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The War on the West

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An Instant New York Times Bestseller! China has concentration camps now. Why do Westerners claim our sins are unique? It is now in vogue to celebrate non-Western cultures and disparage Western ones. Some of this is a much-needed reckoning, but much of it fatally undermines the very things that created the greatest, most humane civilization in the world. In The War on the West An Instant New York Times Bestseller! China has concentration camps now. Why do Westerners claim our sins are unique? It is now in vogue to celebrate non-Western cultures and disparage Western ones. Some of this is a much-needed reckoning, but much of it fatally undermines the very things that created the greatest, most humane civilization in the world. In The War on the West, Douglas Murray shows how many well-meaning people have been fooled by hypocritical and inconsistent anti-West rhetoric. After all, if we must discard the ideas of Kant, Hume, and Mill for their opinions on race, shouldn't we discard Marx, whose work is peppered with racial slurs and anti-Semitism? Embers of racism remain to be stamped out in America, but what about the raging racist inferno in the Middle East and Asia? It's not just dishonest scholars who benefit from this intellectual fraud but hostile nations and human rights abusers hoping to distract from their own ongoing villainy. Dictators who slaughter their own people are happy to jump on the "America is a racist country" bandwagon and mimic the language of antiracism and "pro-justice" movements as PR while making authoritarian conquests. If the West is to survive, it must be defended. The War on the West is not only an incisive takedown of foolish anti-Western arguments but also a rigorous new apologetic for civilization itself.


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An Instant New York Times Bestseller! China has concentration camps now. Why do Westerners claim our sins are unique? It is now in vogue to celebrate non-Western cultures and disparage Western ones. Some of this is a much-needed reckoning, but much of it fatally undermines the very things that created the greatest, most humane civilization in the world. In The War on the West An Instant New York Times Bestseller! China has concentration camps now. Why do Westerners claim our sins are unique? It is now in vogue to celebrate non-Western cultures and disparage Western ones. Some of this is a much-needed reckoning, but much of it fatally undermines the very things that created the greatest, most humane civilization in the world. In The War on the West, Douglas Murray shows how many well-meaning people have been fooled by hypocritical and inconsistent anti-West rhetoric. After all, if we must discard the ideas of Kant, Hume, and Mill for their opinions on race, shouldn't we discard Marx, whose work is peppered with racial slurs and anti-Semitism? Embers of racism remain to be stamped out in America, but what about the raging racist inferno in the Middle East and Asia? It's not just dishonest scholars who benefit from this intellectual fraud but hostile nations and human rights abusers hoping to distract from their own ongoing villainy. Dictators who slaughter their own people are happy to jump on the "America is a racist country" bandwagon and mimic the language of antiracism and "pro-justice" movements as PR while making authoritarian conquests. If the West is to survive, it must be defended. The War on the West is not only an incisive takedown of foolish anti-Western arguments but also a rigorous new apologetic for civilization itself.

30 review for The War on the West

  1. 5 out of 5

    Linda Galella

    Completely aggravated, bordering on angry, it took a long time, (for me), to read this book. I had to stop reading, go walk it off and come back to it numerous times. Douglas Murray breaks down “The War on the West” by showing how the basic tenents of America’s foundation have been eroded. He looks at race, reparations, crt, religion, history, education, China, art, music, health care and more. Not only are these subjects spoken about but Murray gives specific examples that demonstrate his claim Completely aggravated, bordering on angry, it took a long time, (for me), to read this book. I had to stop reading, go walk it off and come back to it numerous times. Douglas Murray breaks down “The War on the West” by showing how the basic tenents of America’s foundation have been eroded. He looks at race, reparations, crt, religion, history, education, China, art, music, health care and more. Not only are these subjects spoken about but Murray gives specific examples that demonstrate his claims. There’s an interactive notes section in the Kindle edition that makes this an easy function to follow up on. By the way, speaking of the Kindle edition, Amazon has this book categorized incorrectly. It has nothing to do with LGBT studies or History of Women. It is a Political and Social Science book. Sigh…PLEASE don’t let that “error” stop you from reading this important book!!! The depth of absurdity that has and is occurring on a daily basis to diminish our democracy, values, historical accuracy and position as the greatest nation on earth is frightening. It’s permeated our education system, churches, journalism; it’s everywhere. I’m a musician, educated in the 60-70’s. I was taught theory, western civilization, learned to play EVERY orchestra instrument, and already could read musical notation prior to auditions a plenty. That notation has apparently become racist and is causing stress for students of color. There are prestigious universities considering eliminating the end of required notation reading, conducting, studying classical composers, (they’re all white) and of course, their music, due to this stress. WHAT ?!?!? That will not be a fine arts degree in music; appreciation, perhaps. Add this to all the art and sculpture that’s being canceled; yes, angry. History isn’t meant to be canceled but to be learned from lest we repeat the horrors. That’s one small example that spoke loudly to me. There are too many more to even summarize beyond what’s above. This is a book that should have people talking. It’s no nonsense, well supported and in my case, really hit a raw nerve but totally worth reading📚

  2. 5 out of 5

    Roxanne

    This book stirred a lot in me. As white woman married to a brown man, living in South Africa, and who has a bi-racial child… I have been fiercely on the side of the “anti-racism” movement from the beginning. However, over the last 2 years as race discussions online began to turn more and more malevolent, I began to question the wisdom of fighting racism by hyper focusing on racial identity, policing these discussions and who may participate, and what qualifies them to do so. Also I couldn’t reco This book stirred a lot in me. As white woman married to a brown man, living in South Africa, and who has a bi-racial child… I have been fiercely on the side of the “anti-racism” movement from the beginning. However, over the last 2 years as race discussions online began to turn more and more malevolent, I began to question the wisdom of fighting racism by hyper focusing on racial identity, policing these discussions and who may participate, and what qualifies them to do so. Also I couldn’t reconcile the fact that I would wear the label of being inherently racist no matter what I did simply by virtue of being white. The mantle of shame and self loathing I have worn purely on the basis of having white skin has become heavy. The scars of apartheid are still fresh and I cannot and will never defend the atrocities that took place, but as Wiesenthal says (and I paraphrase here), quoted by Murray in the book, I also cannot take responsibility for something that I didn’t do. We cannot issue or accept apologies on behalf of the people who were wronged. I don’t want to pass these negative attitudes about whiteness to my son. None of us should feel shame or discrimination on the basis of skin colour which we are unable to choose. I felt like reading this book, I could lay down this heavy load I have been carrying. I finally feel like I don’t need to feel guilty for being white. I will continue to support diversity, I will continue to condemn racism in all its forms and I will continue to appreciate the contributions of and uplift people from all backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities. Especially in a country as beautiful and diverse as mine. I also felt like Murray draws attention to how one sided the criticism is for the west, when many eastern and Asian countries have done or doing similar things. China’s expansion and recolonization of Africa in particular is incredibly concerning yet is seemingly unnoticed while the west is focused on social justice issues and searching for every person who should be canceled and what can now be considered a micro aggression. Murray does a really good job in taking on a difficult topic and questioning and exposing flawed logic of the “anti-racist” movement. This book is not an easy read because it tackles many uncomfortable truths and many people are likely to dislike him for that. I also appreciated this book’s tone and how he points to the future, what can be done and that it is not too late to minimize the potential consequences of this war on the west. It had an overall more hopeful tone than his previous book. It gave me plenty to think about and I will likely revisit this read again at a later date. This book will challenge you. I highly recommend it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Derek Martin

