The success of Douglas Murray’s new book The Madness of Crowds has buoyed me–a right-leaning, anti-woke conservative–considerably. In it, Murray—employing old school, distillate reason–provides legitimacy to ideas that, were they not so beautifully and persuasively argued, might be dismissed by the liberal mainstream media as racist/homophobic/transphobic/etc.
So, I was shocked when I read Murray’s recent piece in The Spectator encouraging his considerable followers (200K on Twitter alone) to mob (reveal the personal and/or work details of–and apply employer pressure to) an uber-woke opponent, Holly Rigby, a teacher who Murray debated on TV, and who strongly apparently supports the UK politician Jeremy Corbin.
In his piece, Murray writes:
“Perhaps it is worth finding out precisely where Holly does teach and what it is that she teaches her pupils? Perhaps it is worth parents at that school asking why one of their children’s teachers appears to spend so little time in the classroom? Why she seems to prioritise her work as a leftist activist over her work as a teacher.
Perhaps, indeed, people could make Holly unemployable – as eagerly as she and her ilk would make someone unemployable if they did anything similar from the opposite political direction. Perhaps we should employ these tactics ourselves, for a time.”
As I’ve lived all my life in the US and possess only a rudimentary knowledge of UK politics, my understanding is that Corbyn and Corbynites are currently being excoriated by right-leaning UK conservatives (Jews and those in sympathy with them) for actions considered Anti-Semitic.
Of course, these things can be debated. In fact, they are and should be. But Murray’s mob incitement (however qualified by the phrase “for a time”) raises an important question: is much of the divisiveness of our current landscape being serially inflamed by the fact that–often immediately after besting our opponents with reason (as Murray did Rigby)–we fall prey to sic’ing those who support us (*our* mob) on the enemy—a tactic we routinely denounce when employed by our opponents?
Murray’s well-articulated rational arguments are clearly superior to Rigby’s emotional ones by a wide margin. He could have batted away her reason-deficient, emotional smears with one hand tied behind his back. That he chose, instead, to resort to the very mob enticement/cancelling Rigby and those on the woke left routinely deploy is to this writer a dispiriting development.
Please reconsider, Mr. Murray. You are too able a plyer of reason to have to resort to tactics that only telegraph that one’s opponent has gotten the better of you. The Holly Rigby’s of the world hope you’ll resort to their tactics, because if you do, emotion will reign and your strong arguments will be nullified. The Holly Rigby’s of the world, you see, sir, instinctively know they can not complete with you in the realm of argument. So they don’t even try and hope you’ll take the (emotional) bait.
Unfortunately–for your arguments, what they stand for, and for whom they matter–you did.
Martin Garrison is an Oakland, CA based film editor and podplay dramatist. Martin’s writing has appeared in Filmmaker Magazine and appears regularly on his blog (www.heretictimes.com) and on Twitter: @martgarrison