I'm so glad I didn't buy Niall Ferguson's airport book on money
But the whole "everything is all for the best in this best of all possible financial worlds" vibe it had gave me the creeps. Brad DeLong:
Republicans, the Stupid Party; it's Much Worse than I Thought (Niall Ferguson Edition)
Not only Republican intellectuals not pushing back against the RNC's self-abusive claim that the Democratic Party "is dedicated to restructuring American society along socialist ideals," thy hace written down the talking point and are running with it. A friend directs me to Andrew Purcell's report:
Niall Ferguson v Paul Krugman: Krugman was lost for words. “Boy,” he shook his head, “Oh dear.” He took issue with Ferguson’s sums and with neoconservative economics as a who.... On the core subject of deficit spending, Ferguson could not find a single ally.... [I]n one last defiant gesture, revelling in his role as pantomime villain, reached for the ultimate conservative put-down: “If you wanna try the Soviet model, fine...”
Krugman and Soros groaned loudly. The audience booed. Moderator Jeff Madrick interrupted once, then twice, talking over Ferguson’s objections. “We’re doing you a good turn by not extending this ten minutes,” he suggested...
Barack Obama is a Keynesian (and not enough of one, at that), not a Marxist. John Maynard Keynes is not Karl Marx. The last time any bunch of people argued what Niall Ferguson does it was the honchos of National Review in the 1950s, who denied the possibility of any third-way alternative at all to either laissez-faire or Soviet Russia, who lauded Francisco Franco as Europe's greatest twentieth-century politician, who thought there was a serious chance that George C. Marshall was part of the conspiracy so immense that had handed China and was working to hand America over to Josef Stalin, and believed that white southerners had the right and duty to deny African-Americans the vote by "such measures as are necessary to prevail."
Is this the company that Niall Ferguson really wants to be in? Apparently so.
While I relish a conservative intellectual -- if that's not a contradiction in terms -- being put down, I'm not sure I relish the part where the moderator talked over Ferguson; we just saw that with Adam Davidson and Elizabeth Warren, and that was just wrong.
Then again, DeLong goes on to quote Keynes on the "boorish proletariat" (bitter cling-to, much?) and so it's clear there's a good deal of work to be done on all sides.