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15 May 2020

The Long March Through the Institutions – Douglas Murray’s Book on Our Civilization and Its Discontents

 


Both
[Antonio] Gramsci and [Rudi] Dutschke argued that radical social change in highly developed societies would be the result of long, patient organising inside and outside of key institutions, and not simply or primarily a quick, frontal assault through mass actions. This is Dutschke’s long march through the institutions, what Gramsci called the “war of position...”

Carl Davidson1

To “deconstruct” something is as significant in academia as “constructing” things is in the rest of society. Indeed, it is one curiosity of academia in recent decades that it has found almost nothing it does not wish to deconstruct, apart from itself.
Douglas Murray

Perhaps it is historically true that no order of society ever perishes save by its own hand.
J. M. Keynes2


 

In his essay on the Reformation, Peter Marshall points out that “[t]oleration is not the same as tolerance. The latter is a fundamentally modern attitude, implying acceptance of diversity for its own sake, and an attempt to understand opposing points of view.” This insight is fundamental to Douglas Murray’s new book entitled The Madness of Crowds3 which explores the encroachment of identity politics on free thought, free speech and freedom itself. He shows, with many unpleasant examples, how the zealotry of “intersectionality” (see below) has moved into a commanding space in the media and institutions of a society that used to value such freedoms. The last part of Marshall’s definition (understanding different points of view) has been skipped in the transition from old dogmas to new ones. As Freud warned would happen, the enforcers of new dogmas exhibit the persecutory intolerance of old religion. But even Luther, not a tolerant man, sponsored a Latin translation of the Koran (1542), “not in a spirit of religious openness, but so the views of the enemy could be known and refuted”.4 This is not the spirit of contemporary “victimhood” politics, which seem to have their roots in Herbert Marcuse’s idea of “repressive tolerance”. For a generation of activist students, his disingenuous aphorism successfully misrepresented the freedoms of Western democracies as their opposite. His efforts have now borne fruit.

The idea of gradual progress to a fait accompli has its origins in the prison writings of the influential Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci, and was brilliantly crystallised by the student revolutionary Rudi Dutschke in the 1960s. Essentially the strategy for achieving a “Socialist” (for which read “Communist”) society was to be “entryism,” but entryism of a peculiarly sophisticated nature. The idea was that, in societies with a strong capitalist base and infrastructure, the “war of position” (Gramsci) would be waged by using the institutions and mechanisms of that society against itself. In particular, many of the altruistic strands in existing “civil society” could make it vulnerable to exploitation, manipulation and subversion by what Lenin called “useful idiots”. Many of today’s radical “social justice” warriors in the field of feminism, race and gender seem willing or keen to play the latter role.

There are four main areas in which the “war of position” may effectively be waged. I list them in diminishing order of visibility to the general public. The first is obviously day-to-day politics and its coverage in the media. This is arguably the least effective forum if there is a free media and debate takes place, although politics at the local level, where the former neo-Marxist leader of the British Labour Party cut his teeth as an activist, can provide an effective and little observed launch pad. The second is social media, which can be useful for driving out unwelcome ideas or opinions and hounding those who hold them. The effectiveness of this is limited by the fact that the same tactics can be used by opponents, although the left has a trump card in “virtue signalling”. This is something that appeals to the idealism of the young and often represents itself as being on the side of such things as tolerance, freedom, support for the minority view etc., which actually its activists are busy trying to eradicate. The third is the education sector, which is perhaps the most effective and important, in that it can inculcate a general presumption against conservatism, patriotism and traditional values, replacing these with multicultural dogmas or selective victimhood narratives. At university level, the social sciences, and to some extent the humanities generally, have made big strides in conceiving and spreading doctrines that aggressively overturn residual traces of a Judeo-Christian concept of society by weaponising sexuality, race and historically based victimhood. This is the core narrative of Murray’s book and he supplies many thought-provoking examples of the tactics used. Recently arisen doctrines are enforced by ferocious bullying in the media or on social media. People who transgress the new dogmas (sometimes even unintentionally) may be harassed into abject Communist-style confessions of error.

