Wednesday, 8 May 2013

One Ferguson Down: One More To Go

I woke up this morning to to joyful news that Ferguson has resigned. Fantastic. Another victory for reason and progressive values.

Sadly, I was mistaken. They meant Sir Alex Ferguson, enormously successful footballing tyrant and manager of Manchester United, not Niall Ferguson, Transatlantic Bigot. Master of the hairdryer treatment, of Fergie Time (a new branch of physics), of mind games and of his players, many of whom have been treated ruthlessly when they evince the slightest interest in thinking for themselves. With Ferguson gone, surely Assad can't be far behind. But one man's retirement is another's opportunity. Tony Pulis of Stoke City must be in for a shout: he's uncompromising, rude, determined and enormously gritty. The episode in which he dashed out of a shower, naked, to head-butt his striker for complaining about a Christmas party must be considered a job application in Old Trafford. The only difference between Alex and Tony is, well, success.

But that's enough about one rich Scottish Ferguson with a healthy disregard for the rules of polite society. The other Scottish Ferguson with an attitude who requires defenestration in short order is of course Niall Ferguson the Harvard economist and rather slap-dash scholar. A few days ago, he claimed that John Maynard Keynes's economic models were flawed because JMK was homosexual, married a ballerina and being childless, had no long-term stake in society. And he's done it before: this is no off-the-cuff quip.

I don't know. These gay economists. Marrying our ballerinas and advocating counter-cyclical strategies to maintain capitalist stability. Better people than me have critiqued Ferguson's reactionary attitudes and terrible books, but this outburst annoyed me. Firstly: homosexuals have children sometimes. More frequently, homosexuals have nephews and nieces, friends and loved ones, all of whose well-being they may well consider to be a stake in society. I'm childless. Should my vote be removed, my opinions discarded?

Ferguson's logic leads to the repeal of universal suffrage. In Britain and many other countries, the vote was restricted to people owning property with a minimum value: clearly an attempt to disenfranchise the vast majority of the population, the argument was that the poor had no stake in society. As well as being childless, I don't own any property. I could up sticks and leave in a heartbeat, spreading subversive poison throughout the land.

Ferguson isn't an historian or an economist. He's a freelance ideologue who abuses his academic credentials to propagate a jaundiced, backwards world-view. If his supporters at the Daily Mail want to keep buying his books, fine. But Harvard shouldn't be dignifying this rubbish with an academic post.

No comments: