Are you so superior, are you in such pain?

Predictably enough, the martyrdom of Niall Ferguson has begun. This letter is WATB bingo — hurt fee-fees, “vituperative online critics”, “enemies of academic freedom” and best of all…the friendship with Gay Brother Number 1. I also like the “I’m apologizing but what I said was true” twist that is becoming so popular:

Not for one moment did I mean to suggest that Keynesian economics as a body of thought was simply a function of Keynes’ sexuality. But nor can it be true—as some of my critics apparently believe—that his sexuality is totally irrelevant to our historical understanding of the man. My very first book dealt with the German hyperinflation of 1923, a historical calamity in which Keynes played a minor but important role. In that particular context, Keynes’ sexual orientation did have historical significance. The strong attraction he felt for the German banker Carl Melchior undoubtedly played a part in shaping Keynes’ views on the Treaty of Versailles and its aftermath.

All we need is back to England with a GBCW piece, preferably one that appears in the National Review or Weekly Standard. (Daily Caller would be too much to ask for, right?)

124 replies
  1. 1

    Pankaj Mishra had a pretty solid take on Ferguson awhile back:

    Ferguson became known to the general public with The Pity of War (1998), a long polemic, fluent and bristling with scholarly references, that blamed Britain for causing the First World War. According to Ferguson, Prussia wasn’t the threat it was made out to be by Britain’s Liberal cabinet. The miscalculation not only made another war inevitable after 1919, and postponed the creation of an inevitably German-dominated European Union to the closing decades of the 20th century, it also tragically and fatally weakened Britain’s grasp on its overseas possessions.

    This wistful vision of an empire on which the sun need never have set had an immediately obvious defect. It grossly underestimated – in fact, ignored altogether – the growing strength of anti-colonial movements across Asia, which, whatever happened in Europe, would have undermined Britain’s dwindling capacity to manage its vast overseas holdings. At the time, however, The Pity of War seemed boyishly and engagingly revisionist, and it established Ferguson’s reputation: he was opinionated, ‘provocative’ and amusing, all things that seem to be more cherished in Britain’s intellectual culture than in any other.

    ETA: Don’t wanna be FIRST, I just wanna last.

  2. 2
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    The strong attraction he felt for the German banker Carl Melchior undoubtedly played a part in shaping Keynes’ views on the Treaty of Versailles and its aftermath.

    This is totally different from when Bush said Putin was a good man because he ‘looked into his soul’ or whatever.

    Christ. The Great Depression happened because Keynes couldn’t keep his gay-boner in check. And this is what passes for serious intellectual discussion.

  3. 3
    pokeyblow says:

    There are straight people who actually decide not to have children specifically because they are concerned about the future. Just saying.

  4. 4
    BGinCHI says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    And this is what passes for serious intellectual discussion at Harvard.

    Fixed to accentuate Ivy League assholery. See also Zuckerberg, Mark.

  5. 5
    NotMax says:

    Digging deeper, beneath the schist he has struck snake oil.

  6. 6
    scav says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: He’s whining because the veneer / pretense that this is intellectual isn’t working as well as it once seemed to. Still working far better than it should, but he’s shocked, I tell you shocked! at the less than automatic tugging of the forelock in his presence.

  7. 7
    Chris says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    The world has become its own parody.

  8. 8
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    The strong attraction he felt for the German banker Carl Melchior undoubtedly played a part in shaping Keynes’ views on the Treaty of Versailles and its aftermath.

    Proof? Or rather WTF?

  9. 9
    danimal says:

    There sure has been a total meltdown amongst conservative economists since Krugthulu destroyed Austeria.

    Keynes hasn’t updated his general theory in quite a while, you’d think the conservatives could develop better counter-arguments over the past 75 years. Instead, we get “nana faggot blahblah” and “Krugman’s Keynesian prescriptions may be right, but he doesn’t play well in the sandbox.”

    It hasn’t always been the case that the antonym of “academic” is “conservative”. What a shame.

  10. 10

    Strong words from Nate Silver: “The whole problem with Niall Ferguson is that he uses his credentials to excuse his lack of intellectual integrity.”

    That seems to sell Ferguson’s whole problem short. In this excerpt, he’s excusing his lack of integrity by asserting false things more loudly. That’s also how he handled, say, his criticism of the president, and his debate with Paul Krugman.

  11. 11
    burnspbesq says:

    Can we just agree to shun Mr. Ferguson?

    I’m having such a nice time listening to the new Joshua Redman album, and having to think about this raving lunatic is harshing my mood.

  12. 12
    scav says:

    @reflectionephemeral: Nate Silver! Full swoon

  13. 13
    dmsilev says:

    The charge of homophobia is equally easy to refute. If I really were a “gay-basher”, as some headline writers so crassly suggested, why would I have asked Andrew Sullivan, of all people, to be the godfather of one of my sons, or to give one of the readings at my wedding?

    “I have at least one black gay friend, therefore nothing I say or do can possibly be racist homophobic.”

  14. 14
    ShadeTail says:

    All we need is back to England with a GBCW piece, preferably one that appears in the National Review or Weekly Standard.

