s view is “resurrecting 75-year old fallacies” and full of “basic errors”. He also stated that Ferguson is a “poseur” who “hasn’t bothered to understand the basics, relying on snide comments and surface cleverness to convey the impression of wisdom. It’s all style, no comprehension of substance.”

  127. jixter says:

    One of those steps is bound to be ‘the Jewish step’. Whether it’s the first step, the last step or a ‘somewhere along the way’ step, it’s in there – tick, tick, ticking …

  128. judybrowni says:

    So no explanation why the economy was booming during Keynesian times — from leading us out of the Depression through the late ’60s — until we started to get Republican presidents and Congress?

    Then, recession after recession after recession — with bare breaks for a Democratic President who got two terms.

    I’m sure it’s the evil gays and/or a big ol’ coincidence.

  129. tomtallis says:

    And let us not forget the late Dr John Mack, who was firmly convinced that his patients were being abducted by aliens, another looney-tunes Harvard professor.

  130. Dave of the Jungle says:

    I’m not arguing that he doesn’t say questionable things. I’m arguing that people who are “idiots” and people who are “insane” don’t earn Ph.D.s from Oxford.

  131. JoeDog says:

    What Ferguson said was reprehensible but there’s no need to misrepresent his position. He did not “suggest that the financial meltdown was the gays’ fault.” Ferguson bastardized Keynes’ long run position. Ferguson claimed that Keynes’ didn’t care about the long run because he was a childless gay man. Keynes’ actual lament was that long run economic models left much to be desired. The point is Ferguson is a d!ck and there’s no reason to misconstrue his position because it’s incriminating on its merit.

  132. BeccaM says:

    Let’s not forget that John Yoo still has a job at Berkeley as a law professor. Sometimes there’s no accounting for college hiring choices.

  133. Dave of the Jungle says:

    I didn’t refer to mere presence at Oxford but to earning a Ph.D. I also didn’t say this indicated genius but intellectual competence. His encyclopedic factual knowledge of many subjects and quality argumentation abilities have been amply demonstrated in many contexts other than today’s lamentable citation for which he has now sincerely apologized.

  134. nicho says:

    Harvard is “liberal” only in the twisted minds of conservatives.

  135. karmanot says:

    You can’t assume that mere presence at Oxford indicts genius If he majored in the influence of ping pong ball trajectories on and their correlation to the arcs of the human arm as it swills a pint of Gunniss, while factoring in the gay wrist that must be the anomaly vector.

  136. BeccaM says:

    Update: Ferguson, apparently realizing his ignorant cavalier bigotry was going to cost him speaking engagements, has issued an apology. It’s not a bad one, actually.

    Kathleen Geier has a pretty good rundown, however, of the many things Ferguson has been wrong about in the past.

  137. nicho says:

    Intelligence does not equal common sense. I know plenty of PhDs who shouldn’t be allowed out in public without adult supervision.

  138. Michael in Cambridge says:

    Harvard has a long history of homophobic bigotry. (Read, for example, Harvard’s Secret Court.) Things are better now. But Harvard has never been a leader in creating an inclusive, welcoming environment for LGBT people. Harvard STUDENT activists have done a lot over the years; Harvard faculty and administration, not so much until relatively recently.

  139. AdmNaismith says:

    F*ck his homophobia, Harvard should fire this man for being an idiot. Keynes is right, austerity isn’t working, and people like Ferguson are the very definition of selfish

    Only in politics and/or economics can you be wrong ALL OF THE TIME and still draw a 6+ figure paycheck

  140. Houndentenor says:

    So is he advocating that gays marry and hire surrogates or use artificial insemination to have children? Because gays can marry and have children. Many do. It’s conservatives that are blocking those things, not gays.

  141. SkippyFlipjack says:

    What Ferguson said was terrible but you might question Kostigen’s conclusion a bit rather than just repeating it. He writes ‘This takes gay-bashing to new heights. It even perversely pins the full weight of the financial crisis on the gay community and the barren.’ I think there are a couple steps to his logic he’s leaving out, because that seems like a huge leap, no?

