Though easily turned into a cliché, and an obnoxious one, the notion of the childless and in that sense socially remote thinker or artist who sublimates a defeated bid for mere genetic immortality as greatness, of the individual for whom art or philosophy or science or religion is procreation by other means, and as near to the divine as ever achieved or achievable by human exertion, remains indispensable, in part because the alternative looks something like this:
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.
Offensive? From a dyspeptic grand-uncle at a holiday family gathering, maybe, but, from a celebrity intellectual speaking before “more than 500 financial advisors and investors,” the remarks exhibit something more: a supreme essence of stupidity, an intellectually 99.44% pure distillation of the Peter Principle that extends to the audience as representatives of the same inexorable process. If what the telegenic Harvard professor and author of some not entirely bad books says evokes Burke in any way, it does so as crude satire, an imitation of reason by natural law implicating the speaker as well as the anti-culture culture that un-thinks his anti-thoughts for him ahead of time.
Ferguson’s reported statements invert the same concept – universal immortality of ideas across the generations, telepoesis – that ever justified, a bit less this morning than the day before, distinguished Harvard professors, and for that matter the production of new generations of potential students, at all. Because this thought, as thought on an eternal purpose of thought, on the abstract concretely, may by its nature remain hard to grasp, it may lead someone who has trouble thinking it to reach for something else, the safety on his Browning, for example. To say so is not “Godwinning,” but reflection of a proper understanding of the oxymoron “fascist intellectual.”