    A masterpiece and tour de force Mr. Murray, I may not agree with everything about your politics but I am proud as an American that you had the courage to write this book. It is a clarion call for all of us to reject this noxious divisiveness that is happening around race. Thank you and enjoy this 5 star review for a wonderful and insightful book. It was worth the weight and a valuable contribution to the discussion.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    There are many attitudes that we take in our lives, some of which dominate at one point in our lives and recede in another. But a life lived without gratitude is not a life properly lived. It is a life that is lived off-kilter: one in which, incapable of realizing what you have to be thankful for, you are left with nothing but your resentments and can be contented by nothing but revenge. As far as I'm concerned, racial identity should not be an issue. Nobody should be judged by the colour of thei There are many attitudes that we take in our lives, some of which dominate at one point in our lives and recede in another. But a life lived without gratitude is not a life properly lived. It is a life that is lived off-kilter: one in which, incapable of realizing what you have to be thankful for, you are left with nothing but your resentments and can be contented by nothing but revenge. As far as I'm concerned, racial identity should not be an issue. Nobody should be judged by the colour of their skin, but solely on their individuality. But even this dream of Martin Luther King is considered racist nowadays by some. Reading should be a pleasure, but the content in the book made me angry. And even angrier that such a book had to be written. Musical notation is considered to be changed because it's of Western legacy and upsets some people of color? Tate mural should disappear because it is racist? Kew Gardens should "decolonize"? Aristotle is considered "the granddaddy of all racial theorists?! And Shakespeare's works are "race plays" and contain "racialized dynamics"? And these are only mild examples. I do hope that these are just extremist opinions and they do not become the norm. I will leave some (rather long) quotes, to be considered. My only question to this kind of statements is this: who benefits from it? Because I don't think people do, no matter what colour they are. The hallmarks were there from the beginning. An absolute obsession with race as the primary means to understand the world and all injustice. The claim is that white people are in their totality guilty of prejudice, specifically racism, from birth. That racism is interwoven so deeply into white-majority societies that the white people in those societies do not even realize that they live in racist societies. Asking for proof was proof of racism. And, finally, there is also the insistence that none of the answers Western societies have come up with to address racism are remotely adequate or capable of dealing with the task at hand. The work of Eduardo Bonilla-Silva and others insisted that even the concept of aspiring to be "color-blind" when it comes to issues of race is itself deeply racist. To say "all Chinese people think this" or "all black people behave like that" had been thought to be rude as well as ignorant. But Robin DiAngelo positively reveled in the naughtiness of doing it and getting away with doing it because she was doing it against white people. But what is the imperative to indoctrinate children in this way? One explanation is again that Americans in prominent positions have suggested that even American babies need reprogramming from the racist society they have been born into. As no less an authority than the Arizona Department of Education recently declared, babies are able to become racist by age of three months old. And, according to the "equity toolkit" published by the department, which made this claim, it is white babies that are the problem. The toolkit claims that "expressions of racial prejudice often peak at ages 4 and 5" but that while "Black and Latinx children" at the age of five show "no preference towards their own groups," "white children at this age remain strongly biased in favor of whiteness." A reminder that from even before the moment they are able to speak or walk, it is white children who are the problem. And white children who must be worked on to achieve the change that everybody seems to have agreed is needed. Overall, the message is that whiteness itself is a pandemic. As one New York Times contributing editor recently put it, whiteness is "a virus that, like other viruses, will not die until there are no bodies left for it to infect." Elsewhere Khilanani used her talk to warn of the costs of talking to white people at all. She said that it was "the cost of your own life, as they suck you dry. There are no good apples out there." She described white people as "a demented, violent predator," with "holes in their brain" and said that all white people are "out of their minds, and they have been for a long time." And she declared that talking to white people about race is "useless." Which must be why resorts to violence were so common in her talk. But Khilanani is not alone. Only a week before she gave her speech at Yale, another psychoanalyst, named Donald Moss, published an academic article titled "On Having Whiteness" based on a set of his seminars. Describing whiteness as a "parasitic-like condition," he also toyed playfully with some sort of final solution for the problem. "There is not yet a permanent cure," he warned. Though doubtless, in the years to come, there will be many people eager to pick up the challenge of thinking about one. In the antiracist stampede of 2020, the British Library announced that it "had made a commitment to its staff and its users that it will become an actively anti-racist organization, and will take all the necessary steps required to make this promise a reality." As one part of this great commitment, the Library announced that it was working to create a list of authors who were found to have any connection to the slave trade or colonialism. As it was forming this blacklist of authors, news of some of the names that had been put on it were published online by the Library. The initial list contained the names of three hundred guilty parties, including Oscar Wilde, Lord Byron, and George Orwell. The Library explained that "some items now at the British Library, previously owned by particular figures cited on these pages, are associated with wealth obtained from enslaved people or through colonial violence. Curators in the Printed Heritage Collections team have undertaken some research to identify these, as part of an ongoing work to interpret and document the provenance and history of the printed collections under our care." These "curators" made many early discoveries from their research. One such was that the author Rudyard Kipling was guilty of having made the British Empire "a central theme" in his literary output. Clearly only the best researchers are hired at the British Library. One of these, the chief librarian, Liz Jolly, used the moment to publicly announce that "racism is the creation of white people." Elsewhere, the Library said that although the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge had expressed antislavery views himself and had recorded these views in his poetry, he was on the blacklist nonetheless because he was recorded as having a nephew who lived in Barbados and worked closely with estates where there were slaves. The sins of the father is a familiar problem, but the sins of the people known to the nephew is a new form of associative guilt. Examples of low bigotries in the world of gardening included that words such as "native" and "heritage" were used as bywords for "better." Later, on social media, Wong reacted to a professor of cities and landscape who asserted that "gardens are denied their political agency because they too often reveal uncomfortable politics." Wong asserted, even more baldly, that British gardening has "racism baked into its DNA." On this occasion, his evidence was that presenting a planting concept once to a roomful of "100% white" people, someone said that they should use "native wildflowers." The idea of "native" wildflowers was, he said, "not just historically fucked" but "predicated on often unconscious ideas of what and who does not 'belong' in the UK." "This is the kind of exhausting shit you have to go through everyday if you work in UK horticulture." While Britain was waging war on the rhododendrons, in Canada emphasis fell on unsuspecting lawns. In September 2020, JC Douglas (a history professor at Thompson Riv University in Kamloops) gained national attention when he argued the urgent case for decolonizing Canada's lawns. According to Professor Douglas, the lawn is "a statement of control over nature." Which it is, of course. But in the current era, it is not enough to observe that. The sprinklers of anti-Western hostility must also be turned on. So Professor Douglas could be found arguing that all this attempt to dam water, plant lawns, flatten landscapes, and "find a non indigenous species of plant" to put in it was yet another example of a now familiar pattern. "A backyard with a big lawn is like a classroom for colonialism," he explained. Others joined in this game. According to Dan Kraus, a senior conservation biologist at the Nature Conservancy of Canada, a lawn-like a nation-should be "diverse." "It is a cultural thing," he has said. "There is this interesting comparison like, valuing diversity versus sameness." He believes that future generations may look back at non-culturally diverse lawns in bafflement, and say, "Why did you do that?" Which is possible. Or, alternatively, future generations may look back at Mr. Kraus and feel another bafflement entirely. Perhaps it is inevitable in a world in which everything else is racist that even the fundamentals of music would be branded in the same light. In the last generation, there has been an increasing drive at the top universities in the Western world to drop the very idea of musical notation because of its allegedly elitist, white, and Western connotations. At universities including Stanford, Harvard, and Yale, there has been an ongoing debate over what demands they should make of those reading music. Should students be expected to learn about the canon of Western music? Should they even be expected to learn the Western system of musical notation, given that it is just one form of musical notation and Western at that? Should the study of music demand any prior musical literacy at all? Long story short, Douglas Murray yet again managed to raise awareness on some very sensitive topics, and also to show that too much zeal leads to absurdity. To denigrate an entire civilization and its culture because of what happened in the past is useless. It's the present that counts and what can we do to make it better: There are estimated to be over forty million people living in slavery around the world today. In real terms, this means that there are more slaves in the world today than there were in the nineteenth century. So this is not a question of historic what-aboutery. It raises the question of what might practically change for people today if we spent even a portion of the time what we focus on past slavery focused, instead, on present-day slavery. And what we might be able to do about this modern horror. If you want a look inside the book, you can check this discussion between the author and Jordan B. Peterson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fd5qf...