    “George Bush’s Conventional Wisdom”?

  15. 15
    Keith says:

    FFS, the dude’s got tenure. Isn’t that some right-wing abomination, yet it keeps him gainfully employed through thick or thin. He can say all kinds of shit (ala Ward Churchill) without worrying about losing his job, yet he’s bitching about bloggers “policing” him. Weak sauce.

  16. 16
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Okay, I have to say that using “You’ll Never Be a Man” from Trust is very well done. Both song and album titles relate well to the topic at hand.

  17. 17
    Chris says:

    @reflectionephemeral:

    “Uses credentials to hide lack of integrity” is pretty funny because it’s close to one of the most oft repeated complaints of wingnuts about academia – that they hide behind their ivory tower diplomas in order to better push an agenda. I guess it’s okay when it’s an agenda they like.

  18. 18
    dmsilev says:

    @ShadeTail: Good Bye Cruel World. An Internet Tradition in some corners of the blogosphere, basically boiling down to “you can’t fire me. I quit!”. Or, since perpetrators often have the emotional maturity of a six year old, “I’m taking my ball and GOING HOME!”.

  19. 19
    beltane says:

    I especially love his use of the word vituperative. It is a very posh way of saying “Stop being mean to me! Leave Niall alone!”

  20. 20
    Comrade Jake says:

    I swear this is all just part of a master plan to become a regular on Fox News.

  21. 21
    Anoniminous says:

    Or it can be said:

    Ferguson’s sexual orientation has intellectual significance. The strong revulsion he felt for the British economist John Maynard Keynes undoubtedly played a part in shaping Ferguson’s views on the accuracy and utility of The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money.

  22. 22
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    OT but this appeared in The Economist today

    http://www.economist.com/blogs...../bumblebee

    I wrote about the exact thing a year ago, who do I contact to claim my prize?

    http://crittersbybritty.com/20.....after-all/

  23. 23
    jl says:

    Well, if Ferguson were such a scholar and a stickler for precision and historical accuracy then…

    Whey did he say Keynes was gay, when Keynes was bi?

    Why did he say Keynes had no interest in the future because, being gay he would have no kids, when Keynes and his wife did try to have a kid, but it miscarried?

    Why did Ferguson rip Keynes famous quote “in the long run we are all dead” out of context and represent it to mean something that it didn’t?

    What evidence does Ferguson have that Keynes’ supposed feelings from some German chancellor affected Keynes’ ECONOMIC ANALYSIS of the consequences of the Treaty of Versailles?

    If there is anything odd or inconsistent between Keynes’ analysis of the economic effects of the Treaty of Versailles and other other events of the time, economic historians have not noticed it.

    Ferguson knows next to nothing about economics, so that is low bar for any random economic historian. But, I dunno, what the hell do I know, I am not a Harvard perfesser.

    And Niall Ferguson, being such a brilliant Oxford don and Harvard perfersser, would surely know the difference between emotional factors that affect our opinion of something, and intellectual consistency in analyzing that same something, and two things may or may not be in alignment. Surely a Harvard historian would understand the distinction.

    Harvard been covering itself in glory recently, isn’t it? At least this one makes Rogoff and Reinhart look like Newton and Einstein in comparison.

    What a crock this guy pumps out, and has been pumping out for years. Hope this reveals he has been talking through his hate (edit: meant to type ‘hat’, but maybe ‘hate’ fits too) on economics, and economic history, and the history of economics.

    Edit: this is howling intellectual disgrace, about on the same scale as Brooks saying Keynes didn’t know any math. Keynes daydreamed more math that Brooks ever learned. This case has uglier ethical aspects to it, though.

  24. 24

    @Chris: Yeah, I can see that.

    That kind of thing seems to me to be a decent critique of, say, George Will. He is a sad, cautionary tale of the unintended consequences of lifetime tenure for pundits. That overgenerous safety net has irrevocably spoiled him by protecting him from the negative consequences of his own behavior.

  25. 25
    NotMax says:

    Just because.

    Portrait of Carl Melchior, 1930.

  26. 26
    jl says:

    Its not even original. People who don’t like Keynes have been calling him names for years, including pederast and poofter.

    Edit: though, to be clear, Keynes was no angel, from what I have read. Thing is, this stuff does not belong in discussion of merits of a scientific theory, no matter how soft the science.

    There have been plenty of Keynesians since Keynes, but Ferguson cannot take any of them on, since many of them are still alive and can call out his BS.

    Edit2: Maybe Ferguson’s plagiarism in calling Keynes a fag will bring him down. It’s been a mainstay of conservatives for decades.

  27. 27
    Amir Khalid says:

    I read somewhere once about the economic historian Niall Ferguson — I don’t remember where, sorry — that historians praise only his grasp of economics, and economists only his grasp of history.

    What I remember of his Newsweek cover story on Obama is that it was essentially an ad hominem attack. That, and Tina Brown admitted she was too in awe of him to put the story through the fact-checking process.

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    My feelings exactly.

