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Douglas Murray examines the twenty-first century's most divisive issues: sexuality, gender, technology and race. He reveals the astonishing new culture wars playing out in our workplaces, universities, schools and homes in the names of social justice, identity politics and intersectionality. We are living through a postmodern era in which the grand narratives of religion an Douglas Murray examines the twenty-first century's most divisive issues: sexuality, gender, technology and race. He reveals the astonishing new culture wars playing out in our workplaces, universities, schools and homes in the names of social justice, identity politics and intersectionality. We are living through a postmodern era in which the grand narratives of religion and political ideology have collapsed. In their place have emerged a crusading desire to right perceived wrongs and a weaponization of identity, both accelerated by the new forms of social and news media. Narrow sets of interests now dominate the agenda as society becomes more and more tribal--and, as Murray shows, the casualties are mounting.


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Douglas Murray examines the twenty-first century's most divisive issues: sexuality, gender, technology and race. He reveals the astonishing new culture wars playing out in our workplaces, universities, schools and homes in the names of social justice, identity politics and intersectionality. We are living through a postmodern era in which the grand narratives of religion an Douglas Murray examines the twenty-first century's most divisive issues: sexuality, gender, technology and race. He reveals the astonishing new culture wars playing out in our workplaces, universities, schools and homes in the names of social justice, identity politics and intersectionality. We are living through a postmodern era in which the grand narratives of religion and political ideology have collapsed. In their place have emerged a crusading desire to right perceived wrongs and a weaponization of identity, both accelerated by the new forms of social and news media. Narrow sets of interests now dominate the agenda as society becomes more and more tribal--and, as Murray shows, the casualties are mounting.

30 review for The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    Please use Google to look up White Couples. Look up White Inventors. Check out the pictures. If the results doesn’t blow your mind, I don’t know what will. I mean, this is real. Not a joke. It’s not even a search that is remotely racist or homophobic, and yet, look at this pendulum swing into madness. I admit that reading this book made me laugh. Genuine laughter, mixed with incredulity and a reaffirmed firm conviction that people of any orientation, race, or political bent can be a jerk. I love thi Please use Google to look up White Couples. Look up White Inventors. Check out the pictures. If the results doesn’t blow your mind, I don’t know what will. I mean, this is real. Not a joke. It’s not even a search that is remotely racist or homophobic, and yet, look at this pendulum swing into madness. I admit that reading this book made me laugh. Genuine laughter, mixed with incredulity and a reaffirmed firm conviction that people of any orientation, race, or political bent can be a jerk. I love this book, and yet I do not identify as a Neo Conservative. And yet, this is a Neo Conservative book written by a gay man lambasting the more egregious insanities of radicals of any bent. I was particularly touched by just how much absurdity was highlighted. Of course, all the highlights are entirely on the liberal left, gays, lesbians, trans, and blacks, but don’t let that dissuade you. This isn’t the normal hate-filled drivel that I usually see coming out of the Conservative Right. Rather, it’s a very interesting wake-up call that points out the major systemic inconsistencies of these Political movements. Yes, that’s right. It’s not about whether someone is LGBT or Black or Asian. It’s just a big finger being pointed at the a**holes in each group. For this, I’m both heartily amused and I’m also right on board. I love it when a**holes of any stripe get shown up for their absurdities. Everyone needs a reality check. How did you like Google now?

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mj Brodie

    I've read Douglas Murray's work before and while I disagree with about 75% of his views on political and social issues, I decided to read his new book to get a different perspective, which I believe to be a valuable exercise we should all engage in from time to time. From the point of view of the left, we are living in hateful times where people of color and women face more threats to their existence than ever before. The outlook is bleak, especially in the aftermath of the election in 2016 and I've read Douglas Murray's work before and while I disagree with about 75% of his views on political and social issues, I decided to read his new book to get a different perspective, which I believe to be a valuable exercise we should all engage in from time to time. From the point of view of the left, we are living in hateful times where people of color and women face more threats to their existence than ever before. The outlook is bleak, especially in the aftermath of the election in 2016 and white people have a lot of work to do to fix the wrongs of the past and work towards a better society. Douglas Murray's point of view is quite different. He puts forward the opinion that the world has, in fact, never been fairer. People of color and women and the LGBTQ+ community have never been better represented across all social, political and economic spheres. There may still be some fringe issues that warrant concern but it's impossible to make any progress on these issues because even discussing them can inspire hysterical and wild accusations from 'social justice warriors'. Some of what Murray writes about is hard to deny. There is a lot of logical incoherence within left-wing rhetoric on equality and inclusion. The idea that there is some kind of hierarchy of victimhood that must be observed above all else is pernicious. I also generally support the right to free speech and believe robust debate and challenges to orthodox opinion are the only way to preserve democracy for all of us. I appreciate Murray's willingness to wade into territory that is seen as dangerously controversial by many. However - however - ...this book does not give an entirely fair appraisal of the situation. Firstly, it ignores the results of the 2016 election and the emboldening effect it had on white power groups and the simultaneous increase in hate crimes. It also ignores the assault on women's reproductive rights that is happening the USA (maybe Murray takes women's reproductive rights for granted because he lives in the UK). There are many sides of the debate that are left out in order to list one incident after another of left-wing hysteria and 'cancel culture'. It's amusing to read about these instances, especially given Murray's caustic wit, but it does not give a fair appraisal of our current reality. The right has its fair share of hysterics, especially here in the US, with one 'news' channel in particular outdoing itself in the hysteria stakes (rhymes with Box Booze). The quality of public debate has generally decreased in recent years, from any point of view. Partisan hatred is increasing and Murray's book does little to tackle that.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Graeme Newell

    This is the smartest book I’ve read in a long time. I was drawn to this author because his vantage point seemed divergent from my own. I’m prone to overconfidence in my own beliefs so I’m always on the lookout for books that challenge my own cocksure worldview. After reading just a few pages of this book it quickly became evident that Murray is one crazy smart man. I would characterize him as a smarter, less annoying version of Jordan Peterson. While I disagree with quite a few of the points Murra This is the smartest book I’ve read in a long time. I was drawn to this author because his vantage point seemed divergent from my own. I’m prone to overconfidence in my own beliefs so I’m always on the lookout for books that challenge my own cocksure worldview. After reading just a few pages of this book it quickly became evident that Murray is one crazy smart man. I would characterize him as a smarter, less annoying version of Jordan Peterson. While I disagree with quite a few of the points Murray makes in this book, I am still mightily impressed with the way he constructs an argument. He dives in headfirst, serving up a refreshingly vivacious vantage point on well-worn topics such as gender, race, identity rights and other hotly contested social mores. I particularly enjoyed his writing style. This man knows his way around a sentence. The prose are tight with wonderfully descriptive passages that continually had me snickering with amusement. Whether you agree or disagree with Murray, there’s some genuine original thinking here and prescient insights I’ve not encountered. The man is fearless, yet he manages to maintain a civility and reasonableness that keeps his views from turning into a diatribe. Throughout the book, he would take a stand on an issue where I would disagree. However, much to my annoyance, by the end of his discussion, I would be a little horrified to find that I actually agreed with most of his thinking. This man knows how to make a solid argument and back it up with fascinating examples. He does a great job bringing voice to many of the unspoken, politically-incorrect worries attached to our most contentious issues. He carefully dissects the best and worst of the social justice movement and shines a light on some of its disturbing eccentricities. For example, people who gleefully and publicly shame those who disagree with them. These agitators proudly and noisily hate people who hate other people. The irony is endless here. Another example: listening to the viewpoint of someone who disagrees with you is now often reclassified as hate speech. Movements like Me Too and gender equality have made amazing strides. Murray uncovers the unfortunate backlash that can regrettably accompany these advances. Example: a male executive so afraid of the backlash from the Me-Too movement that he does his best to avoid business travel with female coworkers. He also avoids one-on-one meetings with women. He goes out of his way to assure he is never alone with female coworkers. I enjoyed his analysis of the entirely new repercussions of criticism and reputation in the social media age. The places where the author tends to go off the rails for me are when he presents outrageous behavior as evidence. Several times in this book he lays out story after story of miscreant misdeeds and positions them as proof of a mainstream trend. The cacophonous misbehavior on gender, race and identity issues is rife with freak-show excesses designed to grab the spotlight. Quite a few times Murray positions these excesses as evidence of mainstream sentiments. It’s a cheap shot to vilify the other side with the transgressions of those on the lunatic fringe. This book had me taking a second look at several of my most dearly held beliefs. This is a well researched work with fascinating examples, tight writing and impressive original thinking. While I don’t agree with everything in it, I still think it is an outstanding book. It’s refreshing to find quite a few solid, well-reasoned arguments that have me re-considering my own certitudes.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Elliott Reid

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. It is beyond me how someone who has attended Eton College and Oxford University can create such an unimportant rant about a minority population campaigning for social change. But the biggest issue is how unfounded this his claims are. He will argue that blacks, members of the LGBTQ community, women etc have more rights than they ever have, and therefore should stop campaigning for equality, because the actual disadvantaged are now white men who cannot navigate the subtleties of this new society. It is beyond me how someone who has attended Eton College and Oxford University can create such an unimportant rant about a minority population campaigning for social change. But the biggest issue is how unfounded this his claims are. He will argue that blacks, members of the LGBTQ community, women etc have more rights than they ever have, and therefore should stop campaigning for equality, because the actual disadvantaged are now white men who cannot navigate the subtleties of this new society. Fine. Argue this. But back it up with strong statistical evidence. Not GQ magazine, that one Piers Morgan interview you watched or your own experience of Google images. If anything makes me lose faith in society it's that someone could attend such prestigious educational establishments and think it's a good idea to sit down for a year and write something as luke warm as this. Crowd or herd psychology and sociology is such an interesting topic with vast statistical data... But this book... It is like a whimper of an argument. It's rubbish To take such an important topic and not bring no fire... Such a disappointment

  5. 5 out of 5

    Darryl Greer

    Douglas Murray is a British conservative author, journalist and political commentator and is an associate editor of the British political and cultural magazine, The Spectator. In "The Madness of Crowds", published in 2019, he explores the world’s most divisive issues: sexuality, gender, technology and race, revealing astonishing culture wars playing out in the work place, universities, schools and homes in the name of social justice, identity politics and “intersectionality”. The book became a ( Douglas Murray is a British conservative author, journalist and political commentator and is an associate editor of the British political and cultural magazine, The Spectator. In "The Madness of Crowds", published in 2019, he explores the world’s most divisive issues: sexuality, gender, technology and race, revealing astonishing culture wars playing out in the work place, universities, schools and homes in the name of social justice, identity politics and “intersectionality”. The book became a (London) Times and Sunday Times Book of the Year. If I had to select one section of "The Madness of Crowds" that intrigued me more than any other, it is the one entitled Interlude – The Marxist Foundations in which Murray gives us a snapshot of what is happening in our universities today. At one time seats of learning and debate, some faculties now are anything but with academic standards dropping and the shouting down of anyone who has a view that differs from the madding crowd. He also highlights some of the nonsense that emanates from academics you would expect to know better. Here is a classic example from Judith Baker, American philosopher and gender theorist: "The move from a structuralist account social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althuserian theory that takes structural tonalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power." Got it? All in all, "The Madness of Crowds" is a timely reminder of an ever-changing world in which we should stop for a moment and ask ourselves the question – where are we heading?

  6. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Not a lot of common sense to be found in what is supposedly a celebration of common sense. Even less empathy. A childish book written by someone unable to understand the perspectives of people with different life experiences.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    Murray’s central premise seems to be that the gains of the twentieth century social equality campaigners have become a new form of orthodoxy which has over reached and has become something with which to attack and assault traditional values. There’s a significant refusal to accept that social structural inequalities continue to exist and that this is a casus belli, as if all the groups who needed to achieve equality have reached their endgame and can now go away and stop bothering everyone else. Murray’s central premise seems to be that the gains of the twentieth century social equality campaigners have become a new form of orthodoxy which has over reached and has become something with which to attack and assault traditional values. There’s a significant refusal to accept that social structural inequalities continue to exist and that this is a casus belli, as if all the groups who needed to achieve equality have reached their endgame and can now go away and stop bothering everyone else. His chapters carry on in this ilk. There are some strange assumptions made throughout the book. Murray makes the assumption in chapter 1 that people appearing in a film about same sex attraction with their faces blacked out are presented this way because they were ashamed of being converted from their homosexual desires into becoming straight, rather than considering they haven’t signed the obligatory consent form to appear in the film. They may well wish to obscure their identities but there are clearly multiple reasons for this rather than a fear of not conforming to some new militant orthodoxy. In that same chapter he also struggles to comprehend how news values function when discussing celebrity gay news stories following one another two days in a row on the BBC website, while an natural disaster in Indonesia sits beneath it (continuing news, cultural proximity, entertainment, etc circa Galtung & Ruge, revised by Harcup & O’Neill). This just comes across as being wilfully disingenuous given the author’s familiarity with formal news reporting, discourse and ontologies. The hardware (fixed, unchangeable, “innate”) vs software (flexible, changeable, “choice”) metaphor for sexuality was bizarrely erroneous - hardware is changeable; it’s just a bit harder to alter. Simply bizarre. The reading of Foucault’s analysis of power as being based upon sexuality rather than discourse seems preposterous. It’s a shame that Murray runs with the hardware vs software distinction throughout the book given it’s flaws, especially as he had some interesting points to make about the ways in which the trans debate has become the new moral battleground whereby nobody wants to be labelled as the equivalent of racist in a decade’s time. There are plenty unanswered and difficult questions that need to be asked still in the trans debate, especially along the lines of state-assisted gender reassignment and it’s long term consequences but it gets mired here by this insistence that hardware cannot be changed while software can. Perhaps Murray has no use of firmware for a debate that is more nuanced that his two-sided metaphor can permit Chapter 4’s deconstruction of Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda song and accompanying video is quick to point out that men must be confused by the grammar of contemporary heterosexual relationships whereby the viewer is encouraged to look at Minnaj’s butt, going so far as to offer a lap dance to a seated gentlemen (whom Murray fails to realise is international rapper Drake), only to end the dance when he touches her butt. That he fails to recognise Drake is forgivable, yet telling. This is a man whose access to wealth, power and women is well known. That he is denied that sexual power by an equally famous rapper is an important point: Minaj is reversing the decades old trope of women being sexualised in a male dominated genre by removing Drake’s power. It’s something she had done before in her video for Lookin’ Ass, but I doubt Murray is familiar with her oeuvre given how he snarls at the banality of her music and lyrics. Murray fails to acknowledge the historic imbalance in rap’s history. He even fails to note that this point is doubly reinforced by Minaj’s use of Sir Mix-a-lot’s “look at her butt” sample. The 1980s hip hop tune was a critique of a beauty regime that favoured white women and denigrated the curves of African American women. Minaj’s use of the sample is a deliberate appropriation of a gaze that seeks to assert a powerful message about African American women’s body shape and desirability. That Murray fails to grasp this, or wilfully refuses to acknowledge this aim, is confusing. He calls this process of looking but not being able touch (which borrows the grammar of sex from lap dancing clubs) as Minaj being “sexy but not sexualised” - when he means “sexy but not assaulted” - as an impossible demand for men. Insert eye roll here. This is not to say I found myself disagreeing with Murray during his analyses. I did find some of his criticism of french-influenced social theory to be fairly accurate at times (it can be impenetrable for newcomers) but he does throw the baby out with bath water in a rush to pore scorn on anything to do with Marxist-inflected thought. I have also looked to recent US campus hot spots around identity politics with an arched eyebrow, but Murray’s notion of an over-correction for hundreds of years of systematic power imbalances may have some value, even if the author finds the whole project scornful. I guess he is not really that sympathetic to the argument for equality, but then why would he be? He stands to gain nothing from it. His chapter on race-obsession would have benefited from a more than cursory reading of Foucault (a figure he describes as vague) on discourse as he often replicated his ideas on discourse vis-a-vis sexuality in the Victorian-era, this time transposed to discussions of race. It was deliciously ironic. For someone who scorns social scientists and fetishises biologists in order to sustain his disregard for social justice, it was peculiar to see Murray regularly revert to classical philosophy for answers to what he sees as the problem of our time. His conclusion offers some solutions, but they were hamstrung by the same problems he levels at social science (citing Rosseau on sin doesn’t seem to fit Murray’s desire to get to objective facts). Overall, this reads like Murray wants to be the British Jordan Peterson. So I’m sure it will sell well despite its flaws. Making the assumption that all people campaigning for various improvements to human rights are Marxists, and thereby challenging them to provide a pre-lapse state wherein full equality existed is simply puerile and in no way helpful for anybody interested in this debate (even critics), as the point of changing the world for the better is that we haven’t yet reached the perfect society.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    "We are going through a great crowd derangement. In public and in private, both online and off, people are behaving in ways that are increasingly irrational, feverish, herd-like and simply unpleasant. The daily news cycle is filled with the consequences. Yet while we see the symptoms everywhere, we do not see the causes." Indeed, and I see this everyday, even if my activity on social media is limited mainly to posting on GR. Yet even here, I gawk at some reviews or comments, which are extremely i "We are going through a great crowd derangement. In public and in private, both online and off, people are behaving in ways that are increasingly irrational, feverish, herd-like and simply unpleasant. The daily news cycle is filled with the consequences. Yet while we see the symptoms everywhere, we do not see the causes." Indeed, and I see this everyday, even if my activity on social media is limited mainly to posting on GR. Yet even here, I gawk at some reviews or comments, which are extremely innapropriate, to put it mildly; unjustified and/or misinformed hatred is present in everything these days. Murray's take focuses mainly on the role mob stampede have in cancel-culture and shaming on the internet. There are plenty of examples which are horrifying in their idiocy and laughable at the same time because it's hard to believe what some people say and do, and what they manage to put in motion - sheep herding at its highest. The protests at Yale and Evergreen left me speechless, as well as Google searching algoritm - couldn't believe it, so of course I checked it out: spot on, and I'm not even in US or in a western European country. Many others are so ludicrous (like the shaming campaign toward the girl with the asian prom dress) that I can't even wrap my head around the way some people think (are they?). The internet mass hysteria and the fear it instills is a serious threat on freedom of opinion, which is at least disquieting. Murray tackles other issures related to discrimination, race, gender and identity. Most of his points are spot on, and it was refreshing to see this point of view through the eyes of one who is part of that. There is much to say about this book and I think it's an eye opener for those who are willing to see. For others, it will be just another reason to feed the hate, for no matter what colour, race, gender one might be, there are extremists in every group. "Today our societies seem always on the run, and always risking extraordinary shame over not just out own behaviour but the way in which we have treated othets. Every day there is a new subject for hate and moral judgement. [...] As the work of Jon Ronson and others on 'public shaming' has shown, the internet has allowed new forms of activism and bullying in the guise of social activism to become the tenor of the time. The urge to find people who can be accused of 'wrong-think' works because it rewards the bully. The social media companies encoutage it because it is part of their business model. But rarely if ever do the people in the stampede try to work out why they are running in the direction they are." "Even anti-racism becomes racist. One of the primary principles of anti-racism in recent decades was the idea of 'colour-blindness' - the idea of which Martin Luther King was dreaming in 1963. The idea that skin colour should become such an unimportant aspect of a person's identity that it is possible to ignore it completely - to get beyond the race - is perhaps the only solution available, as well as a beautiful idea, for how to prevent race colouring every single aspect of human interaction for all of the future. Yet even this concept has found itself under attack in recent years." "To assume that sex, sexuality and skin colour mean nothing would be ridiculous. But to assume that they mean everything will be fatal." It was simply unputdownable, not only due to how the topics were chosen and addressed, but also to Murray's writing skills and his fine sarcasm. Never have I ever thought that a book on politics and sociology could grip me like this. Tara, thank you for drawing my attention to it!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Fi