  5. 4 out of 5

    David Steele

    A worthy successor to crowds, with more than enough new and original material to make it completely fresh. By now, I've learned what to expect from Murray. For this detailed study of ‘western anti-westernism’, he uses deft and carefully considered arguments to make his points; always careful to avoid unsubstantiated generalisation or straw-man arguments, with a wide range of real-world examples and points that leave you wondering how on earth intelligent people can be so twisted. As usual, Murray' A worthy successor to crowds, with more than enough new and original material to make it completely fresh. By now, I've learned what to expect from Murray. For this detailed study of ‘western anti-westernism’, he uses deft and carefully considered arguments to make his points; always careful to avoid unsubstantiated generalisation or straw-man arguments, with a wide range of real-world examples and points that leave you wondering how on earth intelligent people can be so twisted. As usual, Murray's wit shines through no matter how serious the topic. With dexterous finesses, such as talking about frightened white westerners behaving 'like masochists without a safe-word', he blends gravity with levity on every page. Perhaps the title is a little misleading. There really isn't much in here about how to prevail in the age of unreason, unless you count joining the insane anti-western witch hunt and screaming DARVO every time a newly-found heretic protests their innocence. This is a book that I really want my friends, my colleagues, my children and everyone else I care about to read, but I know it will do very little good for many. The people who have the most to gain from the wisdom in this book are the very ones who are least likely to engage with it. I expect there will be no shortage of one-star reviews for this work, but precious few from those who take the time to read it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Seb5253

    *amendment to my earlier review in order to address some unintended offence i appear to have caused ( for which I greatly apologise , but cannot however concede to being " an idiot" on the grounds of a perspective i adhere to but will gladly concede should a clearer one be presented) : Eulagising such figures as churchill ( who's actions are directly attributable to in excess of 3 million Indian civilian deaths ) and Cecil Rhodes ( who' s African endeavours have become a bench mark in colonial *amendment to my earlier review in order to address some unintended offence i appear to have caused ( for which I greatly apologise , but cannot however concede to being " an idiot" on the grounds of a perspective i adhere to but will gladly concede should a clearer one be presented) : Eulagising such figures as churchill ( who's actions are directly attributable to in excess of 3 million Indian civilian deaths ) and Cecil Rhodes ( who' s African endeavours have become a bench mark in colonial violence) to name but two egregious examples the author cites as exemplars of the west is indefensible, if not shameful. Hiding behind a populist argument ( allbeit one I actually concur needs to be made and agree with the authors own view on the matter) to sell a right wing neo colonialist white-washing of history surley needs to be called out. I suggest acceptance and reconciliation are imperative before western culture can overcome the wounds of its past. The authors niave and at times juvenile observance of a few historical figures sink this book into a nationalistic mire. His almost orgiastic eulogy on Winston Churchill, the British empire and Rhodes where not only factualy inept but almost made me ditch the book mid way through. (Read Orwell's brilliant brief essay on Nationalism and compare this with Douglas Murray's public schoolboy fervour...). Additionally his cringeworthy conclusion bounds across western cultures triumphant contributions to the sciences, mathematics and the arts while almost entirely ignoring India's several thousand year old influential philosophical works (to be fair, this is mentioned. In a sentence.) , the middle east's foundational work in forming modern mathematics or even north Africa's architects at Giza - roundly shoved aside as largely being either inconsequential or inferior to the output in these fields of the west. Douglas Murray's blatantly hiding behind a populist argument to push a nationalistic agenda so out of date it would make Nigel Farage cringe. Actually felt embarrassed for the author by the end.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Marcus

    Douglas Murray continues in the footsteps of his previous works The Madness of Crowds and The Strange Death of Europe with this comprehensive investigation of oikophobia. The phrase oikophobia being a term coined by Roger Scruton for hatred of one’s own culture. In this case it refers to people within the west being highly critical of the west; literally biting the hand that feeds them. Isn’t life hard enough already without shouldering an additional sense of Original Sin over the history and imm Douglas Murray continues in the footsteps of his previous works The Madness of Crowds and The Strange Death of Europe with this comprehensive investigation of oikophobia. The phrase oikophobia being a term coined by Roger Scruton for hatred of one’s own culture. In this case it refers to people within the west being highly critical of the west; literally biting the hand that feeds them. Isn’t life hard enough already without shouldering an additional sense of Original Sin over the history and immutable characteristics we are born with? All animals have fought for expanded territory and conquest against rival groups to the best of their means and capabilities since day dot. Why is the west particularly bad and compared to where? As vast swathes of Russia, China, Asia, The Middle East, Africa, South America et al continue to lurch from insurmountable misery to insurmountable misery throughout history, there is presumably a sense of comfort and certainty for the critics in turning their attention inwards. They have the luxury of policing the old quotes of western historical heroes and searching for modern day micro-aggressions on social media. As Don Quixote tilted at windmills in the absence of any remaining giants to fight so must they create such chimeras. None of this is to suggest the west as anything close to a utopia but the crust of civilisation is a thin one and hard won so they are in effect ranting against one of the calmer periods of history in the calmest regions. Meanwhile the global norm continues to be a case of torture, slavery, repression etc. So again, why is there a disproportionate focus on the crimes of the west? The Arab trading of Africans (and Europeans) toted up higher numbers than the western trade yet receives less attention due to the identity of the purveyors. Britain was first to stop participating in the existing African slave markets and went to great effort and cost to outlaw the trade globally. The reason Britain’s troops firing on a crowd in India was notable and big news is because it was an unacceptable anomaly, investigated, condemned and the guilty party punished. This just isn’t the case elsewhere, the crimes would likely never even be acknowledged, nor the free speech granted to criticise them. It is of course easy to constantly guilt trip and make a doormat of the parties who are willing to show the most contrition. Where are the demands for historical apologies globally and where would they end if every scab is continually picked open? Murray has a rich well to draw from with regular misunderstandings of facts and statistics as social media crowds whip themselves up into a frenzy. The audiobook in particular makes for a good listen as he gives the angry, irrational outbursts a suitably deranged voice for quotations. Disingenuous and often fabricated claims are taken to task. An interesting point is made when Murray asserts that the “leftist” love for native cultures is fetishistic and shallow. They often wish to impose another foreign, western ideology; in this case putting them under the boot of Marxist industrialism and deconstructionist narratives. The collapse of religion in the west has left a huge absence of meaning, with many people not satisfied to live out their lives as atomised consumer units. It is thus understandable that an unhappy, wired generation would congregate around a subjective orthodoxy of moral purity and virtue with such zeal. Those that would once have counted themselves as rebels against a system now fall into lockstep with the globalist elites behind every corporation, education syllabus, media institution and social media platform. This, as rival interest groups repeatedly clash within ever more densely packed nations. Grievance politics and its obsessive devotees are unhelpful to say the least. As The War On The West exhaustively makes clear, this acquired sense of purpose is sadly masochistic, unhealthy and ultimately unfair. For now there remain some critical voices such as Murray's who question the wisdom of this skewed focus on all things western; rather than employing “whataboutery” they are simply asking for all important context and consistency.

