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The War on the West: How to Prevail in the Age of Unreason

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It will surprise and disappoint people,” Dowden had previously said in the Telegraph, that the Trust had made Churchill “a subject of criticism and controversy.

He objects, not without justification, to the demonising of Churchill as an irredeemable racist when the same man defeated Hitler. Murray’s description of the Tate’s decision to close a restaurant due to a Rex Whistler mural that includes an enslaved boy also makes for uncomfortable reading.They’re convinced that you’re not allowed to say you’re English or that They’re trying to ban the word ‘Easter’.

We are written over our ancestors in a sort of invisible palimpsest, and with a bit of poetic imagination, it is possible to read between the lines.Once again, Murray has started by positing some plausible assertions without actually citing sources—of course, my experience may not be representative, but I think it would be fair to say that many Brits don’t learn about these subjects at an advanced enough level to have truly grappled with them. Not all of the world’s ills can be blamed on the west, that would be simplistic, but it’s still a rather transparent bit of sophistry on Murray’s part. He first delves into the case of the Whistler mural in the Tate Modern’s dining room which may never see the light of day due to a campaign to have it dismissed as racist because it depicts a couple of very tiny figures in a somewhat antiquated light (it was painted in 1928). Bound up in all of this is the same idea that, by reanimating the past, the present can be ennobled—Spengler confounded by Eliot.

This work, as Murray movingly relates, was conceived as a protest against Kristallnacht, by a Jewish-American composer so deeply affected by the plangent music of the African-American tradition that he once wept at a performance in 1960s Baltimore, at which the largely black audience recognised the spirituals and began, spontaneously, to sing them.They seem to have had no effect whatsoever in even promoting their arguments, let alone winning them.

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