A Review of The War on the West. By Douglas Murray.
Another must read volume by Douglas Murray:
That the West is in a war – a cultural, ideological and political war – is well known by anyone with eyes wide open. It has been underway for over a half century now, and it seems to get worse each passing year. The hatred of the West, the demonising of morality, the trashing of history, and the politicisation of everything is now the status quo condition of the West. It cannot end well.
The English writer and political commentator Douglas Murray has already released a number of important volumes on these and related matters, including the 2017 The Strange Death of Europe and the 2019 The Madness of Crowds. Those who are aware of his previous writings, and are up to speed on the present conflict that we are in, will find much familiar territory in his new book. But it is a much needed volume, bringing together the various battle fronts in an informed and cohesive whole, alerting us to the need to stay alert and get involved.
I should say at the outset that as a biblical Christian I am not fully onside with Murray, given that he is an atheist and a homosexual. He had been an Anglican, but he says that a form of ‘cultural Christianity’ may be the best we can run with today. Of interest, his new volume says next to nothing about sexuality and the sex wars.
The six main chapters of this book deal with race, China, history, reparations, religion, gratitude and culture. As to the bigger picture, he writes: “Today the West faces challenges without and threats within. But no greater threat exists than that which comes from people inside the West intent on pulling apart the fabric of our societies, piece by piece.”
Every aspect of the West – past, present, and future – is now under wholesale assault by its myriad of enemies and detractors. Every fault – whether real or imagined – is highlighted and magnified, while similar faults – and worse – of those in the non-Western world are ignored or even celebrated.
An “unfair ledger has been created” by which everything in the West is viewed as sinful, evil and unforgivable, while the non-West gets away with murder – often literally. Such is the irrational and diabolical nature of the attack the West is now undergoing. Standards of perfection are applied to the West while any failures and faults found in the rest of the world are regarded as quite acceptable.
The West is being told to be ashamed of everything about itself, is being immobilised by self-doubt and self-loathing, and is being forced to capitulate to its enemies. This is asymmetrical warfare. The other side is allowed to do anything and everything to tear down and destroy the West, while we are told simply to be thankful for our own condemnation and erasure. As he puts it in his introduction:
In a few short decades, the Western tradition has moved from being celebrated to being embarrassing and anachronistic and, finally, to being something shameful. It turned from a story meant to inspire people and nurture them in their lives into a story meant to shame people. And it wasn’t just the term “Western” that critics objected to. It was everything connected with it. Even “civilization” itself…
The culture that gave the world lifesaving advances in science, medicine, and a free market that has raised billions of people around the world out of poverty and offered the greatest flowering of thought anywhere in the world is interrogated through a lens of the deepest hostility and simplicity. The culture that produced Michelangelo, Leonardo, Bernini, and Bach is portrayed as if it has nothing relevant to say. New generations are taught this ignorant view of history. They are offered a story of the West’s failings without spending anything like a corresponding time on its glories.
Let me pause here to point out one thing. Just where did all – or most – of these wonderful traits and values and institutions come from? In large measure it was the Judeo-Christian worldview that helped to bring these tremendous social goods to the world. So in his own personal rejection of his Christian heritage, is not Murray part of the problem here? I speak more to the Christian contributions to Western civilisation here: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2022/06/06/top-20-books-on-how-christianity-changed-our-world/
But back to the book. The rest of the volume fleshes out in great detail just how this Western demolition job is unfolding. Consider his chapter on history – or rather, revisionist history. It was Orwell who said, “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”
And that is exactly what the haters of the West have been doing for decades now: seeking to rewrite our history in order to get us to be ashamed of our own culture. And they have been hugely successful: how many Westerners today loathe their own countries, their own values, and their own history?
Today most schoolchildren are brought up on a steady diet of the sins of the West – especially America’s sins. Murray offers plenty of examples of this – many of them well-known to those who have been following all this. The infamous “1619 Project” is of course just one key case of the rewriting of history, and the demonising of America.
And hand in hand with the direct assault on all things Western is the elevation of all things anti-Western. Thus Marx gets rave reviews in our schools, media and political arenas. Murray offers us a number of alarming quotes from Marx on how he spoke about Jews and “niggers”.
