Friday 26 August 2011

Niall Ferguson

Early evening found us once more in the big tent at the Book Festival, this time to hear Niall Ferguson. The event was chaired by Iain Macwhirter, a Herald journalist who is also Rector of Edinburgh University.

You may think that Mr Macwhirter is a traditional old-time socialist, but some of us have been working on him! A few months ago I attended a dinner that featured Macwhirter as guest speaker. After his speech I chatted about the banking crisis, insisting that it was caused by government, not the free market. I explained that (unlike conservatives) libertarians had fully expected such a crisis, understood its cause, and had opposed the bailouts. And so it was with great pleasure that I heard Macwhirter introduce Ferguson just as would a hardcore libertarian, including a reference to "communist banking". The invisible hand in action!

From a presentational point of view Ferguson was easily the best speaker I've heard so far at the Festival. More importantly, his talk was a direct attack on the soft collectivism that so threatens Britain and especially Scotland. Mention was made of the Austrian School and why people were turning to gold. We heard about the six "killer apps" that had enabled to West to beat the Rest:

1. Competition

2. Science

3. Property rights

4. Medicine

5. The consumer society

6. The work ethic.

These apps are all in the process of being "deleted" here while being "downloaded" elsewhere, particularly in Asia. I for one see no sign of this process being reversed.

Later on I had a nice chat with Macwhirter after getting Ferguson to sign a couple of books.

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comment made on previous template:

Colin Finlay
NF's father was our family doctor. I had the same History master at school as NF but somehow our achievements in that field were characterised by that bugbear of the Left , viz., Inequality.

4 September 2011, 09:33:52 GMT+01:00