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Resisting Wokeness: Andrew Doyle and Douglas Murray in conversation

Resisting Wokeness: Andrew Doyle and Douglas Murray in conversation
right thank you very much forward for joining us I'm

Andrew

Doyle

this is

Douglas

Murray

and together we are no that's not funny we're here to talk about

resisting

woken as' and yeah it's more it's going to be a

conversation

conversation

rather than an interview we're going to talk to each other about our approaches to this topic and then we're going to come out to you guys and you can come back to us with your comments complaints abuse usual thing so with the
resisting wokeness andrew doyle and douglas murray in conversation
reason why I thought would be good for us to chat is that we've approached this in a very different way so I've written a book a satirical book in the character of titania McGrath to try and tackle and critique what we call woken us and

Douglas

s you've written a book as well which is just out and available at all good book shops you want to tell us about it what a hard opening question thank you

Andrew

very good to be with you and a great pleasure to be at the battle of ideas I
should also say perhaps at the opening that I apologize for the extraordinary lack of diversity on the panel V V the head for sexual community isn't represented at all so that needs working on although people have said I'm a fake gay oh yeah oh oh that's one of my favorite allegations yeah I actually know somebody who that allegation was made uh made about a young very clever slightly conservative figure who when he was at university at the National Union of Students was denounced as
a fake gay they said that he was pretending to be gay in order to smuggle conservative politics in and I said him over time I said that sir there's some real commitment in there I think if you're willing to do that you should that should be that's fair go yeah absolutely there's a lot of effort it is exhausting I mean particularly the way I do it I'd heard you know the no and anyhow but that provides a that provides a past yes you kindly ask yes I just I wrote a book that
came out last month which looks at many of the same issues that you've been looking at my books called the madness of crowds gender race and identity and a very kind and and in essence what I wanted to do was to run straight at all of the land mines of our time and that's because I think we cannot live in the society so stupid that we can't talk about anything that matters for fear of offence and I think there are two particular consequences from that one is that we start to do very
bad things because we pretend we know more than we do we pretend to be much more certain than we have any right to be and the second thing is that we end up living in this society which pretends we don't know things everyone knew till yesterday and that if you combine these two things you you cover most of the social issues that are becoming hard and ugly that's why I do them chapter by chapter gay women race trans I'm sure there are other painful issues I haven't danced over but
but those are the four that it struck me in recent years had become most weaponized most impossible to talk about that we'd made ourselves incapable of thinking about out loud so yes I decided to run at all of them and and also to explain why I think this has come about why why it should have been in our own lifetimes in recent years I think in the last decade and then weaponized in the last five years why we would found this position to have sped up why why will be mused that the news and
politics and much else keeps on having these same issues underneath it so that the only point of political debate is to hope that you will find yourself in the studio with somebody who you can hope to dishonestly claim is being sexist or homophobic or racist or transphobic and that that should end up being the preoccupation of politics yeah I really hope that people read your book who are from the woke side I mean I really do because I think I think it might it's it's an excellent book
it's very methodical and it's thorough and I think you know with I think both you and I want people to reflect on what they're doing you know I think that yes I mean your approach mainly is to laugh at them yes which actually they don't like how amazing they didn't have a sense of humor yeah my approach is to laugh at them quite a bit but also take to take it deadly seriously because these things this is a movement that takes people out all the time yeah you know I was doing
an event the other night with Lionel Shriver and she made the very important point she said we're here doing this because a lot of other people aren't yeah and I don't underestimate the difficulty for a lot of people in treading into this terrain or the vindictiveness and the vituperation that comes their way should they find themselves accidentally or otherwise on top of one of these landmine issues so I am I try to explain where I think he's come from why it's been
particularly something of the last decade to try to take it apart to show that it doesn't work on its own estimation of itself that is that even if we all tried to get in line with the claims that are being made it still couldn't work because it's totally self contradictory so that's the first thing but the second thing from that is to say for God's sake don't let's spend any of our lives doing this yeah this is this is not a fair representation of a society it's
not a fair interpretation of a society and it's not a fair estimation of ourselves as human beings because we are not just black or white straight or gay or a man or woman said it's an unfair estimation of our own experience as human beings it's also hugely degrading to to it I mean we saw this the other day when Barack Obama made the point that we need to he was asking for nuance wasn't he was saying you know Humanity is messy people make mistakes and this expectation from the
