The War on the West: How to Prevail in the Age of Unreason

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The War on the West: How to Prevail in the Age of Unreason

The War on the West: How to Prevail in the Age of Unreason

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Again, it’s Murray just getting angry at people saying stupid things that anyone with a brain would just ignore. Thus, Michael Tippett’s oratorio ‘A Child of Our Time’ can be denounced for “cultural appropriation” because it incorporates Negro Spirituals. At times Murray is aware of the counterargument that this 'war' is overblown and asserts this not just standard culture war fare but an existential problem yet regularly he cites just a few or even a singular example as evidence or worse just rants about what 'they' think without any attribution.

At least with regard to artistic achievements, his defence of the Western tradition is not merely optimistic, but also completely devoid of rancour or exclusionary sentiment. Intrigued, I decided to have a look at Spengler’s best-known work before reading Murray’s new book, hoping to gain some idea of what exactly he was so grateful for having escaped. What is needed is a rival movement that caters to people’s aspirations for social fairness and the remission of suffering without recommending that we tear down statues, throw out the Western canon, obsess about superficial aspects of our identities, and so on.Here, Murray engages in a neat bit of statistical trickery: he cites police killings of unarmed black men. The War on the West serves a very narrow purpose: to confirm the biases of people who dislike left-wing politics and young people. In some respects this is the right-wing version of Peter Mitchell's Imperial Nostalgia, where Mitchell examined nostalgia, Murray picks up on Scruton's idea of a culture of repudiation.

In that moment, and for the only time in this book, Murray accurately describes his war on the west. Again he engages in some leaps of logic when he says that on a visit to Portland, a black-owned restaurant which displayed images of American soldiers and first responders was targeted by rampaging antifascist mobs: live ammunition was fired into the restaurant, which is obviously unforgivable, but Murray cites no evidence that the perpetrators targeted the restaurant for the reason he gives. In exploring the case for reparations, Murray is far more lucid, perhaps because it’s a far messier topic that he can wade into without needing to make embarrassingly unsourced claims. The cultural treasures of the West “deserve respect not because they are the product of white people but because they are the inheritance of all mankind.

These Bones Will Rise Again, Panashe Chigumadzi ( paperback 2018) €9,95 What are the right questions to ask when seeking out the true spirit of a nation? But there isn’t one: one is a man saying standardised testing is racist, and the other is a man saying standardised testing is inadequate. Murray also wants to place the death tolls of communism at Marx’s door, which we’re not doing; we don’t put the deaths from fascism at the door from Nietzsche, after all, and Murray expressly didn’t want to put the deaths from slavery and colonialism at the modern West’s door. Many people, presumably, accept the social justice nostrums propagated by activists out of a misguided but ultimately good-faith aversion to perceived structural inequities.

As a result, “all major cultural institutions are either coming under pressure or actually volunteering to distance themselves from their own past. Or to point out that neither the 1 nor the 0 are western inventions and that without them, computer science would be a little different.

Douglas Murray breaks down “The War on the West” by showing how the basic tenents of America’s foundation have been eroded. He says that people should be grateful: for the fortuitousness of living in a freer, more democratic age, for living in better countries, for the gifts of the past regardless of the attitudes that forged them, etc, etc.

The wrongs of colonialism are legion, but if the exposure to new ways of thinking and creating art are wrong then it undermines many of the ideas and artistry of today; and if we tear down everything we won’t have much left. Naturally, this sort of vandalism was condemned and commentators complained that objections to the statue should’ve been handled civilly (Murray doesn’t even say this much). Eliot had done for Murray, he said, something similar to what he had done for the late English philosopher Roger Scruton, who wrote in his memoirs that the poet had “saved him from Oswald Spengler.Something of this persists in Murray’s critique, which implies that everyone who is drawn to left-wing identity politics is actuated by a lust for retribution, as opposed to a genuine desire to create a fairer society. He makes objective claims about the best art which just sound immature, is very triumphalist about free-market capitalism, and somewhat disingenuously remarks that everyone wants to be involved with the culture and economy and politics of the west because it’s just plain better than everywhere else. His critique of Kendi's circular definition of racism seems correct to me and its application invites policy confusion.

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