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Anorak | Niall Ferguson apologises for saying gays are dead ends with no futures

Niall Ferguson apologises for saying gays are dead ends with no futures

by | 4th, May 2013

PROLIFIC historian Niall Ferguson said this about John Maynard Keynes in his talk at the Tenth Annual Altegris Conference in Carlsbad, Calif.. He was addressing a group of more than 500 financial advisors and investors. Tom Kostigen at FA Mag writes:

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. 

Lance Roberts writes:

Question By Paul McCulley

“The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs…in the long run we are all dead.”

Are we in a liquidity trap, are we at a zero bound of interest rates and stuck at 8% unemployment?

Keynes was a homosexual and had no intention of having children. We are NOT dead in the long run…our children are our progeny. It is the economic ideals of Keynes that have gotten us into the problems of today. Short term fixes, with a neglect of the long run, leads to the continuous cycles of booms and busts. Economies that pursue such short term solutions have always suffered not only decline, but destruction, in the long run.

Ferguson has made a public apology:

During a recent question-and-answer session at a conference in California, I made comments about John Maynard Keynes that were as stupid as they were insensitive.

I had been asked to comment on Keynes’s famous observation “In the long run we are all dead.” The point I had made in my presentation was that in the long run our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are alive, and will have to deal with the consequences of our economic actions.

But I should not have suggested – in an off-the-cuff response that was not part of my presentation – that Keynes was indifferent to the long run because he had no children, nor that he had no children because he was gay. This was doubly stupid. First, it is obvious that people who do not have children also care about future generations. Second, I had forgotten that Keynes’s wife Lydia miscarried.

My disagreements with Keynes’s economic philosophy have never had anything to do with his sexual orientation. It is simply false to suggest, as I did, that his approach to economic policy was inspired by any aspect of his personal life. As those who know me and my work are well aware, I detest all prejudice, sexual or otherwise.

My colleagues, students, and friends – straight and gay – have every right to be disappointed in me, as I am in myself. To them, and to everyone who heard my remarks at the conference or has read them since, I deeply and unreservedly apologize.

Fair enough, right?

The Guardian places Ferguson in a field:

Ferguson, a Scot, is an outspoken figure who has written numerous bestselling books on history and economics…

Ferguson’s views, often criticised for placing too much of a positive spin on western empires and imperialism, have won high-profile support among some rightwing politicians, especially the British education secretary, Michael Gove.

The Telegraph makes no mention of his being a Scot and Gove’s pal, but does tell us:

Ferguson married Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born critic of Islam in a ceremony attended by Henry Kissinger in 2011

Andrew Sullivan sticks up for his pal:

I have known the man closely for many years – even read Corinthians at his recent wedding – and have never seen or heard or felt an iota of homophobia from him.

We have. See above:

He has supported me in all aspects of my life – and embraced my husband and my marriage. He said a horribly offensive thing – yes, it profoundly offended me – but he has responded swiftly with an unqualified apology. He cannot unsay something ugly. But he has done everything short of that. I am biased, but that closes the matter for me.

And one other small thing: if he really believed gay men had no interest in future generations, why would he have asked me, a gay man with HIV, to be the godfather to one of his sons? And why would I have accepted?

It’s not that Ferguson really believed it. It’s the fact that when push came to shove, he saw a man’s sexuality as reason for his beliefs and the driving force behind his work…



Posted: 4th, May 2013 | In: Reviews Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink