05 May 2013

Niall Ferguson's Apology for His Homophobic Screed Ignores Decades of Homophobic Screeds

Niall Ferguson recently made headlines by equating John Maynard Keynes sexuality with his positions, and using his homosexuality and childless state to condemn his policies.

When a firestorm brewed up over this, he quickly apologized, and while this apology seems sincere, the fact that he has a long history of making this statement:
Earlier Cambridge Professor and economist Michael Kitson tweeted out that he had heard Ferguson make the comments in the past:

Niall FergusonHarvard professor Niall Ferguson kicked off a storm yesterday, after it was reported that he had linked John Maynard Keynes' economic philosophy to a lack of concern for future generations.

This was a result, Ferguson reportedly told an investment conference, of Keynes' own lack of children and homosexuality.

Ferguson issued a swift — and seemingly sincere — apology, but it may already be too late. Critics of the noted historian are now going over his history to find more evidence that he truly believes in what he has now admitted to be "stupid and tactless" comments.

Earlier Cambridge Professor and economist Michael Kitson tweeted out that he had heard Ferguson make the comments in the past:

Business Insider reached out to Kitson, who offered more detail (emphasis ours):
I was at history seminar given by Niall Ferguson over 20 years ago. I am not good at dates but I think it was around 1990/91. I am better at locations - it was held in the Rushmore Room at St Catharine's College, Cambridge. Ferguson gave a paper, my recollection is that it was on German hyperinflation in the 1920s. But I remember distinctly his response to a question about Keynes: he stated that Keynes and his economics was completely short-termist and that he (Keynes) did not care about the long term or future generations because he was homosexual and did not have children. He elaborated at length on this point - it did not seem as off the cuff remark but a deeply held conviction. I remember being stunned at the time: because of the bigotry and because it showed a complete lack of understanding of Keynes's work. So, it was with a sense of déjà vu that I read the comments that Ferguson has made recently about Keynes.
(Business Insider has asked Ferguson for comment on Kitson's allegation. At the time of writing he has not responded.
Of course, Ferguson has a long history of being offensive, and being wrong about pretty much everything, so this should come as no surprise.

What is depressing that this guy has achieved an unusually level amount of professional credibility despite his record.


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