One of the most striking divides in the left/right political debate is this. Those on the right disagree with people on the left. They find left-wing opinions misguided, incorrect or otherwise wrong. But they tend not to assume that their opponents are evil. This favour is rarely reciprocated.
The Harvard professor and historian Niall Ferguson is the latest to suffer from this. In a discussion in California last week, he was invited to comment on John Maynard Keynes’ notorious observation, ‘In the long run we are all dead’. Ferguson mentioned somewhat flippantly that Keynes may have been more indifferent to the future because he had no children, because he was gay. For this he is now being denounced as an anti-gay bigot.
All the usual self-appointed, left-wing, gay-rights ‘spokespeople’ (incidentally, at which convention did we appoint them?) have condemned him. Ben Summerskill and Peter Tatchell have referred to the comments on Keynes as a ‘homophobic slur’. Others have claimed that his comments ‘take gay-bashing to new heights.’