  28. 28
    Supernumerary Charioteer says:

    … if Keynes’ view of the treaty was affected by his homosexuality (and I’d like to see a fucking source on that), then his homosexuality led him to a right conclusion. He called for a more lenient peace with Germany, which, had it been implemented, might have helped stave off the worst of the 1921-1924 inflationary period.

    Starting to think reading and responding doesn’t do much good, considering the speed at which these assholes crank out lies.

  29. 29
    Ronnie Pudding says:

    I do appreciate Ferguson making the case for gay adoption.

  30. 30
    RSA says:

    And the ending of the letter (which DougJ also quotes from) is amazing:

    Shock, horror: Even the mighty Keynes occasionally said stupid things. Most professors do. And—let’s face it—so do most students. What the self-appointed speech police of the blogosphere forget is that to err occasionally is an integral part of the learning process. And one of the things I learnt from my stupidity last week is that those who seek to demonize error, rather than forgive it, are among the most insidious enemies of academic freedom.

    Just wow.

  31. 31
    Patricia Kayden says:

    So if what Niall said was basically true, why did he apologize at all? I was foolish enough to believe that his apology was sincere. Silly me.

  32. 32
    piratedan says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: or maybe in this case, he should have gone with Armed Forces’ Big Boys

    “and you tried soooooooohhhhh hard, to be like the Big Boys”

  33. 33
    Darkrose says:

    @RSA: He forgot to add, “But only conservatives get to say stupid things, lie about having said them, and get paid for doing it–suck on this, libs!”

  34. 34
    Mandalay says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Proof?

    I wondered the same thing. Here is a relevant extract from Ferguson’s book “The Pity of War”.

    So it seems possible/plausible that Keynes was sexually attracted to Melchior, but making the transition from that possible attraction to having it impact the Treaty of Versailles seems like quite a leap, and Ferguson provides no hard evidence – just speculation.

    And we all know it would be irresponsible not to speculate.

  35. 35
    Hoodie says:

    The strong attraction he felt for the German banker Carl Melchior undoubtedly played a part in shaping Keynes’ views on the Treaty of Versailles and its aftermath.

    If that’s not hackitude, it doesn’t exist. That statement undoubtedly shows that Ferguson is a publicity seeking, status-obsessed whore who’d blow a syphilitic leper if the price were right.

  36. 36
    patroclus says:

    I find it difficult to believe that the notorious homophobe Niall Ferguson is actually doubling down in his absurd nonsensical attacks on Lord Keynes. The idea that the Economic Consequences of the Peace was colored by a strong attraction to Karl Melchior is unadulterated bullshit that is completely unsupportable by anything whatsoever. There is nothing in that book that is sexual in any way – Keynes’ analysis was instead based on his belief that the Versailles Treaties were unnecessarily punitive towards the defeated Central Powers not because he wanted to have sex with Melchior. And all that gibberish in Ferguson’s whiny letter about gays is not apt – as I pointed out in ALL the prior threads, Keynes was bi; not gay. Ferguson just wants to lump him in with the gays because, well, Ferguson apparently likes deriding gays and pointing gays out and discussing gays and coupling his discussion with criticism of other things. This is the tack of a notorious homophobe.

    I used to consider him reasonable and have actually recommended the Ascent of Money and his book on the Rothschilds to my students. No more. He is dead to me – his reputation is in the toilet. He is pathetic.

  37. 37
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @RSA: If Ferguson would look at central European history, he may find that Keynes’s remarks about Poland, while phrased provocatively, have more than a grain of truth in them. OTOH, Ferguson’s comments on Keynes were the result of both (intentionally) misinterpreting the long run remark and gay-bashing. What a douchebag.

  38. 38
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mandalay: I don’t know that citing Ferguson to support Ferguson is particularly useful in this context.

  39. 39
    Trentrunner says:

    It’s my duty, once again, to remind everyone that Andrew Sullivan, having published and spoken publicly against unsafe sex, was simultaneously and repeatedly soliciting unsafe sex while HIV positive. (Google “Andrew Sullivan Milky Loads” for details and lovely photos of his “power bottom.”)

    In the days after 9/11, he accused the left of potentially being “a fifth column” in America’s new war. The towers were still smoldering.

    As editor of The New Republic, Sullivan published–and, to this day, still endorses–Charles Murray’s racist, eugenic ideas about black people’s intelligence deficits.

    Finally, as a guest once on Bill Maher’s Real Time, during the credit roll the camera caught a standing Sullivan digging for deep, deep gold with his hand into his well-traveled power bottom asshole. On camera.

    In short, Andrew Sullivan is a monumentally cunty git.

  40. 40
    Trentrunner says:

    It’s my duty, once again, to remind everyone that Andrew Sullivan, having published and spoken publicly against unsafe sex, was simultaneously and repeatedly soliciting unsafe sex while HIV positive. (Google “Andrew Sullivan Milky Loads” for details and lovely photos of his “power bottom.”)

    In the days after 9/11, he accused the left of potentially being “a fifth column” in America’s new war. The towers were still smoldering.

    As editor of The New Republic, Sullivan published–and, to this day, still endorses–Charles Murray’s racist, eugenic ideas about black people’s intelligence deficits.

