It is very good, indeed the only one of his books which has missed the mark is probably the one no one talks about now - the 2006 text 'Neoconservatism: Why we need it'. The truth of course is that we didn't!
In the conclusion to the Madness of Crowds, Murray writes beautifully of the effort people put into politics, and how identity politics in particular becomes all-consuming. It is worth quoting in full:
But 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 rage - that perverts the whole enterprise.
For anyone who has ever been involved in, or observed a political split within an organisation, these words hit home:
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.
The quotes are on p.255-56 of the 2020 paperback edition.
The protests against The Lady of Heaven movie have ended in a complete victory for the protestors.
England and Wales abolished laws against blasphemy under the last Labour government in 2008. As at Batley Grammar School in 2021 however, it appears possible for Islamist protestors to enforce blasphemy codes by taking to the streets.
This research note, published yesterday by Policy Exchange, considers events this month, and traces the opposition to The Lady of Heaven movie back to the Islamic Republic of Iran.
You can read the research note online here, and download a pdf below.
This week the European Conservatives and Reformists group in the European parliament published the report on the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe that I have worked on with the Italian researcher Tommaso Virgili.
You can see the report launch, and download a copy of the report, on the ECR website here.
This article, for Policy Exchange, examines the French NGO BarakaCity.
Proscribed for extremism in its home country, its CEO Idriss Sihamedi, has publicly sought asylum in Turkey. However it has for several years been active in this country, and is currently seeking to expand its operations in Britain, an issue that should raise concerns.
There is a link to the article here, and a pdf below:
As the protests of Extinction Rebellion have become increasingly staid, it is perhaps no surprise Insulate Britain have opted for a tactic of far greater disruption.
However, those key workers who have kept the country going during the pandemic, will struggle to recognise either the world of the environmentalists, or one where the police stand by as motorways are blocked. My thought on these events can be read on the on the Policy Exchange website here.
The article can also be downloaded as a pdf below:
9/11 retrospective articles are everywhere this weekend.
This piece, for the Policy Exchange website, dabbles with that, but attempts to look more broadly at the importance of funding in the propaganda wars which follow in the wake of both terrorism and counter terrorism.
"People who would have laughed at 'loony Left' councils 30 years ago now use language and follow rules which they once mocked when Ken Livingstone and his allies proposed them. Those who claim to despise Jeremy Corbyn often follow the ideas he helped devise in his decades in London town halls.
And it is not just that they join in. They are afraid to criticise. Huge areas of opinion are now closed off from discussion, for fear of cancellation, advertising boycotts, and generally being cast into the outer darkness.
With gathering speed and completeness, a total revolution in thought and morals is taking hold of Western societies, just at the moment when they should be girding themselves against pressure to become more like China."
The death at the age of 86 of the Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, marks the passing of a strong proponent of free speech.
Of the 2005 Muhammad cartoons, Westergaard's, below, was by some measure the most controversial, as it showed Muhammad with a bomb in his turban.
Despite death threats and a serious attempt on his life, Westergaard continued to express himself freely. That, as I write for spiked, makes him a true champion of free speech. You can also download a pdf of my article below: