“If a culture pretends that it is this cheap, ridiculous, highly sexualized, race-obsessed, totally evidently self-contradictory thing, then it’s hardly surprising if it doesn’t survive, and it doesn’t particularly deserve to.”
In this episode of Uncommon Knowledge, Peter Robinson is joined by author and columnist Douglas Murray to discuss his new book The Madness of Crowds: Race, Gender and Identity. Murray examines the most divisive issues today, including sexuality, gender, and technology, and how new culture wars are playing out everywhere in the name of social justice, identity politics, and intersectionality. Is European culture and society in a death spiral caused by immigration and assimilation? Robinson and Murray also discuss the roles that Brexit and the rise of populism in European politics play in writing immigration laws across the European Union.
EXCERPTS FROM TRANSCRIPT: The Death Of Europe, With Douglas Murray | Hoover Institution
All the adults left the room. That’s a big problem. It became increasingly hard, secondly, to hold concrete ideas up in public. People can sustain the most extraordinary abstract ideas, we see it every day, but they’re finding it extremely hard to hold on to concrete ideas because the concrete idea can have a personification right in front of you in the age of social media. So, it’s not, you’re not talking about people in the abstract, the person is there. You’re talking about this person, for instance. So, it’s rather like borders. People find it hard to hold on to the hard concepts. But there are a whole set of other things as well. One is, and I think this is absolutely crucial, we shouldn’t underestimate the move that has been played by what was a very fringe movement in academia that is now absolutely rampant across America and Europe, which is sometimes called social justice warriorism, sometimes called intersectionalism, and so on. We didn’t take this very seriously, but it should be taken seriously in my view because it is probably the single idea, since the Cold War ended, that has made most headway and which makes the largest claims for itself. It is an attempt, this thing of, this is why, the endless thing, women, gays, race, trans, endless injection of these things into every single public discussion, every political discussion. The fact that, well, we had a defense secretary in Britain who had to resign a couple of summers ago because 15 years earlier, he’d been found to have touched a woman’s knee and she asked if he would take his hand off her knee and he said, “Yes, of course,” and he did. But 15 years later, he has to resign. The woman wasn’t bothered at all. She was a journalist, said, “Told him I’d smack him “in the face if he ever did that again.” But this stuff is, it’s everywhere…
People have been saying to me for years, oh, but it’s just, it’s a bit of academia and you over-focus on that. It’s just some West Coast liberal loopiness. No. Almost every multinational, every corporate, every government. They are all committed to this now, the commitment to being diverse, being absolutely woke, as we call it, on all of these issues, and the problem about it is, I think it’s going to undo all the good that was done. And there are some very clear examples of that.
Take the obvious one, which I mention in the race chapter. It’s taken, what, 50 years to move from Martin Luther King’s central moral insight about the nature of somebody’s character being the way you judge them not some characteristic like skin color–
Peter Robinson: Skin color does not matter. Character is all.
Douglas Murray: Exactly.
Peter Robinson: That’s Martin Luther King, Jr.
Douglas Murray: Well, today, not so. There was a lecture given the other week at Boston University from an academic who is a George Washington University, I think, yeah, no, Washington State University. She gave a lecture in which she said, “People who judge people by the content of their character rather than their skin color are dangerous.” Skin color is meant to be everything. And my God, we are hurtling there….
I think there’s an extraordinary lack of courage in our cultures at the moment, and the simple courage to say what’s true. And this has an extraordinary effect, because of course it means that if you’re weighing up whether or not you should go with a mob mentality, a crowd mentality or something or not, if there’s basically no benefit to telling the truth but there could be a huge personal cost to it, you just weigh it up. I mean, is it worth doing or not? Is it, if you saw what happened to Bret Weinstein at Evergreen College, who refused to take part in a racist endeavor that the college wanted everyone to take part in, which was to make all white people leave campus for the day. If you saw that he and his family ended up being drummed out not just of the university, but of town, and you were another academic who thought, I’m not sure I want to go in with this new era of race baiting that’s disguised as anti-racism. And you saw what happened to Bret Weinstein, would you do what he did or not? Almost certainly not. And this isn’t just because most academics are cowards, it’s just that most people are….
When people tell us what a patriarchal and bigoted society we live in, and how terrible, and how there’s a war on women and a war on gays and a war on trans and a war on blacks and a war on everybody and against everybody else, compared to when? Compared to what? Where’s your place? Where’s your nirvana? Because if you can’t point to something that’s at least semi-nirvana like, then I see no reason why we should try this wholly new experiment. In reality, what the people do if you say, compared to what, they tend to, in your country, as in mine, sort of reveal the foundations and say, you know, Cuban healthcare is particularly good, and so on. Actually, literacy standards in communist Russia were very, very impressive. So they give away what they really want, but that’s the point is if we keep saying, compared to what, we know what we’re running against and we know what they’re trying to do, and at the moment, we’re just in this fog of not realizing the seriousness and the specific nature of the attempts that are being made to totally undermine, rewrite, and destroy everything that I think people of any political direction in our countries would have thought of, until recently, as at least a pretty good deal.