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The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity

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The challenging and brilliantly-argued new book from the bestselling author of The Strange Death of Europe. 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 challenging and brilliantly-argued new book from the bestselling author of The Strange Death of Europe. 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.


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The challenging and brilliantly-argued new book from the bestselling author of The Strange Death of Europe. 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 challenging and brilliantly-argued new book from the bestselling author of The Strange Death of Europe. 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.

30 review for The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mj Brodie

    I've read Douglas Murray's work before and while I disagree with about 75% of his views on political and social issues, I decided to read his new book to get a different perspective, which I believe to be a valuable exercise we should all engage in from time to time. From the point of view of the left, we are living in hateful times where people of color and women face more threats to their existence than ever before. The outlook is bleak, especially in the aftermath of the election in 2016 and I've read Douglas Murray's work before and while I disagree with about 75% of his views on political and social issues, I decided to read his new book to get a different perspective, which I believe to be a valuable exercise we should all engage in from time to time. From the point of view of the left, we are living in hateful times where people of color and women face more threats to their existence than ever before. The outlook is bleak, especially in the aftermath of the election in 2016 and white people have a lot of work to do to fix the wrongs of the past and work towards a better society. Douglas Murray's point of view is quite different. He puts forward the opinion that the world has, in fact, never been fairer. People of color and women and the LGBTQ+ community have never been better represented across all social, political and economic spheres. There may still be some fringe issues that warrant concern but it's impossible to make any progress on these issues because even discussing them can inspire hysterical and wild accusations from 'social justice warriors'. Some of what Murray writes about is hard to deny. There is a lot of logical incoherence within left-wing rhetoric on equality and inclusion. The idea that there is some kind of hierarchy of victimhood that must be observed above all else is pernicious. I also generally support the right to free speech and believe robust debate and challenges to orthodox opinion are the only way to preserve democracy for all of us. I appreciate Murray's willingness to wade into territory that is seen as dangerously controversial by many. However - however - ...this book does not give an entirely fair appraisal of the situation. Firstly, it ignores the results of the 2016 election and the emboldening effect it had on white power groups and the simultaneous increase in hate crimes. It also ignores the assault on women's reproductive rights that is happening the USA (maybe Murray takes women's reproductive rights for granted because he lives in the UK). There are many sides of the debate that are left out in order to list one incident after another of left-wing hysteria and 'cancel culture'. It's amusing to read about these instances, especially given Murray's caustic wit, but it does not give a fair appraisal of our current reality. The right has its fair share of hysterics, especially here in the US, with one 'news' channel in particular outdoing itself in the hysteria stakes (rhymes with Box Booze). The quality of public debate has generally decreased in recent years, from any point of view. Partisan hatred is increasing and Murray's book does little to tackle that.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Filipp Miroshnichenko

    A book that attempts and manages to make sense of something that barely makes any sense at all deserves praise in and of itself. Yet, when the subject in question is as controversial and divisive as today's ineluctable pervasiveness of identity politics, addressing such a combustible phenomenon accords particular accolades to those who have the guts to dissect it. As is the case with his previous works, once again Murray displays the same courage, honesty and depth which have made him one of the A book that attempts and manages to make sense of something that barely makes any sense at all deserves praise in and of itself. Yet, when the subject in question is as controversial and divisive as today's ineluctable pervasiveness of identity politics, addressing such a combustible phenomenon accords particular accolades to those who have the guts to dissect it. As is the case with his previous works, once again Murray displays the same courage, honesty and depth which have made him one of the most lucid and astute political and social commentators of our time. A highly recommended read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Declan Murray

    Murray has succeeded in identifying some of the key components of the current midlife crisis that sections of the left are undergoing relating to sexuality, gender, race and what he calls "Trans" . He perfectly elucidates he creeping feeling that there is something very strange about hypersensitivity on these issues beginning at just the moment when they were beginning to fade in importance. He also identifies some of the sources for the strange realities that coexist in western culture at the m Murray has succeeded in identifying some of the key components of the current midlife crisis that sections of the left are undergoing relating to sexuality, gender, race and what he calls "Trans" . He perfectly elucidates he creeping feeling that there is something very strange about hypersensitivity on these issues beginning at just the moment when they were beginning to fade in importance. He also identifies some of the sources for the strange realities that coexist in western culture at the moment : a time when we have never been more sexually liberated and yet are reconstructing a new Puritanism with the same goals as the one we rebelled against 50 years ago. We have never been less racist and yet left wing people are hyperfocused on reessentialising racial characteristics. Occasionally following these strands can lead Murray into some of the same thickets as Jonathan Haidts Coddling of the American Mind, taking us on a tour of all the overfamiliar PC wigouts we know and love: Evergreen, the christakeses, Rachel Dolezal etc. This can be boring for those of us who've been following these matters, and can easily be used as evidence that the "Quillette reading right wingers" are obsessed with recounting the same "PC Gone Mad" stories as ever. However Murray does provide some context as to why these stories are of genuine cultural significance, and shows that these infections are taking place at the very loci of our culture's "sense making apparatus". Dismissing them is like saying a man with encephalitis is fine because the infection is confined to his brain. As a result Murray is at his best when he simply reports to us the things that some of these people actually believe. No "War on Christmas" stories need to be cooked up to make the left look bad anymore. He only needs to quote what they say and report what they do. The trans chapter is worth the price of admission alone, both as a companion peice to Alice Dregers Galileos Middle Finger, and as a wonderfully clear minded, truly liberal and compassionate investigation into the issue for people actually attempting to understand it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Gareth

