Once upon a time there was a culture. For a long time its focus was on its God first and on man second. Its representatives and advocates wanted to understand life. They explored the world with curiosity and humility. Where they remained ignorant, they continued to search. Where they erred, they corrected the course. Their ambition was to grasp reality. They understood contradictions in thought and speech as signs of a mistake. To live peacefully in harmony with others was a desirable ideal for them. Where there was no way to resolve a conflict, they recommended avoiding each other. It was the culture of enlightenment, science and technology. A culture of human rights and the rule of law. A culture that seemed increasingly successful in banishing hunger and cold and pain and suffering and strife and quarrel and war from the face of the earth. It was the culture of Europe that became the culture of the West. It was a culture whose knowledge large parts of the world took over and from whose aberrations they learned. It was a culture not only of knowledge and skill, but also of art and beauty. It was by no means the worst of all the cultures the planet had ever seen. For this culture of the West also brought its societies unseen prosperity and thus the possibility of being able to dance through life, as it were, instead of having to crawl and climb, plow or buckle. But when a dancer gets high, too high on his impressively daring jumps, he soon begins to perform figures whose basis and boundary is no longer gravity. His ideas of what he wants and what actually works suddenly diverge. His sense organs no longer function as mediators between his world and his thinking. When he no longer knows where he is in reality, but only where he imagines himself to be, it is clear what follows: the fall.
In his latest book, Douglas Murray reports on just such a loss of reality. However, it’s not just a single dancer who stumbles here and threatens to fall. Murray's depiction of the ‘The Madness of Crowds’ is much more a conclusive and factual description of the danger in which the culture of the West as a whole currently finds itself. Its foundations are currently being attacked in such a multifarious and multi-layered, elementary and forceful way as never before. This time it is not a dictator devoured by madness or a clique ready for violence that craves destruction. Rather, the threat to culture now arises from a general attack on the thinking of the masses. In Murray's analysis, the collection of cases of intellectual confusion winding their way around the globe at Internet speed comprises four thematic pillars: Homosexuality, Women, Race and Trans*.
The essential value of this obviously very, very courageous book, however, lies less in the mere listing of contradictions and incompatibilities within each of these pillars. The greatest gain in knowledge is that Murray points out the essential similarities that characterize each of these ideological mass movements: Homosexuals only want to be put on an equal footing with heterosexuals as long as it benefits them; preferential treatment is happily accepted. Women like what makes them appear ‘sexy,’ unless they see an advantage in the accusation of having been sexualized. Americans whose grandparents arrived in the US from Africa do not want to be equated with Africans who have just immigrated themselves. Transsexuals want to claim rights for themselves that feminists have won for women, but women vehemently protest against the idea that a person's actual ‘software’ can be realigned through surgical interventions on their ‘hardware’. In short: the intellectual disaster of mixing and blending equal rights and equality has reached politics, the masses and the media with full force.
A social discourse on such challenges to thinking would in itself be anything but a drama. It would simply be a challenge for all those involved to face the questions at hand and – in the good cultural tradition of the rational West – to work hard to eliminate contradictions. However, this solution is now opposed by a powerful adversary: contemporary cultural Marxism, which Murray with good reason outlines early on in his description. A critical mass of players has succeeded in gaining currency in the university institutions of the West and in causing an “ideological break in the academic world”. With incomprehensible teachings and texts, they have managed to plunge a large number of students into principle-free intellectual confusion, in whose hopelessly knotted center resides the idea that what matters is to detect hidden power relations and to deconstruct them under all circumstances. The target of this disempowerment is the older white man, whom we must confront on land, water and in the air.
Since, however, the mere deconstruction of an opponent, seen for itself, leads to a certain vacuum if one does not know what to strive for instead, another trick is needed: the opponent must be demonized flat-out in order to maintain the energy to fight him. In this way, the distortion of historical truths, the concealment of uncomfortable intelligent facts, the manipulation of Internet search engines, the nasty insinuation of things never said, and every form of misinterpretation of sources have become legitimate weapons of war. The complete over-emotionalizing of unsuspecting players on various fronts conceals one's own mental disorientation. And because it's about power, that cloaks itself in science only for the purpose of camouflage, coherence remains quite insignificant: Hillary Clinton was against gay marriage in 1990 and yet candidate for the LGBT community in 2016. So what?
In the era of post-intellectualism, counter-factuality is a vehicle of neo-Marxist deconstruction. The idea that contradictions must be eliminated is outdated, because the anger that can be generated from them is the fuel for the culture-destroying project. The reverse racism, which wants to make the innocently ignorant its ‘human battering ram’ in the power struggle, can’t – I fear – be countered with generosity or Hannah Arendt-like forgiveness alone. In the global omnipresence of the Internet, it is difficult to avoid one another. After all, it is becoming ever clearer today what the environmentalism that has been driven to excess really is: a neo-Marxist method of confronting, in the cloak of the greatest human love, the established prosperity culture of the West. Will the global-media-complex neo-clergy of activists, journalists, political performers and state actors riding on the ticket of eco-alarmism really succeed again in plunging people with common sense, the meek and those who simply want to be left alone, into an epic chaos? Silence and carefully weighing up one’s words is not the answer. Because the deconstructors understand what they want in any case. It's about power. Not logic. Not about morality. Emotions are their vehicle. The culture of the West must be defended against them. Douglas Murray has made an important contribution to this. Let's not leave him on his own.
Translated from eigentümlich frei, where the original article was published on December 14th 2019.