Avenues of covert influence exist in all modern democracies, though they may be intertwined with traditional social factors such as nepotism and corruption. Lobbyists are nothing new and in the USA they are highly paid pushers of commercial interests. They overlap with ideology, but their primary aims tend to be materialistic. Murray points out that the simplistic but effective tactic of the new ideological zealots is based on Michel Foucault’s (he might have added Marcuse’s) perception that “infinitely complex systems of trust and traditions that have evolved over time” should be viewed “solely through the prism of power5 (italics added). Today’s post-Marxists have also absorbed from Gramsci “their notion of culture as a ‘hegemonic force’ the control of which is at least as important as the working class [was for Marx]”. Translated into action on the ground, these abstract notions become identity politics and the mustering of victimhood “communities”. Radical feminism for example, assuming the role of spokesperson for the entire oppressed female species, rails against “male privilege”, “toxic masculinity”, “the patriarchy” and so forth. Any resistance to these blanket accusations is treated as itself proof of them – a technique pioneered by Freud, who sometimes interpreted denial of an analysis as evidence of its accuracy. The same tactic is applied to the issue of race, white people being the target. White hegemony, in the mindset of the radical race warriors, is responsible not only for the evils we face today (anything from oppression of minorities to climate change), but also all the evils of the past. Likewise the privilege of “cisgender” (i.e. being or regarding oneself as male or female in the hitherto customary sense) is by definition a form of oppression of those who are not cisgender. Most hated of all, as veteran feminist Germaine Greer6 has discovered, is anyone who questions the biological authenticity of transgender people, although this issue has also provoked an ideological split in Stonewall, the Gay Rights lobby. Greer and feminists who agree with her are denounced as transphobic TERFS, which stands for “trans-exclusionary radical feminists” (intersectionalists exhibit a mania for shoving people they like or dislike into a pseudo-scientific taxonomy).

Many, perhaps most, people can see such extreme ideological positions as oxymoronic, or at least moronic. But seeing this is quite another thing from saying it, as mild-mannered and impeccably PC academics have discovered. The point of “activism” is not to debate but to intimidate. Murray cites the terrifying experience of President Bridges of Evergreen State College Washington in 2017 who was held hostage by a student mob that had decided something one of his colleagues had tweeted was “racist” (the colleague was in fact a left-wing Bernie Sanders supporter and had objected to the organisers of a rally demanding that all white people “stay off campus” for a day, which he said was not peaceful demonstration but coercion). Bridges, a long term advocate of social justice who had a social science background, was subjected to lengthy intimidation and violent abuse by students occupying his office. In the end he and the colleague were forced out of their jobs (as happened to some other academics at other colleges who incautiously defended freedom of thought and speech).7

At this point it is important to meet head-on an objection usually advanced to dwelling on such (admittedly sporadic) incidents, namely that to do so engenders reactionary paranoia and fuels conspiracy theories. However real conspiracy theories are easily recognisable as such (e.g. the politically motivated claims that 9/11 was an Israeli or American plot). But here is the point: the “long march” or Gramsci’s “war of position” is a strategy that openly advocates covert infiltration to achieve a political end. It is no more a product of right-wing paranoid fantasy than Mao Tse Tung’s Little Red Book is a template for democratic governance. Forums where the aims of the “war of position” might be openly debated are censored (typically by “no platforming” its critics) in an attempt to place questionable doctrines beyond research or analysis. As to the claim of paranoia, this certainly has some traction, but it is often used as a tactic to belittle persons (whistleblowers and the like) who may have good cause to feel they are vulnerable. Hungarians have epigrammatically expressed this in a very good joke: “Just because I’m paranoid, it doesn’t mean they’re not out to get me.”

 

THE MADNESS OF CROWDS

 

In his Introduction, Murray outlines his underlying theme, namely that the grand narratives of Western society have withered in the secular consumer society of the Western democracies of today. God, already pronounced dead by Nietzsche in the 19th century, receded further in the 20th, while the profoundly influential secular religion of Marxism has faded with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Neither of these grand narratives has disappeared completely, but Murray is persuasive when he says that a spiritual and cultural vacuum has been created in Western democracies, which however “cannot simply remain the first people in recorded history to have absolutely no explanation for what we are doing here, and no story to give life purpose”. (Elsewhere, of course, Islam provides just such an explanation and purpose, which is its great strength.)

Murray’s four chapters are entitled Gay, Women, Race and Trans. Three of them are followed by a reflective “Interlude” (The Marxist Foundations, The Impact of Tech, On Forgiveness). His contention is that new paradigms of sexuality and race are being aggressively pushed upon society not only at a dizzying pace (the goalposts of admissible discourse are constantly being moved) but without any opposing views being allowed. Any attempt to put such a view is met with abuse, excommunication (for example from one of the relevant “communities”), misrepresentation and intimidation. As the long march finally led to institutional capture, new dogmas metastasised at astonishing speed. Murray points out that even the gay rights group Stonewall was not in favour of gay marriage a decade ago. A little later, the present writer recalls seeing Angela Merkel confronting an emotionally wrought participant in a pre-election question and answer session, to tell him gently that her personal convictions would not permit her to push for legalisation. It is now legal in Germany and acceptance of it even a precondition of citizenship in the state of Baden-Württemberg! Politicians elsewhere (the Conservative Nicky Morgan in Britain, Hillary Clinton in the USA) have not only done u-turns on the issue over a year or two but joined the witch-hunt against heretics. Others, like MSNBC host Joy Reid, have found themselves pilloried for scepticism about gay marriage expressed a decade ago a time when, as Murray wryly observes, “almost everybody else was unsupportive of gay marriage as well”.8 The new dogmas are policed by what Murray describes as “a set of tripwires … laid across culture”. Express a heretical view, or use a word that can be twisted to misrepresent you if wrenched from its context, and the blog mob activates like the Assyrians of Byron’s poem who descend like wolves on the fold.

Of course, from the intersectionalist point of view, the decriminalisation of homosexuality (something which commands pretty much universal assent in mature democracies) was just the first step in asserting the legal right to same sex marriage any sacramental or cultural reservations about the latter are merely evidence of homophobic discrimination. We now hurry on to the next battleground of transgenderism, for which not only are various “rights” demanded, but gender identity itself is presented as a sort of smorgasbord from which people are free to help themselves. Anyone asking searching questions (for instance in regard to transgender athletes) can expect a tsunami of abuse. Although such issues have deep and perhaps questionable implications for culture and society, reasoned debate about them has been pre-empted. Even Hillary Clinton has baulked at extreme transgender claims; but Chelsea, her “woke” daughter, asserted in a Sunday Times interview that a person with a beard and penis can claim to be female and anyone who challenges that is “transphobic”.9

One feature of this indiscriminate bullying has been that persons who are anything but sexist or racist can trip the wires by mistake. The actor Benedict Cumberbatch found this out when he inadvertently referred to “coloured actors” because he was a lap behind on the current protocol in PC America and should have used the phrase “actors of colour”.10 The spectacle of him subsequently abasing himself before the mob was not edifying. Arguably worse was the case of an actress Sierra Boggess, hounded out of the part of Maria in a concert performance of West Side Story on the grounds that she was not herself Puerto Rican, that she was “taking roles from actors of colour”, and the BBC Proms were “whitewashing” by casting her. Boggess’s abject capitulation on Facebook is toe-curling in its appeasement: she apologises for “not coming earlier” to the realisation that she was perpetuating the “miscasting of the show” and looks forward to being a voice for “change in our community and the world”.11 The fact that the story is fiction with lyrics and music written by two Jews, and that if this race-based doctrine were to be applied with the same zeal to Shakespeare it would mean that a Dane has to play Hamlet or no actor of colour could play King Lear, does not of course weigh with the grievance lobby.