    I enjoyed hearing what I consider to be Murray's compassionate skepticism of social justice ideology. In hindsight, I think it was a bit therapeutic to me to hear so much of a rational, liberal voice challenging what I often feel is an aggressive, ubiquitous orthodoxy. I appreciate what I see as Murray's mapping out of not only various areas of these hard-left, identity-based views but also partially where they came from, how they have changed and continue to change in people's minds, and what t I enjoyed hearing what I consider to be Murray's compassionate skepticism of social justice ideology. In hindsight, I think it was a bit therapeutic to me to hear so much of a rational, liberal voice challenging what I often feel is an aggressive, ubiquitous orthodoxy. I appreciate what I see as Murray's mapping out of not only various areas of these hard-left, identity-based views but also partially where they came from, how they have changed and continue to change in people's minds, and what they might lead to. However, I wish that there was more explanation. I remember a lot of recounting of individual, illustrative cases, but I think I would have appreciated both a more zoomed-out view of these phenomena. Additionally, I do not feel satisfied by what I remember thinking was a fairly shallow level of criticism that was often just questioning the implementation details, and I am left wanting a more in-depth analysis of the psychology and logical flaws behind this ideology. In the end, as someone who has thought about and kept an interest in these issues, I feel that I did not gain much out of this book except for a few new tidbits, the pleasure of hearing someone with whom I share unpopular views, and what is only an unsatisfying glimpse of the postmodern metaphysics and post-Marxism underlying intersectionality.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Fi Read with Fi

    Required reading for... everyone!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Elliott Reid

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. It is beyond me how someone who has attended Eton College and Oxford University can create such an unimportant rant about a minority population campaigning for social change. But the biggest issue is how unfounded this his claims are. He will argue that blacks, members of the LGBTQ community, women etc have more rights than they ever have, and therefore should stop campaigning for equality, because the actual disadvantaged are now white men who cannot navigate the subtleties of this n It is beyond me how someone who has attended Eton College and Oxford University can create such an unimportant rant about a minority population campaigning for social change. But the biggest issue is how unfounded this his claims are. He will argue that blacks, members of the LGBTQ community, women etc have more rights than they ever have, and therefore should stop campaigning for equality, because the actual disadvantaged are now white men who cannot navigate the subtleties of this new society. Fine. Argue this. But back it up with strong statistical evidence. Not GQ magazine, that one Piers Morgan interview you watched or your own experience of Google images. If anything makes me lose faith in society it's that someone could attend such prestigious educational establishments and think it's a good idea to sit down for a year and write something as luke warm as this. Crowd or herd psychology and sociology is such an interesting topic with vast statistical data... But this book... It is like a whimper of an argument. It's rubbish To take such an important topic and not bring no fire... Such a disappointment

  7. 5 out of 5

    Richio

    This is the second book of Murray's I've read, following The Strange Death of Europe. Like that book, many people will condemn or praise this one based on their politics, quite often without reading it. Murray is known as a conservative provocateur, particuarly for his live speaking, partly because he is so articulate and capable of delivering withering put downs in a cut glass accent. I think this overshadows the fact that's he's a very clear thinker and raises reasonable arguments. This is the second book of Murray's I've read, following The Strange Death of Europe. Like that book, many people will condemn or praise this one based on their politics, quite often without reading it. Murray is known as a conservative provocateur, particuarly for his live speaking, partly because he is so articulate and capable of delivering withering put downs in a cut glass accent. I think this overshadows the fact that's he's a very clear thinker and raises reasonable arguments. He may be a conservative, but he's gay, an atheist and rarely comments on party politics, so he should not be dismissed as simply a partisan blow hard. This book is also full of human anecdotes which are presented compassionately, and Murray's sympathies clearly lie with the individuals who he feels are being poorly served by the level of debate. He also raises some questions which his detractors need to answer before they can dismiss him. And of course, Murray brilliantly skewers the most batshit insane elements of the 'woke' world, which have large chunks of the media dancing to their tune. Fish in a barrel they may be, but they deserve to set on with a hefty shotgun, and this book doesnt disappoint. Clearly this book will appeal to the homophobes and racists of the world, people to ignorant to grasp the points Murray is making. But that's not thecauthor's fault. Either way it should definitely be read by left leaning Liberals like myself.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Letitia Todd Kim

    Not as insightful or useful as it could have been. Rather than being an evidentiary or theoretically based critique of identitarianism, this book is largely a collection of anecdotes (most of which are already well known to anyone paying attention) interspersed with Murray’s measured opinions (again, most of which have already been expressed by others). While the identitarian movement is probably too new to have generated an expansive library of data, surely there are enough statistics to enable Not as insightful or useful as it could have been. Rather than being an evidentiary or theoretically based critique of identitarianism, this book is largely a collection of anecdotes (most of which are already well known to anyone paying attention) interspersed with Murray’s measured opinions (again, most of which have already been expressed by others). While the identitarian movement is probably too new to have generated an expansive library of data, surely there are enough statistics to enable a more forceful critique. Moreover, although Murray discusses the Marxist underpinnings of the movement, he provides no other theoretical criticism or analysis of its effects. Thus, this book does not add to the collective knowledge in any meaningful way.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Blosser

