The Ferguson Corollary

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.”

5 comments on “The Ferguson Corollary

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  1. Well Ferguson, ‘chose poorly’ in criticizing Keyne’s orientation, when flawed economic analysis, anti Semitism or belief in Eugenics, would have been better grounds. Then again, Keynes would look down on supposed boosters like Krugman, for missing the point,

  2. Ferguson has apologized, while Jonah Goldberg has dredged up a series of quotations demonstrating that this mode of attack on Keynes has something of a pedigree. The effect is, indicatively, to add nothing at all to an understanding of Keynes’ economic theories and their relevance to the present day or even in the history of economics, but only to place the commenters, people like Joseph Schumpeter and Gertrude Himmelfarb, along with Keynes in another not yet very distant era when thinking in stereotypes was common and treated as respectable among the educated classes.

    Keynes’ lifelong involvement in Eugenics may say a lot of things or may not in fact say very much at all, but one thing it seems to disprove is that he lacked interest in the welfare of future generations, since Eugenics is the crystallization of that concern directly: He not only cared about future generations, he was materially concerned about the actual generation of those generations, about breeding them properly. The interest suggests another mode of procreation by other means, in this case procreation via other people’s procreation.

  3. He didn’t want the Untermensch, Wells was like that too, the Morlocks were clearly what he believed was
    the ugly stinking proles, Like I said, it wouldn’t have been my tack to take, any more then Burgess’s propensity made him a traitor,

  4. ‘In the long run, we are all dead’ it’s a truism but it doesn’t lend itself for effective economic analysis, it’s possibly arguable that ‘the Economic Consequences’ was more prescient, as the Dawes Plan, pointed out
    however it was the Prussian Junker Class, that didn’t learn the lesson,

  5. To say so is not “Godwinning,” but reflection of a proper understanding of the oxymoron “fascist intellectual.”

    Well, I know I’m a moron–but now I can aspire to be an oxymoron.

    As always–thanks for the inspiration!

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