  142. See EM Jones’ “Degenerate Moderns” – chapter on Keynes and other quislings in the Bloomsbury Group. “What do you think spies are: priests, saints and martyrs? They’re a squalid procession of vain fools, traitors too, yes: queers, sadists and drunkards, people who play Cowboys and Indians to brighten their rotten lives. Do you think they sit in London, balancing the rights and wrongs?” (The Spy Who Came in From the Cold)

  143. rmthunter says:

    “You see, Ferguson explained, Keynes was gay, and everyone knows that gays are selfish.”

    Of course — that explains why so many of us are doctors and nurses and therapists and paramedics and priests.

  144. Based solely on his book “The Pity Of War: Explaining World War I”, I’d had Ferguson pegged as an idiot. Not until seeing this post did I go to Wiki and learn he’d cranked it out in just 5 months.

    But after examining the wiki, it’s clear that besides being an idiot, he’s also a right wing nutcase.

    Yet he’s a professor at Harvard. You’d suppose they could do better…..

  145. I’ve encountered the religiously-motivated “gays are selfish” line before (cos it’s all just about self-indulgent debauchery you see and not the holy and selfless duty of popping babies out). Applying this to economics, though, is new to me.

    Guess Keynes did run with that rather wild Bloomsbury crowd, didn’t he? I forget that sometimes. Perhaps some genius Ph.D. student can analyze Virginia Woolf’s influence on modern economic theory.

  146. Leota2 says:

    What!? I thought it was us black people who destroyed the economy by buying
    expensive homes we couldn’t afford. (Considering we are only thirteen percent of the population
    I found that howling idiocy from conservatives, suspect— to put it mildly; as I do this moronic bit of rambling homophobia).

  147. condew says:

    I’ve always thought that 99% of all economists are whores, nothing here to change that opinion. If you’re a politician, you can find an economist to support any lame economic action you want to do; just as if you want to shit in a diaper, there’s whore for that.

  148. CSStrowbridge says:

    I was going to say the same thing. Fire this bigot, immediately.

  149. JayRandal says:

    Harvard should fire the professor for homophobic bigotry. It’s time for decent Americans to stand
    up to bigots demanding their termination from employment. GOP must repudiate professor’s vile
    outright crap. Otherwise GOPers are in bed with his bigotry.

  150. piniella says:

    I’ll go Niall one better: Schumpeter thought Capitalism itself was anti-Family in his Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy,. first published in 1942. You can get an image PDF here and convert it to searchable text if you have Adobe Acrobat.

    On pages 157-58 Schumpter notes that the calculations of Homo Economicus lead to the conclusion that having children simply doesn’t pay:

    Still more important however is another “internal cause,” viz. the disintegration of the bourgeois family. … To men and women in
    modern capitalist societies, family life and parenthood mean less than
    they meant before and hence are less powerful molders of behavior;

    As soon as men and women learn the utilitarian lesson and refuse to take
    for granted the traditional arrangements that their social environment
    makes for them, as soon as they acquire the habit of weighing the
    individual advantages and disadvantages of any prospective course of
    action–or, as we might also put it, as soon as they introduce into
    their private life a sort of inarticulate system of cost accounting -they
    cannot fail to become aware of the heavy personal sacrifices that
    family ties and especially parenthood entail under modern conditions
    and of the fact that at the same time, excepting the cases of farmers
    and peasants, children cease to be economic assets. These sacrifices do
    not consist only of the items that come within the reach of the
    measuring rod of money but comprise in addition an indefinite amount
    of loss of comfort, of freedom from care, and opportunity to enjoy
    alternatives of increasing attractiveness and variety-alternatives to be compared with joys of parenthood that are being subjected to a critical analysis of increasing severity.

  151. JayRandal says:

    Melt down of economy solely caused by greed of Wall Street banksters. Gays have nothing to do with it. Homophobic bigotry to claim Gays are cause of economic problems. Far-right Republicans are crazy. Nothing redeemable about them. Irony that some of them closeted Gays whom hate themselves.

  152. Dave of the Jungle says:

    He has said that they were the funniest people on campus. Dubious as a criterion for historical truth, but there you have it.

  153. RepubAnon says:

    So, does this mean that all Wall Street financial wizards are gay? After all, they’re all selfish – caring about nothing but short-term gain for themselves.

