Renowned writer Douglas Murray recently participated in the CEVRO Institute online debate on the topic of a cultural war during the time of a pandemic, hosted by Czech politician Alexandr Vondra.
In his books, Murray often addresses the propensity of existing political, cultural, media and intellectual elites to succumb to crowd mentality, whether they talk about migration or the current cultural war in relation to the importance of race or gender.
In a similar spirit, Murray commented on current events in the debate organized by the CEVRO Institute, a Czech private university.
“You cannot lock up the whole population for three months without there being a significant blow out at some point,” says Murray, explaining that the protests and mass demonstrations in the United States and many other Western countries, which erupted in response to George Floyd’s death, are a clear response to the strict quarantine measures.
“People are now testing the limits of violence in response to the quarantine, testing how far they can go,” according to Murray.
Originally, Murray assumed that after the outbreak of the pandemic, people would focus on serious problems, such as threats to public health and the economic consequences of the pandemic, while identity politics would recede into the background. In the UK, for example, breaches of quarantine were punished with severe penalties before riots broke out. According to Murray, the fact that the state and the police resigned to enforcing these restrictions showed that the “underlying ethic of the era that trumps everything is anti-racism.”
Murray further attributes the spread of culture wars to globalization.
“The interpretation of racial policy in America is being used to overlay, very inaccurately and I think unjustly, the specific American issue onto every other culture in the West,” he said in the discussion.
He stressed that it was very hard to oppose the Black Lives Matter movement as the very name of the movement is chosen in order to be non-oppositional.
“People are deeply fearful of saying they are opposed to this group because the first thing that happens is people say you must be opposed to the idea that black lives matter, therefore you must be against black lives, and obviously you are a racist,” Murray pointed out.
“To improve society is a very different thing from saying: this society has always been corrupt, racist, bigoted, misogynistic, transphobic, homophobic, and much more. And therefore, we must pull down your economy, we must wage war on all of your past, and we must show the world that you are irredeemable bigots,” said Murray.
According to him, it is, therefore, necessary to stand up to the BLM, regardless of political orientation as the death of a man in Minnesota does not allow cultural Marxists and revolutionaries to dictate our history to us.
Murray also mentioned recent criticisms of Churchill’s legacy, whether it was the suppression of Tonypandy riots, the famine in Bengal, or even the extent to which he consumed alcohol, pointing out that no one in history could ever meet the standards set today.
Moreover, historical figures have always been assessed as a whole, said Murray.
According to him, the current “retributive conception of history” and the evaluation of the role of historical personalities is significantly influenced by young people, especially by their ignorance of history. Thus, there is a significant division in age groups of people under forty, and over forty, no matter whether they are right-wing or left-wing supporters. Murray recalled the events in The New York Times after publishing the opinion piece of Republican Sen. Tom Cotton, who, in response to looting and violence in US cities during the anti-racial riots, called on sending in the military.
“This is not a left or right thing. This is people above the age of forty, even self-described liberals, who thought that people coming up underneath them had the same presumptions they did. For instance that the free exchange of ideas is deeply desirable in a free society. Not so among some people under forty. They believe that the free exchange of ideas risks discomfort, unsafety, and much more,” explained Murray.
However, Murray considers the pressure on science to be far worse than the current questioning of the history of the West as many of the protesters claim that science is biased because it is racist.
“It is so dangerous. Even more than the attack on our history, on our past. It is not just about what’s true and what’s not. It says that the truth itself is not only undesirable but that it arouses resentment because it favors one racial group,” concluded Murray.
Title image: Douglas Murray (Jan Zatorsky)