The very things America especially is said to be guilty of – including systemic racism – was part and parcel of the worldview of Marx. Yes there “is no special effort to eradicate, problematize, decolonize, or otherwise act in an ‘antiracist’ manner against the legacy of Karl Marx.” Instead he is still being lauded and glorified in our schools and universities today.
Whether it is pulling down statues or banning books, the historical revisionists have been hard at work, and the Orwellian nightmare discussed in his dystopian novel is now nearly fully upon us. And since the West has already been pronounced guilty of every criminal charge levelled against it – without judge or jury – the only thing that remains is payback.
Thus Murray has a chapter on reparations. Yep, we are all guilty as charged, and we must atone for our sins, via massive payouts to aggrieved and oppressed victims. The entire notion is of course fraught with difficulty. If my son stole your son’s bike, a case could be made for an apology and reparations. But what if my great-great-great grandfather stole a bike from your great-great-great grandfather? Should I now be forced to apologise for that and pay you for the stolen goods? As Murray says:
Any apology begins to consist of people who may or may not be descended from people who may have done some historic wrong apologizing to people who may or may not be descended from people who have had some wrong done to them. In the realm of reparations, this becomes messier still. For at this stage, the divide in the West is by no means clearly between victims and perpetrators….
The issue of reparations now comes down not to descendants of one group paying money to descendants of another group. Rather, it comes down to people who look like the people to whom a wrong was done in history receiving money from people who look like the people who may have done the wrong. It is hard to imagine anything more likely to rip apart a society than attempting a wealth transfer based on this principle.
But that of course is the aim of the game: to rip apart society. The left, the woke brigade, the critical theory proponents all want nothing less than the destruction of the West, to be replaced by their own version of utopia – a utopia that has never existed on planet earth and never will.
After chronicling a long litany of leftist lunacy, Murray finishes his book with a reality check. For all the enemies of the West, and for all the Westerners who have fallen for their never-ending attacks, we have a few brute facts to counter the left’s narrative with.
Among them is “the most devastating proof of all, which is the simple matter of footfall: a footfall that is entirely one-directional. For there is, even today, no serious movement of peoples in the world struggling to get into modern China. For all its financial prowess, the world does not wish to move to that country. It does want to move to America and will go to extraordinary lengths – even the risk of life – to reach that goal.”
He continues: “America is still the world’s number one destination for migrants worldwide. And the next most desirable countries are Canada, Germany, France, Australia, and the United Kingdom. The West must have done something right for this to be the case.”
Exactly. As he says in his concluding paragraphs:
People growing up in the West today remain among the luckiest people in human history. . . . Much of the world can see this. Too few people in the West today apparently can. But they can learn to see it and be encouraged to see it. And encouraged at the same time to realize that the culture, history, and people they have been taught to disdain and deplore have handed them riches that are enough for a whole lifetime.
And this book should go a long way in helping people to see these very truths.
14 Replies to “A Review of The War on the West. By Douglas Murray.”
Thanks Bill! I saw this book advertised a few days ago, and actually went to your website to see whether you had reviewed it, in order to decide whether to purchase it!! And here it is now!! Will now be ordering it!
Have ordered the Kindle version, in order to read while in Covid isolation atm in a Dubai hotel!
I spent six weeks in the USA on holiday and met with all sorts of Americans. That was in 1980. Even today I can remember how kind hearted, generous and welcoming Americans were.
Nothing was too much trouble and we were invited to all sorts of activities and meals. One American lent me his car so we could go and do some exploring without the cost of renting one.
Whilst we were waiting for the parade at Disneyland to start, an American lady in front of us turned round and said “”Oh I do love that accent” (English). We had an amazing conversation whilst we waited.
Yes, America has got problems as we all know, but the people cannot be faulted when hospitality and friendship is concerned.
I am so glad you used the word homosexual. Using the word gay is perpetuating a lie as they are definitely not gay.
Thanks for that Roger.
Murray’s observation is relevant …
“it comes down to people who look like the people to whom a wrong was done in history receiving money from people who look like the people who may have done the wrong. It is hard to imagine anything more likely to rip apart a society than attempting a wealth transfer based on this principle.”
… to the tv news item today that plans are underway for “treaty” meetings. I.e. between descendants of indigenous people versus those who are not.
The growing Australian fashion for “Welcome to Country” and smoking (burning of eucalyptus leaves) ceremonies is transfer of wealth by subterfuge right before our eyes. A question for Australian atheists: Are you really happy to give the “driving out of evil spirits” by smoking ceremonies such prominence?