woke crowd that ever there has the ideological purity and that you should rake over things that people have said and then in response to that he's been he's been labeled as anti woken a boom a Boomer that's what he's he's old he's only made the fundamental mistake of aging yeah and none of his critics will ever find themselves in this unfortunate position I know that's right in New York Times said this was just a Boomer view it just goes to show there's absolutely
nothing you know you can be you can be the first black president yeah it does matter doesn't matter you got old yep but also deal with it he's also a let's not forget he's half white and that's the problematic part right that's where it comes on on occasion this this is the way to do him down as well I did wonder whether that would happen when people start calling half white and you know I mean it's but but it's it's a really depressant I wonder where this has
come from and I think I I sort of blame academia a little bit you know this thing that you were too why a little bit well so I mean if you go back to the sort of the the Foucault daeun stuff that was really popular back in the 80s and 90s and there was a book by someone called Kate Millett called sexual politics which was effectively just trawling through all the classics and sort of saying this is sexist that's homophobic etc etc problem problematizing literature and that now seems to be a
mainstream tactic it's what you described when when people come into interviews and all they're trying to do is work out where you're being sexist and work and this is and when you do that to literature an art that is a form of I think it's a form of cultural vandalism if all you can do is look for whether something is sending the right popular message then what good are you I again I mean it's it's its form of incredibly proactive laziness isn't it because if all of
these texts from the past are are not worth reading because they've made an error or the author is of the wrong type then you don't need to contend with yeah you don't actually need to read I realized this the sort of standing revelation I had recently when a a young student said to me that he thought that Immanuel Kant had used the n-word and I said I don't think he did at least it doesn't seem likely to me ah now it's possible I've got to look into it it's
possible at you but if he had what would that mean that we should therefore my god what I realized what I realized was of course that it meant that this young man had no need to read the manual right she's really useful because he's difficult you know I saw that so you know this dart Donna Schwartz and not a novelist based in America she tweeted the other day she published an article saying why we need to destroy the Western Canon I say buy her book but buy her book it was tagged to her
book and she was saying you know we need to get because it's all white and male and therefore racist and patriarchal and it does strike me as this kind of crabs in a bucket idea it's people who aren't very good you know she's not a good writer but she can now say but don't read Hemingway she doesn't have to compete with that you know big you know so it's she can bring everyone down to her level you know it's also it the whole thing is so reductive and offensive on
again on its own terms I mean one of the things I mentioned at one point the matters of crowds is this whole thing of studies I mean to a great extent as we all know anything with studies in the title we should not be taught or Elise shouldn't be funded by taxpayer and studies however did have a point at one stage you could argue there are some that might have a point in the future but the way in which black study started for instance plausibly reasonably enough and attempt to highlight
writers and other figures who may not have had enough attention and who who needed to be brought out from some obscurity that that through through circumstance in the past they found themselves in the same thing with case studies to some extent well it's quite hard now to pretend that there aren't very many well-known gay writers from history but but these things had a you could argue they had a utility where does it go wrong goes wrong very clearly when you get into whiteness studies
because then whiteness studies is the only one that is intent on problematizing not on getting people out of history to try to highlight them and study them and and reflect on them but rather just to beat down on everyone who happens to have a particular skin pigmentation well here's here's the problem among others from this is that no no reasonable humane person wants any minority writer to be stuck in that silo who wants Jamie if you said James Baldwin he's one of my favorite black
writers no James Baldwin one of my favorite writers that works that works I totally used to get annoyed by being called a gay comic I thought what like I mean it's quite annoying it is but it but it's you know you don't do the job even tie it to your identity in that way or whatever that wealth is well but here you put your finger on one of the key things with what if there are people who are told they should yeah who are told exactly this is Dogma this is this is indoctrination yeah
I suspect that like me very little to nothing of your sense of identity self or worth relies on the fact that you happen to be gay none of it right now there are other people who are told that is the single signal signifying fact about you and there is an agenda afterwards so once this is what I described as a gay queer divide you know that the gay just happens to attracted around sex whereas queries being attracted to sex is just the beginning of attacking the patriarchy and capitalism and
bringing down your life why didn't get that memo and but the same argument is made in each of these other ones being a woman is not just about being a woman it is about a follow on set of political demands yem this is the politicization of everything but there are people for whom this this is whether we like it or not this is a foundational issue that they're about their identity and that's why this ends up getting fought among other reasons in such a bitter manner because if you are
attacking something or seem to be attacking something which is at the root of somebody's sense of their self then of course they react like a maniac yeah but I do I mean I not suggesting that those things aren't important to your life you know the being Gail being a woman or whatever but to tie it to your whole worldview that you see everything through that prism it feels to me the opposite of what we used to believe you know like we used to go on about the we're born this way you
know this isn't you know now it's now it's not now it's something about choice it's about you you you choose your identity you know this is something that you should be able to do I I don't I think there's some damage in that I see that being gay as being left-handed being five foot ten or whatever you know it's a kind of vital statistic it's something that's neither here nor there what one of the reasons as you know that I argue that this is a
particularly dementing era is because the contradictions we don't focus on them we don't analyze them enough but they're just there and we sense them and one of the contradictions from this is precisely this thing of can you choose things or not and we we tell ourselves two things simultaneously so those you've read the massive crowds will know this but I'll do it very quickly but we all rights claims in recent decades have tried to embed themselves and argue for themselves
by arguing that they are Hardware issues that is there a fundamental thing you could do nothing about the nature of the program and then there are other issues which are software issues and by and large in our societies in a country like Britain kind of like America to some extent if you want to get sympathy or support you argue that your hardware that for instance when a religious cleric says lifestyle choice the gays say no born this way and trans is doing born this way at the moment and the
problem is that is that it's understandable it's debatable as I show but it's impossible to do that simultaneously with the demand that being a woman is a choice but one of the most distinctive Hardware things of our species sex chromosomes is simply a performative issue because that means that the only people actually born hardware in the right body are trans people yeah but that's why I think it's funny ultimately it's funny if you have a movement that is telling you
that gender is a complete social conscious droped but then at the same time telling you but trans people are born in the wrong body so you can't you can't be a social constructionist and the biological essentialist at the same time and to try and do both those things simultaneously makes me laugh I think that's it that's it I mean it is it is a movement that is so full of contradictions but actually rebels in those in those contradictions I it doesn't see the contradictions
resisting wokeness andrew doyle and douglas murray in conversation
as a problem I mean I say I think this is a little bit of a glimpse of the Marxist substructure of some of this which is the contradictions are are to sort of be embraced in a way of course there are contradictions we will have to embrace them get over them well the Enlightenment was just the product of white men yes and I give examples of people saying not just that but for instance the idea of truth is a white construct and that is a tariff is just that is just terrifying it big and you know
that's why in the race chapter in this book I I it's like it's a warning but this are warning just say if you want to play this hardware/software game you want to wait till you get on to race with that and you are in a whole world of nightmares it is deadly serious it is deadly serious and I think I don't want people think I'm being flippant by mocking it but actually in a way I think Tamaki is essential because it's not you'll never convert the zealots you'll
never really convert the extreme identitarian but what you can do is sow the seeds of doubt on those who are wavering or you know we're all ingesting this media day-by-day most of us are like is can this be right can this be real and if we're making those things figures of fun then hopefully more people will have the courage to say you know it's and also of course if if you can laughed it the great thing about humor what you what you do and what you do potato Tania is is the laughter
of recognition is people people can be very easily bullied into new orthodoxies and dogmas that they know they there must be something up with yeah but if you make them laugh about it then that's the safest way to start there's just one thing I'd add about that which is the deadly seriousness of this in people's lives I mean I am I think like you in in a position for once I'm happy to play the privileged game if if if like me you're a writer you are responsible to your
readers some extent and to your editors to some extent most people are in a much more difficult position in their lives anyone who works in the public sector anyone who works in government anyone who works increasingly in large waves of the private sector knows that this stuff is coming for them and that they are being asked to believe things which they are finding it incredibly hard to believe but unless there are people laughing at this pointing out the absurdities and so on there will just be
