Niall Ferguson, a conservative historian, was recently in the news because schadenfreude. This started a train of thought to far away places, and I’d like to take you on the journey.
In The Stanford Daily‘s coverage of said schadenfreude, they mention another time that Ferguson put his foot in mouth, back in 2013. Ferguson had claimed that the famous (liberal) economist John Maynard Keynes didn’t care enough about the future because he was gay and childless.
Point in fact, Keynes was bisexual, married a woman, and tried to have children, although they had a miscarriage. Also, it’s not clear that Keynes didn’t care about the future.
Niall’s remark was clearly in response to Keynes’ famous quote, “In the long run we are all dead.” I immediately saw the connection, as this is a household quote and in-joke between me and my fiance. We say stuff like, “That may help in the long run, but you know what they say about the long run.” But it’s not really an expression of disregard for the future. It would help to see the quote in its original context: [Read more…]