    For that matter, let’s take a look at the Republican push to gut the social safety net. Unlike Hillary Clinton’s “It Takes a Village” theory, Republicans believe that there is no duty on the part of society to, say, help the victims of Hurricanes Sandy or Katrina. This indicates that Republicans believe in a dog-eat-dog world where there is no social contract between members of society other than “I’m OK Jack, screw you.”

    Is the Republican Party’s agenda of selfishness set by some ultra-secret society of gays? Or is it possible that Niall Ferguson is a bigoted idiot who thought that making an outdated ad hominem attack on Keynes would work on a room full of college students just as well as at a Republican fund-raiser? Inquiring minds want to know.

  154. BeccaM says:

    A Thatcherite, eh? That explains much.

  155. Liberal Art says:

    Curious what his opinion is on the fact that over three quarters of Conservatives think saving the planet is pointless because Jesus is at most a few days to a few years from coming back. Seems like they’re pretty unconcerned with future generations…

  156. BeccaM says:

    Seems like, aye.

  157. Stev84 says:

    More projection. Just business as usual.

  158. lynchie says:

    People like this are standing in the face of a tsunami. Slow moving but inevitable. Technology is too much for them, science, forget it, a world without a war they are sending our kids to die in, unthinkable, They are dinosaurs but they don’t know.

  159. Dave of the Jungle says:

    Precisely. Still, one doesn’t earn a Ph.D. from Oxford without some of the aforementioned competence. It certainly is a disappointment that he’s becoming the darling of the conservative lecture circuit but, then, he was a Thatcherite, already at Oxford.

  160. BeccaM says:

    What’s occurred to me in the last half hour or so is someone needs to explain the concept of altruism to Ferguson. Not that he’d understand it in a visceral sense, but it seems clear the only motivation he understands is selfishness.

    Then again, he is a Republican after all.

  161. lynchie says:

    Oh my god the horror being brought up open minded and objective.

  162. ericxdc says:

    hmmm… according to this dolt maybe we should be getting our financial advice from the octomom, then?

  163. BeccaM says:

    He may have a fair amount of knowledge packed into his head, but that doesn’t make Ferguson wise, kind, or even smart. He’s made his choice to be an intellectually dishonest bigot.

  164. kingstonbears says:

    Gays don’t have children? Guess he’s never been a guest in our home.

  165. Hue-Man says:

    I need to understand his rules better.

    If you take in foster children, can you have temporarily valid positions for as long as you have them?

    Is it only legitimate offspring that count or do your illegitimate children validate your theories?

    If you had a child but gave it up for adoption, do you care about the future or not?

    Since we are told that life begins at conception, is your thinking valid until you (or your wife) miscarry? (You may wish to delay your brilliant economic insight until fertilization! I assume caring about the future is instantaneous and spontaneous.)

    If you adopt a child, is that equivalent to having your own children or are you still selfish?

    If you’re estranged from your child, do you go back to being selfish?

    If your child is gay or lesbian (and may not have “real heterosexual” children), are you selfish and can be ignored? If you have one straight child and one gay child, are your theories only half-correct? (Thank you Grouch Marx)

    Does this apply to EVERYTHING or only to economists? SCOTUS, Senators, CEOs, gardeners, etc.

    Students in his classes who research these issues are guaranteed tenure (as long as their research supports his conclusions)!

  166. The absolute height of dumbosity and stupiditude!

  167. Dave of the Jungle says:

    I would believe motivated bias as an explanation this behavior.

  168. Dave of the Jungle says:

    All the more disappointing because he actually is intellectually competent.

  169. BeccaM says:

    What an appalling man.

    His “logic” in this, if one can call it such, reminds me strikingly of the way the very religious will assert there is no way an atheist can be a moral or ethical person, because there’s no threat of eternal punishment to keep a person in line, original sin, yadda-yadda.

    I feel sorry for Ferguson’s students. And I hope there are consequences for his obvious bigotry.

  170. BeccaM says:

    Broken clock and all that. Only in this case, the clock is a partisan bigoted homophobe who likes to resort to ad hominem and straw man attacks, rather than refute something with logic and reason.

  171. nicho says:

    More proof that you can get a PhD without being either sane or intelligent.

  172. Dave of the Jungle says:

    This is the guy who says the world would be a better place if America
    would just admit that it’s an Empire and start acting like it.

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