    The Madness of Crowds is perhaps a little too reliant on lengthy anecdotes from current events, scene-by-scene (or blow-by-blow) transcriptions of televised traumas and social media skirmishes, such that those familiar with some of the incidents related my be tempted to skip over some pages. Nevertheless, I believe this stands is one of the best analyses of the functional incoherence of the phenomenon of intersectionality, with its competing oppressions [and/or] victimhood of race, sex and gender whic The Madness of Crowds is perhaps a little too reliant on lengthy anecdotes from current events, scene-by-scene (or blow-by-blow) transcriptions of televised traumas and social media skirmishes, such that those familiar with some of the incidents related my be tempted to skip over some pages. Nevertheless, I believe this stands is one of the best analyses of the functional incoherence of the phenomenon of intersectionality, with its competing oppressions [and/or] victimhood of race, sex and gender which to Murray "grinds hideously and noisily both against each other and within ourselves." Murray mines the world of television talk shows, Facebook frenzies, Twitter-storms, and other locuses of current events to depict our times -- where a misconstrued word or phrase or action can become tinder for blame and resentment; where what might be an ordinary differing of opinions all-to-quickly escalates into the deaf shouts of a vengeance-thirsty mob; where daily life and social interaction is rife with "impossibility problems" (i.e., in the observation of Mark Lilla, one simultaneously demands "you must understand me" AND "you cannot understand me"); where life has been reduced to a "endless zero-sum game between different groups vying for oppressed status, [robbing] us of time and energy for the conversations and thinking that we do need to do." According to Murray, Alexis de Tocqueville observed that one of the strengths of our young nation in the 1830's was the capacity of the American citizenry to resolve their differences in face-to-face encounters, remedying disputes before the intervention of formal authority was needed. These days, it seems we are rushing headlong in the other direction -- thanks in large part to social media's ability to erase barriers between the private and public, past and present, and to make proverbial mountains out of molehills. Murray's book is long in the diagnosis -- and worth reading for his keen ability to identify what is amiss. At the same time it disappointingly comes up short on a prescription for a cure -- perhaps impeded in part because, in Murray's mind, there may not necessarily be a cure (given the inherent limitations of human nature); nor would it appear those who are complaining the loudest particularly intent on finding one. One of the strongest chapters (if only a brief interlude) is on the necessity of forgiveness in societal relations and civic health -- culling from Hannah Arendt ("without being forgiven, released from the consequences of what we have done, our capacity to act would, as it were, be confined to one single deed from which we could never recover"). Murray points out how society's capacity to forgive has diminished, hampered by the all-encompassing memory of social media, where one's sins are no longer confined to the community (where they might fade over time, or be negated by further acts of reconciliation) but instead rendered transparent and timeless on a global scale, for all eternity. The following concluding advice from Murray also hits the mark:"Of all the ways in which people can find meaning in their lives, politics -- let alone politics on such a scale -- is one of the unhappiest. Politics may be an important aspect of our lives, but as a source of personal meaning it is disastrous. Not just because the ambitions it strives after nearly always go unachieved, but because finding purpose in politics laces politics with a passion -- including a rage -- that perverts the whole enterprise. If two people are in disagreement about something important, they may disagree as amicably as they like if it is just a matter of getting to the truth or the most amenable option. But if one party finds their whole purpose in life to reside in some aspect of that disagreement, then the chances of amicability fade fast and the likelihood of reaching any truth recedes."

  10. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Not a lot of common sense to be found in what is supposedly a celebration of common sense. Even less empathy. A childish book written by someone unable to understand the perspectives of people with different life experiences.

  11. 5 out of 5

    John Wiltshire

    I doubt many people reading this book would give it fewer than 5 stars. If you are interested in identity politics and its effects on society, then I would assume you'd find this the perfect dissection of that phenomenon. If you are the kind of person who reads, as I did this morning, that Portland has banned urinals in public toilets (presumably so as not to offend men-identifying women who have their self-identification rather challenged by not being able to pee standing up) and rant and rave I doubt many people reading this book would give it fewer than 5 stars. If you are interested in identity politics and its effects on society, then I would assume you'd find this the perfect dissection of that phenomenon. If you are the kind of person who reads, as I did this morning, that Portland has banned urinals in public toilets (presumably so as not to offend men-identifying women who have their self-identification rather challenged by not being able to pee standing up) and rant and rave for a few minutes to relieve the angst, then read this book. Every single case of the crazy in this clown world is nicely covered by Murray. He limits the clown world discussion to chapters on gay, women, race and trans, but every instance of the madness is wittily brought forth. This is the kind of book which you constantly raise your head from and say to your partner with a chuckle, "listen to this", as you regale him with yet another bit of the weirdness. The chapter I found most thought provoking was the one on forgiveness. Murray asks the very simple question, how can we ever do or say anything in this modern world if what we say will be held against us forever and no forgiveness is possible? Although he doesn't use the analogy, he could have quoted the history of saints to support his point, many who lived lives of dubious merit until their conversion to Christianity and, hence, salvation. But today, a forensic analysis of everyone's social media is done by people of ill will as soon as someone sticks their head above the parapet and tries to act or speak. If any perceived crime of wrong speak is discovered that person is 'cancelled' and no forgiveness is allowed. Of course, this inquisition only goes one way. The likes of Justin Trudeau can jig around with cucumbers stuffed down his trousers, blacked up like someone who's had an accident in a shoe polish factory, singing the banana boat song... and nothing happens to him. The chapter I was most looking forward to was the one devoted to the trans issue. Murray himself is gay, of course, so he, like a lot of gay men, has real issue with the new norm of saying that any young man who expresses a same-sex preference must be a woman in the wrong body. This new ideology kinda undoes the whole gay argument, all the rights we've been fighting for (and have mostly won). As there are more male to female trans, women get hit hardest by this new religion. As most of my readers know, I'm not much of a feminist, and I ought to find it funny that men now make better women than women ever did (Caitlyn Jenner Women of the Year). But I don't. I have a mother. I have sisters. That any man has the audacity to claim he is a woman the moment he thinks he might be, thus dismissing the genuine experience and biological awfulness of being a real woman, is nothing short of obscene. I watch with morbid fascination as men in floral frocks and bad wigs claim they are as much of a woman as my mother--who struggled through miscarriages and "unmentionable women's problems" and it makes me sick. It clearly annoys Murray too. And his very reasoned argument is that we are claiming the science is settled on things we actually know nothing at all about and yet are now denying things as a society we know very well are true and have always known are true: such as there are only two genders--always have been, always will be. And this denial of reality to impose a new, untried, reality is extremely dangerous and should, at least, be thoroughly discussed in the bright, white light of rational debate. But it's not. Any attempt to discuss such issues is howled down by the same mob whose lack of approbation for Trudeau is deafening by its absence. Why is all this happening? That's Murray's final chapter and it's fascinating. I think he's put his finger right on the real truth behind all the loony surface chatter. And once you know, maybe you'll be less willing to keep silent on some of these issues. I highly recommend this book. It's exceptionally well written (as all Murray's books are) yet it's extremely readable and accessible.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Emil O. W. Kirkegaard

