The War on the West by Douglas Murray. This is, as far as I know, the eighth book by the author. If you’re familiar with Murray, then you’d know he’s been the subject of a lot of controversy, focusing on topics such as Islam, immigration, transgender ideology, and, most recently, his support of Ukraine. I find it kind of ironic how the hate he’s getting on that last one is coming from the right rather than from the left, who I assume he’s used to dealing with by now. Poor guy can’t seem to catch a break.
In this book, he breaks down the constant shaming of western civilization by radical leftists, who constantly regard it as institutionally racist due to a history of discrimination and slavery and call for its destruction. This book is both a defense of the west and an explanation of why it is significant, informing the reader on the context of historical figures whose statues have been torn down, such as Winston Churchill and Thomas Jefferson. Murray calls out the double standards these so-called progressives have when it comes to history, such as how they never address how the Barbary Muslim pirates had enslaved Europeans, and Africans who had captured and sold each other to slavery overseas, and for their praise of Marxism, even though Marx himself was overtly racist and used slurs when referring to black people, and was pretty harsh when speaking of Jews (even though Marx himself was Jewish.) All these facts continue to be ignored by the left. Murray also targets the Postmodern Philosopher Michel Foucault, who is typically held in high regard. Murray brings up Foucault’s many sexual relationships with young boys. He also criticized Edward Said, who was known for his philosophical Orientalism.
Those last two criticisms I thought were kind of interesting, since I knew a bit about Foucault in my teens when getting into philosophy and psychology, but I never knew much about Postmodernism. I remember hearing he believed pedophilia should be legalized (don’t quote me on that). The whole pedophilia thing Murray brought up is… disturbing, to say the least. With this new term being thrown around called MAPs (Minor Attracted People), at least we can say they’re being unfortunately consistent.
I’ve also heard of Said before, first time from this foreign girl from Europe I met online, and I discovered he was actually a close friend of Christopher Hitchens, which surprised me. The two had even worked on a book together. The conservative commentator David Horowitz, who was also a friend of Hitchens, was critical of Said. In an interview, when asked about that, Hitchens described him as one of the people who defamed Said. It’s interesting that Douglas Murray has a negative view of him considering his own history with Hitchens. The two were friends as well and Hitchens was a sort of mentor figure to Douglas Murray. Some people even regard him as the closest thing we have to Hitchens.
A final point I wanted to address was this theory Murray had that the dislike towards western civilization in favor of these radical leftist ideologies could be due to people having this bias where they hold in higher esteem something that’s new, rather than what they have, even if what they currently have is demonstrably superior. He used as an example the French Philosopher Voltaire, and argued that he praised Islam’s culture, but I’m not sure if that part is right, since Voltaire wrote the play Mahomet, where he portrayed the prophet as an imposter and a manipulator. Unless I’m misunderstanding Murray’s point, or if there’s some context I’m missing, I don’t think Voltaire regarded Islam in a positive light.
Overall, I think this was an impactful and important book. Murray thoroughly makes his case for the west and its legacy, while criticizing the far left for their anarchy, hypocrisy, defamation, and violence. He writes very well, and his writing style is clear and easy to follow. Whether you end up agreeing with him on much or little, he’ll still get you to care and consider what he’s saying. I recommend The War on the West. I give this book an 8 out of 10.
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