  8. 4 out of 5

    ?

    I have some problems with this book. The book is hyperbolic with the introduction in particular laced with catastrophising, the book weaves together lurid anecdotes and states this a widespread problem but he rarely shows that they are in fact representative, often he ascribes motivations/attitudes without saying who exactly he is talking about and the books factual accuracy is suspect. Not all is bad however, there are stronger sections within the text. In some respects this is the right-wing v I have some problems with this book. The book is hyperbolic with the introduction in particular laced with catastrophising, the book weaves together lurid anecdotes and states this a widespread problem but he rarely shows that they are in fact representative, often he ascribes motivations/attitudes without saying who exactly he is talking about and the books factual accuracy is suspect. Not all is bad however, there are stronger sections within the text. In some respects this is the right-wing version of Peter Mitchell's Imperial Nostalgia, where Mitchell examined nostalgia, Murray picks up on Scruton's idea of a culture of repudiation. Both discuss Nigel Biggar from different angles, both discuss the national trust, both discuss statue toppling and are culture war tracts that overstate the importance of their subject. His last book made an infamous error about search engines and racism yet Douglas Murray does himself no favours in his new book by relying on dubious sources without doublechecking them. He cites Christopher Rufo repeatedly however Rufo is not great at journalism. Case in point- Douglas falsely assets that an ethnic studies program calls for an 'counter genocide' against Christians. Had he checked he would have discovered the term 'counter genocide' was never used in the proposed curriculum at all. The term was used by the author in a different context and was being used to mean opposition to genocide. Douglas claims that workers at Sandia National Laboratories were forced to write letters of apology to imagined women. No apology was required rather they were asked to write about the meaning of the voluntary event to them. Their evaluations were hardly negative. Additionally he claims the employees were told white make culture = KKK/ white supremacism; these associations were actually created by the employees themselves and were alongside mundane words like golf, successful, baseball, founding fathers etc. These mistakes make me seriously wonder about how accurately described the rest of the book is. Douglas says that Arizona DoE declared in a toolkit babies can be racist by the age of 3 months. One quote from it is 'At 3 months, babies look more at faces that match the race of their caregivers'.(Kelly et al. 2005) Not as lurid is it? It is worth noting that the quotes he mentions from the toolkit cited published research and it would have been more interesting if Murray had critically examined the research itself. Some of this research has some clear limitations (sample size/IAT) which the toolkit did not discuss critically and would have been a better example than the very short presentation. Douglas claims John McDonnell praised Mao while in the HoC. But that incident was a joke used to attack the governments policy of selling assets to China. It obviously backfired but he was not praising or defending Mao unlike the shadow home secretary who really did defend Mao in a cringe inducing conversation. On more disputed territory Douglas seems a touch unaware. He thinks racism is on life support in the US which to me is extremely naïve. He says that china is currently in an opioid war on America which strikes me as being a big claim which he fails to substantiate. He discusses how young people don't know any holocaust history yet research that looked at adults from a range of ages like Pew has shown that older US adults do not do much better only scoring slightly better on holocaust knowledge. He says that 'few people wished to defend the maintenance of confederate statues' after the George Floyd protests erupted, yet many did defend the statues including the President of the USA. Some other annoyances include: I felt he sidestepped the history of native American-settler relations, yes there was unintended disease spread but there were many massacres to consider as well and he sidesteps tougher questions around Churchill and racism. I also find his moral approach to history of weighing good and bad unconvincing. Double standards on false accusations. Murray has criticised those who have simply believed hate crime or sexual accusations. Murray has been critical of the credulous figures who accepted Carl Beeches claims or the false accusations against Bishop Bell. In this book on Jessie Smollett he writes: "But what is far more interesting is the eagerness with which his story was believed". Yet he runs with the incendiary accusations levelled against Foucault being a sexual predator who paid children to meet him in the dead of the night in Tunisia. He writes "The usual place turned out to be the local cemetery, where Foucault would rape the children on the gravestones." This claim was made by Guy Sorman, however Sorman provided no evidence, yet Murray accepts it uncritically and runs with it. It is of course possible Guy Sorman is correct and the victims have been lost to time or do not wish to come forward, we should not discount that but using his own standards Murray has acted like those he criticises. He could have at least caveated this section to avoid the glaring double standards. While he says criticism of the west is welcome I am sceptical. Towards the end, he bemoans how the culture has been hollowed out by religious and cultural traditions being challenged and throughout complains about being unable to enjoy the endowments of west without the endowments being criticised. The declinist attitude struck me as odd as conservatives like Murray simultaneously venerate the wests freedom and openness to critique yet seem to believe it is extremely vulnerable to being deconstructed or critically examined. To this end he fantasises about what his honest answer is to the question what is good about being white. His answer is an astonishing several pages long monologue that encapsulates the source of Murray's angst. He wants validation of the west, he wants its traditions, its history, its accomplishments to be unapologetically praised. At times Murray is aware of the counterargument that this 'war' is overblown and asserts this not just standard culture war fare but an existential problem yet regularly he cites just a few or even a singular example as evidence or worse just rants about what 'they' think without any attribution. I liked the use of humour in the book, It helps lighten the tone of an otherwise very negative book. The sections on cultural appropriation seemed correct to me, I dislike the movements trying to create ultra rigid barriers around cultures and insistences of cultural purity. He has cogent points here about the inconsistencies in its advocates. I liked the use of polling data on Americans and racial tensions surrounding the police and more generally. I liked several of his refutations, particularly surrounding Nicholas Ferrar and anti-Cecil Rhodes activists. The distillation of his implicit beliefs around equality in the chapter 'gratitude' is interesting. His critique of Kendi's circular definition of racism seems correct to me and its application invites policy confusion. It could be interesting if he wrote a book setting out his what he believes rather than a critique.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    “Forget labels like “right wing” & “dark web”, read a book without preconceptions about the author & judge what it actually says. For what it’s worth, I always vote left & I think Douglas Murray’s The War on the West is utterly superb. Please read it with an open mind. Please.” -Tweet from Richard Dawkins 4.5 stars. A well-written, extraordinarily incisive look at the current climate of scorn and disdain for Western culture and values, primarily focusing on the self-loathing that springs from with “Forget labels like “right wing” & “dark web”, read a book without preconceptions about the author & judge what it actually says. For what it’s worth, I always vote left & I think Douglas Murray’s The War on the West is utterly superb. Please read it with an open mind. Please.” -Tweet from Richard Dawkins 4.5 stars. A well-written, extraordinarily incisive look at the current climate of scorn and disdain for Western culture and values, primarily focusing on the self-loathing that springs from within the West itself. Murray posits that, in our eagerness to right past wrongs and correct any remaining current wrongs, we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater; the West has many redeeming qualities, qualities well worth preserving, and to deny that in the name of “progress” isn’t going to lead to genuine progress at all. Genuine progress would consist of keeping what works and discarding what doesn’t. That this needs clarifying is a rather sad state of affairs. To my mind, a lot of what’s going on today, such as corporations giving seminars on how utterly and completely toxic “whiteness” is, actually boils down to whether or not two wrongs ever make a right. Many of the current policies and attitudes which aim to correct said wrongs are openly racist and sexist. Which I believe is deplorable no matter which group(s) you’re targeting. But whether you agree with me or not, I’d urge you to simply do as Dawkins suggests and read this book with an open mind. Make up your own mind as to whether what Murray has to say has any validity or not. Because this is truly an impressively well-reasoned, evidence-supported, earnest attempt to examine the current m.o. and analyze its shortcomings in a sensible, rational manner. I’m including some excerpts below, but I’m afraid they don’t do the book proper justice. I highly recommend picking it up for yourself so you can read them in context. “Fanon, like many other postcolonial writers who became famous in the West, is not really interested in restoring the cultures of the non-Western countries he claims to care about. He is not interested in returning African nations to an era of tribal customs or any other precolonial Indigenous tradition. What he is interested in is analyzing these cultures through a Marxist lens and then “saving” them by applying a Marxist ideology to them. Naturally there is something perverse about this. For Marx was a Western thinker, with next to no knowledge—let alone experience—of non-Western cultures or societies. Just one of the ironies of the postcolonialist thinkers is that so many take the same path as Fanon. Intent in shrugging off the legacy of Western colonialism, they find an answer for every non-Western society in Western Marxism.” “In recent years, the critics of the West have marked themselves out through a set of extraordinary claims. Their technique now has a pattern. It is to zoom in on Western behavior, remove it from the context of the time, set aside any non-Western parallels, and then exaggerate what the West actually did.” “Before the modern era, the whole history of our species was one of occupation and conquering. One group of original peoples were replaced by another group of other peoples.” “I was told that as a white non–South African I had no right to say that South Africa today is not a white-supremacist society. Minutes earlier, the same person had felt free to tell me that Britain is “the home of racism.” Not for the first time, I marveled at the fact that generalizations about the West remain the only generalizations acceptable to make. Whereas specific questions about specific claims made about non-Western countries are batted away as though they could not possibly contain any merit and are in fact presumptuous even to raise.” “Could it really be honest to lambaste the art of the West for being parochial or limiting? The very question now has a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” quality. For if a culture is to be condemned as insular, parochial, and limited if it is inward-looking, yet lambasted for cultural appropriation if it is outward-looking, then what exactly is a culture to do? In such a situation, it would appear that an unfair, indeed hostile, trap has been set up. One in which Western culture can be simultaneously attacked for its insularity and lambasted for not being insular enough.” “Today the West faces challenges without and threats within. But no greater threat exists than that which comes from people inside the West intent on pulling apart the fabric of our societies, piece by piece. By assaulting the majority populations in these countries. By saying that our histories are entirely reprehensible and have nothing good to be said about them. By claiming that everything in our past that has led up to our present is irredeemably riddled with sin and that while these same sins have beset every society in history, the debtor should knock at only one door. And most importantly by those who pretend that a civilization that has given more to the world in knowledge, understanding, and culture than any other in history somehow has nothing whatsoever to be said for it. What is anyone to say or do in the face of such myopic, omnipresent hatred?” “Such people have nothing to say about themselves, or about anyone outside of the West, because to do so might lead them to change the direction in which their resentment is funneled. It might in fact cause them to finally turn their gaze on themselves. If the West is not responsible for all ills in the world, in its past and in the past and present of others, then other actors must be held responsible. And some people would have to look to themselves to explain their lack of outcomes, achievements, and more. They would have to look into the causes of their discontents and see that at least one of them is themselves. How much easier it is to keep claiming that another party—and a vast, historic party at that—is responsible for all the ills of the world and of their own lives.”

