“The society which has abolished every kind of adventure makes its own abolition the only possible adventure.” Paris, May 1968

Monday, 14 March 2011

Niall Ferguson-First as tragedy.......

History was bunk as far as Henry Ford was concerned while for Santayana those who do not know it are doomed to repeat it. Niall Ferguson on the other hand seems to consider history a vehicle for proving the legitimacy and inevitability of the neo-liberal project. What I find irritating about Ferguson's latest Channel 4 offering is not so much his unashamed bigging up of Western ideas and achievements, in fact it makes a refreshing change from all that lefty apologetic hand wringing and cultural relativism , no, what gets me about Niall Ferguson is not just the repeated assertion that "West Is Best" but the smirking implication that he, Niall Ferguson, is in some way to be credited for this superiority.


Jemmy Hope said...

Not to mention his attempts to excuse pro-nazi organisations in the wartime Baltic states on account of their anti-communism.

Anonymous said...

As spiked-online sums him up:

"Ferguson talks at a fast pace and fires out lots of information which generally makes him look smart on TV, because he sounds like he’s bravely and innovatively riffing on ideas and challenging received wisdom, while somehow churning out received wisdom and playing the same notes over and over again. If historians are like rock groups, which is a very Niall Ferguson thought, then he would be Status Quo."

His program is a shameless piece of propaganda, and he is a creepy shit.

Sunil Kalsi said...

Niall Ferguson talks about global issues as if he cares for the suffering of those that bear the brunt of environmental destruction or inner city slum living. But what actually is he saying needs to change?

In the last of his boring shows 'Civilisation: is the west history' he takes an age to basically say how much China should thank Christianity (and by inference British colonialism) for its work ethic. This sounds less like penetrative thought and more like the drivel spouted off by some drunken ex-pat he met in a bar whilst filming.

This was not a discussion about 'lost faith', instead it was an opportunity for him to tell us how great Christianity is. The biggest joke of which is the assertion that Protestantism created the work ethic and that imperialism should be thanked for delivering this to the world. How arrogant of him to say that, what would Niall Ferguson suggest the rest of the world were up to prior to imperialism?

In the last episode he fails to even make reference to the employment of guns and explosives as the major facilitator of the brute force subjugation and enforced suffering by one Human being upon an other. He also fails to notice that China does not display this trait with the same fervour that the West did.

A closer inspection of his "6 killer apps" betrays a heartfelt regret that Britain lost its Empire. He is a Historian so he should know that Medicine and Science have traversed Europe and Asia and that ideas have always been shared. Science and Medicine were not created in Europe independently of the rest of the world.

I find it sickening that he parades himself as an altruist when in fact he's conservative and a capitalist that feels vindicated in his cretinous opinions simply because he is a Christian. The only thing Niall Ferguson is sad about is the fact that it's not 1850 and Queen Victoria is no longer the head of a tyrannical global super power.

How did this guy get on TV? No wait; TV is the right place for this pseudo-intellectual who doesn't even have the common decency to have a modicum of charisma to spout off his fake plastic dull and conventional ideas.

His series is a failure because it says nothing original and there is no insight, instead he blindly says we need to be doing more of the same as we have always done and that somehow things will be better once the West is in dominion.

henry said...

Agreed. The man is a bitter, snivelling, partisan chiseler.

The series must have cost a bloody fortune - wasted!
Andre Gunder Frank (dead now) and Wallerstein did some rattling World History stuff in the '80s & '90s that completely rewrote the West's view of itself. Then Ferguson and the NeoCons stole the lot and have set about trying to pervert it ever since.

I'd love it if someone else did a balanced overview of the planet's civilisations pre & post flood.
Us talking monkeys have been exactly as we are now (mentally, physically, kinship groups, evil kings and nasty priests) for 120,000yrs at least. And all we get is re-runs of the last 3,000 years - and somehow it always end up with a panorama shot of New York's Manhattan Island skyline.

Sunil said...

Jemmy you should check out http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/kymatica/

Not all encompassing but a better documentary and about 7 hours shorter than NF's!