this endless agreement and agreeing with things that are not true and the reason I mind this is because I know and we know from the I'm not saying this as a totalitarian system yet but we know from the histories of totalitarianism that tout arianism demands that people believe things and agree to things they know not to be true why to demoralize them to demoralize them and I have no doubt that if as a society people are bullied into agreeing to things they do not and cannot believe and are
told to say things that are patently absurd it's what happens after that that I mind so what what do we call this because I think it's really important to draw a distinction between the political correctness movement of the 80s and 90s which was a sort of messy attempt to reach a kind of socially agreed discourse on the way that were going to talk to each other in public and in the workplace and in education and all the rest of it and broadly speaking that had some very good outcomes
what you've just described is is veers into a kind of authoritarianism there's a different thing and I think a lot of the reasons why people attack those of us who critique whoa culture is they say well you're one of these PC gone mad brigade people you you know you're making a big fuss about nothing and they conflate the two movements I actually think they're quite distinct and I don't know what to call this now I I don't call it political correctness personally I
don't I I say woke movement or woke culture but now of course the strategy is to claim that that is just a right-wing slur against social justice how about how about seeing the whole thing as a form of overcorrection I'm trying to be as benign as possible yeah reading here but let's say because this is all very complex we know this have has there been racism in the past yes of course has there been homophobia the bus yes of course have women being equal to men the past and no of
course they haven't now there's a tendency it seems to me that if you want to correct an injustice including particularly historical injustice you might want to go past equal for a time you might wish to go to for instance better or you might not be satisfied with absolutely the same but say let's make up for some lost time let's make let's make them squeal a bit it's a very understandable human emotion the retributive emotion I think that's almost certainly one of
the things that's going on at the moment it was always there it was always there can we settle for equal do we have to go to better well I like your metaphor in the book when you talk about the train at the station that the trains coming to a station and slowing down and then just at the last second the driver throws all the coal in and it goes speeding off way past its destination because it felt like that I think you and I have a similar age so we you know you can remember when we were
growing up we didn't we we were reaching a kind of colorblindness we didn't notice when there was a film with a black actor or a film with a woman in a prominent lead no it wasn't an issue in of itself it wasn't something that it was remarkable you know and I feel like the momentum was in the that's not to say there wasn't racism and sexism all the rest of us and there's a critique you know the office' critique of that is we wouldn't have noticed it as much
okay but my my my female friends didn't notice it either you know and that that's that's the thing I mean it we it wasn't a big thing that Sigourney Weaver is a major female action hero lead it wasn't remarked upon what was remarked upon is how great her performance was I mean I didn't see the proto identity politics movement just rejoicing in the femaleness of Margaret Thatcher well she was lady at least she's a woman no but she was a masculine but that's what
they would say is that that was good thing that she was well that was in enacting maleness he's this recently about the UM there was an attack yeah there was an attack in American it was a an attack from it I think it was a Latino person attacking a black but they said that this was this was someone enacting whiteness so that the rape right so it's not so it's all performative you know there are cases of Hispanic white supremacy Oh shouldn't there be quite a few they've been
quite a few of those claims made in American recently it is quite astonishing so that's why this is not the same as political correctness these are people who actually are divorcing the reality of your skin color gender sexuality from your skin color gender and sexuality as you know I mean III I'm obsessed by these cases you know because they happen in each one of the issues I write about it happened with you'd have a little while ago but you mentioned that the facts are example but
it's happened in it happened you can see it very clearly in recent years with the famous career trajectory of Germaine Greer where she gets chucked out of the Church of feminism by some people who's just say Germaine Greer isn't a feminist interesting but then it happens to other people Peter Thiel that Silicon Valley tech billionaire comes out for Trump in 2016 as denounced by the main gay magazine in America is not being gay they say he may sleep with men but in no way is he gay
again I mean that's putting in the groundwork so but but they say but you can't be if you're gay you you have a set of political views now this this starts to get very dark for Kanye West when he first comes out in support of Candis Owens then has tan EEZ coats and the Atlantic riding a piece saying that Kanye isn't black and this this is that this is a very troubling theme there's an example I give in the book of Thomas soul there's a those of you who are fans of
academic humiliation as I am connoisseurs of academic humiliation will relish the fact that the the example I give from the London School of Economics book review site a few years ago they reviewed a book of Thomas rather late about three years after to come out but and the reviewer I try to be as chattel as possible a little-known Welsh academic in a different discipline reviewed this book and castigated it will you he said that Thomas soul was using you know what the dog whistles they love
