A suitably mad crowd gathered at the Spectator offices last night to celebrate the launch of Douglas Murray’s new book, The Madness of Crowds. Mr Steerpike marvelled at Mr Murray’s ability to bring such an intriguing mix of people together: where else in the world could you find Kevin Spacey, Paul Joseph Watson and a member of the bin Laden family in the same room?
Almost a hundred journalists, authors, politicians, pundits and friends flocked to the Old Queen Street office. The guests included Michael Gove, Rod Liddle, Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, Nadira Naipaul, Martin Ivens, Sarah Baxter, Toby Young, Ruth Dudley Edwards, Henry Newman, Freddie Sayers, Dan Hitchens, Iain Martin, Jacob Burda and Bloomsbury’s Robin Baird-Smith. Murray’s new book is attracting a lot of media buzz. His last effort, The Strange Death of Europe, was an international smash hit.
In his speech at the launch, Murray explained why his book challenged the orthodoxies of identity politics:
‘I have this view that we have an awful lot of things going on in our society that are filled with bad thinking, and they’re partly filled with bad thinking and bad thought because people are afraid to think and speak out loud these days – about a whole range of issues. And I tackle them one by one in the book and explain some reasons why I think we’ve ended up in this position.
But I think that there is a disproportionate need in this era for anyone who doesn’t have a wobbly hierarchy above them to speak up, because… one of the most striking things to me when I was researching this book was: you think it’s just academia, for instance. You think it’s just academia. It’s not just academia.
Then you discover it’s large chunks of the media. And then you discover the corporate world – that won’t be vulnerable. Oh, is it vulnerable. And bit by bit, the same social justice woke ideology – this really bad and weak thinking goes everywhere, because people can’t speak up, because if they do speak up, they become vulnerable to this. So the only people I think who can speak up are people who don’t care about that and aren’t responsible or answerable to any bullying mob. I had it this morning on the radio where somebody of a contrary opinion believed that I was bullying somebody, by not referring to somebody who said that they’re gender binary, by the requisite pronouns. I just want to know what they’re talking about. I just don’t want us to change everything in our societies and language and understanding of biology because somebody says so. I want to look at the thing. I want to know about the thing. And I think other people do, too. By the way, I was just delighted that then she mis-gendered the person in question. You can’t really hope for better than that.’
Watch Douglas’s speech here: