HomeGroupsTalkExploreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity

by Douglas Murray

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4421644,308 (4.23)11
The challenging and brilliantly-argued new book from the bestselling author ofThe Strange Death of Europe. In his devastating new bookThe 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.… (more)
None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 11 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
This is likely the single most important recent book that explains the descent into insanity of the modern universities. Essential reading if you want to understand what is happening to British and American higher education. ( )
  wyclif | Sep 22, 2021 |
Douglas Murray’s work, The Madness of Crowds interacts with a group of prevalent ideas now endemic to much of the American public. He spells these out with great wit and detail. The triumvirate of identity politics, intersectionality, and critical race theory are now being disseminated into the public square. This trio of ideologies are an attempt at forming a new worldview. Murray writes, “the interpretation of the world through the lens of ‘social justice,’ ‘identity group politics,’ and ‘intersectionalism’ is probably the most audacious and comprehensive effort since the end of the Cold War at creating a new ideology” (2). Murray aims to clear this ideological minefield, a terrain full of invisible trip wires, in order that others in the future can cross more safely.

The book is laid out in four chapters titled, Gay, Women, Race, and Trans. In between each chapter are brief, but careful interludes on Marxist foundations, the impact of tech, and on forgiveness. These interludes, though much shorter, contained a lot of helpful material. I only read about two thirds of the book and didn’t read much in the women or trans chapters.

In ch. 1, Murray highlights the incongruity of the LGBTQ movement, demonstrating how there is actually little solidarity between each of the camps represented in those letters. B’s are often seen as confused and L’s and G’s have not historically gotten along nicely (35-36). Not to mention the intrusion of the T’s who might be derided and scorned one day and welcomed and celebrated the next. The letter crew may present themselves unified in objective, but under the surface, many dissenting positions emerge. In this chapter Murray also cites John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, first published in 1859 which laid out a handful of reasons free speech is important in society. Not the least of which is the need to correct erroneous assumptions, but also to serve as a reminder of a truth and “prevent its slippage” (18). “We may be preventing ourselves from hearing arguments that are partially true” (18). We would certainly do well to listen to Stuart Mill here, though even this slope is gradually slipping away.

In one interlude, Murray asks what role forgiveness has in public discourse. Today, comments are snatched out of context and dredged up from decades past; subsequent moral judgments are delivered with finality. He says, “We all know the glee at watching someone fall from grace; the righteous feeling that can come with joining in the punishment of transgressors” (175). Indeed, the mob’s condemnation of others heightens the affirmation and commitment to its own cause. There are religious overtones to many actions the mob is calling for today. To fight for the issues at stake has “become a way of showing that you are a good person” (231). Unfortunately, a culture that has lost the ability to forgive will only give rise to an already rapidly vanishing civil discourse.

The madness of crowds and the rule of the mob is traceable to the ways in which identities have been traded for ethnic, sexual, racial, or gender orientation based identities. The interlocking oppressions by which so many identities unite under the banner of intersectionality, the strong arm of critical theory, is one that is counterproductive to human flourishing. Murray asserts that the oppression matrix does not work together (234). Viewing people strictly on the basis of perceived power imbalance or cultural hegemony runs contrary to common sense. It is the very exact opposite of what Dr. Martin Luther King so adamantly lobbied for just fifty years ago. For evangelical Christians, these are anthropological questions at root, and biblical answers to human questions of identity are needed now more than ever.

True to form in his unique style of writing, Murray is provocative and compelling in the way he engages the reader. Here are a few quotes:
“A demonstration of virtue demands an overstating of the problem, which then causes an amplification of the problem” (5).
“Those calling for equality will always include a contingent who mistake exhibitionism for activism, feeling that nobody is free or equal until they have the right to dress in puppy gear and be led on all fours by a ‘master’ down a public street” (39).
“From Michael Foucault these thinkers absorbed their idea of society not as an infinitely complex systems of trust and traditions that have evolved over time, but always in the unforgiving light cast when everything is viewed solely through the the prism of ‘power.’ Viewing all human interactions in this light distorts, rather than clarifies, presenting a dishonest interpretation of our lives. Of course power exists as a force in this world, but so do charity, forgiveness, and love. If you were to ask most people what matters in their lives very few would say ‘power.’ Not because they haven’t absorbed their Foucault, but because it is perverse to see everything in life through such a monomaniacal lens” (53).

To look into Murray’s work further, see these resources:
Roger Scruton’s review of the book. https://unherd.com/2019/09/how-identity-politics-drove-the-world-mad/
Neil Shenvi’s review: https://shenviapologetics.com/madness-and-its-discontents-a-short-review-of-murr... (Shenvi offers a helpful bit on critical theory as the taproot of this trio of ideologies).
Al Mohler’s conversation with Douglas Murray. https://albertmohler.com/2020/05/13/douglas-murray
  joshcrouse3 | Sep 17, 2021 |
Boring commentary on SJW religion ( )
  13th.sign | Apr 19, 2021 |
Douglas Murray is a terrific writer. The Madness of Crowds was insightful, diagnosed the problem and offered solutions. Wonderful read, I highly encourage everyone to give it a read. (Even better give it a listen, Murray reading Minaj's lyrics is hilarious) ( )
  SeekingApatheia | Apr 13, 2021 |
Boy, I needed this. A birthday present from my sister that really hit the spot.

Murray is a gay Spectator magazine columnist so not exactly the kind of writer I would normally read. But I was humbled in the early stages of the first chapter by his obvious open-mindedness as he described an evangelical film preview he attends.

The Christians have, at the last minute, been prevented from showing their film in a cinema because it is their take on homosexuality and scramble to find an alternative venue. In describing the experience, it’s clear that Murray does not agree with their viewpoints or those of the film.

What is clear though is that they are being discriminated against for holding their views and that is, quite rightly, what Murray takes issue with.

This sets the scene for the entire book really. The opening paragraph of the Introduction summarises it better than I can, though:

"We are going through a great crowd derangement. In public and in private, both online and off, people are behaving in ways that are increasingly irrational, feverish, herd-like and simply unpleasant. The daily news cycle is filled with the consequences. Yet while we see the symptoms everywhere, we do not see the causes." p. 1

In four sections entitled Gay, Women, Race and Trans, Murray details very convincingly a human rights train that has, as he puts it, reached its destination in every case and then somehow gone careering past the buffers to wreak havoc in the public arena. He describes proponents of racial equality, feminism etc. as having lost their targets in largely achieving equality and, with nothing more to aim at, firing wildly into the crowds to take out the guilty as well as the innocent bystander.

Repeatedly he uses the metaphor of tripwires as those who dare to speak their actual opinion on any of these issues find themselves in a maelstrom of shrapnel from the explosive reaction. Some lose limbs, some lose lives. A rival definition of democracy has arisen; it’s the majority of decibels that now counts, not the majority of individuals. Woe betide anyone who tries to express an opinion that differs. They’ll find they simply can’t shout loud enough, even when there are 150 of the most seemingly influential of them.

The chapter on race is particularly enlightening taking place almost entirely in the US where this issue is probably more polarised than anywhere on earth outside the Gaza Strip. The reports of how free speech has been mown down by radical, rabid activism that shows a remarkable capability for contradiction and inability to use logic. In short, it seems that there are whole groups out there who abhor the idea of free speech simply because they seem to find speech itself challenging.

It is with some irony that within a week or two of me finishing it, J. K. Rowling fell from being the darling of the literary world to being one of its (many) devils. There is no logical reason why a woman who publicly objects to being defined as one of the “people who menstruate” should be publicly shunned or, as those who now rule the world call it, cancelled.

But, Murray argues cogently, those who make the rules don’t seem to have any logic to actually apply them consistently to us all. Rowling’s position is a perfect example, as are the comments on that article I’ve just linked to above. Murray must be kicking himself that he didn’t wait a year to be able to include this lamentable tale. The whole point of the trans movement is that those who wish to define themselves have the choice to do so thus resisting being defined by others. Except bigots.

Sadly, Murray’s book, while utterly timely and containing wisdom for where we go from here, is unlikely to be read by those who are causing the problem. Why? One reason is that it gives a coherent argument that needs to be reasoned with. Arguably more of a factor though is that it’s longer than 280 characters. ( )
2 vote arukiyomi | Dec 27, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

The challenging and brilliantly-argued new book from the bestselling author ofThe Strange Death of Europe. In his devastating new bookThe 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.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (4.23)
0.5
1
1.5
2 3
2.5
3 7
3.5 2
4 32
4.5 4
5 30

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 164,541,217 books! | Top bar: Always visible