Quite right David.
I read ‘The Madness of Crowds’, but I can’t agree that a form of ‘cultural Christianity’ may be the best we can run with today, but as an atheist and homosexual, the author would find it difficult to uphold biblical morality.
Yes I am with you Russell.
The Way We Were
Just before they hung Ned Kelly in Melbourne jail on 11th November 1880, he is said to have commented: ‘So it’s come to this then, such is life.’ Ned would probably make much the same comment about the current state of things in Australia, should he return to settle a few scores.
If you were born in the forties, like me, you would have two world wars and several others etched into your brain. As a kid you would have marched on ANZAC day after days of proud practice. Australia lost about 100,000 dead in two world wars plus many more thousands dead and wounded in various other wars before and since. There was little disagreement that the country and its values, imbedded in western Christian culture, were worth fighting for and dying for. Now, perhaps not so much. Things are different now.
In 1971 Judge Levine said in a District Court decision that an abortion would be lawful if the pregnancy presented a danger to the pregnant woman’s life or to her physical or mental health. The latest enactment from the NSW Parliament allows open slather on abortion. The Members hailed this law as a victory giving rise to cheering and clapping and deep sighs of gratitude; this epic struggle had finally been won – the enemy had been defeated. Even Catholic members consigned their souls to this cause. The celebrations are reminiscent of the Book of Revelation Ch 11:10. The constraints on the Levine’s decision made the impact mild in its implications compared to the wholesale slaughter of infants we have today. Abortionists kill children in the womb in this country in yearly numbers which exceed the Australian death count in the two world wars. There was a time when there would have been very few people in Australia who had been involved, either directly or indirectly in taking the life of somebody. Now there must be millions who have either had a termination or have been complicit in the termination somebody else had. A nation with a guilty conscience is in desperate need of reconciliation. Reconciliation is a recognised procedure for correcting past wrongs. The Aboriginal people use it in the supposed belief that the rest of Australia wants to be reconciled with them; I’m not sure that’s true. But there is yet to be any serious mention of reconciliation with the victims of abortion. In times past Aboriginal people suffered injustices on a large scale, but their circumstances pale into insignificance when compared to the horrors and magnitude of abortion.
Most of us will be affected by the laws made by Parliament – including those who made them – but only while we are here. When we die, the law no longer applies. After we die there is one final court appearance. We will be brought before God and asked to give an account of our stewardship. We will be judged according to the laws and rules laid down for us by a loving God who gave his life so that we might know the truth. To turn against Jesus Christ is to open ourselves to the very real possibility of hearing him say: ‘I do not know you.’
Some years ago, a Catholic politician said he voted for abortion because he could see it was the will of the people. A Catholic doctor said he would not perform an abortion, but he would refer the patient to a doctor who would. Another said he would happily assist at a suicide and many Catholic priests assisted in the promotion of Gay Marriage in the interests of justice. Do they really expect God to buy this?
Remembered that just because something is legal in the eyes of the law, does not make it morally right in the eyes of God. No amount of legislation would make sodomy acceptable to God and of course the same applies to abortion and any other moral issue.
Why have the Catholic bishops never come out and waged war against abortion. They pumped millions into promoting Native Title. They are forever pontificating about climate change and social justice. One bishop in the US thought climate change killed more people than abortion. Bishops are in a very precarious position while they continue to ignore the duties of their calling. Far more than the rest of us, they are in genuine mortal danger of losing their souls.
Another event that changed the face of Australia was the Mabo decision of the High Court in 1992. That inexplicable decision declared that the arrival of the British flag did not extinguish Native Title. That notion was then spuriously translated to the mainland, a totally distinct set of circumstances, and applied willy-nilly. They said it was a question of justice. The result was that now we have all shades of people coming out of the woodwork and taking advantage of the current legislation to successfully lay claim to land. These people are not natives! They became eligible claimants due to the good grace of the Parliament; and the claims don’t stop at land. Like the abortion issue, the Judiciary and the Parliament orchestrated this situation. In their wisdom, both institutions defied God and logic. Christianity is about service. The Catholic church has conveniently forgot that. Being a taker is not conducive to growth in spiritual freedom.