    Pretty boring book. Basically just a series of comments on popular cases of insane SJW behavior.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Michael Shore

    I admire Murray's courage and willingness to take on such a host of hot-button issues in this brilliant volume. A refreshingly candid analysis and devastating take-down of the absolute insanity on the left. By far the best book I've read this year.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jvm

    Another Fantastic Book by Douglas Murray Douglas Murray does it again. If you’ve been wondering what’s behind all of the recent hysteria about trans rights, ‘dead naming’ and ‘intersectionality’; or like James O Brian, you don’t know what identity politics is, this is the book for you. After watching Douglas Murray’s many, many debates on YouTube I’ve always admired his ability to calmly and cogently dismantle the left’s arguments and after addressing the immigration, identity and Islam issue Another Fantastic Book by Douglas Murray Douglas Murray does it again. If you’ve been wondering what’s behind all of the recent hysteria about trans rights, ‘dead naming’ and ‘intersectionality’; or like James O Brian, you don’t know what identity politics is, this is the book for you. After watching Douglas Murray’s many, many debates on YouTube I’ve always admired his ability to calmly and cogently dismantle the left’s arguments and after addressing the immigration, identity and Islam issue in, ‘The Strange Death if Europe’, he doesn’t disappoint by addressing society’s Marxism and identity politics issues in, ‘The Madness if Crowds’. It’s no surprise that someone writing for the Guardian described this book as a “right wing diatribe” since it comprehensively dissected everything that the left hold dear, slither by slither. What else would a publication who argues that homosexuals are oppressed in the U.K. but remains silent on issue of them being executed in Iran argue? Anyone who has enjoyed Douglas Murray’s books and wish there were more should read ‘Neoconservatism and Why we Need It’ which is a hugely underrated book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Richard Block

    SJW Inferno Douglas Murray's supercilious, ultra posh voice enunciates every syllable of his latest polemic (on Audible) in which he pontificates on the destructive nature of modern debate on the issues of gender and race. The social warriors are demented, maintains the controlled Murray, whose polemic oozes sarcasm and contempt. The central thesis is this - just as we are winning the battle for gay rights, women's rights, and black rights, the post Marxist analysis that has escaped a SJW Inferno Douglas Murray's supercilious, ultra posh voice enunciates every syllable of his latest polemic (on Audible) in which he pontificates on the destructive nature of modern debate on the issues of gender and race. The social warriors are demented, maintains the controlled Murray, whose polemic oozes sarcasm and contempt. The central thesis is this - just as we are winning the battle for gay rights, women's rights, and black rights, the post Marxist analysis that has escaped academia thru the current and former students has created a toxic environment in which there is a hysteric condemnation of society in the form of white, male, privileged oppression. Instead of viewing people as individuals, the idea is that there is an interlocking matrix of oppression that needs to be smashed. Don't expect cogent reasoning or even to be allowed to speak - these SJWs are social fascists who hate facts and free speech. Hence, 'queer' culture (wild, amoral) culture overcomes gay (join the mainstream), feminism becomes misandry, and POC (people of colour) rail against whites with impunity. The most insane development, according to this account, is the approval and veneration of 'trans' people and 'trans' rights. This has had no serious scientific study or analysis yet now small children are being fast tracked to gender reassignment AS A MATTER OF STATE POLICY. The 'trans' movement has been pitted against feminists, who resent men claiming rights as women, when women feel trampled. It would be funny if it were funny. Following on from his previous polemic, The Strange Death of Europe (which reviled the Christian cultural collapse post war and has lead to welcoming mass Islamic immigration without complaint) Murray has an appetite for subjects that others don't want to touch. He offers journalistic analysis, but only occasionally calls upon empirical support. It is the common sense approach to argumentation, one where examples selected make huge points out this world gone mad. That he is a gay man helps his arguments in the first chapter, and strangely enough his chapter on women. His insights are simple and interesting. But the one that sets the book aflame is the chapter on 'trans'- this really is madness on an epic scale. Murray believes that we should not judge society as oppressed and horrific, but as advancing and improving - notably true (as Pinker). We should see that catastrophism (as in Haidt) is no solution and will pit us all against each other in a melee of victimhood and hatred. We should respect science and facts and not react with emotion to every perceived slight - we should be more charitable towards our fellow human beings. That social media - the curse of our times - enflames our culture - is not given sole prominence, but is part of the piece. This is a vital, energetic and unsettling book all people under 35 should read. It may make them very upset.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sylvester Kuo

