This evening the Kennedy School hosted the Harvard University John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum, a televised debate. I found a vantage point and listened in. The guest speaker on this occasion was Peter Thiel, founding Chief Executive Officer of PayPal and a member of the Board of Directors of Facebook. Fabulously rich, Thiel, because of the stock market flotation of Facebook, is about to become fabulously fabulously rich (or maybe that’s fabulously to the power of three). The staging was a ‘conversation’ with Niall Ferguson, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History and William Ziegler Professor at Harvard Business School. Now Thiel, improbably young and already wise beyond his years, was not without piercing observations. The best, I thought, was his realisation that ‘the tournament just goes on and on’. When he got on to policy, he was very soon out of his depth, though he never floundered. But the star of the show in my opinion was his affable interlocuteur, Niall Ferguson. Let’s face it; the Americans like the occasional Brit grit in their media oysters: Harold Evans, Tina Brown, Piers Morgan, Chris Hitchens… I’ll quote just one Ferguson phrase, summing up a long and complicated question from a member of the audience to enable Thiel to reply: ‘Peace produces welfare but you need warfare for progress.’ Maybe the phrase has been coined before but he slotted it in with consummate ease and timing.