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    As ever, Douglas Murray’s work is expertly researched, deftly argued, and masterfully written. His interlude on gratitude is particularly apposite and eloquent; and his conclusion could easily be titled, “Checkmate: End of Discussion”. It’s a poignantly brilliant book, and is his best work to date in my opinion. I highly recommend it to all those who are objective, reasonable, logical, sensible, and anti-miserable; as well as to those who reject shallow, postmodern gnostic drivel.

  11. 4 out of 5

    John Hunt

    Interesting Well thought out and constructed. In a time of illogical prevalence, the logic presented here was refreshing even if you don't agree. The author, in his own words, doesn't mind if you disagree provided that you're an honest actor. Which, in my opinion, is fair and encouraging. Interesting Well thought out and constructed. In a time of illogical prevalence, the logic presented here was refreshing even if you don't agree. The author, in his own words, doesn't mind if you disagree provided that you're an honest actor. Which, in my opinion, is fair and encouraging.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kiki

    Evil cannot be destroyed until it is seen and recognized as evil. The purpose of this book is to lay bare for us the evil that we, in the West, are currently doing to ourselves and the world, so that we can stop it. The world culture which has brought equality, human rights, individual dignity and democracy into being on a global scale — the West — has suddenly turned on itself and begun tearing itself apart. Meanwhile, the elements of world culture which have NOT embraced these ideals are watchi Evil cannot be destroyed until it is seen and recognized as evil. The purpose of this book is to lay bare for us the evil that we, in the West, are currently doing to ourselves and the world, so that we can stop it. The world culture which has brought equality, human rights, individual dignity and democracy into being on a global scale — the West — has suddenly turned on itself and begun tearing itself apart. Meanwhile, the elements of world culture which have NOT embraced these ideals are watching from the sidelines with delight. And now that they are certain we are entirely consumed with this process, they are beginning to flex their Authoritarian, human-rights-crushing muscles with greater and greater strength. China is squashing Hong Kong are placing their Muslims in concentration camps, while Russia is invading Ukraine, because they know now is their moment to act. The West is so self-absorbed in self-hatred and self-destruction that we will no longer stand up for human rights anywhere else in the world. This has to stop. Or all of humanity will pay for it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Horace Derwent

