Harvard Professor and author Niall Ferguson says John Maynard Keynes' economic philosophy was flawed and he didn't care about future generations because he was gay and didn't have children.
[Editor's Note: 10:21 pm, May 4. Earlier today, two days after he spoke, Professor Ferguson issued an "unqualified apology" for what he termed his "insensitive" and "stupid" remarks. He also acknowledged his remarks were 'doubly stupid" since Keynes' wife suffered a miscarriage.]
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.
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.
Not only is this intellectually void, it's mad. And anyone with a moral conscience should be outraged. It is one thing to take issue with a society fueled by self interest and one fueled by a larger ethic. But it's entirely vulgar to make this argument about sexual preference -- and to do so glibly.
Throughout his remarks, Ferguson referred to his "friends" in high places. They should all be embarrassed and ashamed of such a connection to such small-minded thinking. Ferguson says U.S. laws and institutions have become degenerate. Rather, I dare say, it's Ferguson's arguments which are.