The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Why I’m Not on the Harvard Faculty

Posted on | May 4, 2013 | 73 Comments

Besides the fact that all I’ve got is a bachelor’s degree from a third-tier state university, there’s also the problem that I don’t think it’s necessary to apologize for saying bad things about dead bisexual British economists, which is now apparently taboo. You can badmouth dead people or defame the British or libel an economist unless any of them happen to be bisexual, in which case, they are beyond reproach.

A friend on Twitter informs me that John Maynard Keynes was an anti-Semite who was also head of the British Eugenics Society, which under ordinary liberal custom would be enough to render someone historically radioactive. However it seems the new rule is that being gay — or, as was apparently the case with Keynes, being nominally bisexual — is sufficient to silence all criticism.

Niall Ferguson says, in effect, “John Maynard Keynes was a bad economist who was wrong about everything and also, he was gay, which might be relevant to the problem.” OUTRAGE!

Well, here you go: Jeffrey Dahmer was a serial killer and a cannibal, and also, he was gay, which might be relevant to the problem.

Good-bye, Harvard faculty appointment!

UPDATE: My larger point — and if Ken at Popehat didn’t see this, no one else can be blamed for missing it — is to wonder why this particular molehill has become a peak in the Himalayas. The Ferguson/Keynes controversy was the top thread at Memeorandum, as if it were the most important thing that happened Saturday.

Does this make any sense? Why was this academic controversy magnified out of all proportion? Is necrohomophobia — fear of dead homosexuals — really such a serious problem in America? One of the commenters takes this jab at me:

Robert Stacy McCain is a simple-minded, hateful person, and also, he wears stupid hats, which might be relevant to the problem.

Simple-minded and hateful — and why? Because I did not rush to join the online lynch-mob of ritual denunciation?

It’s this aspect, redolent of the Moscow Show Trials, that alarms me. Also, how dare you call my hat stupid, you hat-hater!

These are the jokes, people. Lighten the hell up.

UPDATE II: Speaking of jokes, Andrew Sullivan has nominated me for the “Malkin Award.” This is my second such honor, the first having occurred in the aftermath of the 2009 Israeli invasion of Gaza, when I outlined my “Mideast Peace plan” as the hypothetical first gentile Prime Minister of Israel. These damned hypotheticals are always getting me in trouble.



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  • K-Bob

    Keynes came up with a way to stick it to us all. I think that means he’s bi.

  • K-Bob

    Too subtle. Needs more ballistics.

  • K-Bob

    You’ve missed out on the punch line of the old, “roo roo” joke, then.

  • K-Bob

    Especially when multiplied by central planners who fall for Lysenko-style, phony science, and set about destroying the engines of the economy.

  • K-Bob

    Of course, the trouble with their pillars falling is that they have decided—like an architect determined to round ? down to 3.0—that the real problem this time was that the wrong sorts of people were put in charge.

  • NeoWayland

    Actually I’d rather use one of those foam trucks from the airport…

    Choose the same tactics, and all you’re showing a semi-outsider like me is Candidate A with three causes from Column 1 while the Dems offer Candidate B with three causes from Column 2.

    If I don’t buy into your underlying reasons, there’s no real choice. You’re doing the exact same thing.

  • Gerald Williams

    Maybe it is because you feel compelled to constantly remind everyone that you are a stupid, greedy, self-righteous bigot.

  • SDN

    It requires you to consider the effect your decisions have on your offspring, that being the most common result of heterosexuality.

  • Moose

    Why do we use the liberal narrative of “homophobia”. I don’t fear homosexuals, at most I find them annoying, but typically I think they should just have their own word for their own form of marriage.

  • Bob Belvedere

    I have always like the term ‘Boston Marriage’ – it fits, somehow.

  • NeoWayland

    Depending on who you believe…

    “We’re all Keynesians now,” or “I am now a Keynesian.”

    — Richard Nixon, 1971

    Still doesn’t mean the theory is worth much though.

  • QuiHai

    You’re right! Robert Stacy McCain is Socrates!

  • Dai Alanye

    You’re in the position of a man who, when Conan comes at him with a sword declares, I’ll not stoop to low blood-letting. My jack-knife will remain in my pocket.

    Better to pull out Durandel, your shining blade of truth, and have at it against Conan’s foul weapon based on lies.

    Propaganda needn’t be false. The truth, properly presented, surely gives an advantage, but it’s partly a matter of who has the better technique.

  • Dai Alanye

    Or possibly Aristotle, maybe Archimedes. Your choice.

  • NeoWayland

    No, I’m like me.

    I suppose I could go buy a gun and do the Indiana Jones thing, but it’s really not necessary.

    I’m still waiting to see the “better technique” on this thread. That was my original point, wasn’t it?

  • Dai Alanye

    I regret to say I haven’t taken the time to analyze who you are or even what your original point might have been. I’ve merely noticed that you’ve gotten worked-up over the fact that conservatives aren’t perfect in every way.

    BTW, does “NeoWayland” indicate an interest in Saxon paganism or is it the newly-paved street you reside on?

  • NeoWayland


    This isn’t me worked up, It’s not even me demanding that conservatives be perfect.

    It’s me pointing out that conservatives that indulge in sloppy thinking and mud-slinging straw men can’t really say that progressives don’t know what they’re talking about.

  • Dai Alanye

    Your final paragraph seems logically correct but is observationally faulty. Interpreted, your statement means that hypocrisy is self-defeating. If that were true, however, the liberal lie machine would have gone out of business long ago.

    In fact, a good liar can generally, if not always, beat a clumsy speaker of truths. Were this not so the political scene would be quite different. To succeed, the truth-teller needs to use effective debating techniques, including appeals to emotion, ad hominem criticisms and whatever else works.

  • NeoWayland

    Funny thing about observational errors. Sometimes, changing perspective makes them vanish.

    The progressive lie machine is partially supported by the conservative lie machine.

    And by conservatives who play the progressive game by progressive rules and progressive definitions.

    It’s all interdependent.

    As long as the only difference between the two “official” teams is if the feather is on the right side of the silly hats or the left side, that’s all it will be.

    Now me, on the whole I think conservatives show more character and honor than progressives. They’ll usually tell you up front what they think and believe. They won’t recruit you for the dog and pony show only to stab you in the back and dump you off the high bridge in the dead of night.

    This button pushing stuff is just sloppy.

  • Dai Alanye

    You keep making statements, then acting as though you’ve proved your point. All you’ve actually proved is that you have opinions.

    So no more–you keep your illusions and I’ll hang onto mine.

  • MMorse

    Separate but equal, right?

  • MMorse

    Not really, PGlenn. I THINK you were trying to be witheringly condescending toward tcranenj, but maybe you were instead attempting to be condescendingly withering instead? It’s so hard to tell.