Ralph Benko

While America was distracted by the theatrics of the government shutdown and threat of default something of much greater importance occurred. Niall Ferguson undertook a public flogging of Paul Krugman.

Krugman’s horns now forever will show under his dislodged faux halo. For this the world will prove a safer, and much more decent, place.

Niall Ferguson — Harvard professor (and Stanford University’s Hoover Institution fellow, and Jesus College, Oxford, Senior Research Fellow) — launched a three part series, in the Huffington Post, entitled Krugtron the Invincible, Parts 1, 2 and 3 with a notable coda at Project Syndicate. Ferguson succeeds in methodically humiliating New York Times columnist, celebrity blogger, and Nobel economic prize laureate Paul Krugman, together with his “gaggle of bloggers who are to Krugman what Egyptian plovers are to crocodiles.”

Ferguson calls Krugman and his acolytes out for many, meticulously documented, errors and omissions. And he does not just show Krugman up as wrong but as a blackguard surrounded by a bodyguard of hooligans, all guilty of bullying. Ferguson on Krugman:

Where I come from, however, we do not fear bullies. We despise them. And we do so because we understand that what motivates their bullying is a deep sense of insecurity. Unfortunately for Krugtron the Invincible, his ultimate nightmare has just become a reality. By applying the methods of the historian – by quoting and contextualizing his own published words – I believe I have now made him what he richly deserves to be: a figure of fun, whose predictions (and proscriptions) no one should ever again take seriously.

Ferguson’s riposte, a courageous, moving, and decisive reply to Krugman’s infamous defamation, was a tour de force worthy of the virile Glaswegian. Ferguson candidly states that among his motives was “to teach him the meaning of the old Scottish regimental motto: nemo me impune lacessit (‘No one attacks me with impunity’).”

After Ferguson’s prosecution and execution there isn’t really enough of Krugman left to bury. Yet in case you missed it … let us reprise, and celebrate, the event. The essence of Ferguson’s argument nicely is summed up in Part 3:


Ralph Benko

Ralph Benko, author of The Websters’ Dictionary: How to use the Web to transform the world. He serves as an advisor to and editor of the Lehrman Institute's thegoldstandardnow.org and senior advisor to the American Principles Project.