    rec'ed by ms yeonmi park on twitter ❤ rec'ed by ms yeonmi park on twitter ❤

  14. 5 out of 5

    Owlseyes

    https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/f... (Please, don't miss taking a look at Survey of 1,374 US adults, 4–6 March Chart: The Spectator (sNrGg) Source: Quinnipiac Get the data Created with Datawrapper) https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/f... (Please, don't miss taking a look at Survey of 1,374 US adults, 4–6 March Chart: The Spectator (sNrGg) Source: Quinnipiac Get the data Created with Datawrapper)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    It is a tragedy of the times that this book was even written. But for those even remotely interested in the subject, this is an essential read. Sadly, it is likely to be left unread and unappreciated by those who need to read it the most. In my opinion, the book *should* be read by everyone, as it addresses and challenges many of the underlying assumptions and framing of discussions and actions that are ongoing at almost every level of modern life today (politics, media, education, culture, etc.. It is a tragedy of the times that this book was even written. But for those even remotely interested in the subject, this is an essential read. Sadly, it is likely to be left unread and unappreciated by those who need to read it the most. In my opinion, the book *should* be read by everyone, as it addresses and challenges many of the underlying assumptions and framing of discussions and actions that are ongoing at almost every level of modern life today (politics, media, education, culture, etc...). I am a newcomer to Douglas Murray, and have not read any of his previous works (although, after this book, that may well change), so this review is based on this single exposure to his works. My first exposure to Douglas Murray came from an interview I heard him give - and I found him articulate, insightful, well-researched, and thoughtful. So much so, that I purchased this (newly released as of May 2022) book and gave it a go. And I was not disappointed: The book is very well written, imminently readable, and entirely enjoyable - despite being chock full of careful references and research. And it is critical (meaning vital) information relevant to the current trends of the day. (The book is, as the title suggests, also critical (meaning it critiques) those current trends. The information and references are often fascinating and not well known, adding additional value. Bottom line: Regardless of your perspective, if you are considering this book at all, don't hesitate - read it now, and then share it with others.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cindy McBride

    An amazing book! I typically am not a great fan of British authors, but Murray is a definite exception. Many of the observations he made sounded almost as if he had a front-row seat to the machinations of my own mind. Clear, tough common sense evaluations of the downhill road that many Americans are taking with regard to their own country and the principles upon which it was founded. Personally, I blame most of it on our current infatuation with the elitist members of academia...many of whom lik An amazing book! I typically am not a great fan of British authors, but Murray is a definite exception. Many of the observations he made sounded almost as if he had a front-row seat to the machinations of my own mind. Clear, tough common sense evaluations of the downhill road that many Americans are taking with regard to their own country and the principles upon which it was founded. Personally, I blame most of it on our current infatuation with the elitist members of academia...many of whom likely never held a real job (i.e., in the private sector)...and are now "teaching" our future leaders. Scary. Very scary.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    Douglas Murray’s War on the West offers compelling evidence to suggest that the various recent attacks on reason and western values might be a coordinated effort to expunge all things “western”. This translates to a frontal assault on the Enlightenment, capitalism and every aspect of western values that has contributed to the prosperity, freedom and well-being that we enjoy. Ironically, the movement appears to be motivated by the same core irrationality on which Marxism is based. Murray’s earlier Douglas Murray’s War on the West offers compelling evidence to suggest that the various recent attacks on reason and western values might be a coordinated effort to expunge all things “western”. This translates to a frontal assault on the Enlightenment, capitalism and every aspect of western values that has contributed to the prosperity, freedom and well-being that we enjoy. Ironically, the movement appears to be motivated by the same core irrationality on which Marxism is based. Murray’s earlier Madness of Crowds was insightful, but The War on the West takes the arguments further, unifying them into a coherent general theory that explains the popular cultural trends of the recent years. From mass cancellations of dissenting opinions and imperfect historical figures to the wholesale abandonment of merit in favor of identity politics, the chaos is real. Ultimately, we can either embrace the values of reason and rationality that have brought us comfort and prosperity or return to primitive tribalism. The audiobook is narrated by the author and I already look forward to listening to the book again to catch more of the nuances. Unlike many intellectually challenging tomes, this one was a page-turner.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Day

    Not as strong as his previous book, The Madness of Crowds, but still an interesting and well-written polemic. He gets better as he goes along, both in making more coherent and less easily rebutted arguments and in coming to some kind of conclusion. But it's lacking in two key aspects. Firstly, he spends only a page or two near the end suggesting how people can respond to the threat, as he sees it - this isn't enough, especially for a book where the majority of readers will already agree with him Not as strong as his previous book, The Madness of Crowds, but still an interesting and well-written polemic. He gets better as he goes along, both in making more coherent and less easily rebutted arguments and in coming to some kind of conclusion. But it's lacking in two key aspects. Firstly, he spends only a page or two near the end suggesting how people can respond to the threat, as he sees it - this isn't enough, especially for a book where the majority of readers will already agree with him. And secondly, he doesn't seek to explain why there is this 'War on the West', how it has emerged, who supports it and their motivations. Why has the 'War' emerged so quickly? Murray doesn't attempt to answer. This leads to him demonising a group of people that is never really defined, and making crass generalisations about them. Unlike The Madness of the Crowds, there's a meanness about this Murray which is unappealing - this is partly, I think, a consequence of the subject of this book being far broader, and also a sign of how serious he believes the threat to Western ideals now is. But it feels like he's taking on some of the negative attributes of those he opposes, resulting in him appearing mean-spirited and making weaker arguments. These criticisms seem a bit harsh, because overall I did enjoy this book. He's drawn together a huge array of evidence for his arguments, and the arguments do improve as we get deeper into the book. But I'm not really sure who this book is for. Those who agree with Murray - presumably the vast majority of people reading this - will get an admittedly eloquent rehashing of arguments they already support, without gaining many new insights. And those who disagree with Murray are unlikely to read it, and therefore unlikely to reconsider their views. I hope that more people who disagree do read it - I'd be very interested to hear their rebuttals to some of Murray's points, and to hear whether there are any aspects they agree with.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sean Hawker

    A sobering account of the current culture wars on western tradition. Douglas Murray is a much needed voice of reason and his latest book is another stimulating read to get one thinking about where we’ve gone wrong and how we can do better.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Conor

