Back Cover Blurb1
- In The Madness of Crowds Douglas Murray investigates the great derangement of 'woke' culture and the rise of identity politics. In lively, razor-sharp prose he examines the most controversial issues of our moment: sexuality, gender, technology and race2, with interludes on the Marxist foundations of 'wokeness', the impact of tech and how, in an increasingly online culture, we must relearn the ability to forgive.
- One of the few writers who dares to counter the prevailing view and question the dramatic changes in our society - from gender reassignment for children to the impact of transgender rights on women - Murray's penetrating book, now published with a new afterword, clears a path of sanity through the fog of our modern predicament.
- A Times and Sunday Times Book of the Year
- 'Douglas Murray fights the good fight for freedom of speech ... A truthful look at today's most divisive issues'
→ Jordan B. Peterson
- 'This is an author who specialises in expressing what everyone sort of knows already and is afraid to say. Well argued, well supported and well observed.'
→ Lionel Shriver
- '[Murray's] latest book is beyond brilliant and should be read, must be read, by everyone'
→ Richard Dawkins
- 'How can you not know about The Madness of Crowds? It's actually the book I've just finished. You can't just not read these books3, not know about them.'
→ Tom Stoppard
- This – like "Mac Donald (Heather) - The Diversity Delusion" – is a highly controversial book by a highly controversial author – but a book that (at some level) I’m likely to be sympathetic towards. There are many opinions that appear reasonable enough but which one is no longer allowed to hold let alone express. And that is a bad thing.
- I didn’t receive my copy until September 2020, two months after ordering it, so in the interim I extracted a couple of reviews from Amazon, one positive, and one negative. I think they are representative.
- It’s interesting that (at least some of) the positive reviews are reasoned, while all the negative reviews – that accuse the book of being a rant – are rants.
Amazon Customer Review (Positive – 5*)
- I received this book yesterday and finished it today, simply couldn’t put it down. And what an excellent read it has been. It is an intelligent and coherent analysis of the split and deranged world we inhabit, reminiscent of the times of revolutions, when crowds push against established norms, with great force. The book charts the many, complex battles fought and won, by groups against dogma – all in the name of justice and civil rights - only to end up installing their own dogma. Douglas Murray uses the analogy of a train reaching its destination only to then speed off again, just when we all thought it would stop. He explores four instances where this has happened – Gay, Women, Race4 and Trans. In each case, just as we thought that the world had accepted the ‘new normal’, the race started for an even more extreme paradigm.
- It reminded me of the old adage ‘What does the slave most want?’ When many shout ‘Freedom’, the real answer is ‘To Be the MASTER’.
- In his chapter on Gay, he distinguishes between those that wanted to be accepted into society on an equal footing, and those who wanted to change the culture. That is, to engage in social engineering and even in being considered, not just different, but ‘better’ than their heterosexual counterparts.
- Likewise, in his chapter on women, he demonstrates the contradiction inherent in current feminist thinking. Namely, being considered desirable and sexy, whilst also being seen as the victim of the male patriarchy. If women are powerless and victims of toxic masculinity, are they not also wielding a sexual power over men? Once again, Murray returns to the theme that many feminists see women as ‘better than men’ and quotes Christine Lagarde’s assertion ‘if it had been Lehman Sisters rather than Lehman Brothers, the world might look a lot different today5’.
- This is sending out confusing and contradictory messages, making people deranged as they cannot grasp the new rules of engagement. Yesterday’s accepted norms have been replaced by today’s, as if yesterday’s never existed. The only way this is possible is by denial of what was, in a cult-like chant of ‘what is today is what always was and always shall be’. A madness of crowds in relation to truth and facts where truth is subjective and facts are disregarded.
- Relationships become ever more difficult, as social mores change by the day. This is in keeping with Marxist ideology, which thrives on contradictions or ‘the dialectic’. The old joke of ‘if it weren’t for double standards, the left would have no standards at all’ came to mind. That is, reason has given way to a naïve ideologically-driven maelstrom, which few know how to navigate and even less know what the destination will look like.
- Douglas Murray is considered ‘the wrong sort of gay’ because of his conservative opinion. Germaine Greer is no longer a ‘feminist’ because she does not simply accept that a Trans man is the same as a woman. Kanye West is not black because he likes Trump etc, etc.
- In his gentle-yet-controversial6 style, Douglas Murray points out the divisive narratives that threaten more reasonable dialogue. This puts individuals in impossible situations. Either, dare to say your individual truth and risk being shunned by the group, or join in with whatever groupthink is the flavour of today and betray your own real thoughts.
- So, what’s really going on? The Madness of Crowds gets to the heart of the matter right at the beginning. It is all about replacing traditional religions with a new religion, a new metaphysics. This religion comes with a set of rules that divides the world into the ‘privileged’ and the ‘oppressed’. The aim is to restructure the world into some sort of Utopia where all social injustices are made good. If this all sounds too good to be true, it is because it is. In the perpetual race for victimhood status, the intersectional groups will end up turning on one another. There is also a growing backlash from the majority groups and this has been seen both in the UK and the USA.
- Douglas Murray ends with a plea that we depoliticise our lives. That we ‘retain an interest in politics but not to rely on it as a source of meaning’. I guess that means returning to an age where love, not power, determined our relationships with one another.
Amazon Customer Review (Negative – 1*)
- I was stunned by how poorly this book was argued, and in fact mostly unreadable, because it was a rant. I am just sorry I spent money on it.
- After reading Murrays brilliant Book, The Strange Death of Europe, I really was not prepared for the disappointment I felt reading The Madness of Crowds. It seems egocentric and not well argued, which was such a surprise, because I have heard countless interviews and talks by Murray and I did consider myself a fan.
- The fact that he just dismisses "mansplaining" as an issue at all, shows that even great men can be wrong.
- Most women have been "mansplained" most of their lives from when they were little girls dealing with boys, as teenagers and as grown women, so it must be a topic Murray knows nothing about, or have completely ignored in his self-obsession.
- As a Jungian analyst I have dealt with countless well-educated women, who has told me how they have been forced to work double hard, to be even recognized as capacities. And how often have women not heard from their men, that it might be their hormones speaking, when there was an argument?
- The book is generalizing, what is not really generalized in the degree Murray is postulating.
In-Page Footnotes ("Murray (Douglas) - The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity")
- This was taken from the Amazon Book Description, but is effectively the same.
- There’s an appreciative appraisal by Sam Harris rather than the ambiguous one by Tom Stoppard.
- Presumably Tom Stoppard is out of sympathy for what Murray has to say, but thinks it’s important to “know your enemy”?
- Is this saying that the Crash wouldn’t have happened, but that everything else would have been the same, or better?
- When he appears on TV I’d always thought him rather intemperate.
Bloomsbury Continuum (3 Sept. 2020)
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020
- Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)