PC Dictatorships and Double Standards
“Dictatorships and Double Standards” is of course the title of Jeane Kirkpatrick’s famous Commentary article about how “human rights” liberals of the time were hard on our allies who had less than stellar human rights records, but supine in the face of totalitarians like the Soviet Union and its allies such as Cuba. (Because, as we all know, Cuba’s literacy and universal health care are more important than bourgeois rights like free speech, etc.)
It’s time for an update, with reference to the juxtaposition of the treatment of Niall Ferguson and Dick Harpootlian, which shows liberal double standards at work once again. (Repeat the old joke here, if liberals didn’t have double standards. . . etc.)
Ferguson, as you’ve likely heard, decided to tempt the PC gods by speculating at an investment conference last week that John Maynard Keynes’s economic philosophy—or at least his famous comment dismissing the long-run effects of his deficit-spending formula that “In the long run we’re all dead”—might have some relation to his homosexuality and lack of children. This is not a brand new idea about Keynes, as Jonah Goldberg reviews here, but liberals have reacted as if Ferguson had questioned the saintliness of Gandhi or something. And while the idea that attachment to posterity through our children is far from being outré, it does seems a stretch to reduce Keynes’s layered views to this sole anthropological dimension. After all, lots and lots of heterosexuals with children believe in unsound economic and social theories, too. What was Ferguson thinking? Did he think, “Gee—I’d really like to see what it’s like to emulate Larry Summers?” (Ferguson is the Tisch professor of history at Harvard.)
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