    Finally, as a guest once on Bill Maher’s Real Time, during the credit roll the camera caught a standing Sullivan digging for deep, deep gold with his hand into his well-traveled power bottom asshole. On camera.

    In short, Andrew Sullivan is a monumentally cunty git.

  41. 41
    Trentrunner says:

    It’s my duty, once again, to remind everyone that Andrew Sullivan, having published and spoken publicly against unsafe sex, was simultaneously and repeatedly soliciting unsafe sex while HIV positive. (Google “Andrew Sullivan Milky Loads” for details and lovely photos of his “power bottom.”)

    In the days after 9/11, he accused the left of potentially being “a fifth column” in America’s new war. The towers were still smoldering.

    As editor of The New Republic, Sullivan published–and, to this day, still endorses–Charles Murray’s racist, eugenic ideas about black people’s intelligence deficits.

    Finally, as a guest once on Bill Maher’s Real Time, during the credit roll the camera caught a standing Sullivan digging for deep, deep gold with his hand into his well-traveled power bottom asshole. On camera.

    In short, Andrew Sullivan is a monumentally cunty git.

  42. 42
    Trentrunner says:

    It’s my duty, once again, to remind everyone that Andrew Sullivan, having published and spoken publicly against unsafe sex, was simultaneously and repeatedly soliciting unsafe sex while HIV positive. (Google “Andrew Sullivan Milky Loads” for details and lovely photos of his “power bottom.”)

    In the days after 9/11, he accused the left of potentially being “a fifth column” in America’s new war. The towers were still smoldering.

    As editor of The New Republic, Sullivan published–and, to this day, still endorses–Charles Murray’s racist, eugenic ideas about black people’s intelligence deficits.

    Finally, as a guest once on Bill Maher’s Real Time, during the credit roll the camera caught a standing Sullivan digging for deep, deep gold with his hand into his well-traveled power bottom asshole. On camera.

    In short, Andrew Sullivan is a monumentally cunty git.

  43. 43
    Cacti says:

    What passes for “provocative” and “edgy” among the very serious persons:

    Ferguson: Keynes was wrong because he was a fag.

    Sully: Black people are dumb.

  44. 44
    Trentrunner says:

    Anything worth saying is worth saying four times.

    Also, FYWP.

  45. 45
    patroclus says:

    @Mandalay: Thanks for the link. So Keynes and Melchior shook hands at least once and had lunch together. That’s Ferguson’s entire “evidence” which he, himself, admits doesn’t prove anything especially because Melchior was “strait-laced” (albeit “unmarried”). I repeat – he is pathetic. An unreconstructed homophobic bigot who cannot be absolved merely by his friendship with Andrew Sullivan, who read from one of the most homophobic epistles in the entire NT at Ferguson’s second wedding. He should be shunned by all decent society – he is disgusting.

  46. 46
    beltane says:

    Here is another vituperative post on this subject: http://crookedtimber.org/2013/.....the-peace/

  47. 47
    danimal says:

    @Trentrunner: That really wasn’t worth saying. Even once.

  48. 48
    RSA says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    OTOH, Ferguson’s comments on Keynes were the result of both (intentionally) misinterpreting the long run remark and gay-bashing. What a douchebag.

    I didn’t know about the misinterpretation until I read about it on Brad DeLong’s blog. But of course I don’t pretend to be knowledgeable about economics or history…

  49. 49
    Joel says:

    Best part of that, from the comments:

    “I’ve made a huge tiny mistake.”

  50. 50

    @burnspbesq: A Joshua Redman fan? I’m impressed.

  51. 51
    Mandalay says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I don’t know that citing Ferguson to support Ferguson is particularly useful in this context.

    You obviously didn’t read the link. Ferguson quoted Keynes to support his allegation of Keynes’ sexual attraction to Melchior.

    Pretty thin gruel IMO, but apparently good enough for Ferguson.

  52. 52
    Warren Terra says:

    The strong attraction he felt for the German banker Carl Melchior undoubtedly played a part in shaping Keynes’ views on the Treaty of Versailles and its aftermath

    Wow. This is one of the more interesting versions of “undoubtedly” I’ve seen.

  53. 53
    catclub says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: “Or rather WTF?”

    Exactly! Keynes was RIGHT that crippling Germany with the Treaty of Versailles would lead to bad things.
    The person quoted is trying to take advantage of general ignorance of history.

    I think at LGM the poster pointed out that after WWII we did not decide to saddle Germany with crippling reparations payments.
    Instead we rebuilt Europe. The Brits and French fucked up with the Treaty of Versailles.

    The hyperinflation was the least of the bad things that came from the Treaty.

  54. 54
    burnspbesq says:

    @Trentrunner:

    In short, Andrew Sullivan is a monumentally cunty git.

    OK, you’ve done your self-assigned duty to soil this thread with the irrelevant fruit of your obsession. Now be gone.

  55. 55
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @RSA: The misinterpretation is the thing that really matters. Without that, there is not reason to bring in the “ghey.” Fuck, my first exposure to Keynes was in an IB econ course in high school that was taught by a Milton Friedman adherent; he managed to have the intellectual integrity to teach the material properly and put the long run comment in the correct context.