dogs I love the dog always forgetting that if you hear the whistle you're the dog but anyway but they do he does he does he does all the dog whistle stuff he's doing dog whistles you can read between the lines we'd see the Thomas souls actually saying it but it has on the great errata at all time at the bottom of the article to their enormous credit this whole of economics has as a deletion him an earlier version of this argument over this article included the words easy for a rich
white man to say maybe he hadn't even seen the dust jacket of the book yeah but but this is fascinating because again we get to this absolutely crucial bit this is an attempt and this is why I'm I just say like you whoa yeah don't do this listen this is an attempt to claim that everything in our lives is dictated by characteristics we have no say over and it is terrifying where that goes because what this means is black is a synonym for radical left-wing woman synonym for radical
left-wing gay synonym for radical left-wing trans we'll get back to you but for the time being synonym for radical left-wing does nobody see a problem with this a backlash down the road to this among much else it's so about the elimination of the individual and sort of like the idea that we should be assumed to believe certain things on the basis of something we cannot control I find I find it really really scary and I also find it quite I find it quite paternalistic I find it quite
patronizing you know when you hear people complain about certain types of jokes because they might offend gay people for instance well maybe I can handle myself and I don't need someone sort of yes controlling that and also as we know of just because something's offensive doesn't mean it isn't possibly true in fact quite often things that are offensive are offensive because you you censor a whiff of truth in it and you'd rather skip over it and that's fine if it's
just to do with politeness but the problem is of course is they're elements in this which you get some way past politeness that's the reason I did I did trans last and try to and this is why I hope that people who generally disagree with what I'm saying do at least take on board what I'm arguing in that chapter in particular which is that one of my editors says it's a very good useful rule of thumb says every ear in human history has done things which we look back on and are
insane why did they do that sometimes it's social issues you know why why did the Victorians put children up chimneys exactly why don't they know it might be bad for the child sometimes it's much bigger world historical things why did that why did they fall into war in 1914 didn't they know it was going to be the great war of 1914 to 1918 you know for instance and and but but since every era has done things we look back on and oh just a gog assume unless we've become
incredibly virtuous smart and filled with foresight in recent years assume we're doing some things too and try to work out what they are now now I submit that one of these things is at least somewhere within the trans argument and I explained what I think is a plausible humane reasonable rights claim within trans but I also say don't think it's obvious that that goes on to experimenting on children and assume that successive generations after us will not look back and think wow wow I
mean just look at that bit of footage the other day from the LGBT to tea town hall the Democrats when a mother is standing there beside a child and the child introduces themselves to Elizabeth Warren and says I'm a nine year old trans child and Lizabeth Warren and everyone else in the room just whoops whoops I I think we can we can stick to being polite where and when we can but this is where an unwillingness to actually interrogate complex difficult tricky terrain leads you it leads you to
the situation of everyone cheering as an idea we didn't have a few years ago and needs to be interrogated properly I wonder whether I think where I might Park company site is I I think as opposed to looking back on this and seeing where I think we know this is wrong generally as a society I think we know it at the moment I think we have a bizarre situation where the minority of social justice activist all those with that mindset seem to have so much power and ability to dominate than the
media narrative that we're with we're in this kind of a loser e world where we think this is the norm I think the vast majority people and this is about what actually wanted to ask you about because I think we are I think we're winning I think there's something to be very optimistic about oh for sure i I think I don't believe that we are living in this oppressive matrix world that they think we are and I and I think therefore it is doomed to die I agree but there might be an
awful lot of pain to get through first I come back to this thing if you are working in government or in a large number of company creasing number of companies and elsewhere you are already stuck in the matrix of not being able to have employment decisions based on competency but at the very least significantly dominated by characteristic discussions and once that is embedded the truth is that we can laugh about it all we want but if they decide to stick with the dogma we're screwed so
that's my that's my question is how do we how do we change that when they were already so embedded in our in the powerful institutions when we have quangos that are deciding which adverts are good for us to see and you know all that sort of stuff it's so it's so commonplace yes and we don't have people in Parliament who are willing to I make an anti woke argument the problem is is that it's it's it's a cost-benefit analysis isn't it I mean you're right