    Required reading for... everyone!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ilana

    FRIDAY MAY 7TH 2021 12:07 AM ALL IS SILENT ALL IS QIET THERE IS A RESET HAPPENED TODAY. THE AGE OF MIRACLES IS BACK. WE PRAYED AND THE POWERS THAT BE SAW OUR ANGUISH. AMEN. BLESSED BE OUR CHILDREN 🙏🌸🐰 😪 [Update - April 28 2021 I will add notes on the transgender movement agenda here soon. I had decided to avoid bringing up that aspect of the book and: no. I’m not a coward the way most people are ] As someone else commented: this is a brilliant antidote to our hysterical times. Douglas Murray brings a mu FRIDAY MAY 7TH 2021 12:07 AM ALL IS SILENT ALL IS QIET THERE IS A RESET HAPPENED TODAY. THE AGE OF MIRACLES IS BACK. WE PRAYED AND THE POWERS THAT BE SAW OUR ANGUISH. AMEN. BLESSED BE OUR CHILDREN 🙏🌸🐰 😪 [Update - April 28 2021 I will add notes on the transgender movement agenda here soon. I had decided to avoid bringing up that aspect of the book and: no. I’m not a coward the way most people are ] As someone else commented: this is a brilliant antidote to our hysterical times. Douglas Murray brings a much-needed rational level-headedness to the current obsessions of our times, and how these came to be embraced by the many. Written by a neo-conservative gay man, this book dissects the more irrational sides of some of our most talked about political movements, as spearheaded by extremists. While I do not espouse the author's conservative agenda, I found he made his arguments convincingly, often using the actual "leftist" literature and motivations to demonstrate inherent irrationalities. He did this with humour and a very healthy dose of detachment... and sanity. A welcome read for a lifelong liberal like me who feels left out of, and rather alarmed by the current liberal agendas which have become obligatory opt-ins for those who fear popular censure. I have always considered myself a free thinker and unconcerned about the agreed upon scripts, and always find it refreshing to have other points of view brought in when everyone, including the liberal media, seems to agree on having only one way of looking and talking about issues that affect every member of society.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Vagabond of Letters, DLitt

    9.5/10 Sad I took so long to getting around to reading this because I thought it was kosher conservative. The book, while not Rightist but more classical liberal or 'common sense', is the best introduction and accessible analysis of the topics named n the subtitle yet written. The highest praise I can give the author is that he several times gave expressions to concepts swishing around inchoate in my own mind, and put things together in a way that I've tried, but failed, to do, either due to defe 9.5/10 Sad I took so long to getting around to reading this because I thought it was kosher conservative. The book, while not Rightist but more classical liberal or 'common sense', is the best introduction and accessible analysis of the topics named n the subtitle yet written. The highest praise I can give the author is that he several times gave expressions to concepts swishing around inchoate in my own mind, and put things together in a way that I've tried, but failed, to do, either due to defect of intellect or deficiency of time. Murray's work is a good companion to Manning and Campbell's The Rise of Victimhood Culture. It rivals in quality the greats which were sent down the memory hole by Amazon (The Culture of Critique, Sexual Utopia in Power, White Identity, The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit, etc ) and fills a gap they do not address. The author even touches the race-IQ question, showing there is no landmine he's not willing to step on - with a gossamer touch, instead of philosophizing with a hammer. (Murray does not address the ultimate causes of all of this: for that, see The Culture of Critique.) The work is peppered throughout with Murray's British wit and innumerable examples of cancel culture, which, while funny, saddening, and infuriating, could have been fewer to free up space for more meat, of which there is plenty, yet more is desired. Murray's main thesis dovetails with the secular Puritan hypothesis of Gottfried in Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt and Gregory in The Unintended Reformation: he shows that the insanity of culturally-Marxist intersectionalism is the attempt to construct a new religious metanarrative of the Left after the collapse of the Soviet Union torpedoed regular old Marxism. 'This is the simple fact that we have been living through... more than a quarter century in which all our grand narratives have collapsed. The explanations... provided by religion went first, falling away from the nineteenth century onwards. Then over the last century the secular hope held out by political ideologies [collapsed]. In the latter part of the twentieth century we entered the postmodern era. An era which defined itself, and was defined, by its suspicion towards all grand narratives. However, as all schoolchildren learn, nature abhors a vacuum, and into the postmodern vacuum new ideas began to creep, with the intention of providing explanations and meaning of their own.' 'It was inevitable that some pitch would be made for the deserted ground. People in wealthy Western democracies could not simply remain the first people in recorded history to have absolutely no explanation for what we are doing here.... The question of what exactly we are meant to do now... was going to have to be answered by something. The answer that has presented itself in recent years is to engage in new battles, ever fiercer campaigns, and ever more niche demands.' 'The interpretation of the world through the lens of "social justice", "identity group politics", and "intersectionalism" is... the most audacious and comprehensive effort since the end of the Cold War at creating a new ideology [i.e. religious ideology, fleshing out the creed of secular Puritanism as the council of Nicaea did for real religion 1700 years ago].' Very highly recommended. Not a perfect 10 because it doesn't tackle feminism, race, etc. head-on and constructively - he just exposes many internal and performative contradictions in this new ideology - and completely ignores the prime movers behind this project of ideological construction.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lyn

    Douglas Murray’s 2019 book The Madness of Crowds addresses some of the most stridently and aggressively fought issues of our day. In an age of “cancel culture” and of social justice advocacy, this is a surprisingly refreshing call for humility, forgiveness and open mindedness. Separating his arguments into sections for race, gender, sexuality and finally the Trans movement, Murray takes time to analyze the social justice movements in each area and also highlights the similarities with each in ter Douglas Murray’s 2019 book The Madness of Crowds addresses some of the most stridently and aggressively fought issues of our day. In an age of “cancel culture” and of social justice advocacy, this is a surprisingly refreshing call for humility, forgiveness and open mindedness. Separating his arguments into sections for race, gender, sexuality and finally the Trans movement, Murray takes time to analyze the social justice movements in each area and also highlights the similarities with each in terms of media and activism. Murray criticizes the scholarship and promotion of the social justice issues and emphasizes the zero-tolerance allowed for dissent and also shines a light on the virulent attacks for those who disagree with the movements. The author also discusses the dangers implicit in identity politics. Most noteworthy, this is a scathing indictment of media, both in the news and social media. While Murray lays much of the blame on hypersensitivity and victimhood in academia, his most forceful attack is aimed at media and how sensationalizing and catastrophizing needed reforms has created a climate of suppressed free speech and of an eggshell skinned oppressed class. While this book lacks a degree of objectivity, he does point out the need for social reforms and also of the good that social justice activism has done in the past, especially in regard to race, gender and gay rights equality. Murray stresses the need for actual dialogue in these areas and cautions that to engender a climate where opponents to a cause are fearful of rebuke, that necessary elements of social justice may be left wanting and that a fascism of the new may create more harm than what was reformed. Finally, this ends with an exceptional conclusion that calls to our attention that Modern Western Civilization has need of reforms but has also created one of the most egalitarian and just societies the world has ever know. Murray calls for a culture that recognizes the needs for social justice and equality while also respecting principles of free speech, civility and accountability.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Captain Pants

    Murray has succeeded in identifying some of the key components of the current midlife crisis that sections of the left are undergoing relating to sexuality, gender, race and what he calls "Trans" . He perfectly elucidates he creeping feeling that there is something very strange about hypersensitivity on these issues beginning at just the moment when they were beginning to fade in importance. He also identifies some of the sources for the strange realities that coexist in western culture at the m Murray has succeeded in identifying some of the key components of the current midlife crisis that sections of the left are undergoing relating to sexuality, gender, race and what he calls "Trans" . He perfectly elucidates he creeping feeling that there is something very strange about hypersensitivity on these issues beginning at just the moment when they were beginning to fade in importance. He also identifies some of the sources for the strange realities that coexist in western culture at the moment : a time when we have never been more sexually liberated and yet are reconstructing a new Puritanism with the same goals as the one we rebelled against 50 years ago. We have never been less racist and yet left wing people are hyperfocused on reessentialising racial characteristics. Occasionally following these strands can lead Murray into some of the same thickets as Jonathan Haidts Coddling of the American Mind, taking us on a tour of all the overfamiliar PC wigouts we know and love: Evergreen, the christakeses, Rachel Dolezal etc. This can be boring for those of us who've been following these matters, and can easily be used as evidence that the "Quillette reading right wingers" are obsessed with recounting the same "PC Gone Mad" stories as ever. However Murray does provide some context as to why these stories are of genuine cultural significance, and shows that these infections are taking place at the very loci of our culture's "sense making apparatus". Dismissing them is like saying a man with encephalitis is fine because the infection is confined to his brain. As a result Murray is at his best when he simply reports to us the things that some of these people actually believe. No "War on Christmas" stories need to be cooked up to make the left look bad anymore. He only needs to quote what they say and report what they do. The trans chapter is worth the price of admission alone, both as a companion peice to Alice Dregers Galileos Middle Finger, and as a wonderfully clear minded, truly liberal and compassionate investigation into the issue for people actually attempting to understand it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    John Wiltshire