    This is a strange book, not because it's not necessarily but because it is? It's high time that we faced unhinged disrespect. Murray covers the absurdities and the possible remedies reasonably well. It's unusual for Murray to pander to a crowd. And in one example, I did think he was doing this. A minor mistake, but he makes a weird connection to Chinese made fentanyl. Unfortunately, for the review cannot remember the specifics, but it was a tenuous link that was poorly explained, if indeed it ma This is a strange book, not because it's not necessarily but because it is? It's high time that we faced unhinged disrespect. Murray covers the absurdities and the possible remedies reasonably well. It's unusual for Murray to pander to a crowd. And in one example, I did think he was doing this. A minor mistake, but he makes a weird connection to Chinese made fentanyl. Unfortunately, for the review cannot remember the specifics, but it was a tenuous link that was poorly explained, if indeed it matters at all. That said, the book is quite dense, so just because I perceived one thing as a little hyperbolic, that can be understood when counting a hyperbolic opponent in critical theories. Murray summarises one of the things that we all intrinsically know has to change. The only way to defend our institutions is to be proud of them once again. The author is aware of how dangerous this could be if taken to the extreme and warns very sincerely that we need to be extremely cautious of those wanting to turn this into a fight. Unless we are allowed moderate ways of being proud of Western values, unfortunately, it might lead to an extreme celebration of it, which nobody wants, other than very unhinged revolutionaries without a vision.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    This book can best be summarised as an orange defense against the mean green meme, and I happen to agree with a lot of what is said in it. The basic premise is simple and unarguable: there is an assault going on against everything to do with the Western world. (If you substitute the ‘West’ for the ‘Orange’ then the whole book makes a lot more sense and is a lot more defensible.) In other words, the Enlightenment ideals of objectivity, scientific advance, political freedoms, etc, while criticisab This book can best be summarised as an orange defense against the mean green meme, and I happen to agree with a lot of what is said in it. The basic premise is simple and unarguable: there is an assault going on against everything to do with the Western world. (If you substitute the ‘West’ for the ‘Orange’ then the whole book makes a lot more sense and is a lot more defensible.) In other words, the Enlightenment ideals of objectivity, scientific advance, political freedoms, etc, while criticisable are being criticised without a proper appraisal of their rightful contribution to the evolution of human society. The Greens are taking everything commonly associated with the Orange and saying the opposite; predictably they’re about 50 percent correct, and 50 percent batshit insane. Murray takes four keys areas that are currently contested and analyses them in light of Critical Race Theory, a noxious theory that tries to reduce everything to matters of race. (If proponents were to understand that this has nothing to do with skin colour and everything to do with cultural norms, CRT would be a lot more palatable. Alas that doesn’t seem to be the way they’re understanding reality. They attribute a lot more to skin colour than they ought to.) RACE Europe, these past couple thousand years, has been demonstrably white. In any case, it is predominantly so now. And in order to demonize the west, its detractors have settled on disparaging anything ‘white’. Because white people have all the power and are prejudiced against anything that isn’t so, it is necessary to take constant potshots at white institutions, manners, norms, etc, in order to change this state of affairs, in favour of a more equitable distribution of power in society. CRT suggests anti racism, which is a fancy way of saying racism against anyone who is, or acts, in a ‘white’ manner. This is crazy on so many levels that it’s hard to put into words. As a straight white man, I am presumably the target of such attacks; if you force me to pay attention to my labels and attack me for doing so, you’ll be sure to get a negative reaction from me. And you would be creating the circumstance of my reaction; it’s up to you to change it if you so desire. In other words, it doesn’t have to be this way, so stop! We’re now seeing the fruit of this horrible idea, as it spills into the public arena, in education, employment, and health care settings (where white folks are being forced to atone for the past sins of their race). HISTORY “The critics of the West have marked themselves out through a set of extraordinary claims. Their technique now has a pattern. It is to zoom in on Western behavior, remove it from the context of the time, set aside any non-Western parallels, and then exaggerate what the West actually did.” Attempts are made at rewriting the history of the United States (which are not entirely unwelcome it must be said; differing perspectives always serve to enhance the already stewing pot of historical narratives.) But the greens go too far, as usual; the true founding of America is in 1619, not 1776, they say, with the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to the colonies. The toppling of statues further exemplified this historical revisionism (even though, again, it’s not entirely clear that removing statues is completely undesirable.) Murray then looks at Fanon and Said who are only intent on bringing down the West through their works. Fanon uses a Western perspective (revolutionary Marxism) to criticise the West and Said criticises Westerners for looking at the Orient through their own perspectives; but how else would you expect them to look at this new culture? Empire and slavery are contentious topics too; the former is only seen in a negative light with any of the positive outcomes either downgraded or outright ignored, and the latter is a unique fault of the West, even though the West was the only major civilization to actually halt this horrible practice. RELIGION Christianity is waning and in its stead are mushrooming pseudoreligions, amongst them CRT which “yearns for romantic simplicity” and a “radical simplification of modern life.” This is to replicate the romantics of yesteryear, attempting a regression into the undifferentiated state of pre-modernity; you would leave aside its disasters, certainly, but you would also do away with its necessary dignities. Next, Murray reviews the evidence which claims that all philosophers of the bygone era were racist, which is not to deny they weren’t. But they then throw the baby out with the bath water; Kant, Hume, Hobsbawm, Jefferson were racists therefore any modern, orange conceptions of modernity must also be dispensed with. Any slight moral infraction (judged by the standards of a more enlightened age) of a previous sage must lead to the unquestionable denouncement of his entire corpus of work. Unless that sage happens to be fundamentally anti-Western in his broad outlook, like the paedophile Foucault or Marx, for instance. CULTURE Lastly, Murray analyses how Western art, literature, gardening, and music are all stained with racist overtones. Essentially, everything to do with the West is racist and denial or pushback against this general principle serves to show just how racist people are; “See they can’t even see how racist they are, which means they’re insidiously racist!” Despite all the shit hurled at it, the West (he means the Orange) has brought a lot of good into the world. What is the irrefutable proof that people overwhelmingly prefer the West to anywhere else on Earth? The “footfall that is entirely one-directional.” While true, this applies to people that aren’t yet modern in their outlook. For those who wish to transcend the disasters of modernity, it is up to them to create the brave new world that is just peaking over the horizon. Until then, the West remains the lodestar for any premodern peoples.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Eric S

    This is a very good book from Mr. Murray. In it, the author breaks down what he sees as the "war" against what is popularly known as the Western world view. In the introduction, he points out the various double standards that are in play. It is apparently fine to criticize the "West," but you can't do so to any other culture/country. As he says, "Chic-fil-A gets more heat for making its sandwiches at home than Nike does for making its sneakers in Chinese sweatshops." The main chapters are intersp This is a very good book from Mr. Murray. In it, the author breaks down what he sees as the "war" against what is popularly known as the Western world view. In the introduction, he points out the various double standards that are in play. It is apparently fine to criticize the "West," but you can't do so to any other culture/country. As he says, "Chic-fil-A gets more heat for making its sandwiches at home than Nike does for making its sneakers in Chinese sweatshops." The main chapters are interspaced with "interludes", which are shorter, thought-provoking forays into "hot" topics like China, reparations and gratitude. As someone who frequently becomes despondent over people's lack of historical knowledge, I loved this comment from Murray: "When people claim that populations are ignorant of the history of the West, they forget that most people are ignorant about almost everything." Running a close second to the issue of ignorance is that of a lack of clear thinking. Murray's quote is again spot on: "If you wanted to kick away the remaining building blocks on which everything else is built, then kicking away the block of mathematical certainty is a pretty good way to do it. It is a similar trick to kicking away the idea that there is any such fixed thing as men and women. It sows confusion without making anything else remotely clearer." How anyone with any claim to logic can believe mathematics is racist is beyond me. How is math “white supremacy” when there are a larger number of people from East Asia who excel at it? If mathematics isn't the same and objectively true for everyone then we've lost the ability to describe reality in a quantifiable way. Sadly it is much easier to destroy than to create. To quote Murray one last time: "It is one of the saddest realizations we have as a species: not just that everything is transitory but that everything—particularly everything we love and into which love has been poured—is fragile. And that just as the line between civilization and barbarism is paper-thin, so it is a miracle that anything at all survives, given the fragility of all things plus the evil and carelessness of which men are capable." I encourage people to read this book. It is my hope that people not only read it, but also act upon it. Remember, there's some good in this world and it's worth fighting for.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Gareth Otton