The Jewish creators of West Side Story are perhaps fortunate in their graves that they had not already been targeted by the “cultural appropriation” lobby which is growing in ferocity and absurdity. Much of this is so far confined to rather trivial complaints, e.g. about non-Mexican publicists for Mexican restaurants advertising their business by wearing sombreros, an issue that greatly exercised the students’ union of Norwich University a couple of years ago. Murray might have mentioned a more troubling development: “cultural appropriation” has now burst into Young Adult Fiction, for which there is a board of “sensitivity” readers (i.e. censors) who target what they regard as an insufficiently sympathetic portrayal of non-white characters. The most extreme social media inquisitors demand that white authors “stay away” from portraying black characters altogether, the author of this demand turning out to have a day job manning the tills at the largest London bookshop. Would she sell us a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird one wonders? Authors have been forced on the defensive – even one who was a “sensitivity” reader himself: Kosoko Jackson, who also happened to be gay and black, had to pull his opus A Place for Wolves, because it featured an Albanian Muslim villain. (As everybody except Jackson knows, there are no villains in Albania, still less Muslim villains.) Even having previously written a Holocaust novel is no insurance, as distinguished author John Boyne discovered.12 Books are being withdrawn and the whole idea of “fiction” disallowed as a defence of anything that ideology-driven critics choose to denounce. We are evidently back with Plato, who was of the opinion that poets (even including Homer!) who misuse their skills are a menace to society on the grounds that they are both ignorant and liars. Plato (who himself wrote poetry) based his view on morality and aesthetics, but our modern censors apply the taboos, prohibitions and prejudices of identity politics.13

 

MISSION CREEP OF INTERSECTIONALITY

 

Insofar as there is a coherent ideology behind the phenomena described above it would appear to be framed by the concept of “intersectionality”, an ugly name for an ugly idea. It is based, says Murray (p. 91) on the assertion that Western democracies include a range of groups (women, ethnic minorities, sexual minorities and others) who are structurally oppressed in a “matrix of oppression”. Essentially it is a political project masquerading as an academic discipline and is fuelled by the burgeoning grievance studies of the social sciences. One might add that this attitude of mind has also leaked into historiography, the consequences being well observed by Theodore Dalrymple, who cites a passage from Orwell’s 1984 describing an official school history text in dystopian Oceania. The history of London is here presented as an unbroken and unalleviated saga of misery, exploitation and oppression until the coming of the great totalitarian revolution. Dalrymple comments: “The kind of historiography expressed in this satirical passage has become virtually standard in the various branches (feminist, black, gay, and so on) of academic resentment studies, in which history is nothing but the backward projection of current grievances, real or imagined, used to justify and inflame resentment.”14 Apart from that, it is a-historical, a variation of the Marxist tendency to fit history into a convenient pattern in order to back up the contemporary political struggle.

There is another problem that was well highlighted by Hannah Arendt, namely that “[w]here all are guilty, nobody in the last analysis can be judged”.15 She is talking about the mass mobilisation of Germans in the Nazi machine of destruction, but her underlying point is that without the consciousness of guilt and personal responsibility our notions of justice break down. This consciousness, including retrospective or historical guilt applied to Europe’s white civilisation, is what the various victimhood ”communities” are trying to instil in order to push their burgeoning political agendas. They themselves suffer from a moral superiority complex, but it is an irony underlined by Murray that they agitate and advocate in the very societies that have made the most striking progress in many of the causes they purport to embrace. The search for victimhood has begun to resemble what Kenneth Minogue called the ”St George in retirement” syndrome, the quest for more glorious (or extreme) causes.