    I doubt many people reading this book would give it fewer than 5 stars. If you are interested in identity politics and its effects on society, then I would assume you'd find this the perfect dissection of that phenomenon. If you are the kind of person who reads, as I did this morning, that Portland has banned urinals in public toilets (presumably so as not to offend men-identifying women who have their self-identification rather challenged by not being able to pee standing up) and rant and rave I doubt many people reading this book would give it fewer than 5 stars. If you are interested in identity politics and its effects on society, then I would assume you'd find this the perfect dissection of that phenomenon. If you are the kind of person who reads, as I did this morning, that Portland has banned urinals in public toilets (presumably so as not to offend men-identifying women who have their self-identification rather challenged by not being able to pee standing up) and rant and rave for a few minutes to relieve the angst, then read this book. Every single case of the crazy in this clown world is nicely covered by Murray. He limits the clown world discussion to chapters on gay, women, race and trans, but every instance of the madness is wittily brought forth. This is the kind of book which you constantly raise your head from and say to your partner with a chuckle, "listen to this", as you regale him with yet another bit of the weirdness. The chapter I found most thought provoking was the one on forgiveness. Murray asks the very simple question, how can we ever do or say anything in this modern world if what we say will be held against us forever and no forgiveness is possible? Although he doesn't use the analogy, he could have quoted the history of saints to support his point, many who lived lives of dubious merit until their conversion to Christianity and, hence, salvation. But today, a forensic analysis of everyone's social media is done by people of ill will as soon as someone sticks their head above the parapet and tries to act or speak. If any perceived crime of wrong speak is discovered that person is 'cancelled' and no forgiveness is allowed. Of course, this inquisition only goes one way. The likes of Justin Trudeau can jig around with cucumbers stuffed down his trousers, blacked up like someone who's had an accident in a shoe polish factory, singing the banana boat song... and nothing happens to him. The chapter I was most looking forward to was the one devoted to the trans issue. Murray himself is gay, of course, so he, like a lot of gay men, has real issue with the new norm of saying that any young man who expresses a same-sex preference must be a woman in the wrong body. This new ideology kinda undoes the whole gay argument, all the rights we've been fighting for (and have mostly won). As there are more male to female trans, women get hit hardest by this new religion. As most of my readers know, I'm not much of a feminist, and I ought to find it funny that men now make better women than women ever did (Caitlyn Jenner Women of the Year). But I don't. I have a mother. I have sisters. That any man has the audacity to claim he is a woman the moment he thinks he might be, thus dismissing the genuine experience and biological awfulness of being a real woman, is nothing short of obscene. I watch with morbid fascination as men in floral frocks and bad wigs claim they are as much of a woman as my mother--who struggled through miscarriages and "unmentionable women's problems" and it makes me sick. It clearly annoys Murray too. And his very reasoned argument is that we are claiming the science is settled on things we actually know nothing at all about and yet are now denying things as a society we know very well are true and have always known are true: such as there are only two genders--always have been, always will be. And this denial of reality to impose a new, untried, reality is extremely dangerous and should, at least, be thoroughly discussed in the bright, white light of rational debate. But it's not. Any attempt to discuss such issues is howled down by the same mob whose lack of approbation for Trudeau is deafening by its absence. Why is all this happening? That's Murray's final chapter and it's fascinating. I think he's put his finger right on the real truth behind all the loony surface chatter. And once you know, maybe you'll be less willing to keep silent on some of these issues. I highly recommend this book. It's exceptionally well written (as all Murray's books are) yet it's extremely readable and accessible.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Wick Welker

    A deliberate exercise in obfuscation. Douglas Murry is clearly a well-read, intelligent and thoughtful person. I admire his original thinking and critical analysis of which all of us could use a good dose. I certainly would never want to find myself on the other end of a live debate with this clever man. However, I have significant objections with the greater bulk of The Madness of Crowds and I’m going to argue that this book ultimately serves to obscure important social issues with the purpose A deliberate exercise in obfuscation. Douglas Murry is clearly a well-read, intelligent and thoughtful person. I admire his original thinking and critical analysis of which all of us could use a good dose. I certainly would never want to find myself on the other end of a live debate with this clever man. However, I have significant objections with the greater bulk of The Madness of Crowds and I’m going to argue that this book ultimately serves to obscure important social issues with the purpose of rendering the need for solutions in doubt to thus maintain the status quo. I agree with a few points that Murry argues. His assertion that social justice movements serve to further atomize society is a fair point and a phenomenon that is easily observed. However what one person calls atomization could simply be marginalized groups advocating for themselves—just because they were previously silent doesn’t mean they were part of a harmonious collective. It’s true that militant social justice movements can be quite divisive and counterproductive. Worsening intolerance for a diversity of viewpoints is likely harmful to a certain degree. I agree that there should be tolerated open discourse as long as it does not involve hate speech and violence. Identity politics are clearly used as a cudgel by the left to gain political power. This much is also obvious. I enjoyed his discussion about the hypocrisy of liberal-lean of tech which is so obvious at this point it’s barely worth repeating. The bias in machine learning is probably one of the most valuable tidbits in this book. It’s a very important problem that we face as a society. I also agree with his conclusion that there is little happiness in personal politics and that we shouldn’t rely on politics to derive personal meaning. Now to the major problems: Murray uses the weakness and hypocrisy of liberal intelligentsia to claim that intersectionality and social theories about gender and race are false. Needless to say, merely pointing out hypocrisy is not a viable counterpoint in a debate. He seems to claim that the concept of intersectionality must be proved beyond doubt. in order to justify social action. And this is a very common thread in this book: if there is no clear evidence yet, why should we do anything about it? He argues that because emerging identity groups haven't been fully educated, that we should maintain the status quo. He assumes power and oppression are deliberate and overt acts, but they rarely are. Power is both clandestine and insidious, often hiding in plain sight. The bulk of the evidence of his claims seems to be derived from raging culture wars on talk shows and in the twitterverse . True, he does cite some research, which I haven't vetted myself, but the clear bulk of his arguments hinges on the mercurial theater of Hollywood, liberal media and Twitter . These superficial examples, while important, are only a small fraction of insight into social justice. He uses highly selective and extreme examples of flagrant social engineering to come to the undue conclusion that social movements further divide rather than bring problems to the public awareness. Murray uses data in dishonest ways. For example, he asserts that maybe since men have higher suicide rates, they don’t have that much privilege after all? Not only is this a straw-man comparison but insinuates the conclusion that privilege and psychiatric disorders must be mutually exclusive. Of course, they are not. In fact, maybe they go hand in hand which could show a point that all his obfuscation is obscuring: power is also bad for those that maintain power. This book is full of these types of mental gymnastics. Murray implies that atrocious movements, like white supremacy movements, already have widespread rejection and thus no longer need to be constantly rejected. But they don't. In fact, hate movements are gaining a lot of momentum in the current political climate. Murry clearly endorses reverse racism. He believes that the left-leaning culture wars have victimized white people. This argument might have some semblance of validity if it were even remotely true that white people have become victims in the quest for equality. But they haven’t, unless one defines victimization as an only slightly looser grip on socio economic power which is the clear and unequivocal state in which western society finds itself right now. Murray yearns for the illusive colorblindness of yesteryear in the post-MLK utopia that never actually happened. The problem is that we’ve never, not once, been a post-racial society. By constantly citing MLK and inferring that we achieved his dream and are now in a backslide is hugely problematic. MLK’s socialist dream was clearly never realized. There is a reason Malcolm X heavily criticized the Civil Rights movement: it was a sanitized, white-consented version of what equality is supposed to look like. We have mountains and mountains to climb before gaining anything close to equality. Murray sidesteps this point completely. Murray demands rules. He wants very clear models of oppression and how they operate and if they cannot be provided then he suggests social justice movements are merely a new form of emerging oppression. He assumes that oppression and power structures are overt and that equality is also overt, that there cannot be hidden spaces of oppression and power. He makes a caricature of social justice movements to show its hypocrisy, cast it as impotent and as nothing but a leftist, Marxist, power play. The thrust of the entire book is based on a very flawed assumption: we have achieved something close to equality. This book only serves to obfuscate the dynamic between power and subjugation, thus rendering the matter unknowable with no need to act. I believe if Murray’s very same reasoning was applied in the pre-Civil Rights era, the Civil Rights movement wouldn’t have happened. In the end, Murray is a professional bullshitter. This book only serves to pacify those that want to be pacified. I highly recommend The Constitution of Knowledge over this book. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  16. 4 out of 5

