This is the third book I read by Douglas Murray and it’s definitely my favorite of the three. Overall, The War on the West does a good job of exposing most of the disturbing trends I see in my generation and in America (and Europe) in general.
About the Book
Title: The War on the West
Author: Douglas Murray
Genre: nonfiction, politics, sociology
My Rating: 5/5 stars
Synopsis (from Goodreads) (truncated):
“China has concentration camps now. Why do Westerners claim our sins are unique?
It is now in vogue to celebrate non-Western cultures and disparage Western ones. Some of this is a much-needed reckoning, but much of it fatally undermines the very things that created the greatest, most humane civilization in the world.
In The War on the West, Douglas Murray shows how many well-meaning people have been fooled by hypocritical and inconsistent anti-West rhetoric. After all, if we must discard the ideas of Kant, Hume, and Mill for their opinions on race, shouldn’t we discard Marx, whose work is peppered with racial slurs and anti-Semitism? Embers of racism remain to be stamped out in America, but what about the raging racist inferno in the Middle East and Asia?
It’s not just dishonest scholars who benefit from this intellectual fraud but hostile nations and human rights abusers hoping to distract from their own ongoing villainy. Dictators who slaughter their own people are happy to jump on the ‘America is a racist country’ bandwagon and mimic the language of antiracism and ‘pro-justice’ movements as PR while making authoritarian conquests.
If the West is to survive, it must be defended. The War on the West is not only an incisive takedown of foolish anti-Western arguments but also a rigorous new apologetic for civilization itself.”
There has been a visible and growing anti-Western sentiment among people in the West. And while Murray, in my opinion, over-glorifies the West slightly too much in his book, he raises a ton of very good points about why the growing trend of anti-Westernism is disturbing. Here are some of the memorable points raised by this book:
– many people and institutions in Western countries are eager to talk about how oppressive and bad their countries are, even while they are some of the most prosperous countries in the world. There are so many Americans, for example, who hate the country and act as if it is some sort of horrible “fascist” and irredeemably racist country which they want to move away from as soon as possible, even while there are thousands of people around the world who would love to move here. America is the most popular destination for immigrants, still. Why? Is it because we are a horrible racist and fascist country? I don’t know.
There is a ton of hatred for America that comes from Americans themselves, who seem to have no historical literacy or understanding of the situation in so many other places around the world. America has got plenty of problems, but all in all we’re a pretty great country.
The other point Murray raises is that while Westerners express plenty of ire at their own countries, they have much less criticism to offer towards other countries which are much worse, such as China which, right now, as we speak, has literal CONCENTRATION CAMPS. I’ve even seen people claim it’s xenophobic to criticize China.
– likewise, while many academics are content to erase historical figures from periods like the Enlightenment for their racist attitudes, don’t have any issue glorifying Marx despite HIS extreme racism, indicating that there is another double standard where only thinkers who formed the basis for the modern Western world are erased while others, while having committed the same sins, are excused presumably for their anti-Western/anti-capitalist viewpoints.
– in many of these Western countries as well, the only *socially acceptable* form of racism is racism against white people, which, incidentally, people at the same time try to claim does not exist. However, if you are using the normal definition of racism, which is prejudice against others based on their race, it very much *does.* Were white people historically discriminated against in the U.S./Europe? Of course not. Are white people the majority group which has had disproportionate power in the history of these places? Yes, of course. But that does not mean that it’s okay to be racist towards white people.
Two weeks ago I drew the ire of a book twitter mob and many of them resorted to disparaging me by calling me “white bitch” and “cracker” (which is a racial slur, yes, by the way, and got Twitter to lock their accounts for hate speech) yet when I pointed out that they were using my race as an insult they claimed that “you can’t be racist against white people”…. while being racist towards me.
There is also a rising trend of being able to generalize white people or make negative remarks about white people which could not be permitted against any other group– and for good reason, because it’s racist. When you bring up stuff like this, though, you’re accused of playing the victim or pretending that white people are systemically oppressed, which is of course not true. But you’re simply pointing out a divisive double standard.
The same thing also applies to Christianity, which people are allowed to freely make fun of, while it is not socially acceptable to make fun of other religions. This is likewise framed as “punching up instead of punching down” because Christians and white people have most institutional power as the respective majority religious and racial groups. Still, though, do we really want to encourage prejudicial remarks towards anyone, regardless of their status as a majority?
– there is a huge problem of historical illiteracy among young people in the West
– the story about people trying to prove that 2 + 2 = 5 because 2 + 2 = 4 is white supremacy was so insane I had to look it up to verify it wasn’t made up. Nope it was real. That’s just straight out of 1984 . “HOW MANY FINGERS AM I HOLDING UP, WINSTON!”
– the whole cultural-appropriation vs. cultural-appreciation thing is kind of sad and counter-productive
Anyway, The War on the West is a disturbing book that you should read if you want different ideas about how the West should acknowledge our historical sins without losing perspective.
Have you read The War on the West by Douglas Murray? If so, what did you think of it? Feel free to leave a comment!
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