Hannah Arendt was wrestling with the issue of “collective guilt” and pondering Nazism’s collaborators, including passive collaborators; Daniel Goldhagen’s controversial book Hitler’s Willing Executioners (1996)16 took an expanded notion of collective guilt into the public domain, arguing that ”eliminationist” anti-Semitism was an integral part of German culture and identity, at least from Luther onwards, and that the Holocaust would have happened even without Hitler. Radical intersectionality faces a much greater challenge in extending historical “guilt” to whole (e.g. white) civilisations, and by extension to the descendants of people who committed misdeeds long ago in the past (it is not permissible to mention any positive deeds the same might have to their credit). Its attitudes are fundamentally racist or sexist, while placing the relevant “communities” in a category of moral superiority simply by virtue of their belonging to an allegedly discriminated group. However, as Murray (himself gay) acerbically puts it (p. 252), ”a gay, female, black or trans person may be as dishonest, deceitful and rude as anybody else”.

Certainly the “communities” apply a double standard, raking over past social media contributions when someone is appointed to a position with high visibility, excusing some and forcing others out. Sarah Jeong was a young Asian appointed to The New York Times whose past tweets were full of mysogynistic (”Kill all men”) and extremely racial tweets against white persons. (”Dumbass fucking white people marking up the internet with their opinions like dogs pissing on fire hydrants” was a not untypical sample.) But the paper stood by its appointment, claiming that she had been “imitating the rhetoric of her [online] harassers”. This was certainly an ingenious get-out-of-gaol-free card to play. But a few months later there was another appointment of a journalist called Quinn Norton. Again a rabid search through past tweets found she had used words like “fag” and even “nigger”. Instantly the paper rescinded the appointment, despite her trying similar diversionary tactics to Jeong and talking of “context collapse”. No good – evidently she was in the wrong community to be excused.17

It is not hard to discern an ideological underpinning of identity politics. The co-founder of PayPal, Peter Thiel, appeared at the Republican National Convention in 2016 to endorse Donald Trump and openly acknowledged his gay sexuality in his speech. This was certainly progress in terms of acceptance of gay sexuality in Republican politics and widely lauded as such. Not in the gay community, however. America’s foremost gay magazine, Advocate, featured a convoluted attack excommunicating Thiel from the gay community “because he does not embrace the struggle of people to embrace their distinctive identity” (he had incautiously expressed scepticism about the appropriateness of multi-gender toilets). This attack was written by a Professor of History at Connecticut College and goes a long way to explaining the lack of esteem into which large swathes of academe have now sunk. Then again, the doyen of British acting, Sir Ian Mckellen, gave an interview ahead of the Brexit referendum asserting that if you are gay you have to be a Remainer. ”If you’re a gay person, you’re an internationalist.”

This was a tremendous fatuity, even allowing for the tendency to pomposity and narcissism among actor-celebrities. To associate gender identity with purely politico-economic issues simply lays bare the ideological underpinnings of the LGBTQ community. But it only works in one direction. The gay “community” was not loud in its support of the gay Darren Grimes, a student who was fined an enormous £20,000 for raising money on the internet for the Leave campaign. The Electoral Commission, half of whose members had criticised Vote Leave or even demanded the result of the referendum be overturned, claimed he had infringed the spending rules. The Appeal Court gave that short shrift, saying that the EC had not understood the law it exists to uphold. Since the Remain campaign outspent Leave by more than £5 million using similar techniques to those used by Grimes, the whole business had been closer to persecution than prosecution, but the “gay community” was not interested.

