During the Black Lives Matter protests two years ago, many Brits were shocked and appalled to see Parliament Square’s statue of Sir Winston Churchill vandalised and branded “was a racist” before the monument was temporarily bordered up. Since the death of George Floyd, similar monuments have been toppled or removed in the UK and US, sparking debate on the major figures of our Western past for all their achievements and flaws. Some criticism will of course be warranted, but Douglas Murray believes there is now a chilling war on even the very best aspects of Western history and culture.
Murray’s new book, The War on the West, concludes a trilogy following The Strange Death of Europe’s discussion on the taboo of immigration and The Madness of Crowds’ criticism of obsessive collectivism around sexuality, gender and race.
Now the 42-year-old focuses on “a war on ourselves by ourselves”, as he puts it.
Speaking with Express.co.uk of this cultural moment, the author said: “[It’s] very uncommon historically and it’s uncommon in the current era for a culture to basically rob itself and rid itself of its own inheritance. In the last generation this war on the west, a western form of anti-Westernism, seems to be an almost all-pervasive phenomenon in our day. It ties up stories that we see all the time. Why would Winston Churchill suddenly have been turned into a baddie? Why would Kew Gardens suddenly announce that they were going to decolonise their plant collection; whatever the hell that means? Why is the Church of England suddenly announcing itself institutionally racist? What is this that is going on?”
Murray shared: “Firstly, I think that this intellectual mob is willing to do anything and is highly motivated by revenge among other instincts; and that’s a very deep instinct, the instinct of revenge against the West. Now here’s the thing: It’s totally believable that in the coming years they will pull down or get rid of a statue like Churchill. I believe there is a deliberate attempt to take Churchill out of our lives and I explain in the book why that is.”
The author also pointed out this was similar across the pond, believing there’s a religious element to this culture war.
He added: “It’s the same in America. There’s a deliberate attempt to take the Founding Fathers, Abraham Lincoln and other heroes of the American story out of people’s lives. And I believe that’s because that’s what you need to do in a cultural revolution. You need to go to the holy places of the people you wish to defeat and you need to tear down their statues and you need to urinate on their altars and smash them with hammers. And then they will say: ‘Hey you, look! You don’t have any gods now. We’ll give you new gods.'”
Murray asked: “Do we have a right as a country to be proud of anything in our history? Do we have the right to have heroes and stand up for them? Do we allow cultural revolutionaries to just tear them all down? I would hope the answer to all that is, ‘No’. But most people are amazed at the speed, swiftness and depth at which people have come in to assault and to tear down. For people going through it, it’s devastating. This is our history.”
At the conclusion of the book. the author suggests a standoff: “If you don’t respect my ancestors, I won’t respect yours. If you don’t respect my culture, I see no reason to respect yours. If you don’t respect me, I can’t respect you. We mustn’t put up with it and cower as people strip us of everything in our history that’s good.”
The War on the West by Douglas Murray is out now.