    I loved Islamophilia but Neo-conservatism and Why We Need It left a bad taste in my mouth. I have not since ready any work by Murray again. After a friend recommendation, I picked up The Madness of Crowds and my, Murray had a way with words when he's trying to be funny. The book focused on 4 major points in the insanity of Western civilisation: Sexual orientation, gender, race and trannies. I am well aware of the blackpill presented in this book but Murray made it fun to read, I parti I loved Islamophilia but Neo-conservatism and Why We Need It left a bad taste in my mouth. I have not since ready any work by Murray again. After a friend recommendation, I picked up The Madness of Crowds and my, Murray had a way with words when he's trying to be funny. The book focused on 4 major points in the insanity of Western civilisation: Sexual orientation, gender, race and trannies. I am well aware of the blackpill presented in this book but Murray made it fun to read, I particularly enjoyed his explanation of the song Anaconda by Nicki Minaj, which had me laughing out loud as I read the verbal reconstruction of the obscenity. As Murray clearly pointed out, because the left has no principles, they will always eat their own and produce any contradictions whenever it suited them. Although entertaining, I don't think most none informed reader would digest this as quickly as I did, I certainly have not learned much that I did not already know, but well written nonetheless.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Patafyzak

    This is a somewhat difficult book to rate. Style: The text is superb - it's well written, funny and logically constructed. Murray is really getting his arguments across with the use of easy-to-remember metaphors (e.g. The battering ram), and tons of anecdotes. Content: I really agree with 70 % of Murrays arguments, but I find the leftover 30 % hard to agree with, especially the tendency to explain all of modern day social justice movements as a single overarching ideology founded on Marxis This is a somewhat difficult book to rate. Style: The text is superb - it's well written, funny and logically constructed. Murray is really getting his arguments across with the use of easy-to-remember metaphors (e.g. The battering ram), and tons of anecdotes. Content: I really agree with 70 % of Murrays arguments, but I find the leftover 30 % hard to agree with, especially the tendency to explain all of modern day social justice movements as a single overarching ideology founded on Marxist structures. On the other hand, his unmasking of the pseudo-scientific language of the ideologies, the lack of scientific foundation for political decisions and the speed of which one expect the public to alter their speech, perception and behavior in regards to these newfound truths, are very interesting and troublesome.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Marcher

    288 pages of pure and accurate facts. A perfect articulation of the mass hysteria exhibited by the upper 0.1% of our society.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    I've always been interested in the way crowds behave...when large numbers of individuals forfeit that individuality to a potent force of unity & blind prejudice. I try to avoid crowds...I have never joined a protest march for example as I have never felt happy not retaining my own point-of-view...& my socio-political opinons will remain just that...opinions...my own induvidual opinions! I will never again express an opinion in public or on social media...as there are people out there who I've always been interested in the way crowds behave...when large numbers of individuals forfeit that individuality to a potent force of unity & blind prejudice. I try to avoid crowds...I have never joined a protest march for example as I have never felt happy not retaining my own point-of-view...& my socio-political opinons will remain just that...opinions...my own induvidual opinions! I will never again express an opinion in public or on social media...as there are people out there who would want me crucified...& that is very painful by all accounts! This study by Douglas Murray poses some very important questions as to where we, as a western, liberal society, are headed...& in my opinion...we...I'll keep that to myself!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Aleksandra