    M

    Challenging and brilliantly argued, eh? The story goes something like this, and feel free to stop me if you’ve heard of this one before: sometime in the 20th century, everyone apparently stopped believing in anything, when hitherto they had believed in something. The Marxists had been having an identity crisis of their own thanks to the collapse of the socialist dream, and had been busy for the last decade or so inventing a new theory and practice of capitalism and how it might be overthrown, stu Challenging and brilliantly argued, eh? The story goes something like this, and feel free to stop me if you’ve heard of this one before: sometime in the 20th century, everyone apparently stopped believing in anything, when hitherto they had believed in something. The Marxists had been having an identity crisis of their own thanks to the collapse of the socialist dream, and had been busy for the last decade or so inventing a new theory and practice of capitalism and how it might be overthrown, stumbling upon a new grand narrative in the process. The now post-Marxists have discovered a new entity known as oppression, and hoodwinked everyone into believing that it’s real! How have they done this? Well, a man named Foucault wrote some stuff about power, apparently, and then some other people wrote some other things, and then Judith Butler wrote some silly things that made no sense/meant nothing, and then some more people wrote more silly things that made no sense/meant nothing, and BAM! Now everyone is talking about these made up problems that didn’t exist until 5 minutes ago. Utterly risible. A compilation of anecdotes, Christian-humanist ressentiment, Peterson-esque fearmongering, preposterous folk psychology, a healthy amount of cherry-picked articles and quotes from overzealous liberals, but a lack of any actual theoretical analysis beyond that which is typical of neocon grifters. For all his ranting about Foucault, there aren’t any extended discussions of his ideas or any useful dissection of his quotes; Butler is dispatched with a decontextualised paragraph about structuralism which supposedly demonstrates that everything she writes is incoherent, but only an illiterate can say that the following excerpt from Bodies That Matter is gobbledygook: “When, in Lacanian parlance, one is said to assume a ‘sex,’ the grammar of the phrase creates the expectation that there is a ‘one’ who, upon waking, looks up and deliberates in which ‘sex’ it will assume today, a grammar in which assumption is quickly assimilated to the notion of a highly reflective choice. But if this assumption is compelled by a regulatory apparatus of heterosexuality, one which reiterates itself through the forcible production of sex, then the assumption of sex is constrained from the start.” This passage may be tough going, especially to someone not used to Butler’s idiosyncratic style, but you’re having a laugh if you think it means nothing. And given Murray’s insistence that, when discussing supporters of “gay conversion therapy”, we ought not to act as if we can divine the hearts of these people to discuss the true intentions behind their words, it’s telling that he’s later willing to say that Butler writes in a difficult way to bewitch the reader into ignoring the vacuity of her argument. This is the divination he critiques, is it not? Especially when Butler is on record giving the perfectly intelligible (if dubious) explanation that the reason she writes the way she does is that “neither grammar nor style are politically neutral. Learning the rules that govern intelligible speech is an inculcation into normalised language, where the price of not conforming is the loss of intelligibility itself.” At one point, Foucault is attacked for saying that societies are structured by “power” instead of “trust and tradition”, but the recognition of the importance of power is hardly limited to “postmodern neo-Marxists”. Carl Schmitt, before the rise of the Nazi regime, was describing the political as a topology divided into regions of friend and foe—the state, as sovereign, has the power to decide the exception, to subordinate the rest of society to it. A question for Murray’s dewey-eyed liberalism: where exactly did Black Americans fit into America’s trust-based, traditional, charitable society before segregation? (Or slavery for that matter?) Did they have much of a say in the terms of the social contract? And since they obviously didn’t, what exactly was shaping their political and social existence, if not power, concretised in the form of the state and its citizens? Not that it matters terribly. The attempt to trace back all social justice discourse to the relatively obscure writings of a number of academics is something that timid pseudointellectuals do so that they don’t have to confront what is actually driving the “culture war”: perceived if not actual oppression due to statistical inequalities between groups and a number of interlocking cultural tropes that seem to articulate a wider structure behind these disparities. Nobody wakes up one morning, reads Žižek or Deleuze or Butler, and spontaneously decides they’re oppressed after all. If Murray had actually read the theorists he attempts to critique, he might see that many of them have already mapped his territory and come up with far better critiques without slipping into the sort of hand-wringing moralist trash that we’ve already seen in Nietzsche at his worst, or Kierkegaard, or even Socrates. It is not a question of critical theorists hoodwinking anyone. As Deleuze and Guattari say in Anti-Oedipus, if something is believed, if the masses come to a position on a matter, it is because their desire has invested a theoretical structure, it is because something latent has been awakened. Lyotard, a theorist who Murray happily cites at the opening of the text despite his being one of the supposedly incoherent crowd of French post-Marxists, makes a similar point in Libidinal Economy. Murray is not, in truth, necessarily an enemy of many of the philosophers he cites. He simply hasn’t read them properly, and follows in the steps of other right-wing grifters in parroting their ill-founded critiques. Where Murray is agreeable, it is where he is making sensible critiques of zealous moralising, but even then, the mob behaviour of the modern revolution in values is nothing new, it is part of the structure of morality itself. What exactly else are people supposed to do when they perceive injustice? Stand idly by? Politely ask people to stop? Murray’s assertion that legal equality should have ended the movements of liberation is so silly it’s hard to think he believes it, and to be fair, even if he didn’t believe it he would still peddle this poorly-researched garbage for the money anyway. Murray attributes the so-called “new” political battlegrounds to the shadowy machinations of silicon valley tech companies and confused academics, but is it really so unlikely that the following is the case instead: in an age of instantaneous communication and the decentering of mass media institutions, previously underrepresented groups (people of colour; LGBT teens; etc.) are now able to spread and express critiques, opinions and ideas that previously would have gone unnoticed in isolation, and having found a common lexicon for their shared experiences and a wider platform to discuss them, brought awareness of their causes into the wider public consciousness? But Murray, for all his attempts to portray himself as reasonable and civil, never seems interested in empathising with or understanding his opponents. A boring book by a boring poser. At least Peterson has some alright self-help advice.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Blosser

    The Madness of Crowds is perhaps a little too reliant on lengthy anecdotes from current events, scene-by-scene (or blow-by-blow) transcriptions of televised traumas and social media skirmishes, such that those familiar with some of the incidents related my be tempted to skip over some pages. Nevertheless, I believe this stands is one of the best analyses of the functional incoherence of the phenomenon of intersectionality, with its competing oppressions [and/or] victimhood of race, sex and gende The Madness of Crowds is perhaps a little too reliant on lengthy anecdotes from current events, scene-by-scene (or blow-by-blow) transcriptions of televised traumas and social media skirmishes, such that those familiar with some of the incidents related my be tempted to skip over some pages. Nevertheless, I believe this stands is one of the best analyses of the functional incoherence of the phenomenon of intersectionality, with its competing oppressions [and/or] victimhood of race, sex and gender which to Murray "grinds hideously and noisily both against each other and within ourselves." Murray mines the world of television talk shows, Facebook frenzies, Twitter-storms, and other locuses of current events to depict our times -- where a misconstrued word or phrase or action can become tinder for blame and resentment; where what might be an ordinary differing of opinions all-to-quickly escalates into the deaf shouts of a vengeance-thirsty mob; where daily life and social interaction is rife with "impossibility problems" (i.e., in the observation of Mark Lilla, one simultaneously demands "you must understand me" AND "you cannot understand me"); where life has been reduced to a "endless zero-sum game between different groups vying for oppressed status, [robbing] us of time and energy for the conversations and thinking that we do need to do." According to Murray, Alexis de Tocqueville observed that one of the strengths of our young nation in the 1830's was the capacity of the American citizenry to resolve their differences in face-to-face encounters, remedying disputes before the intervention of formal authority was needed. These days, it seems we are rushing headlong in the other direction -- thanks in large part to social media's ability to erase barriers between the private and public, past and present, and to make proverbial mountains out of molehills. Murray's book is long in the diagnosis -- and worth reading for his keen ability to identify what is amiss. At the same time it disappointingly comes up short on a prescription for a cure -- perhaps impeded in part because, in Murray's mind, there may not necessarily be a cure (given the inherent limitations of human nature); nor would it appear those who are complaining the loudest particularly intent on finding one. One of the strongest chapters (if only a brief interlude) is on the necessity of forgiveness in societal relations and civic health -- culling from Hannah Arendt ("without being forgiven, released from the consequences of what we have done, our capacity to act would, as it were, be confined to one single deed from which we could never recover"). Murray points out how society's capacity to forgive has diminished, hampered by the all-encompassing memory of social media, where one's sins are no longer confined to the community (where they might fade over time, or be negated by further acts of reconciliation) but instead rendered transparent and timeless on a global scale, for all eternity. The following concluding advice from Murray also hits the mark:"Of all the ways in which people can find meaning in their lives, politics -- let alone politics on such a scale -- is one of the unhappiest. Politics may be an important aspect of our lives, but as a source of personal meaning it is disastrous. Not just because the ambitions it strives after nearly always go unachieved, but because finding purpose in politics laces politics with a passion -- including a rage -- that perverts the whole enterprise. If two people are in disagreement about something important, they may disagree as amicably as they like if it is just a matter of getting to the truth or the most amenable option. But if one party finds their whole purpose in life to reside in some aspect of that disagreement, then the chances of amicability fade fast and the likelihood of reaching any truth recedes."

  18. 4 out of 5

    Richard Block

    SJW Inferno Douglas Murray's supercilious, ultra posh voice enunciates every syllable of his latest polemic (on Audible) in which he pontificates on the destructive nature of modern debate on the issues of gender and race. The social warriors are demented, maintains the controlled Murray, whose polemic oozes sarcasm and contempt. The central thesis is this - just as we are winning the battle for gay rights, women's rights, and black rights, the post Marxist analysis that has escaped academia thru SJW Inferno Douglas Murray's supercilious, ultra posh voice enunciates every syllable of his latest polemic (on Audible) in which he pontificates on the destructive nature of modern debate on the issues of gender and race. The social warriors are demented, maintains the controlled Murray, whose polemic oozes sarcasm and contempt. The central thesis is this - just as we are winning the battle for gay rights, women's rights, and black rights, the post Marxist analysis that has escaped academia thru the current and former students has created a toxic environment in which there is a hysteric condemnation of society in the form of white, male, privileged oppression. Instead of viewing people as individuals, the idea is that there is an interlocking matrix of oppression that needs to be smashed. Don't expect cogent reasoning or even to be allowed to speak - these SJWs are social fascists who hate facts and free speech. Hence, 'queer' culture (wild, amoral) culture overcomes gay (join the mainstream), feminism becomes misandry, and POC (people of colour) rail against whites with impunity. The most insane development, according to this account, is the approval and veneration of 'trans' people and 'trans' rights. This has had no serious scientific study or analysis yet now small children are being fast tracked to gender reassignment AS A MATTER OF STATE POLICY. The 'trans' movement has been pitted against feminists, who resent men claiming rights as women, when women feel trampled. It would be funny if it were funny. Following on from his previous polemic, The Strange Death of Europe (which reviled the Christian cultural collapse post war and has lead to welcoming mass Islamic immigration without complaint) Murray has an appetite for subjects that others don't want to touch. He offers journalistic analysis, but only occasionally calls upon empirical support. It is the common sense approach to argumentation, one where examples selected make huge points out this world gone mad. That he is a gay man helps his arguments in the first chapter, and strangely enough his chapter on women. His insights are simple and interesting. But the one that sets the book aflame is the chapter on 'trans'- this really is madness on an epic scale. Murray believes that we should not judge society as oppressed and horrific, but as advancing and improving - notably true (as Pinker). We should see that catastrophism (as in Haidt) is no solution and will pit us all against each other in a melee of victimhood and hatred. We should respect science and facts and not react with emotion to every perceived slight - we should be more charitable towards our fellow human beings. That social media - the curse of our times - enflames our culture - is not given sole prominence, but is part of the piece. This is a vital, energetic and unsettling book all people under 35 should read. It may make them very upset.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tristram Shandy

    “Der Asket macht aus der Tugend eine Not.“ or “Though this be madness, yet there’s method in’t.” Whether you stick to Nietzsche’s dictum and think that recent developments are a good example of how especially virtuous people – those who are put, by themselves, by the way, above the common lot by the knowledge that Western culture is all evil – make virtue a matter of pain and self-hate, or whether you go with Shakespeare and think that even madness has its own laws – and that by fostering this spec “Der Asket macht aus der Tugend eine Not.“ or “Though this be madness, yet there’s method in’t.” Whether you stick to Nietzsche’s dictum and think that recent developments are a good example of how especially virtuous people – those who are put, by themselves, by the way, above the common lot by the knowledge that Western culture is all evil – make virtue a matter of pain and self-hate, or whether you go with Shakespeare and think that even madness has its own laws – and that by fostering this special kind of madness, those at the forefront do follow a hidden agenda, may be of little moment because in both cases you will probably be right. One thing can be said for sure, and that is that there is something rotten in the state of Denmark. Whether you feel it in the water, or feel it in the earth, or smell it in the air, or whether you just pay attention to what is happening on the internet and in real life, the world has changed … and in his new book The Madness of Crowds, Douglas Murray sets out to describe this change and analyze the mechanisms and motives behind it. In four longer chapters, Murray centres on homosexuality, gender, race and transgender as the most popular battlegrounds of identity politics and intersectionality and he gives ample example of how this new culture war has seeped into our everyday lives. Contrary to what his detractors claim, Murray does not contend that discrimination on racial, gender or sexual grounds is entirely a thing of the past and that hatred-inspired rants against minorities are to be put up with as side-effects of freedom of speech. What he says is that in an age when, on the whole and fairly speaking, things have never been better for minorities in Western societies, when many decisive victories have been won and more than just the worst injustices have been overcome, identity politics has gone rampant and started to poison both public debate and everyday life, broadening trenches that were on the verge of disappearing. When you take a closer look at concepts like intersectionality, or think about slogans like “white fragility”, “toxic masculinity” or the demand that people “stay in their lane”, you may notice that what is happening right now is that in the name of anti-discrimination and equality, people are pigeon-holed into different sets of identity, most of which are supposed to see themselves as victims, whereas others are denied so much as the basic right to defend themselves against unfair allegations on the ground of their skin colour or their sex. Even those who are labelled “victims” have nothing to gain really from identity politics because they are taken hostage as representatives of their victimhood instead of being regarded as thinking individuals entitled to their own opinions and dreams. Despite all the insight into identity politics and its nefarious consequences on a free society given in those four chapters, the most interesting part of Murray’s book are, for me, the interludes, especially the one on Marxism, because in this interlude Murray digs a bit deeper into the hidden agenda of identity politics. He shows that the academic left, which has basically seized all social science departments at universities, has discovered identity politics as a way to continue their ideologically-fuelled struggle against the western core value of individualism for the sake of their big revolutionary project, and that they have done so because they found the working classes sadly unwilling to pursue their own vengeful Knabenmorgenblütenträume. By and by, their monomaniacal ideology, which sees the entire world as a net of power structures, categorizing people either as oppressors or oppressed, has trickled down into mainstream society and given woke culture a broader feeding ground and turned it into one of the most serious threats our civilization has to encounter. Its ideological, basically Marxist, nature can be seen from the fact that it is identity politics only in name, narrowing down people’s identities to one or few particular, often arbitrary factors such as sex or skin colour or sexual preference, leaving all other features out of consideration and instrumentalizing individuals as agents or opponents in their political struggle. Unfortunately, Murray only dedicates a couple of pages to this aspect, which is probably the most important one to understand if you really want to know what is going on in our society at the moment. I would therefore recommend readers of this book also to read the following two books in order to fully understand the nature of ideology and the hidden agenda ideologues are following at our cost: The Uses of Pessimism: And the Danger of False Hope by Roger Scruton, and Alien Powers: The Pure Theory of Ideology by Kenneth Minogue. In another interlude, Murray takes a look at how social media have given more impetus to woke-ism and its immoral moralizing by obliterating the line between public and private or semi-private speech and by preserving any remark that a person has made on the internet in the course of time. This gives woke disciples the opportunity to sift through a person’s twitter feeds, for instance, until they have found a statement they can gleefully use against that person, no matter what the original context was, in order to arouse public indignation and undermine that person’s social position. According to Murray, it is the combination of post-Marxist thought, or gobbledygook, and the advent of social media that are at the basis of identity politics, and it is probably also the first of these two that prevents this vile ideology from breaking apart over its own inner contradictions and potential struggles as to who holds eminence in the victim hierarchy of intersectionality, since Marxism never saw logical contradictions as a necessity to reconsider its tenets. Thus, identity politics can claim to be anti-racist and at the same time impose new patterns of racism, as opposed to Martin Luther King’s dream of people being judged by their characters instead of by the colour of their skin. Thus, identity politics can claim to fight for tolerance and at the same time be vitriolically intolerant towards those who don’t fall in with the woke slogans of the day. And it can accuse its opponents – defined not necessarily as someone who actively opposes its tenets but simply does not share them – of bigotry, while the woke crowd itself is as bigoted as bigoted can be in their cock-sureness of knowing the answer to every social question and their moral indignation at everyone who dares utter so much as a question or some doubt. When it comes to finding solutions to this menace of western civilization, Murray is less optimistic, but he names a few things that people can do. I personally do not think it helpful to discuss with dyed-in-the-wool adherents of identity politics because like all zealots they will hardly be interested in true discussion, but to live truthful to one’s own convictions, to speak up for what your intellect tells you is probably the right thing and to stick to your right to ask questions and voice doubts and contradiction. As Murray often says in interviews, there is nothing so demoralizing to a person as to be cowed into paying lip-service to tenets they know are dubious or downright false and into holding back what they regard as the truth. If mainstream society stopped paying attention to social media witch-hunting and showed they had no time for woke ideology by simply shrugging it off, this would do our society a world of good because then we could solve what problems of discrimination still remain in a spirit of fairness and humaneness.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Richio

    This is the second book of Murray's I've read, following The Strange Death of Europe. Like that book, many people will condemn or praise this one based on their politics, quite often without reading it. Murray is known as a conservative provocateur, particuarly for his live speaking, partly because he is so articulate and capable of delivering withering put downs in a cut glass accent. I think this overshadows the fact that's he's a very clear thinker and raises reasonable arguments. He may be a This is the second book of Murray's I've read, following The Strange Death of Europe. Like that book, many people will condemn or praise this one based on their politics, quite often without reading it. Murray is known as a conservative provocateur, particuarly for his live speaking, partly because he is so articulate and capable of delivering withering put downs in a cut glass accent. I think this overshadows the fact that's he's a very clear thinker and raises reasonable arguments. He may be a conservative, but he's gay, an atheist and rarely comments on party politics, so he should not be dismissed as simply a partisan blow hard. This book is also full of human anecdotes which are presented compassionately, and Murray's sympathies clearly lie with the individuals who he feels are being poorly served by the level of debate. He also raises some questions which his detractors need to answer before they can dismiss him. And of course, Murray brilliantly skewers the most batshit insane elements of the 'woke' world, which have large chunks of the media dancing to their tune. Fish in a barrel they may be, but they deserve to set on with a hefty shotgun, and this book doesnt disappoint. Clearly this book will appeal to the homophobes and racists of the world, people to ignorant to grasp the points Murray is making. But that's not thecauthor's fault. Either way it should definitely be read by left leaning Liberals like myself.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    “The special mark of the modern world is not that it is skeptical, but that it is dogmatic without knowing it.” -G.K. Chesterton This is highly recommended reading for anyone who is sick of the current climate of bullying and fear that is cancel culture, which of course does not tend to lead to genuine change in individual hearts, but rather merely serves to make people afraid to voice any rational criticisms and concerns regarding certain aspects of the current dogma; people losing their jobs ove “The special mark of the modern world is not that it is skeptical, but that it is dogmatic without knowing it.” -G.K. Chesterton This is highly recommended reading for anyone who is sick of the current climate of bullying and fear that is cancel culture, which of course does not tend to lead to genuine change in individual hearts, but rather merely serves to make people afraid to voice any rational criticisms and concerns regarding certain aspects of the current dogma; people losing their jobs over wearing the wrong t-shirt on social media, for instance, has become an all-too-common occurrence, and one that doesn't tend to foster an environment of open discussion, to say the least. Murray points this out: “Social media turns out to be a superlative way to embed new dogmas and crush contrary opinions just when you needed to listen to them most.” Although Murray doesn't specify precisely what an alternative to the present situation would look like, and of course there are still much-needed improvements to be made in many areas, especially with respect to the insidiousness of the Black poverty cycle, he does make some excellent points as to how to begin to change things, starting on an individual level. Because what we have now is in many cases a drastic overcorrection to past injustices, a “future in which racism is responded to with racism, denigration based on gender is responded to with denigration based on gender.” The divisiveness and atomization inherent in today's exclusive focus on identity politics must eventually become so extreme that more and more people will stop buying into it, and the world will then begin to right itself and get back on track, but it sure seems like it's taking its sweet time about it. For example, I recently read an article about how many women prefer going out in public wearing masks because then men don't tell them to smile. These are usually women who identify as “feminist,” which back in my day meant you were strong and independent and could speak up for yourself if a man was making you uncomfortable by asking you to smile more (the horror!), but apparently nowadays feminism has adopted the stance that women should seriously consider hiding their faces rather than having to stand up for themselves in such a minor way. Respectfully yet assertively disagreeing with others is part of life. Deal with it. These are doubtless the same kind of people who think the burqa would somehow be empowering for Western women, more empowering than, you know, actually being empowered enough to speak your mind. Hooray for modern feminism. Yes, let's all run and hide from anything that might make us even mildly uncomfortable, like standing up for ourselves in public—surely that's the best way to become stronger human beings! Anyway, I think if we all begin to critically examine many of these new notions that are taking over, and stop simply going along with the herd on these issues (or, as Murray put it, “prostrating ourselves before the swiftly moving dogmas of the age”) just because we're afraid of being labeled racist/sexist/Islamophobic/transphobic/whatever-the-fuck-phobic and then being bullied into apologizing for our “ignorance” and groveling for our “educators” to forgive us, etc., we can all help to create a less toxic environment, one far less filled with hate, because extremism begets extremism, as I'm sure we all know. I'll conclude by sharing some of Murray's best points: “In recent years an insidious current has developed that has chosen to reject Dr. King’s dream, and insist that content of character is nothing compared to the colour of someone’s skin. It has decided that skin colour is everything.” “It is a curiosity of the age that, after the situation appears at the very least to be better than it ever was, it is presented as though it has never been worse.” “The median income of Asian men in America is consistently higher than any other group, including white Americans. Should there be some attempt to level this figure out by bringing Asian men down a few earning percentiles? Perhaps we could get out of this mania by treating people as individuals based on their abilities and not trying to impose equity quotas on every company and institution?” “As MMA expert and podcaster Joe Rogan pointed out, ‘there is a giant difference between the amount of power that a man and a woman can generate . . . There’s a difference in the shape of the hips, the size of the shoulders, the density of the bones, the size of the fists.’ And this is a sport where, as Rogan put it, the objective is very clear: ‘Beat the fuck out of the other person in front of you.’ Yet even questioning whether someone with the physical advantages of having been born male should be allowed to floor women in front of a live audience produces the strongest possible objections. As Rogan later put it, ‘People came down on me harder than anything that I’ve ever stood up for in my life. Never in my life did I think there was going to be a situation where I said “Hey, I don’t think a guy should be able to get his penis removed and beat the shit out of women” and then people were like “You’re out of line”. But that’s literally what happened.’”

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    Do not begin to believe you are going to read this book with any tiny measure of joyful or entertainment factor involved. Because you won't. That aspect will be 1 star for many readers who get all the way through. Unless you enjoy suffering. But the intellectual aspects and prose skills are 4 or 5 star throughout. I won't pretend I understand completely his verbose definitive proclivities. And I'm absolutely sure much of his determination for what I consider "homo sapiens" life structure optimal Do not begin to believe you are going to read this book with any tiny measure of joyful or entertainment factor involved. Because you won't. That aspect will be 1 star for many readers who get all the way through. Unless you enjoy suffering. But the intellectual aspects and prose skills are 4 or 5 star throughout. I won't pretend I understand completely his verbose definitive proclivities. And I'm absolutely sure much of his determination for what I consider "homo sapiens" life structure optimal attributes and living environments as opposed to what Douglas Murray considers as factors that determine "happy" are almost universally different. But taking all that in hand, the madness of crowds and crowd think in education, corporate structures, sports, media, all the 100's of other category "know better" authority "eyes"? The madness is evident and never more observable than in 2020. To me, much of the parsing is like one long whine after another. Sad. People with bodies and no souls. And because of that needing to categorize themselves continually defensively. I agree with about 75% of his conclusions. He is brave and highly intelligent. And can recognize projection and fear mongering too for how they are used. Constantly. Seeing happiness or pride or loyalty as "against" someone else and not "for" the ultimate "we". It's not at all what I thought it would be, this book. I thought it would deal more with Leftist Anger about everything. I now feel that is almost entirely set within individual self-loathing. As if it will make you "happier" to destroy someone else's "happiness" or "peace" or efforts. Because you've been bottom line taught all of that "satisfaction" gained or given is merely a zero sum game. Others' success being a surety that the less successful has been "gypped".

  23. 5 out of 5

    Michael Shore

    I admire Murray's courage and willingness to take on such a host of hot-button issues in this brilliant volume. A refreshingly candid analysis and devastating take-down of the absolute insanity on the left. By far the best book I've read this year. I admire Murray's courage and willingness to take on such a host of hot-button issues in this brilliant volume. A refreshingly candid analysis and devastating take-down of the absolute insanity on the left. By far the best book I've read this year.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Anastasia

    This is incredibly fascinating book. At first, every part of me was screaming against it. I thought how dare this man say these things. He knows nothing so how dare he write such brainwash. I think being so outraged pulled me in and it started to make sense. The author makes a lot of fair points about our society. And about crowd madness. Just because someone says so, doesn't mean it's actually so. And when do we take it too far. When are we so driven to protect equality or gender or race that w This is incredibly fascinating book. At first, every part of me was screaming against it. I thought how dare this man say these things. He knows nothing so how dare he write such brainwash. I think being so outraged pulled me in and it started to make sense. The author makes a lot of fair points about our society. And about crowd madness. Just because someone says so, doesn't mean it's actually so. And when do we take it too far. When are we so driven to protect equality or gender or race that we start discriminating again. And there are a lot of things about gender, race and identity that we should start to question because it doesn't make any sense.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Marcher

    288 pages of pure and accurate facts. A perfect articulation of the mass hysteria exhibited by the upper 0.1% of our society.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jvm

    Another Fantastic Book by Douglas Murray Douglas Murray does it again. If you’ve been wondering what’s behind all of the recent hysteria about trans rights, ‘dead naming’ and ‘intersectionality’; or like James O Brian, you don’t know what identity politics is, this is the book for you. After watching Douglas Murray’s many, many debates on YouTube I’ve always admired his ability to calmly and cogently dismantle the left’s arguments and after addressing the immigration, identity and Islam issue in, Another Fantastic Book by Douglas Murray Douglas Murray does it again. If you’ve been wondering what’s behind all of the recent hysteria about trans rights, ‘dead naming’ and ‘intersectionality’; or like James O Brian, you don’t know what identity politics is, this is the book for you. After watching Douglas Murray’s many, many debates on YouTube I’ve always admired his ability to calmly and cogently dismantle the left’s arguments and after addressing the immigration, identity and Islam issue in, ‘The Strange Death if Europe’, he doesn’t disappoint by addressing society’s Marxism and identity politics issues in, ‘The Madness if Crowds’. It’s no surprise that someone writing for the Guardian described this book as a “right wing diatribe” since it comprehensively dissected everything that the left hold dear, slither by slither. What else would a publication who argues that homosexuals are oppressed in the U.K. but remains silent on issue of them being executed in Iran argue? Anyone who has enjoyed Douglas Murray’s books and wish there were more should read ‘Neoconservatism and Why we Need It’ which is a hugely underrated book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    I've always been interested in the way crowds behave...when large numbers of individuals forfeit that individuality to a potent force of unity & blind prejudice. I try to avoid crowds...I have never joined a protest march for example as I have never felt happy not retaining my own point-of-view...& my socio-political opinons will remain just that...opinions...my own induvidual opinions! I will never again express an opinion in public or on social media...as there are people out there who would w I've always been interested in the way crowds behave...when large numbers of individuals forfeit that individuality to a potent force of unity & blind prejudice. I try to avoid crowds...I have never joined a protest march for example as I have never felt happy not retaining my own point-of-view...& my socio-political opinons will remain just that...opinions...my own induvidual opinions! I will never again express an opinion in public or on social media...as there are people out there who would want me crucified...& that is very painful by all accounts! This study by Douglas Murray poses some very important questions as to where we, as a western, liberal society, are headed...& in my opinion...we...I'll keep that to myself!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Riley

    Excellent. Murray bravely and unashamedly puts his literary finger directly on many of the major issues facing our public discourse today. With specificity, he shines a bright light on the reasons public opinion rapidly considers certain opinions taboo that were once mainstream opinions (and scientific/common sense ones at that). A great read!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Chioma Chukwura

    The is so much hated in the world. Why can't we just get along with each other? None issues have become issues. I think it's because thing work in the west and they are used to an easy life, they have to complicate things for themselves. The is so much hated in the world. Why can't we just get along with each other? None issues have become issues. I think it's because thing work in the west and they are used to an easy life, they have to complicate things for themselves.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Raine McLeod

    I'm going to have a lot of notes, so I'm just going to leave them all here. In summary, this is not a great book. This is also really long, so I'm going to mark it all spoilers, even though they're not really. (view spoiler)[ The frequency with which he engages in a smug apples-to-oranges comparison of women's socialisation to men's entitlement is fucking SHOCKING. Women aren't CHOOSING to have the idea that the pinnacle of our existence is men's attraction marketed to us almost exclusively. We ha I'm going to have a lot of notes, so I'm just going to leave them all here. In summary, this is not a great book. This is also really long, so I'm going to mark it all spoilers, even though they're not really. (view spoiler)[ The frequency with which he engages in a smug apples-to-oranges comparison of women's socialisation to men's entitlement is fucking SHOCKING. Women aren't CHOOSING to have the idea that the pinnacle of our existence is men's attraction marketed to us almost exclusively. We have been conditioned to follow these instructions and woe be to she who dissents. Right now, the guy is saying that women's rights were ~almost done~ before comparing the movement to a train run off the tracks, because we wacky harpies didn't know when to stop. He literally just called feminism "deranged" and basically asked "why do women need feminism when they have misandry? Women have the gall to say 'men are trash' on the internet and then tell me that a patriarchy exists? Nooooooo" Douglas Murray's conclusions are just so weird. Like, how can women say they need feminism when uh, MARGARET THATCHER EXISTED? GOTCHA, BITCHES. Women can be identified as a class and represented by a single individual, but men are a group of individuals, none of whom can be classified as a member of a group unless the group we're talking about is unfairly put-upon by women's mean opinions. How can you compare the two? Honestly, that's such an apt example of why women need feminism. Women are raped, abused, mutilated, murdered EVERY DAY by men, and men don't like it when we talk about it. Great, the next chapter is called "The War On Men" I cannot wait Again, women are "deranged" and men can't have privilege because...they commit suicide more often. I will now stop here to say that men SUCCEED at suicide more often because they typically chose messier ways to do it: via gun and by hanging. Women ATTEMPT suicide more often but are unsuccessful because the ways we try to do it are less effective. The word "mansplaining" is evidence of "misandry" apparently. Guys, this is insane. It's like he's never met or spoken to a woman who didn't share his worldview and therefore he doesn't think she exists. Yes, Douglas. Men being surreptitiously photographed on trains and then uploaded to "Hot Dudes Reading" on instagram is EXACTLY the same as the dehumanising use of female bodies in ads for, say, men's cologne and upskirting. LIKE. Men being objectified =/= women being objectified, and you fucking know it. Women know that when a man doesn't see us as human, we're actually possibly in danger. Men do not face the same risk from women. Apparently, 1/4 of respondents who were asked what was the first word that popped into their heads when hearing the word “feminism” replied: bitchy. I cannot imagine why when you’ve got such wonderful dudes out here like Douglas Murray undercutting the goals of feminism and reducing it to “revenge” while simultaneously whatabouting men’s problems. How can you argue that there does not exist a system that disproportionately favours men, or rather disproportionately opposes women, when talking about Twitter’s TOS regarding trans? How can you write a million words about how men are not actually women without being able to see that the reason trans gets so much ground is because it’s a MEN’S sex movement. Its success across the board in under a decade is evidence of a patriarchy, of a system that is designed to give men what they want no matter who it hurts, ESPECIALLY if the people being hurt are ~only~ women. In Machine Learning Fairness he talks about googling "European art" and then complains that most of the paintings that come up are actually of black people. That's not fair! Black people can't *realllllly* be European, right? Douglas, you're telling on yourself. While the first painting you came up with is in fact a black woman (not the same one I got though), the rest of the google results I got were markedly different. Yes, still Mona Lisa, still Venus, still some black people, but I wonder what you'd been googling before that would have told the algorithm to get what you were expecting? (As a note, the reason I got the first painting I did is because the article to which the painting was attached used the phrase "European art" three times.) Oh, and he refers to his google results as "sinister." I'll let you do what you want with that. He googles "western people art" and is upset that the first result is again, a black person. I got western ~themed~ art (i.e. cowboys and Indigenous people). For Douglas, "black men" gets black men, and "white men" gets David Beckham and then black people. (This is not consistent with my own google results.) To save some time, I'm just going to say that historical google searches inform what google thinks you're looking for in the future, and what he got is not even remotely the same as what I got when I googled "gay couples" and "straight couples" and I'm not going to talk about how he calls his results "absurd" and "misleading." He's now complaining that black history, a "version" of history according to Douglas, is an "oddity." What is wrong with this dude? He's mad because studying whiteness isn't a celebration like a study of women or black history is. Straight up, Douglas Murray is the personification of this video: https://youtu.be/abZmFCs-ltY Douglas Murray is apparently very upset that Armie Hammer receives criticism, because...mean? Have you ever listened to a dude postulate about how he *really* understands society and how everyone in the room should be so lucky as to listen to him speak? That's this book. Dude, we don't live in a rape culture because our culture is "rife with rape" (although it is); it's because rape is treated as a plot point. Women are either not believed when they speak out, or are told we deserved it because we were...like, existing in public in a skirt possibly? Or drinking? Or because we've had sex before? We are caught in this world where we are supposed to know better than to hang out with a man who could be a rapist, but also not allowed to be wary of men who could be rapists. Women are murdered on the regular for literally just saying "no" to men. There is no real depth to his analysis at any point. For instance, when talking about Serena Williams being pissed off and calling a referee a thief, he disregards the existence and harm of the Angry Black Woman trope by saying, basically, "well, she's black and angry and a woman so what else would you call her?" There's something to be said about the blanket reaction that's performed by "progressives" at every opportunity but you can't blanket-dismiss everything that's being said either. I'm only 50% through this piece of shit, dear reader, but I digress. Everything seems to be conditional for him. He's talking about Ta-Nehisi Coates works, highlighting Coates confessions of coldness toward white people, implying that these feelings are inappropriate because Coates is under 40. James Baldwin (to whom Coates has been compared) was allowed to be angry because he existed in a time when rebellion was the necessary thing to do. Also, Baldwin wrote about it in better, nicer (dare I say whiter?) way, so that's a good thing. If you don't write about white people the way Douglas Murray deems acceptable, you're uppity? Cool, the next chapter is called "IQ" can't wait Excellent, he starts off highlighting the fact that ~no one is allowed~ to talk about IQ (or the bell curve) anymore, even if the "facts" are important, what a conspiracy right? Please google "IQ eugenics" and look into how IQ (a meaningless number that can actually change throughout the day for any person) has been used to abuse people. "Because the knowledge could be used by bad people, the inquiry cannot proceed, or it must be denied." COME ON. Meritocracy does not exist. Chris Hayes wrote really well about it in Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy; I recommend it. I don't want to read this anymore. I was looking forward to a criticism and analysis of identity politics, not a neoconservative's personal views about why women and people of colour need to calm the fuck down. See, now he's criticising cancel culture, I'm in. But like, Jon Ronson wrote about this better in So You've Been Publicly Shamed. I actually agree that there has to be a statute of limitations on when and what you can be ~cancelled~ for; digging up 10-year-old tweets that are no longer reflective of a person's views just to get them fired/vilified is gross and malicious. Cancel culture exists to hold people hostage to what is deemed acceptable in the moment and it's a cult tactic to keep people in line. Finally he gets to the what interested me in the book, gender identity. A totally reasonable section that makes sense and actually acknowledges some nuance. I don't know why he couldn't have applied this to literally anything that came before. I stopped taking notes because it's all either the same nonsense as the beginning of the book or it actually makes sense; honestly, I wish the entire book had just been about the madness of gender rather than a silly conflation of real, material oppression with feelings. I've come to the realisation that Douglas Murray thinks that talking about axes of oppression is actually an attempt to demand equality of outcome, which it's not. We're allowed to talk about the things that impact us. The demand is just that we aren't treated like absolute shit because of those things. Black people shouldn't not be arrested when they've committed crimes; they just shouldn't be extra-judicially executed. Nor should white people start to be extra-judicially executed. (hide spoiler)] I actually agree with him about the perpetual motion rage machine, but his conclusions are so over the top that it's almost impossible to sift through the bullshit and get to reality. Douglas Murray's favourite word appears to be "deranged" and I'm happy to report that it's the most appropriate word to describe his approach to what other people are allowed to talk/be upset about. Good grief.

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