Book Notes: Douglas Murray’s The War on the West

Imagine going to a doctor with a serious complaint. The doctor looks you over and eloquently describes your symptoms in minute detail.

“Yes, doctor,” you say. This is exactly how I feel. What is it? What caused it? And most importantly, what treatment do I need?”

“Well, I already told you what’s wrong with you,” says the doctor. “Do you want me to describe it again? As for what caused it, I guess it’s simply that you got tired of being healthy and decided to be sick.”

“But what should I do, doctor?” you beg. “It hurts real bad.”

“I’ll tell you exactly what to do,” the doctor responds, beaming. “It’s easy, really. Just stop being sick. You’ll feel better immediately. Do you need me to describe how good it will feel not to be sick?”

Murray’s book is very much like this. Murray narrates the self-destructive recent lunacies of the Left eloquently and in great detail. The BLM riots, the statue-toppling, the decolonization of the curricula, the cancellation of scientists and artists for imaginary offenses, the 2+2 controversy. It’s all recent enough for all of us but those suffering from short-term amnesia to remember vividly. You keep waiting for an explanation of why this is happening or a suggestion as to what to do. But none ever comes.

It’s wrong to cancel a 19th-century philosopher for a politically incorrect footnote. It’s wrong to police harpsichords for signs of white supremacy in their color scheme. It’s wrong to discuss the Western Civilization with endless venom and seething contempt. It’s wrong to use the word ‘white’ as a synonym for ‘despicable.’ A point comes, though, when this litany of well-known offenses against intelligence, decency and the West becomes frustrating. Yes, it’s bad but is our only response to serve as a mirror to the reality we don’t like? Other than that and some pouting about the double standard (“why aren’t Marx and Foucault held to the same standard as Kant and Hume?”), the books offers nothing of note.

Analysis and description are two different things. You do need to record the symptoms to come up with a diagnosis but at some point repeating the same symptoms stops making sense. In the end, Murray comes to imitate the very thing he denounces. He accuses but doesn’t propose any remedy that could solve the problem. I expected a lot more from this book and ended up disappointed.

24 thoughts on “Book Notes: Douglas Murray’s The War on the West

  1. One can’t solve this problem without being able to point to objective moral absolutes and the need for societies to embrace them, teach them, and live them. Whether one embraces a Biblical worldview or just steals from it, objective moral absolutes can only stem from an Objective Moral Absolute-Giver (God). Murray rejects both, thus is incapable of pinning down a solution without being guilty of the same cognitive dissonance he’s pointing to as a large part of the problem.

    I’ve heard him try, on several podcasts. He’ll come to the point of suggesting that things would turn around if people could come to embrace “Christian values” or “Christian ethics” but he can’t ever bring himself to explain why those particular values and ethics are any more virtuous than leftist, or progressive, or any other “destructive” values and ethics.

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    1. “objective moral absolutes can only stem from an Objective Moral Absolute-Giver (God)”

      You seem dangerously close to saying that objective moral absolutes can only come from a source that cannot be verified or questioned.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Has Brexit badly hurt Britain and is another example of the West being at war with itself? (via Mike)

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  3. Помощник Путина озвучил самый оптимистичный прогноз падения ВВП

    Когда аббревиатура совпадает с инициалами – получается очень неловко.

    🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wanted to share some good news for a change. While agents like Russia and Iran are dreaming of ‘influence’ via murder, some countries manage to keep moving into the future despite everything.

    FIRST

    “Cow’s milk without cows” will be in Israeli shops by 2023, after a start-up raised a record $13m (£9.7m) in seed funding from investors to help it make traditional dairy products from microorganisms.

    The Tel Aviv-based Imagindairy, which announced its seed funding result on Wednesday, said the milk it produced would be identical to cow’s milk, but the cow, and her associated methane, would be replaced by fungi or other plant microorganisms programmed to produce milk proteins.

    Methane-free cow’s milk could significantly reduce the impact of climate change and deforestation, NGOs believe.

    cellular agriculture companies working to produce animal-free meat, dairy and fish have struggled to do so at a commercial scale. To date the only other company producing small commercial amounts of cow-free dairy is the US-based business Perfect Day

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/nov/17/cows-milk-without-cows-start-up-13m-seed-funding-imagindairy

    SECOND

    Robot hives in Israel kibbutz hope to keep bees buzzing

    In an effort to help increasingly threatened bee colonies recover from sharp rates of mortality due to environmental issues, ‘Beehome’ features solar-operated artificial intelligence robots that upkeep beehives; Close to a hundred high-tech hives are already functional in Israel, as the project looks to spread to the U.S. and Europe

    https://www.ynetnews.com/environment/article/rki4tzmp9

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      1. // Imagine you are at the grocery store, buying milk for your child. Which would you choose, the artificial or the regular?

        For a small child, regular, of course. New technologies are important, but should not be tried out on newborns or toddlers.

        With time, and I believe quite soon, humanity will be able to grow meat cells (vs entire cow) and create milk w/o a cow at all on industrial scale.

        Why not? Is there something magical in a cow creating milk vs using engineering microorganisms to create the exact same milk? Do you think creating the same milk and meat is impossible at all? Impossible for science right now? More mysterious than moon landing or sending spaceships to Mars?

        I do think it may take some time till the technologies are perfected, but humanity will unravel the secrets of genetic engineering to produce not only meat and milk, but many more things too.

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        1. “Is there something magical in a cow creating milk vs using engineering microorganisms to create the exact same milk?”

          Of course, there is. Even a cucumber grown outside is completely different from a hothouse cucumber. And the air in the woods is completely different from conditioned air in an office.

          “More mysterious than moon landing or sending spaceships to Mars?”

