Don’t forget the imperialism

TW: heterosexism, islamophobia

One last word about Ferguson and Keynes – there’s all kinds of racial implications floating around in his almost apology. Amid claims by Ferguson that he’s not racist (although that wasn’t the subject of the complaints), he manages to cite Andrew Sullivan (yes, that Andrew Sullivan) as his close friend, so obviously he’s not hetereosexist. He then proceeds to note that Keynes said quite a few racist things in his day too, but that that shouldn’t discredit him (which fails to actually examine how his racist attitudes may or may not have biased any of his specific theories).

(Niall Ferguson also cited his marriage to Ayaan Hirsi Ali as evidence that he’s not racist, ignoring that she wrote the screenplay to Theo van Gogh’s Submission, which has been charged with helping to ignite the modern wave of islamophobia in the US and Europe. Photo from here.)

This, of course, is fitting given how Niall Ferguson’s lengthy academic history of removing people of color from historical processes. Most famously, Ferguson overlooks the decolonization movements in south Asia as a force in dismantling the British Empire, instead crediting British decline to the development of a German center of gravity within Europe which the wars and conflicts of the twentieth century allegedly tried to prevent (in which Keynes is a sappy love-blinded fool falling for a citizen of the “enemy power”).

So, amid all of this bigotry and oppression, it’s worth noting that the good ones in Ferguson’s view (from his Somali born wife to Andrew Sullivan) coddle or legitimize the British Empire, but what makes Keynes so very gay and hence wrong is that his writings weren’t always as serviceable to the Queen as Ferguson might like. Contrary to how Ferguson presented the issue, the problem with his view isn’t that it inevitably labels people of color or queer people inferiors, but that it presumes that and only withdraws those claims when they further his personal needs or his imperialist notions about how the world should work.

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