 

THE LANGUAGE OF VICTIMHOOD

 

The leader of the left-wing Spanish party, Podemos, once said in an interview: “Reality is defined by words. So whoever owns the words has the power to shape reality.” The most significant part of this observation is the word owns. Intersectionality, for example, lays claim to ownership of the phrase “social justice” (after all, as Murray drily points out, who could be in favour of “social injustice”?). This and other question-begging or open-ended words or phrases can then be loaded with the desired agenda. A clever variation was Peggy McIntosh’s essay in 1988 entitled White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, which lists fifty things that privilege white people (like “arranging to be in the company of people of my race most of the time” or “going shopping alone most of the time” without fear of harassment), which she claims amount to unfair privileges because they have not been “earned”.18 McIntosh has colonised the word “privilege” and filled it with the word “white”. Ergo, if you are white, you cannot not be guilty of the mostly nonsensical failings in her accusatory list. There is no appeal. An analogous assertion of unredeemable guilt was taken further by a lady of colour on a CNN panel when Supreme Court candidate Judge Brett Kavanaugh was being accused of sexual abuse that allegedly happened some thirty-six years earlier at high school. “He has been accused,” she said, “therefore he is guilty.”

This negation of one of the most fundamental principles of justice in a democracy, namely that an accused should be presumed innocent until proven guilty, is very much in the spirit of radical intersectionality and its claims regarding a “matrix of oppression”. The “woke” lexicon is full of phrases that can be and are used to prevent people from defending themselves from often vexatious accusations. It is a lexicon full of retributive and question begging terms Murray’s “tripwires laid across culture”. An unwelcome point of view can be waved away and its protagonist discredited by the simple rejoinder “check your privilege!” “Inclusivity”, a particularly weasel concept, was actually used by Cambridge University as part of its reasoning for excluding the Canadian Professor Jordan Petersen from the Fellowship to which he had been invited by the Faculty of Divinity simply because the “student body” disapproved of his views. The burgeoning market in courses of “diversity training” and the like have an unappealing whiff of Communist “re-education”, as do the accusations of “unconscious bias” (compare Marxism’s “false consciousness”), “toxic masculinity”, “white privilege” and much more. Long after Murray’s book appeared, Senator Elisabeth Warren, a would-be Democratic presidential candidate, was asked at a CNN forum how she would respond to a questioner who believed that marriage should be between a man and a woman. Her answer was that she assumed “it was a guy that said that” (why?) and the guy would be welcome to marry one woman “assuming he could find one”. This was greeted with triumphal whoops at the CNN forum. However, as Edward Luce commented in the Financial Times, her reply “embodied the tactical myopia of woke politics”, since “implying those who disagree with you are backward is a poor way of winning their vote”.19 The woke lexicon has in addition plentiful abuse for those who do not toe the line – bigot, homophobe, sexist, misogynist, racist and transphobe for starters which can be wheeled out in the place of engagement, dialogue or argument.

In The Future of an Illusion (1928) Sigmund Freud wrote that expelling religion from European civilisation could only be done by substituting another system of doctrines. “Such a system”, he said, “would from the outset take over all the psychological characteristics of religion the same sanctity, rigidity and intolerance, the same prohibition of thought for its own defence.”20 Arguably we are on the cusp of such a situation now. The idea that marriage should be between a male and a female was, after all, the norm for nearly two thousand years of Christian civilisation (but then again slavery was condoned or practised by Christians for 1800 years of that two thousand). Anyone who has reservations about gay marriage, or dares to argue that children are best reared by one male and one female parent, can expect to be vilified by the vigilantes of the new religion. At the same time the tenets of the latter are dripped into the education system, e.g. by a BBC educational video in which a primary school boy asks a former teacher how many genders there are and receives the answer: “There are over a hundred, if not more.” (The Royal College of General Practitioners recognises six – male, female, gender-neutral, non-binary, gender-fluid and gender-queer). Partly as a result of extensive positive coverage in the media, the number of schoolchildren in the UK who have decided they are in the wrong sex (gender-dysphoric) has rapidly increased. Parents’ legitimate worries tend to be discounted sometimes, says Murray, the schools do not even inform them of decisions to address their children by their new gender identity, gender itself allegedly being a “social construct”. The fashionable purveyor of feminist gender theory, Judith Butler, writes that male and female are “culturally presupposed” and gender itself is no more than a “reiterated social performance”.21

It is in this sense that the long march through the institutions is succeeding and has succeeded – ideas and attitudes which contradict and outlaw what hitherto were fundamental aspects of Western culture, are not argued, but imposed with the assistance of education, the law, the media and so forth. In his chapter on “The Marxist Foundations” (that is, of intersectionality) Murray illuminates how this interlocks with traditional Marxist theory, the whole (gender, feminism and race) folded into a hierarchy of oppression where capitalism still occupies pride of place. To be sure, it is more the Gramscian tactics than economic Marxism per se that emerges triumphant:


The working classes may have been exploited but they had been unable to recognise the fact, had let down their theoreticians and generally failed to follow the path of progress that had been laid out for them.”22 The extension of the struggle to “women, national, racial and sexual minorities, anti-nuclear and anti-institutional movements etc.”23 
would hopefully replace the busted flush of the class struggle. The gathering of grievances – real, exaggerated, misrepresented or invented – into a single “matrix of oppression” is a major political achievement. It has however provoked a backlash. Like the Communists before them, the radicals know that total victory will only be secured when freedom of speech and thought are effectively abolished. The activists are still working on that.


 

Notes:

 

1 Carl Davidson: “Strategy, Hegemony and the ’Long March,’” posted 6 April 2006 and retrieved 15 September 2019. Davidson is a left-wing radical, former American student leader and anti-war activist.

2 J. M. Keynes: The Economic Consequences of the Peace (1919). Quoted in The Essential Keynes, ed. Robert Skidelsky, Penguin Books, 2015, p. 34.

3 Douglas Murray: The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity, Bloomsbury Continuum, 2019, hereafter Murray: op. cit. The title is borrowed from a famous book by Charles Mackay about mass delusions and financial frauds: Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, Richard Bentley, London, 1841. The headline quote for this article is on page 53.

4 Peter Marshall: The Reformation: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, 2009, pp. 115, 117.

5 Murray: op. cit., p. 53.

6 Murray: op. cit., pp. 213–216.

7 Murray: op. cit., pp. 128–133.

8 Murray: op. cit., pp. 5, 18–19.

9 See, for example, James Kirkup: “Hillary Clinton’s Transgender Heresy”, The Spectator, 12 November 2019. Decca Aitkenhead’s Sunday Times interview with the Clintons was on 13 Oct. 2019.

10 Murray: op. cit., pp. 157–158.

11 Murray: op. cit., pp. 142–143.

12 For an alternately hilarious and troubling description of this snarling environment, see Karen Yossman: “Writers Blocked: Even fantasy fiction is now offensive. Persecution is endemic in the world of Young Adult publishing”, The Spectator, 18 May 2019.

13 An interesting discussion of Plato’s view may be found on the internet at eCommons: Vincent G. Savage: Plato and the Poets, Loyola University, 1940.

14 Theodore Dalrymple: Our Culture, What’s Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses, Ivan R. Dee, Chicago, 2005, p. 113.

15 Hannah Arendt: Essays in Understanding, 1930–1954: Formation, Exile and Totalitarianism, Schocken Books, New York, 1994, p. 126: “Organised Guilt and Universal Responsibility”.

16 Daniel Jonah Goldhagen: Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, Knopf, 1996. The book was popular with the German public but severely criticised by several leading historians, including Jewish scholars. A fundamental complaint was its “essentialist” nature, one reviewer even labelling it an inverted version of Nazi racial attitudes.

17 Murray: op. cit., pp. 159–161 and 174–175.

18 Murray: op. cit., pp. 54–55.

19 Edward Luce: “America’s Cultural Tensions Will Test the Limits of Its Democracy”, Financial Times, 8 November 2019.

20 Quoted in Niall Ferguson: Civilization: The Six Killer Apps of Western Power, Penguin Books, 2012, p. 271.

21 Murray: op. cit., p. 54.

22 Murray: op. cit., p. 57.

23 Murray: op. cit., p. 56, quoting Hegemony and Socialist Strategy (1985) by Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe.

 


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