Why did the Catholic bishops decide to pursue and promote Native Title rather than preach the gospel to the Aboriginal people? Do they think that prefacing every Mass or document with a ‘welcome to country’ will satisfy their conscience? In most churches, the Aboriginal people are nowhere to be seen – as an aside, many Catholics seem to be following their lead. The Lord’s prayer requires that those who seek forgiveness must first themselves forgive those who have offended them. Aboriginal people will find more liberation in forgiveness than they will in a successful Native Title claim. The decision in Mabo was a fraud on the Commonwealth and contributed nothing to the spiritual welfare of aboriginal people. They were further entrenched in a lie and further distanced from the truth that would set them free. Martin Luther King Jr longed for the day when black people would not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. Title to land never has and never will build character. The Catholic bishops of Australia have denied the aboriginal people the truth of forgiveness and the dignity of service, the bishops should ask the aboriginal people to forgive them.
For the Parliament to legislate that a mixed-race person is entitled to the benefits of the Native Title rulings (contrary to traditional tribal law), gives it legal standing but not moral standing. Thus, another legal fiction is introduced into our congested legal system. Lord Denning said the British legal system was based on the truths of the Bible. Any departure from that left the system open to abuse and corruption and without foundation. The Native Title legislation is essentially a legal fiction. Native Title goes back to the ‘planting of the British flag’ when all aboriginal people were full blood.
Then there is the Gay Marriage issue. The Parliament made that decision based on the result of a vote which was not unanimous; many did not vote at all. Since when does a popular vote determine the moral law. There is no doubt that this decision was a game changer in Australian society. The sanctity of marriage was put on the same footing as Biblical sodomy. There goes our Judaeo/Christian heritage. The failure of the Christian churches to defend and preach Biblical morality resulted in them partnering with the Parliament to bring all this about. The Catholic church did not strenuously oppose Gay Marriage because of its vested interest. The Catholic church does not preach Biblical Morality. There are many priests and bishops who are of a homosexual orientation – some practicing – some skirting the sideline. One does not mess in one’s own nest, as my father used to say.
The clerical abuse of minors was initially mismanaged by the bishops, but when it became obvious that the cover-up could no longer be sustained, they insisted that it was paedophilia. Sexual abuse of post pubescent boys is not paedophilia, its homosexual abuse often leading to homosexual rape. The distinction is significant.
Anyone who preaches Biblical Morality is in danger of incurring the wrath of the woke police. Israel Folau did. He had his rugby career cancelled because he preached the gospel truth in this regard. Then there was a rugby league player who suffered the same fate. He received a four-week suspension for a homosexual slur during a game. The Catholic bishops missed the opportunity to come out publicly against this sort of stupidity, but they lacked the courage. The Catholic bishops and priests have long failed in their defence of truth; they no longer make any significant contribution to the Catholic church or the moral fibre of this country. So, it’s come to this then, as Ned Kelly would say, such is life.
The sexual revolution in all its forms has wreaked havoc on the traditional Australian family, one of the fruits being an army of wounded children. My parents were not perfect, they had their differences, and they went through some pretty tough times, but I don’t recall the idea of divorce ever getting a mention. And thank God for that. Children suffer spiritually from the divorce of their parents. It’s almost as if the soul of the child comes partly from its mother and partly from its father. A divorce officially rips the soul apart. The children of parents who are faithful to their marriage vows can generally navigate life with the confidence of a millionaire. Except in extreme circumstances, divorce has very little to recommend it.
All this has taken place in my lifetime. The way we were is no longer the way we were. Our immigration policy has sought to fill our nation with people of every race, religion and culture, some of whom are anti our way of life and our Christian heritage. Where all that will end, nobody knows. We have the Chinese at our doorstep and some well-meaning politician cleverly leased the Port of Darwin to them for 99 years. And so, it goes on. Yes Ned, it has come to this then. Things are no longer the way they were.
We have watched as they took God out of our Legal System, out of our medical system, out of our Parliament and, what’s more to the point, out of our Catholic education system and our Catholic church. Why would we be surprised that God has left us to our own devices. He has perceived that we don’t want him. This needs to be set right. We need to seriously turn back to God with all your heart and all your soul and all your strength and all your mind.
Thanks Brendan. Given that I normally prefer not to have sectarian attacks on my site, I should point out to readers that your offering here was written from the perspective of a Catholic critiquing his own church, and not as a Protestant tearing into Catholicism.
Exactly right Bill. Thank you.