In his devastating new book The Madness of Crowds, Douglas Murray examines the twenty-first century’s most divisive issues: sexuality, gender, technology and race. He reveals the astonishing new culture wars playing out in our workplaces, universities, schools and homes in the names of social justice, identity politics and intersectionality.
We are living through a postmodern era in which the grand narratives of religion and political ideology have collapsed. In their place have emerged a crusading desire to right perceived wrongs and a weaponization of identity, both accelerated by the new forms of social and news media. Narrow sets of interests now dominate the agenda as society becomes more and more tribal–and, as Murray shows, the casualties are mounting.
Readers of all political persuasions cannot afford to ignore Murray’s masterfully argued and fiercely provocative book, in which he seeks to inject some sense into the discussion around this generation’s most complicated issues. He ends with an impassioned call for free speech, shared common values and sanity in an age of mass hysteria.
My Rating: 5/5
For anyone who knows me, my positive thoughts on this book might come as a surprise. This, among other things, is why I think this book is so important.
Douglas Murray tackles four, what he calls, “trip-wire” issues. Gay, Women, Race, and Trans. These are all areas of cultural and political division, but discussion of these topics so often comes under attack. If you wish to even think about a particular question that is yet to be answered, you are labeled a whatever-‘phobe’ or something-‘ist’. Murray has the opportunity to explore what has been happening to these discussions without fear of being fired because he is self-employed, but as he rightly states (in a talk with Andrew Doyle), many do not have this privilege. That is a key point this book makes.
I won’t get into the content of the book as if you are interested, you will go and buy it yourself. Instead, I would like to talk about why I think this book is an excellent place to begin on a journey of thinking for yourself in a world that seems more and more intent on telling you how to think and believe (with no proven facts to back those thoughts up).
This book explores many of the events that have lead free thinkers like Murray, Jordan Peterson, Bet Weinstein, Sam Harris, Dave Rubin (and so many more, but there just isn’t space to mention everyone!) to believe that we are being told what to think, without being told why. Universities are shutting down conversations, speakers are being de-platformed, and people from everyday walks of life are being fired from their jobs – even threatened – for saying what they believe.
This brutal regime of cancelling speakers and throwing insults at individuals is shutting down important conversations. Some examples given in this book are (I am paraphrasing here): Is being homosexual something one is born with? Are trans women (or men) women (or men), or is a change in sex not possible? What are the complexities of the pay gap? Is there a link between race and IQ?
The important thing to remember – something explored and stated over and over again in this book – is that no matter your person feelings in relation to the questions, is that they have not been answered. This is important because we now have laws that are based on opinions, and social justice is clambering onto those opinions to shut down debate. We cannot continue to move forwards in this society when “progress” is rooted in opinion. We must move past our personal dislike for the topics (as some do make us feel a little uncomfortable) in order to truly progress.
I hope you read this book. I really do, because maybe then we can start to heal the divide and come up with sensible solutions based on facts.