    For the most part, this is a good book. There are parts, especially at the beginning, that read like the author put in a lot of effort to cater to the sensibilities of a part of his audience. For example, in the introduction, he says that a decade ago almost nobody was supportive of gay marriage. (Funny really, taking into account that the Civil Partnership Act was passed in 2004). I've no idea who was Mr. Murray hanging out with a decade ago, but me, a working-class kid from Balkans, For the most part, this is a good book. There are parts, especially at the beginning, that read like the author put in a lot of effort to cater to the sensibilities of a part of his audience. For example, in the introduction, he says that a decade ago almost nobody was supportive of gay marriage. (Funny really, taking into account that the Civil Partnership Act was passed in 2004). I've no idea who was Mr. Murray hanging out with a decade ago, but me, a working-class kid from Balkans, barely knew anyone who was against gay marriages more than 15 years ago. Of course, I knew those people existed, I've had the internet, but I can't say I've met a lot of them in real life. The only question that was up for debate in my high school class was should they be able to adopt kids (and even that debate lasted only up until the moment when one girl asked "would it really suck if you had two mums?"). I guess I grew up privileged as fuck compared to an Eton educated dude. (I googled his biography to see whether he was in Saudi Arabia ten years ago or there's another explanation for this statement that makes sense.) Then, "after most of us hoped it has become a non-issue - everything seems to have become about race". Dare I ask what percentage of the "most of us" is white? "Homosexuality could (from a reproductive angle, among others) be said to be inconvenient to society, and the question of what it actually is therefore presents a perfectly legitimate question for society to be engaged with." There's 7.5 billion of us in the world. We generate an incredible amount of waste. We have fucked up the climate and a huge number of people will suffer and die because of that. But yes, gay people, let's discuss your homosexuality that's preventing you from procreating because what we really need is more people and you're not doing your part which makes you a huge inconvenience and gives us the right to peek in your bedrooms. "Meantime the stories of famous gay people – and especially the fear, bullying and discrimination that many have suffered – have clearly persuaded a lot of people that no one would willingly choose this." Not to mention the, you know, actual killings of non-famous gay people. Generally, this is a good book that talks about a lot of important issues (and it's so nice someone actually gives a fuck about the intersex people whom I've expected to be the next in line after the society agreed that yes, homosexuality is normal and there's no reason to prevent gay people from marrying and having children, but that's not how it went), but I think the bullshit might have been omitted.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Murray has a wonderfully even-handed approach to his topic. Being gay himself, he might easily have pushed this way of life as more important than others. But he looks at it objectively, which is an excellent achievement. The same objectivity addresses the other issues in the book: feminism, trans, gender, race. He never minces matters, calling a spade a spade when it certainly is one, but equally he spends time looking for ways out of the current mire in which the West is embroiled. And there's Murray has a wonderfully even-handed approach to his topic. Being gay himself, he might easily have pushed this way of life as more important than others. But he looks at it objectively, which is an excellent achievement. The same objectivity addresses the other issues in the book: feminism, trans, gender, race. He never minces matters, calling a spade a spade when it certainly is one, but equally he spends time looking for ways out of the current mire in which the West is embroiled. And there's no doubt that it is a mire. Story after story of viciousness, violence and abuse of people who don't think the same as you (depending on what your particular focus is) abound, many of them quite sickening in their lack of generosity or compassion. Shouting down your opponents even if it means spouting nonsense is a frequent approach to 'argument'. The book is a wonderful overview of the current state of things. Murray has hope, but doesn't see change coming about quickly.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tim Reisner

    (Audiobook read by author.) I'm sure the truth lies somewhere in the middle. I find myself siding very much with those who believe that the world has gone a bit mad. Notwithstanding, sometimes a bit of madness is required to change things. I can't deny that there's a lot of injustice in the world. But neither can I ignore that which seems evident to me, namely that there are are countries with more and less injustice. Right now the West doesn't seem such a bad place to live. And certainly better (Audiobook read by author.) I'm sure the truth lies somewhere in the middle. I find myself siding very much with those who believe that the world has gone a bit mad. Notwithstanding, sometimes a bit of madness is required to change things. I can't deny that there's a lot of injustice in the world. But neither can I ignore that which seems evident to me, namely that there are are countries with more and less injustice. Right now the West doesn't seem such a bad place to live. And certainly better than some of the shrillest complainers would have us believe. So by all means let's strive for improvement but let's do so kindly and with an acknowledgement of the progress that has been made and of our own fallibility in determining the best ways to improve. About the book: engaging, often funny, often scary. Well written. Well read, too.

  23. 4 out of 5

    victoria_tonks

    RTC

  24. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    Disturbing and timely analysis of tribalism at its worst.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Armin

    Clear, sense-making words in a time of madness.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Karl

    Too much reasonableness.

  27. 5 out of 5

    James Hart

    Better as a summary of culture war battles than providing real/detailed evidence for either side.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Anthoferjea

