Do you feel your race, sex, ethnic group, class, “privilege,” and related-histories are constantly under withering attack? Is your university undermining truth, your business school killing free enterprise, and your law school corrupting justice? Are our institutions ceasing doing what they are supposed to do? (Education doing education? Science doing science? Medicine doing medicine? Art doing art? Church doing Christianity, Judaism, or Islam? Etc.)
Are you and your “kind” being blamed for difficulties encountered virtually worldwide from one to four hundred years ago, where obviously no clear “perpetrators” or “victims” whatsoever remain alive today? Do you believe nasty politics have invaded literally every aspect of life? Do you see our certifiable world-class historical American heroes being vilified?
Do you believe most impassioned criticism of America from the Far Left (and Right) is vastly exaggerated with the majority of complaints more faux than real? Do you feel our long established laws and institutional systems explain our unparalleled national success rather than any “inequities”?
Do you believe that what you’ve witnessed everywhere during your lifetime is much more Americans trying to help the “least of these,” rather than exploit them? In other words, have your countrymen tried to aid and equalize rather than exploit? Do you constantly hear about various “fascist” groups that are nowhere to be found in time and space?
Do you feel times today, even with impending recession and inflation, are still rather easy in relation to preceding periods of wars, recessions, riots, and crises directly experienced as an American during your lifetime?
In other words, do you believe the objective facts are that you live in the greatest, most prosperous, most wealthy, most generous country in the world, but one that is under inexplicable relentless attack by internal media and “elites”? That these are the very people who benefit most from the systems they seem to be trying to destroy?
Do you believe in particular the national government is deliberately trying to increase dependence on it by causing problems and crises, then offering solutions to fix them? Do you wonder why the entire world, given waves of illegal immigration cross America and the West, would want to live in such an Evil Empire?
Do you see a country that appears overwhelmed with negativity to the point of risking suicide?
With a feeling at times of desperation, do you seek positive arguments based on balanced truth that can help restore a civilized order and a healthy personal or national perspective? Do you crave perspectives and arguments that could make a true, good, meaningful, and even beautiful difference?
Well, if so, we have the book for you: Douglas Murray’s recently published The War on the West (“The War,” 2022, 273 pages). Mr. Murray is a British writer, the associate editor of The Spectator, and a well-known author with a long history of success.
He is an extremely well-educated and trained cultural Christian who clearly loves and values his Western legacy and who recently moved from London to New York City. He is devoted to the legacy of Sir Roger Scruton, a PC Contributor, and he played a key role in Sir Roger’s reinstatement as Co-Chair of the British government’s Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission, just prior to his death from cancer in early 2020.
Please see Douglas’ video at top for his own overview of The War on the West and the menu of supplemental videos below.
Douglas’ last two books were bestsellers, The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam (2018, over a million sold) dealing with the European crisis resulting from Muslim immigration and the lack of cultural assimilation, and The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity (2019), dealing with the divisions caused by the growth of Identity Politics and the Woke movement. The War on the West builds on the well-researched, on-the-road experienced, and international perspective Mr. Murray developed writing his earlier books. In both cases he received acclaim, even from those who disagree, for his skilled handling of sensitive topics.
We chose to review The War on the West first among many new books read this year because:
- It’s the right book at the right time,
- It’s an excellent summary of anti-CRT (DEI, ESG, etc.) movement books of its type,
- Murray brilliantly describes the problems the West has developed in recent decades and why they’re largely baseless,
- He describes the true threats America faces both internally and abroad,
- He compares the West to the Rest to show how fortunate and blessed we are,
- He offers succinct, positive arguments for the West,
- He concludes by describing proven pathways to a good and bright future, if we can somehow right the ship.
Finally, we chose this book because Mr. Murray bases his arguments on truth (the only basis for any good argument worth listening to), a Praxis Circle focal point in recent weeks, because he admires America, its Founders, and its freedom and charity, also a recent focal point, and because he will become a Praxis Circle Contributor later this fall and present at an event we’ll co-sponsor in November.
We are extremely grateful for all of that!
The Book’s Structure and Themes
First, a brief word about the book’s interesting structure. Mr. Murray lays out the Far Left’s war against the West in only four chapters, which pin-point Radical strategy: Race, History, Religion, and Culture. In sum, the Far Left’s attack grew formally out of the 1960’s into a critical Marxist and postmodernist assault on every social foundation the West had constructed in Europe and North America since the Reformation.
Mr. Murray agrees with Praxis Circle that CJC (Classical Judeo-Christian) worldview is the West’s backbone, providing our primary theological, philosophical, social, political, and economic foundations. Of course, the Left believes the West is the construct of racist, sexist, multi-phobic, ruthless, environmentally criminal, and seriously evil white men, who must be stopped now for the good of the world. And we only have a few years more to spare before the white-induced apocalypse. It will not be pretty.
Whatever they are, these evil white men have proven to be quite good at what they do, and are in the process of pulling the wool over the eyes of the entire world, using their sinister power/capitalist dynamics. All white theologies (including Christianity and Judaism) and philosophies (including Classical Greek & Roman and later Enlightened Modern) except Identity Marxism and Postmodernism are racist.
As we know and as Murray describes, many American institutions have adopted CRT and Wokeness for a host of sometimes well-intended but generally self-serving reasons, often using virtue as a pretense. American Mainline Christian churches whose leadership subscribe wholeheartedly to CRT look particularly silly-stupid because CRT dogma is actually the exact opposite of Christianity. As Murray describes in short sub-sections that address particular churches, sadly, this following includes the American Episcopal Church. One can see it happening here in Praxis Circle’s hometown, Richmond, VA – an Episcopalian stronghold since before 1776.
Yes, the Left’s War is a conspiracy with the goal of social revolution, either via peaceful or violent means. This is what Critical Theorists and Marxists tell us in their writings in no uncertain terms; they could not be clearer.
Murray writes that a true racist is “someone who regards members of one racial group as inferior to another simply by dint of this one characteristic over which they have no say.” (page 46) Such is the definition America agreed to in the 1960’s with the Civil Rights Acts that grew out of at least fifteen hundred years of Christianity’s public concern for Imago Dei and the individual person. In the 1960’s, racism was one of the average American’s concerns out of many.
This view of humanity was then and remains now the only strategy that will work in America on the issue of race.
In contrast, today CRT makes racism the central organizing force in society. Racism becomes “those who hold racist views,” as defined by the CR Theorists like Ibrahm Kendhi, Kimberle Crenshaw, Robin DiAngelo, and the Black Lives Matters founders (themselves self-proclaimed, trained revolutionary Marxists). How nice; they control who gets tagged as racist.
So, there are hundreds of leaders in the Church of CRT now with millions of acolytes spread across the nation. (At least the China Virus [COVID] is receding.)
Whites are racist at birth due to genetics and the power they inherit as the majority. Kendi’s book Antiracist Baby makes this clear and advocates brainwashing infants with CRT dogma. As he says, “The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.” (page 47) Whites cannot shed a fundamental racist nature. Of course, if they disagree, it just proves they’re racist.
In fact, as Douglas suggests, it’s these Marxists-postmodernists who are racists. Again, their stated goal is dismantling Western Civilization itself.
Thus, the War.
Much beyond the elimination of capitalism, we only know that the Utopia the Left seeks is, again, whatever Critical Theory Marxists say it is. They admit what we can look forward to beyond “capitalism,” called “true” socialism or communism, has never been tried before. There are no successful versions of such Marxist social systems known, unless one admires China. In Europe, Americans see only higher taxation of shrinking private sectors benefiting growing welfare states (corruption states), but no “socialism” or “communism.”
As Murray describes, China is clearly the major international player openly encouraging the War and using our internal division to its own advantage. Along with CR Theorists, the CCP also works actively toward our destruction, and it’s laughing all the way to the revolution. As the Master Sun Tzu is given credit for saying, “When your enemy is in the process of destroying himself, stay out of his way.”
After each of his first three chapters (Race, History, and Religion), to illuminate his developing argument, Douglas offers mini-chapters called “Interludes” that are similar to case studies. The four Interludes are entitled China, Reparations, and Gratitude, and they give the book a specially potent force. In “China,” he describes the world’s largest villain, why it’s the true Evil Empire, and why we’re in a New Cold War. In “Reparations,” Murray completely demolishes as absurd any idea of American reparations for slavery.
Lastly, in “Gratitude,” he introduces the book’s primary positive theme and explains what we must rediscover to ensure our future together in the West, as well as the hope of a safe and increasingly free, peaceful, and prosperous world.