    This is a book that delivers half of its title really well but ignores the second part of its title for the vast majority of its pages. Douglas Murray has done an excellent job of describing the war on the west, delivering multiple examples of this bizarre phenomenon, each one more outrageous than the last. However, what he barely touched on is how to prevail in the age of unreason. This is a shame, as this is the information that I felt would have been most useful about this book. It does a mast This is a book that delivers half of its title really well but ignores the second part of its title for the vast majority of its pages. Douglas Murray has done an excellent job of describing the war on the west, delivering multiple examples of this bizarre phenomenon, each one more outrageous than the last. However, what he barely touched on is how to prevail in the age of unreason. This is a shame, as this is the information that I felt would have been most useful about this book. It does a masterful job of explaining the problem, but would really have benefited with exploring more solutions. Ultimately, this is a book that delivers on only half of its intended purpose (at least according to the title), but that half of the purpose was well explored with plenty of detail and in a rational tone of voice. However, with only one-half of this title being explored, this book got a little tedious at times, and it was quite repetitive. That being said, this book does a great job of exposing this issue and hopefully will be a good conversation starter for brainstorming solutions by its audience.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Hope Aitchison

    Douglas Murray is easily one of the most articulate authors that I have listened to, which is important to keep in mind when discussing such topics. This book challenged me to address my own opinions and on the whole I do agree with Murray’s point of view on matters of cultural appropriation, education etc. Four stars instead of five as some anecdotes felt exaggerated (maybe that was the point though!). I especially enjoyed the conclusion, which ended the book in such a positive tone.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    Mostly angry rant, but a somewhat justified angry rant. Essentially points out how a lot of the (potentially well meaning in many cases) criticisms of things done by Western culture and governments are not good faith efforts to improve things but merely attacks on Western values. Not as good as Madness of Crowds, but still decent, although really only the Tate Modern parts were new to me, and I don't follow these things that closely, nor do I really care about a museum in the UK very much. In rea Mostly angry rant, but a somewhat justified angry rant. Essentially points out how a lot of the (potentially well meaning in many cases) criticisms of things done by Western culture and governments are not good faith efforts to improve things but merely attacks on Western values. Not as good as Madness of Crowds, but still decent, although really only the Tate Modern parts were new to me, and I don't follow these things that closely, nor do I really care about a museum in the UK very much. In reading this I pretty rapidly came to the conclusion I'd rather read something else, though -- this describes an obvious problem, one which any reasonable person recognizes is going on, but doesn't really provide any meaningful solutions.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Samuel Parkison

    On the laziness and self-impoverishment of resentment, envy, and revenge; and on the enriching path of gratitude.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Richard Block

    Overcooked Whatever good points Douglas Murray makes - and he does usually make some - are undermined by the author's pretentious, unctuous, supercilious tone and hyperbolic approach. Ignoring the crisis of democracy brought on by Trump, the alt right, January 6th and the FBI's assessment that right wing terrorism is the greatest threat to America, Murray decides that it is the Black Lives Matter, anti-white, anti-western rhetoric and culture wars that poses the bigger threat. Just as equality fe Overcooked Whatever good points Douglas Murray makes - and he does usually make some - are undermined by the author's pretentious, unctuous, supercilious tone and hyperbolic approach. Ignoring the crisis of democracy brought on by Trump, the alt right, January 6th and the FBI's assessment that right wing terrorism is the greatest threat to America, Murray decides that it is the Black Lives Matter, anti-white, anti-western rhetoric and culture wars that poses the bigger threat. Just as equality feminism gave way to gender feminism and misandry, Murray contends that civil rights equality has given way to Critical Race Theory, which contends that white supremacy and racism is pervasive and immutable with white people. Bent on destroying Western and white supremacy, this thinking has perverted academia and has crept into the media, business and civil society in general. The only people who can be criticised and vilified in this way are white people, their accomplishments dismissed as inherently racist, while everyone else in the world gets a free pass. That there is some truth to toxic over-reaction to George Floyd's killing is obvious. The CNN and MSNBCs of this world would have you believe that CRT doesn't exist but in this, they are not on the planet. Just as misandry has made MeToo ludicrous, CRT has undermined any sympathy by it's negative cancel culture anti- Western hysteria. I believe in the Enlightenment and science created movements that have lifted societies and living standards. They are not white, though white people have helped propel them. I think the negativity of the deconstructionists in academia are poisonous. So Murray is right to make his points. But his polemics are replete with absurd simplifications and this one is no exception. He is wilfully blind to the threat that right wing extremism poses to democracy - even the FBI, that deep state, left wing cabal - thinks white nationalist extremists pose a far greater threat to civilisation. But that does not make him wrong - there is an attempt to delegitimise and shame white people and deny the progress that flawed Western societies have made. He can't help going over the top when spewing out his thesis or his examples. He is filled to the brim with hatred and contempt. I listened to Murray read this on Audible and if you don't believe that Murray is severely twisted, have a listen yourself. Two stars for raising some valid points, but three taken away for vituperative hatred and wilful blindness.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ben Rogers

    A very interesting book. I found it very good and very similar to the also very good and very interesting book Woke Racism: How a New Religion Has Betrayed Black America. Would recommend! I look forward to reading more of Murray too. I have heard great things of The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity 4.5/5 A very interesting book. I found it very good and very similar to the also very good and very interesting book Woke Racism: How a New Religion Has Betrayed Black America. Would recommend! I look forward to reading more of Murray too. I have heard great things of The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity 4.5/5

  29. 4 out of 5

    Germán

    A superbly researched book, The War on the West can, nevertheless, be read too much like a continuation of The Madness of Crowds. I think the author shines when talking about what he really likes (like his discussion about music), but can sometimes enter into windmill battles not worth his time nor his ink. Very readable and quite entertaining.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Miguel

    Though Murray’s latest entry into the culture wars has some similarities to, say, the recent work by John McWhorter (‘Woke Racism’), one critical difference is that as McWhorter explains he is writing to the New Yorker crowd while it’s all so obvious that Murray’s rants are clearly aimed at the Ben Shapiro / Faux News / Newsmax listenership. This is an issue because he rarely makes any attempt to convince anyone outside of the ditto-head philosophical leaning rabble on the merits of his argument Though Murray’s latest entry into the culture wars has some similarities to, say, the recent work by John McWhorter (‘Woke Racism’), one critical difference is that as McWhorter explains he is writing to the New Yorker crowd while it’s all so obvious that Murray’s rants are clearly aimed at the Ben Shapiro / Faux News / Newsmax listenership. This is an issue because he rarely makes any attempt to convince anyone outside of the ditto-head philosophical leaning rabble on the merits of his arguments and instead is just boiler plate boring grievances to serve as chum for his readership. Just take one of his ham-fisted examples: is the information regarding the centuries-long castrating of African slaves by middle easterners actually true and if so what bearing does it have on the obvious wrongs done by European slave traders and the founding of the ‘West’? It’s sophomoric. He just comes off as a hack throughout even when he would otherwise make some decent argumentation.

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