This time, Professor Ferguson muses about Lord Keynes: In recent weeks, we have examined the work of three different Harvard professors.
Assistant professor Mehta had offered a cherry-picked account of American test scores in the New York Times. His piece advanced a familiar script about the rattiness of the teachers found in our public schools. (For part 1 in our report, click here.)
Tomorrow, after we return to our own sprawling campus, we will continue to examine the recent work of Professors Reinhart and Rogoff.
Before we do, it must be said that the Harvard professors have struck again! This time, the Associated Press was forced to issue a bad report about—who else?—Professor Niall Ferguson. In this case, the lunacy was especially large, even by this cohort’s standards:
ASSOCIATED PRESS (5/4/13): Niall Ferguson, a Harvard history professor and author, apologized on Saturday for saying economist John Maynard Keynes was less invested in the future because he was gay and had no children.There’s more to this latest sad tale. To read it, just click here.
Ferguson said his remarks at an earlier conference were “as stupid as they were insensitive.”
We’ll grant you, Ferguson is an especially hopeless case. But can you see the point we’ve been making for the past several years about the occasional small imperfections of our professoriate?
In our view, this group’s most serious failures have jnvolved errors of omission—the repeated failure to provide intellectual guidance when it has been sorely needed. In the next few weeks, we plan to explore Professor Sandel’s ballyhooed work in terms of the things he didn’t say—the times he didn’t speak up in full-throated pursuit of justice.
That said, the errors of commission have been rich in recent weeks too. Are you starting to see the shape of the problem we have tried to describe?
One last point before we head home: It’s a question we’re often asked: “Are you the secret masterminds of the San Jose State philosophy department?”
We never discuss our personal conversations with San Jose State philosophy professors. But just last week, we discussed some silly comments by Friedman and Klein about the vast, overpowering greatness of Professor Sandel’s on-line course.
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