    Traps, Delusions, and Madness I have a daily bike commute that allows me to meditate on any recent preoccupations and a couple of mornings ago I realized that the three books I read in the last couple of weeks all are about the apocalypse of the present. If I re-read them in a decade I will probably find them alarmist. Right now though, I struggle to come to that conclusion. Douglas Murray’s “The Madness of Crowds,” Daniel Markovits’ “The Meritocracy Trap,” and Jia Tolentino’s “Trick Mirror” all Traps, Delusions, and Madness I have a daily bike commute that allows me to meditate on any recent preoccupations and a couple of mornings ago I realized that the three books I read in the last couple of weeks all are about the apocalypse of the present. If I re-read them in a decade I will probably find them alarmist. Right now though, I struggle to come to that conclusion. Douglas Murray’s “The Madness of Crowds,” Daniel Markovits’ “The Meritocracy Trap,” and Jia Tolentino’s “Trick Mirror” all take as a given that the way we currently live is unsustainable for the typical psyche, especially the psyche of a twenty or thirty-something. They range from right to left, respectively: Murray, Markovits, Tolentino. But underlying all of them, in a way that Tolentino explores best, is the ubiquity of the algorithm and the metric. Murray attacks the left for catastrophizing every social issue rather than using a slowly moving, conservative consensus to decide how best to help individuals flourish. He takes great pains to be reasonable; he does not call liberals snowflakes, or suggest that social justice warriors are characteristically flawed. Instead, he argues that technology and a particular kind of Foucaultian neo-marxism (never mind that Foucault strenuously disagreed with Marxism) have invaded public space and encouraged an attitude towards injustice that is both paranoid and viral. The spread of a kind of left consensus operates on what Murray calls the madness of crowds rather than through reasoned debate; it’s why student protesters block conservatives from speaking on campuses and why Clarence Thomas can be called a race traitor but Rachel Dolezal can be referred to as an ally. Some of what Murray said was nonsense, particularly about feminism. His attack on feminists in the 80’s and 90’s barely brushes on Susan Faludi’s “Backlash” and spends most of its time on Mary Daly because Faludi’s arguments are in fact cogent and useful and he can use Daly as a straw man to try to demolish both of them at once. Fundamentally, women should still be mad about the way developed societies tolerate acquaintance rape, the lack of maternal and paternal leave, and the incredible surfeit of women in power despite their overwhelming representation in colleges. Murray’s neoconservatism doesn’t allow him to recognize that these gaps are social decisions that can be made better through regulation and legislation. He insists that these are basic problems of biology that societies can only solve through excessive social engineering and he is wrong. However, Murray is incredibly useful on issues of homosexuality, race, and transgender rights. In every case he acknowledges the gains of rights struggles and the gaps that these groups still face. And in each case his attack on the way that rights struggles have been transformed by the internet and by a specific kind of shame and virtue discourse on the internet is valuable. Most straight cis white people on the internet who are hypothetically defending the rights of minorities are actually doing a bunch of virtue signaling. They do not target the deeper causes of inequality such as adoption rights or school segregation or lack of access to medical services. They instead target micro aggressions. Murray has an astonishing array of examples to prove this, and he is most effective on the issue of gay rights where he has some personal stake. The supposed intersectionality of gay rights with the rights struggles of other groups is undermining the acceptance of gay rights which is at a high water mark in the history of developed nations. It’s also devaluing the history of mostly white cis gays and lesbians who fought for equality rather than revolution. Often times these men and women fought alongside trans people and people of color. But sometimes they didn’t, and that’s not because they were bigots. Current left discourse on the internet has been shot full of both anger and bland platitudes of inclusion in a way that best captures clicks and views algorithmically but explains politics incredibly poorly. Calling this discourse “neo-marxist” is helpful in the sense that like a Soviet era film it is full of propaganda and doublespeak and mainly serves to enrich the elite (the Politburo for the soviets, content aggregators in our current economy) rather than motivate any real political change or reflection. Overall, I think Murray’s on to something about what’s wrong with the left today. His observations often frequently intersect with Tolentino’s and with Markovits. Tolentino also points out the way the left now catastrophizes social issues. In contrast to Murray she’s a card-carrying member of the left who used this exact discourse at Jezebel and Gawker. But now, in essays such as “The I in the Internet,” “Always Be Optimizing,” “We Come from Old Virginia” and “The Cult of the Difficult Woman,” she attacks social justice discourse for its blinkered and often destructive perspective. The strongest essay is “Difficult Woman,” where she traces how attempts to reclaim or valorize the experiences of celebrity women in the interests of feminism are worse than useless, a simple dopamine hit for frustrated feminists wanting an escape from the hard work of real politics. Even worse, those same tools are now used to justify the decisions of women in Trump’s leadership team, simply because those women are powerful and feminine. The second strongest essay is about the power of the internet to destroy discourse and here she fully explicates what Murray briefly mentioned in “Madness”: it may not be that the politics of social justice are any more extreme than they ever were before, but the internet is a breeding ground for only extreme views and bleaches out nearly every attempt at reasoned, give and take discourse (except for goodreads, I hope). College-educated people on the internet are constantly trying to optimize their politics and political choices, searching in vain for some metric of virtue. The sheer flood of advice and useless opinion bathes us in its waves while producing an empty, hollowed-out self when the tide recedes. This is why Tolentino is “Optimizing”: the algorithm promises that one day she can be healthy, happy, virtuous, and envied. Markovits wrote the worst of these three books due to his insistence of meritocracy as an ideology created by elites rather than a system that emerged from elite anxiety, technological change, and the advance of the algorithm and the metric. Markovits’ book is depressingly repetitive and mindnumpingly simple in its thesis: our current system stresses out elites while numbing the middle classes and the poor. No one really wants to optimize all the time. I did find the staggering sums of money that elites invest in their children somewhat surprising, as well as the numbers of the elite who work insane hours. However, I think this ideology is not a recent invention. Instead, it’s a huge part of American identity that has only recently been allowed to flourish because of the advance of technology. As Markovits even pointed out, the meritocracy is a basically Jeffersonian idea of republican virtue. However, before the algorithm and the metric, our society was relatively limited on how we could measure just how much merit a person had so we reverted to other, more democratic heuristics to determine who would be in charge and who would serve. However, recently technology allows machines and fancy math to make those decisions and thus inequality increases and people who don’t understand machines or fancy math (basically, people who have not been trained with an elite American education) feel justifiably resentful. On the other hand, Markovits again attacks social justice discourse like Tolentino and Murray do, and here he is possibly the most successful of the three. According to him, social justice discourse obsesses over getting oppressed groups more access to elite institutions rather than attacking the fact that these institutions benefit a tiny group of people by design and more inclusion of oppressed groups within that tiny group will not substantially change the way that group works because of the immense effort required to get into it. In other words, widening the middle class and weakening the grip of the super-educated elite should be our goal, rather than getting more people of color into the elite and attacking the dignity and privilege of white middle-class Americans. I basically agree with Markovits on all of these points.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nigel

    A breath of fresh air which clears the mind. Another amazing book from Douglas Murray.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Igor Veloso

    There’s no love for the oppressed. There’s only love for oppression If you’re someone not taking part in the ludicrous proxy battles that should never happen between the various side of Political Correctness (PC vs Anti-PC, SJW vs Anti-SJW…), yet you’re aware of it and its power moving pieces around the world, Madness of Crows does a very complete and heuristic job at laying it down to the layman. Douglas Murray speaks boldly about which is publicly prohibited (or Cancelled) to talk about, the elephant There’s no love for the oppressed. There’s only love for oppression If you’re someone not taking part in the ludicrous proxy battles that should never happen between the various side of Political Correctness (PC vs Anti-PC, SJW vs Anti-SJW…), yet you’re aware of it and its power moving pieces around the world, Madness of Crows does a very complete and heuristic job at laying it down to the layman. Douglas Murray speaks boldly about which is publicly prohibited (or Cancelled) to talk about, the elephants in the room, while raising questions prompting solutions and letting the reader (or listener) reach its own conclusions. You can be sure to see yourself thinking a lot. The author himself checks a couple of cards in the LGBT acronym. Murray is a heretic of the highest order, he’s just not sure which branch of the Inquisition goes after him. In fact, at this point no one knows until they appear on the Ministry of Truth, more commonly known as Twitter. Let’s see: He’s Gay, but nowadays, “gay” is a political stance, so according to many he’s not “truly gay”, simply because he doesn’t hold certain views or agrees to conservative policies. And here I thought being attracted to and loving men was pretty straightforward to what it means; He’s an atheist, with conservatives views at that, but to a right-winger, especially in America, being conservative and atheist is the same as being a Marxist that knows how to do maths. Here I thought the Church and State were to remain divorced, yet clearly they stay together for the children, which still unsure what the multiple keys on the fishbowl are for. THE WORLD IS A MINEFIELD No one can get a rest. You’re not allowed to. The whole structure and its people have to be deranged if they want to climb in the present hierarchy. Hierarchy that has become more akin to a volatile mix. Being for science and social order? You either crazy or a filthy centrist. No. Either be for minority rights or face the wrath of God, but never, ever, speak to us of “nuance”. Its no wonder conservatives and liberals understanding of the intricacies of the world never get to be properly heard. Their own people will shut them down. Be damned if you do and damned if you don’t. The whole world is a minefield and Murray shows us in this book. There’s a thoroughly cultural analysis of sexual orientation (hetero, gay, bi,), gender (women and trans mainly) and race (with no exceptions), backing it up with some data and real life situations that can even be found on youtube for your own leisure. Situations you’d think to read somewhere in the daily lives of the youth supporting fascist Germany. Of course he recognises some other things. Its not surprising that a generation not earning enough capital to become discouraged by capitalism; Its understanding that a generation not earning enough to buy their own home and be fully independent, or at least only much later in life, to become disenfranchised with traditional ideals and hope in the future. New forms of happiness are adopted, sometimes to the point of relativism of their own environment, inadvertently making impossible demands for unreachable goals. Ideas and expressions invented only a few days old get to be implemented to appease a crowd. Murray confirms crowds that have much more in terms of reaching equality and fairness, to the point of actually being equal, are not happy. Now its about being better. The Hero killed the dragon, and his purpose is now aimless. Swings his sword looking to hit dragons that don’t exist or just considers any form of adversity as a dragon to be put down. Imagine such a power in those both unknown and powerless. VIRTUE A demonstration of virtue demands an overstating of the problem, which then causes an amplification of the problem He argues that what started as a necessary fight for the rights of women and LGBT in the first and second waves, turned out to become a danger for themselves (in the latter third and fourth waves). We are asked to believe unbelievable things and accept unacceptable “facts”. Media no longer worry about “showing the news”. They worry about getting at the “bigots”. There also seems to be less interest in bettering the attitudes of men but rather, to neuter them. INTERLUDE Murray speaks of Patreon banning those on the “wrong side of the narrative”, like questioning trans people for example, yet, I know a few of “those” in the gaming community still relying and trusting the company for economic support. It raised me the question if such people did more than questioning the narrative to get them banned. Its normal a company not wanting to be associated with hate and phobias, and simply questioning the snowflake culture is not that. Also, some comedians tend to use jokes (wow!, right?) but its interesting when an openly left winger tells a joke (even if it involves buckets and acid.), gets crap from the right – winger. I agree comedians lost their “legitimacy” by becoming political tools, but they are also the prime example how the jest of the court no longer can represent the people...by being cancelled by the people. That is the joke the King is laughing at the most. CONCLUSION Douglas Murray attempts to make sense of this madness shaping politics. Luther King speech became an apparent waste of time, so much for race not mattering. Or sexuality or anything specific mattering. Now its all that matters. What about beauty and intelligence? Sexual selection? Personality? That is a biological and scientific minefield and everyone knows that. You can’t talk of those (for now at least) without drawing some clear lines between Gender, Race and Identity, that are anything but equal. You can’t manipulate those without trashing every hard working neuroscientist, biologist and historian (youtube is demonetizing historical videos by the way). Even the top universities know very well to tread lightly. Social studies skew biological facts like a creationist skews physics. To anyone on left or right, Madness of Crowds will have you reflect, empathise and adjust. The text is not gentle and the criticisms are very well founded. By not gentle I mean it isn’t shy. It tells like it is. It even has the original quotes, with original meanings and consequent cuss words. Murray is honest. In today’s words: stunning and brave. Stories didn’t need to be made up. They happened and still happening. If we’re not careful they’ll become the norm. All of them have cultural significance and can’t really be ignored. I prefer to focus on the facts, the science and the nuance of politics, but can’t deny eventually hitting the firewall of doublethink and doublespeak. In reality double meaning is what fools people to move around. If you’re someone already knowledgable of all this on twitter or by following your favourite Anti – Feminist/PC youtuber, then pretty much over 50% of the book is done for you. Weigh your options for or against reading it. I still suggest it because I’m sure it will give something new, like putting everything into perspective. Personally, I’ve become a fan of Murray and love the class act he is. Purely platonic. (Audiobook highly recommended!)

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