  56. 56
    burnspbesq says:

    @Ben Cisco (onboard the Defiant):

    A Joshua Redman fan?

    Heck yeah.

  57. 57
    Mandalay says:

    @burnspbesq: Completelty OT, a legal question…

    Suppose I am aware that a friend or relative has imprisoned three women for several years. Am I committing a crime by not turning that person in?

    (A strictly hypothetical question arising from the Cleveland kidnappings.)

  58. 58
    ChrisNYC says:

    I so love that he’s being driven nuts by this. I mean, what serious thinker DOESN’T monitor their Twitter references and then do an embarrassing ‘open letter to the haterz’?

  59. 59
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mandalay: The bits highlighted by DeLong do not, in my mind, necessarily indicate sexual attraction. As a result, the implication is entirely Ferguson’s.

  60. 60
    aimai says:

    @dmsilev: How does it feel, Andrew, to be dismissed as “Andrew Sullivan of all people?” as though one was completely beyond the pale and such a well known fag that there was literally nothing else anyone would have thought when told you would be at the christening?

  61. 61
    patroclus says:

    @catclub: Indeed, and as beltane’s link points out, Keynes came to that conclusion PRIOR to even meeting Melchior. What he got from Melchior was that reparations should be made available to Germany (like the Marshall Plan much later) so as to help Germany rebuild.

    And, Keynes’ written description of Melchior was not a love letter – it was just a well-written description with good prose. There is nothing whatsoever in the actual historical record that indicates that Keynes was SO attracted to Melchior so as to alter his previously developed position. Moreover, reparations were NOT paid to Germany by the U.K., so the one thing that Melchior arguably convinced Keynes to support didn’t actually happen. And yet, Ferguson claims that it “undoubtedly” affected not only Keynes but all of world history.

    This is utter bullshit. From a pathetic homophobic hack.

  62. 62
    aimai says:

    @catclub:

    Little known fact: we decided not to cripple Germany again after WWII because FDR had a total lust thing going for Hitler’s corpse.

  63. 63
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @aimai: Zombie FDR, right?

  64. 64
    mouse tolliver says:

    The real point of Niall Ferguson is not that he’s good looking. It’s that he’s clever. Or so he tells us. He actually said that about himself in an interview that reminded me so much of Aaron Sorkin’s embarrassing self-immolation.

  65. 65
    jl says:

    @aimai: Truman started the cold war because he was jealous that he was shut out of the three way going on between FDR Stalin and Churchill. Everyone knows that.

  66. 66
    patroclus says:

    @aimai: Yeah, the Marshall Plan was developed and implemented not because of altruism or because we wanted to rebuild Germany so as to provide a bulwark against the Soviets, it was really because Truman had a hard-on for Theodor Herzl and a boner for Konrad Adenaur.

  67. 67
    NotMax says:

    @Omnes Omnibus

    We have nothing to fear but fear itself.

    And zombies.

  68. 68
    Tonal Crow says:

    The strong attraction [Keynes] felt for the German banker Carl Melchior undoubtedly played a part in shaping Keynes’ views on the Treaty of Versailles and its aftermath.

    It didn’t take long for him to flop right back into the fire, now did it? Sully, stupid is calling on line 1.

    @danimal:

    There sure has been a total meltdown amongst conservative economists since Krugthulu destroyed Austeria.

    Heh indeed!

  69. 69
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @mouse tolliver: Based on that photo, I would argue against the good looking part, and, based on his recent academic output, I would argue against clever as well.

  70. 70
    Roger Moore says:

    @Mandalay:

    Suppose I am aware that a friend or relative has imprisoned three women for several years. Am I committing a crime by not turning that person in?

    If you know that somebody has committed or is committing a crime and fail to report them, you can be tried as an accessory. My impression is that the likelihood of prosecution increases with the severity of the crime and the detail of your knowledge, so somebody who knew enough to have rescued the women in this case and didn’t speak up could be in serious trouble.

  71. 71
    JGabriel says:

    DougJ @ Top:

    I also like the “I’m apologizing but what I said was true” twist that is becoming so popular …

    Well, Ferguson just blew his self-proclaimed “unreserved” apology, so at least we don’t have to give him credit for that anymore.

    .

  72. 72
    NotMax says:

    Okay, someone’s got to say it.

    @danimal

    There sure has been a total meltdown amongst conservative economists since Krugthulu destroyed Austeria.

    Blitzkrug.

  73. 73
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Blogger ethics panel, stat!

  74. 74
    Tonal Crow says:

    @aimai:

    Little known fact: we decided not to cripple Germany again after WWII because FDR had a total lust thing going for Hitler’s corpse.

    And Grant didn’t humiliate Lee (and rename Georgia “Sherman”) because he had a huge hard-on for him.

  75. 75
    catclub says:

    @NotMax: Sounds like a wicked drink.

  76. 76
    Tonal Crow says:

    @jl:

    @aimai: Truman started the cold war because he was jealous that he was shut out of the three way going on between FDR Stalin and Churchill.