          There is no easy, cheap and massively available alternative to moon-landing that exists in nature. Not that I have any interest in moon landings. A total waste of money if you ask me.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Well, the rockets were going to be built anyway to carry nukes. At least the moon landings gave the Pentagon some good PR photos.

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              1. It was argued that Britannia rules the waves meant that the British would not be slaves because a navy can’t be used for internal repression the same way a standing army can be. This is obviously just as true for rockets as for aircraft carriers. But it doesn’t exclude all forms of repression.

                Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s just the latest frontier in mechanizing, monetizing, patenting, and then criminalizing absolutely everything. Because heaven forbid anyone ever be able to compete with a global corporation.

          Remember when monsanto started suing farmers for their own pollen drift, effectively making saving your own seeds a criminal act?

          I wonder what the equivalent action will be for engineered milk… “We have an alternative now, so we must punish people who still own cows”?

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Regarding poor farmers,

            “Israelis give more than NIS 4 billion a year in subsidies to farmers
            On the one hand, consumers are experiencing high food prices, and on the other taxpayers and consumers are required to give huge subsidies to the agricultural sector.

            High barriers to import for agricultural commodities have pushed domestic prices above international levels and resulted in high market prices. High tariffs on imports of the majority of agro-food products is the most costly policy to consumers. Average tariffs in the dairy sector are 108% and can in some cases reach 160%.

            the impact on consumer prices at farm gate is even higher and reaches 35% for milk, 16% for eggs and 42% for beef and veal.

            Interestingly enough, farmers are quite well off economically and in 2008 agricultural incomes were about 50% higher than the national average. It is a typical case of the poor subsidizing the rich! Our government and policy makers are well aware of this problem. Ahead of deciding whether or not to allow Israel to join the OECD, a report recommended Israel privatize agricultural land, raise water rates, and reduce protectionist quotas on agricultural imports.”

            https://www.jpost.com/opinion/op-ed-contributors/israelis-give-more-than-nis-4-billion-a-year-in-subsidies-to-farmers-338952

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            1. El, I don’t know what the situation is like in Israel. I hope it’s better than here.

              I used to have chickens. They laid the most beautiful, delicious eggs I have ever seen. My father-in-law claimed they were better than anything for making angel-food cake. Every egg was a small miracle. The yolks were bright, the shells were sturdy, and the whites stood up on the plate– as far from an insipid grocery-store egg as it is possible to get, and we reduced feed costs by harvesting the caterpillars, grubs, and japanese beetles from around the yard and feeding them to the hens, who loved them like an eight-year-old kid loves candy. It was not a scalable operation.

              It was not legal for me to sell the eggs. To sell them, there are all sorts of bureaucratic hoops to jump through, that I could only afford if I were “producing” (ha! It is the hens that produce eggs!) millions of eggs… which would necessarily lower their quality, safety, and freshness, and increase the complexity and expense involved far beyond anything I’d want to deal with. And there’s no way I could harvest enough japanese beetles to feed a million hens.

              What that means in practical terms is that the kind of high-quality eggs I used to get from my hens are simply not available for sale anywhere. You can’t buy them in most places in the US (though I understand some states have loopholes for this). I can’t sell them. I could be arrested for selling them. It’s worse for any kind of dairy or meat.

              The reason for this is that our food safety regulations are all written by industrial agriculture moguls, and the rules are deliberately written to price small producers out of the market. Now, you cannot get into the egg (or dairy, or meat) market without a terrific amount of capital to start with. It eliminates the competition. Similar things have been going on for decades across all sectors of US agriculture.

              Liked by 2 people

              1. What a sad story. I sometimes buy fresh eggs like this from a local guy who runs a clandestine operation. We both pretend that the exchange never happens. I leave money for him in a secret place. It’s all completely nuts.

                The only purpose of this fake dairy and fake meat is to make us pay a lot of money for something that will make us unhealthy. Making us pay a lot of money for medications. Making us pay a lot of money for treating the side effects of the medications.

                Liked by 1 person

              2. Clarissa, exactly. When my uncle was a baby, it was the beginning of the baby-formula era. My grandmother started him on a bottle… and then he turned out to be allergic to everything, including baby formula. Her own milk was gone by then. He only survived because every morning, she’d walk two miles down to the home of an old immigrant greek lady who had dairy goats, and purchase fresh milk for him. That was in the forties. It would be completely illegal, now.

                Liked by 1 person

              3. Nothing can remain unmessed-with. Nothing can be allowed to just be. We can see this in absolutely every aspect of life. Meat is bad for you! So eat this weird concoction of 123 chemicals that costs a lot more and is indigestible! This will confer virtue on you because it’s good for the planet. And somebody else ‘s wallet, of course.

                Liked by 1 person

          2. Well, remember what happened to people who had their own natural immunity? We are all still paying in sky-high inflation for the “free vaccines” we were given instead of our natural immunity. I’m calculating that my single dose of J&J already cost me upward of $10,000. That’s such a great “free” medication for an illness I didn’t have.

            Liked by 2 people

  5. Do you know that Зеленский – это зять Путина? Бедный Путин 🙂 🙂

    “A new investigation has named the former director of the Bavarian State Ballet as the partner of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s second-eldest daughter.

    Igor Zelensky, 52, is reportedly in a serious, long-term relationship with Katerina Tikhonova, 35, widely believed to be Putin’s daughter, Russian news outlet iStories and German news site Der Spiegel reported Thursday.

    Tikhonova and Zelensky are also said to have a daughter who was born in 2017, around the time when Tikhonova reportedly divorced sanctioned business executive Kirill Shamalov. “

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That woman has had more “husbands” than I have hairs on my head. She would have chanced upon one named Zelensky sooner or later because of the law of probabilities.

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