Thank you for that last part, Douglas!
Quotes Concerning Truth
Before concluding, we offer three quotes from The War that emphasize Murray’s reliance on truth and analytical reason. Early on he describes how any hope of consensus breaks down quickly in society in general and the political public square in particular, when belief in truth is undermined or even lost:
“Certainly, assertions about entire societies and groups of people should come with some evidence attached? Well, not now. At its best, the shift from evidence to ‘me’ allowed at stalemate: You have your views and reality. I have mine. At its worst, it left any exchange of ideas vulnerable to be taken over by bad-faith actors who simply insisted that things are as they say they are. And that is precisely what happened.” (page 18)
Then, midway through the book, he uses an example for relativism that Praxis Circle has also brought to its audience’s attention, “Oprah-ism.”
While understanding why the Enlightenment’s love of reason needs at times to be curbed or tempered, we recognize that human beings cannot function at all, becoming completely inhuman, without using this God-given, highly-developed gift. As we hear and read often, without truth and reason, human beings are left with only raw desire and struggles for power, which always ends in violence.
We witnessed this in America during the Summer of 2020 and during the entire 20th Century:
“. . . what has been worked away in recent years has been a project in which verifiable truth is cast out. In its place comes that great Oprah-ism: ‘my truth.’ The idea that I have ‘my truth’ and you have yours makes the very idea of objective truth redundant. It says that a thing becomes so because I feel it to be so or say that it is so. At its most extreme, it is a version of a form of magical thinking. Precisely the thinking that the Enlightenment thinkers chased out. And perhaps that is why the Enlightenment thinkers have become such a focus of assault. Because the system they set up is antithetical to the system that is being constructed today: a system entirely opposed to the idea of rationalism and objective truth; a system dedicated to sweeping away everyone from the past as well as the present who does not bow down to the great god of the present: ‘me.'” (page 174)
With his Chapters “Religion” and “Gratitude” and in his “Conclusion,” Douglas builds a positive and very strong case for the West, using arguments that were obvious in earlier times but are today almost unheard of in the news media and halls of education. Here’s a very small sample near the end of the book:
“The best of human knowledge and culture must be transferable and understandable across racial and social lines . . . People growing up in the West remain among the luckiest people in human history . . . Societies are not simply lucky . . . Luck is the residue of design . . . Much of the world can see this . . . Too few in the West today apparently can.” (page 272)
In the years we have followed Murray’s work, we’ve never seen him knocked off-center. He enjoys debate and always engages with tact, respect for the other side, and dignified diplomacy. And Douglas has significant standing as a person to make the claims about the good of the West that he makes. He does his homework, and he is not afraid to say the truth, even when risking severe criticism from an extremely biased media or when the truth is politically incorrect.
That fact is: What America and the West are experiencing today is no less than a racist attack against white people by non-whites, but also and oddly by whites who benefit immensely from the people and systems they’re attacking. Our biggest “systemic” problem is not racism, but that there is so very much power, fame, and money to be had in these attacks (apparently, before it’s all handed over to the Race/CRT Marxist elites after the revolution).
In other words, self-hatred really pays today.
In his “Conclusion,” Douglas offers his bottom-line answer to the most severe critics of the West in a most direct way. He tells us in a statement highlighted as a self-quote, “What is good about being white.” He begins, “I don’t especially think of myself as being white and don’t particularly want to be cornered into thinking in such terms. But if you are going to corner me, then let me give you an answer to the best of my ability.” (page 260)
Well, the five-page quoted statement alone that follows is worth far more than the hardback’s $17.83 price tag!
In the end, we can find great comfort that there are such able, Awakened minds, bodies, and souls out there as Mr. Murray, working for the best interests of the West and humankind. Indeed, there are many powerful and focused institutions in every sector of Western society doing the same.
It always seems darkest before the dawn.
(Furthermore, of course, many Woke are very good folks and are also doing much good themselves with the same values fully dictated by the West Murray defends. In fact, it’s tough to find such values at all among humanity outside the West and Classical Judeo-Christianity (CJC) in sufficient quantity to make a significant step toward modern prosperity, while offering effective defense against tyranny and totalitarianism.)
Still, “We the People” are responsible for the United States, and our situation won’t improve unless we take ownership and Do Something. Reading Douglas Murray’s newest book is a good start. It supplies many of the intellectual tools needed to succeed.