Niall Ferguson takes the measure of the collapsing American Neo-Liberal State. Political Observer comments

Perhaps this is one of the reasons that Mr. Ferguson left the august Times ?

‘He is the founder and managing director of Greenmantle LLC, a New York-based advisory firm.’

Mr. Ferguson is another peddler, with his vaunted ‘expertise’ like the crowd of for-rent Public Intellectuals, and former Professional Politicians, in sum, political grifters  that pass themselves,and their hirelings, as ‘fixers’ : Henry Kissinger, Ian Bremmer, Rudy Giuliani etc., etc.  
Both last Sunday and this Sunday, I went looking for his regular column, in the Times, and wondered at where he might be. Mr. Ferguson makes his debut at Bloomberg Opinion on June 8, 2020. 

Headline: 2020 Is Not 1968. It May Be Worse.

Sub-headline: Social unrest helped doom Lyndon Johnson’s presidency. It may end up saving Trump’s.

What is telling is that his readership, or some portion of ‘them’, were not just alive during that fateful year, but were part of that generation of dissenters, and/or very sympathetic to that cause. As Mr. Ferguson was born in 1964, he was neither dissident, nor an adversary  of those political nonconformists. Yet as an Historian he can recount 1968, as it happened, written in an approximation of the facts, or write a history made to measure.      

For Mr. Ferguson and his many ‘allies’ as presented by him: ‘David Frum, James Fallows, Max Boot, Julian Zelizer and Zachary Karabell’ are a collection of writers and propagandists: the respectable bourgeois voices of Corporate Media.

The Hong Kong flu did not shut the country down! Or consider this Ferguson gem: ‘It’s easy to forget that Woodstock, the following year, was a super-spreader event.’ Both examples of  historical malapropism ?  

The historical points of reference: 

The Athenian plague of 430 BC

The Antonine Plague (165-180 AD)

The Plague of Justinian (542 AD)

The Black Death

The list is long …

Then he somersaults to his ‘friend’ Roland Fryer, a colleague sympathetic to Black Live Matter, that by inference casts Ferguson in a more sympathetic light, it is a usable connection. ‘Coleman Hughes, another African-American friend’ also makes strategic appearance.

Mr. Ferguson’s search for analogies,  and dis-analogies to 1968 does not quite ring true, as Trump’s popularity has hit a marked downward trend, even among Republicans: 

Headline: 2020 Watch: Has Trump hit bottom? Polls show him trailing

Sub-headline:President Donald Trump enters the week hoping to rebound from one of the lowest points of his presidency

Headline:Krystal and Saagar React: BREAKING brutal polls for Trump show it’s not 2016 again


Why is this final paragraph anything like a surprise, coming from this Neo-Conservative, whose unseemly romance with The British Empire, and its institutionalized racism and murder, produces a radical toxic nostalgia?    

Yet the return of the culture war might just prove to be the deus ex machina that extricates Trump from the quagmire of Covid-19. If so, Trump’s many detractors in the commentariat – who have long hoped that he is Richard Nixon without the second term – may come to rue the day they drew the wrong historical analogy.

Political Observer

(Added June 9, 2020 7:27 PDT)

P. S. Mr. Ferguson could have benefited from the insights of  Joe McGinniss’ 1969 bestseller The Selling of the President 1968. The original book cover itself is worth posting:




About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.'
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.