    It was a four-way, including those three and Hitler’s corpse.

  77. 77
    Citizen_X says:

    The strong attraction he felt for the German banker Carl Melchior undoubtedly played a part in shaping Keynes’ views on the Treaty of Versailles and its aftermath.

    Well, it’s a good thing that no heterosexual person has felt attraction for anybody, ever, because that would undoubtedly distort everything they did thereafter.

    the martyrdom of Niall Ferguson has begun

    Good.

  78. 78
    Haydnseek says:

    Let’s review. Either his role was minor or it was important. Pick one, then make your point.

  79. 79
    Lurking Canadian says:

    Shorter Niall:

    Look, I’m sorry I said nobody should pay attention to Keynes because he was a big homo fag. I shouldn’t have said that.

    But, seriously, Keynes WAS a big homo fag, so we really shouldn’t pay attention to him. Anybody who disagrees just hates academic freedom.

  80. 80
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Roger Moore:

    If you know that somebody has committed or is committing a crime and fail to report them, you can be tried as an accessory.

    Cite please?

  81. 81
    RobNYNY1957 says:

    I love the idea of “minor but important.” This movie must have been his biopic:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt00.....fn_al_tt_2

  82. 82
    NotMax says:

    @catclub

    Sounds like a wicked drink.

    Hm. Picturing a shooter made with grappa and jalapeño jelly.

  83. 83
    Baud says:

    I love my dead gay economist.

  84. 84
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    In this specific case, the person would probably be charged with being an accessory after the fact. If you help someone conceal a crime, you are considered an accessory to that crime.

  85. 85
    catclub says:

    @NotMax: I was thinking of Krug Champagne with a strong addition.

  86. 86
    Mandalay says:

    @Roger Moore: Got it. Thanks.

  87. 87
    NotMax says:

    @catclub

    Ah.

    In that case, maybe place a skewered scored ghost chile into the glass?

  88. 88
    Suffern ACE says:

    @reflectionephemeral: because WWI was Brittain vs Germany and nothing that happened in the east mattered? Fortunately Brittain would have had no interest in the collapse of austria, Russia, the Ottoman Empire and a defeated French empire.

  89. 89
    RobNYNY1957 says:

    @Trentrunner:

    And don’t forget Sullivan’s homophobic article in the January 18, 1988, issue of The New Republic in which he compared homosexuals to Nazis, lesbian imagery as “notorious,” and is generally a nasty homophobic jerk. I’m not very heroic, but I was brave enough not to be a fag-bashing closet case.

  90. 90
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Not for one moment did I mean to suggest that Keynesian economics as a body of thought was simply a function of Keynes’ sexuality.

    Then why mention it at any time at all in the first place?

    The head of this vile maggot should be on a pike, not on his shoulders.

  91. 91
    JWL says:

    Also: Hitler was a raving queen.

  92. 92
    jl says:

    Krugman and Stigltiz, in very dim romantic setting, talking…. economics. Anyone sense a certain… attraction… chemistry… tension?

    The real question is, will this make DeLong give up his mistress, Excess Demand for Safe Assets?

    A Conversation on the Economy with Joe Stiglitz and Paul Krugman
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xd0Uz__ebzA

  93. 93
    RobNYNY1957 says:

    @Trentrunner:

    And don’t forget Sullivan’s homophobic article in the January 18, 1988, issue of The New Republic in which he compared homosexuals to Nazis, described lesbian imagery as “notorious,” and was generally a nasty homophobic jerk. I’m not very heroic, but I was brave enough not to be a fag-bashing closet case.

  94. 94

    Teh tyranny of the mean old bloggers. So mean.

  95. 95
    Roger Moore says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    Cite please?

    A bit of googling shows me that I got the details wrong. Apparently being an accessory requires that you actually conceal something, but Ohio, where these crimes took place, has a requirement to report felonies to law enforcement. There are exceptions for reporting your immediate family and for several kinds of privileged information (e.g. attorney/client, doctor/patient, priest/penitent, etc.), though doctors have a specific requirement to report injuries from violence that is not covered by the ordinary patient/doctor privilege. Failure to report is much less serious that being an accessory, though; it’s generally only a fourth degree misdemeanor.

  96. 96
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: you know, I’d actually have more respect for the guy if he did some old school Freudian analysis of Keynes, indicating that some unresolved desire for his mother that he’d been carrying around since he was 9 months old somehow was resolved through advocating for public works projects in 1935. At least there’d be rigor there. A body of theory to draw upon. His audience might learn something about the current academic debates, which is what public intellectuals are supposed to do. But ow. He went straight to the gay caused Keynes to advocate for things I don’t like.

    Heck, I’d even accept some kind of analysis where keyene’s sexual experiences with men helped him.

    He seems like a lightweight. Although I think most professor stars at Harvard might be.

  97. 97
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    He’s displaying all the maturity of a 13 year old complaining about something in World of Warcraft as being “gay”.

    That’s the level of discourse this Harvard star professor was displaying.

    His head. Much more attractive on a pike.

  98. 98
    maven says:

    I don’t think that is really Sullivan’s butt. It seemed much more spread and flabby on Real Time.

    His hubby however could have such a butt.

  99. 99
    NotMax says:

    @Villago Delenda Est

    He’s displaying all the maturity of a 13 year old complaining about something in World of Warcraft as being “gay”.

    Methinks you’ve hit the Niall on the head, as it were.

  100. 100
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: yep. Is he really an economic historian? He’s not a psychologist.

    Braudel, Weber, Pierenne and Karl Polyani were economic historians and one got the sense that they made some effort to explain how economies worked through time, or at least in different times and places. This ferguson guy sounds as if he’d have problems buying groceries.

  101. 101
    DougJ says:

    @burnspbesq:

    He lived across the hall from me in college, I went to his wedding.

  102. 102
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    In this specific case, the person would probably be charged with being an accessory after the fact. If you help someone conceal a crime, you are considered an accessory to that crime.

    Failing to report a crime is not the same thing as helping the perpetrator to conceal it. Your link says:

    An accessory after the fact is someone who knows that a crime has occurred but nonetheless helps to conceal it. Today, this action is often termed obstructing justice or harboring a fugitive.

  103. 103
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Roger Moore: That ORC section (ORC? Really, Ohio?) is an interesting departure from modern Anglo-American common law. I wonder whether s.A(1), as applied to the general public, has been litigated in light of the 1st Amendment right to refrain from speaking.

  104. 104

    @DougJ: And you were the best man?

  105. 105
    RaflW says:

    Shorter Niall: Nazis!

    What a load of twaddle.

  106. 106
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    Failing to report a crime is not the same thing as helping the perpetrator to conceal it.

    In this specific case, it might be, because the crime is ongoing. If you know that (for example) your cousin is keeping three young girls imprisoned in his house and repeatedly raping them, by not saying anything you are helping the perpetrator conceal it. What’s your defense going to be, that you knew he was keeping underage sex slaves but you didn’t think it was illegal to do so?

  107. 107
  108. 108
    RaflW says:

    Oh, and speaking of WATBs, Driftglass is in fine form today, ranting about Sully running away from the conservatives what brung him, oh and a dash of Sully’s alleged Keynsianism.
    A+

  109. 109
    DougJ says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    No, not quite.

  110. 110
    The Other Chuck says:

    @Tonal Crow: I think such laws tend to come down to a sort of “reasonable person” standard insofar as if you have no reasonable argument against reporting the crime, such as your own safety, then you have an implied duty to report the crime, and the first amendment doesn’t offer much protection against negligence.

    Granted, some of those laws are ripe for abuse given the notorious vagueness of terms like “reasonable”, so I’m not entirely comfortable codifying such good intentions into law either.

  111. 111
    Tonal Crow says:

    @The Other Chuck:

    I think such laws tend to come down to a sort of “reasonable person” standard insofar as if you have no reasonable argument against reporting the crime, such as your own safety, then you have an implied duty to report the crime, and the first amendment doesn’t offer much protection against negligence.

    You’re mixing criminal law and civil law concepts; “negligence” is almost always a civil standard. But criminal law must be clearly defined, or there’s no crime: look up “fair warning doctrine”. The 1st Amendment question is whether a duty to report (speak) violates the 1st Amendment right to decide whether to speak. Clearly this question has been resolved with “no” for certain designated reporters (e.g., teachers), but I don’t know whether the question has been resolved for members of the general public.

  112. 112
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Mnemosyne: If I were representing the purportedly observing cousin, I’d put the state to proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the observing cousin has seen enough to know that a crime was being committed. I’d also attack the law itself as a violation of the 1st Amendment right to keep silent, and the 4th Amendment right to be free from unreasonable/warrantless search and seizure (a required reporting law for the general public effectively deputizes the required reporter as a government agent, which then subjects her to the 4th Amendment).

  113. 113
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    If I were representing the purportedly observing cousin, I’d put the state to proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the observing cousin has seen enough to know that a crime was being committed.

    Fair enough — any halfway sensible defense attorney would make the same claim.

    I’d also attack the law itself as a violation of the 1st Amendment right to keep silent, and the 4th Amendment right to be free from unreasonable/warrantless search and seizure (a required reporting law for the general public effectively deputizes the required reporter as a government agent, which then subjects her to the 4th Amendment).

    Please show me any case law that says the 1st Amendment gives you a right to keep silent. When the Miranda warning tells you that you have “the right to remain silent,” it’s referring to your 5th amendment right to not be forced to incriminate yourself, not the 1st amendment.

    And I’m not sure what the hell the 4th amendment has to do with anything here. What “warrantless search and seizure” has been done by charging someone as an accessory to a crime?

  114. 114
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Please show me any case law that says the 1st Amendment gives you a right to keep silent.

    West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943) (required flag salute and pledge of allegiance violate 1st Amendment right to keep silent (i.e. to decide whether to speak)); Wooley v. Maynard (1976) (State cannot force motorist to display state slogan on license plate, because violates 1st Amendment right not to speak). You’re welcome, although I would expect it would seem obvious that the right to speak and the right not to speak are inextricably entwined.

    When the Miranda warning tells you that you have “the right to remain silent,” it’s referring to your 5th amendment right to not be forced to incriminate yourself, not the 1st amendment.

    I hardly need your instruction in Miranda, or the 1st Amendment for that matter.

    And I’m not sure what the hell the 4th amendment has to do with anything here.

    Read the message to which you’re responding closely and carefully. Think about what it means for the state to compel ordinary citizens to conduct surveillance and turn the results over, and what that does to the constitutional character of the citizens thus, um, obligated. Did I say “deputized”? Why might I have said that?

  115. 115
    RaflW says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Can we just agree to shun Mr. Ferguson?

    Yeah, I really do wonder if we’re all just spending far to much time chasing the tails of all these asswallops.

  116. 116
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    Wevs, dude. You go ahead and defend the (hypothetical) people who concealed the crimes of child-abducting rapists to your heart’s content, but don’t fall to your fainting couch when people think you’re an asshole for doing it. After all, the free speech rights of the people who concealed the crime always trump the rights of the victims not to be raped repeatedly for the 10 years of their captivity. First Amendment uber alles!

    ETA: Just out of curiosity, how does your First Amendment stance make you any different than the people who think their Second Amendment rights trump any attempt by the government to curb gun violence?

  117. 117
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    Think about what it means for the state to compel ordinary citizens to conduct surveillance and turn the results over, and what that does to the constitutional character of the citizens thus, um, obligated.

    Again, note that we are discussing a completely hypothetical person who had actual knowledge that the crime had been committed and was ongoing, not any of the “couldawouldashoulda” people like the neighbors or the gas man.

    We’re talking about — again, not an actual person, a hypothetical person — who went over to the perp’s house, noticed that there was suddenly an 11-year-old girl in handcuffs sitting on the couch, and said, “Hey, isn’t that the girl who was on the news last night?” And the perp winks and says, “Yep, and she’s a great fuck.” The hypothetical person then goes home and sleeps like a baby. He continues to visit his friend, and continues to see the same girl, for the next 10 years, until one of the victims escapes from her room and Charles Ramsey helps her break down the front door.

    Your argument is that this person, who has direct knowledge of an ongoing crime, is not helping to conceal that crime by staying silent and continuing to visit the crime scene with the full knowledge that a crime is being committed there.

  118. 118
    El Cid says:

    Worthless, pseudo-intellectual sack of shit.

    To think shit-bags like Ferguson occupy public discussion instead of hundreds of more talented and significant scholars who, all the more, possess something worthwhile to say.

  119. 119
    sherparick says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: And, at least figuratively, William Black put Ferguson’s head on one.

    http://neweconomicperspectives.....blems.html

    As someone else has pointed out, what one could say in front of predictably right-wing, rich, tribal group in 1993 and 2003, does not go over well in 2013. To many of these guys and gals have either themselves come out of the closet,or they have friends and family members who have come out. The “gay” in no longer the “other” (unlike the the moochers and looters, the Blahs and the Browns, the unwashed proletariat who should be grateful to work until the place they work blows up or collapses. They judge being moral and virtuous to be the ability to inflict pain and suffering on others with a stern gaze.

  120. 120
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne: In Ohio, obstructing justice, O.R.C. Section 2921.32, requires a positive action on the part of the defendant that hinders discovery, prosecution, etc. A failure to do anything does not qualify. If this hypothetical cousin ever lied to someone about seen three girls in the house or made a knowingly false statement that the dude was alone, the cousin could potentially be prosecuted for obstruction.

    As a general matter, there are very few criminal statutes that punish failure to do something. One of the reasons that Ramsey is viewed as heroic is that he had no legal obligation to do a damned thing, yet he did.

  121. 121
    RT says:

    There is a tendency amongst some highly educated Brits to combine their Oxbridge education with utter silliness. Jonathon Miller is one, as was the late Lord Rees-Mogg and Charles (Lord Snooty) Moore, biographer of Lady Thatcher, is another. Niall Ferguson is clearly a member of this elite and actually very funny fraternity because not only are they silly but they have an inordinately high estimation of themselves and take themselves so seriously that mockery from the hoi polloi is their sad lot in life.

  122. 122
    patroclus says:

    @sherparick: Thanks for that link. William Black’s article is the best summary that I have read of what was wrong about Niall Ferguson’s statements regarding Keynes and, as he pointed out, his policy proscriptions generally. I hope his article gets wider distribution.

  123. 123
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Mnemosyne: My argument is that a person who merely knows about a crime — even an ongoing one — but doesn’t take positive steps to conceal it (by, e.g., putting up curtains for the perpetrator, or lying on her behalf), is not concealing it. She is, instead, simply not reporting it.

    It’s too bad most anti-liberty advocates like yourself never experienced Ceausescu in Romania or the East German Stasi, whose efforts to force their entire populations to become informers are widely viewed (except in anti-liberty circles, which are mostly Republican) as one of the worst aspects of their totalitarian regimes.

  124. 124
    sbjules says:

    I only follwow Sully for the Viev from you window contest and it now appears that he is going fee only. I will miss that.

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