resisting wokeness andrew doyle and douglas murray in conversation
there are very good reasons to be positive one by the way is simple that the title of your um your book woke a few years ago woke was used as a term of approbation or less if you will let me correct myself a few years ago when it started to sidle in there were people quality but who would like to be thought of as woke oh yeah the term was was positive yes and then at some point not unconnected with your own fury of a creation running straight at the general public like an avenging angel people
didn't want to be thought of as woke it took on other connotations it was a pejorative to it and I think that in itself is a positive because it shows that these things can be turned around against people that that maybe you don't want to be seen as that well my favorite was was a P Hirsch in The Guardian he wrote an article saying that the word woke is just a word that right-wingers use to describe - to denigrate social justice and I replied to that tweet with a number of screenshots
from the Guardian we're woke was in the headline yes how to find mister woke so you know maybe the Guardian is right-wing I think create maybe they create something and then pretend it's a figment of your imagination yeah that's it and they're always going on about gaslighting but they seem to do it more than anyone the number of terms now being thrown a gaslighting yeah anyhow it's it's there are reasons to be positive about it I just come back to this thing if
you're not in the if you're not in the fortunate position of being independent minded and roughly speaking self-employed person it's just there's a lot more pain to keep going through and I but I come back to this thing why you mentioned the politicians why is it so hard for a politician to to withstand this and I think there are reasons that are reasonable is it I mean one is none of them want to be caught on the wrong cite as many of them were on for instance gay issues in the
past they they they feel again this might be trans may well be simply an over caught up in the over correction about gay I think that's what's happening but nobody want to be caught on the wrong side of what might turn out to be the wrong side of history and and and so they but but here's another thing that this simply a cost-benefit analysis and I've I've had to spend quite a lot of my life with politicians of all different persuasions and raring with them and and falling
out with them and occasionally agreeing with them but one thing I have noticed that I've always underestimated is the extent to which in politics the cost-benefit analysis goes on far more than I ever recognized I could never understand where there are certain things that politicians wouldn't say and it always comes down to the fact that there's very little to gain for it and a disproportionate amount potentially lose so that they way out they simply weigh it up and every time
there's a crowd stampede on one of these issues they weigh up I could I could say something everyone knew till yesterday I could say it today and my career could be over tomorrow should I do it the contrary position is we all know we used to believe that yesterday we all know most people don't believe that today but we are being bullied today into saying it and so in order to survive till tomorrow I'll join in that's I I get that idea I mean to give an example I think most of us
know that if we want to live in a free society the price we pay for that some people say bad things say offensive things but what would the politician have to gain to stand up in Parliament say we need to repeal our hate speech laws because of course the inevitable assault on that will be you are therefore siding with the the races to the horrible it wouldn't even be that be you must be a racist but you must be trying to do racism again but on principle given that we live in a country where
3,000 people are arrested every year for things they've said online that are deemed to be offensive then this is something we should be addressing shortly do you know I don't think this country minds about free speech all that much I don't think it does I hope you're wrong I'm just saying I just don't think it does I think we sort of pretend we do in a small bunch of weirdos of us do but I'm on them by and large yeah yeah you me both but outside that weirdos brigade
the recent history suggests people are quite happy to be questioned and would rather have a quiet life than stand up for this kind of principle I come back to this thing I'm forever comparing this country negatively to France in these regards but you know when the when the me two things started and everyone knew that but giving these are some serious allegations being made and criminal charges to be brought into a correction was needed but when as you could see quite early on the whole thing
started to overreach and he got cases like the Ansari case in America where comedians basically had a very unfortunate date but it doesn't mean he should never be allowed to leave the house again when these things happen in Britain basically people did keep their heads down we had nothing like the 100 prominent French women from all walks of life including various friends of mine Martha's there were people like Catherine Deneuve very prominent actresses and philosophers and thinkers in
fact a hundred French female intellectuals and cultural figures sign a letter saying no the sexes need to get on we cannot criminalize flirting this has gone too far you couldn't find a hundred women in this country to do that I'm sorry you couldn't not of that level of prominence everyone in this country keeps their heads down on these things it's been my experience throughout my life it's been the experience of this country in each of the major free speech Wars in recent
years that generally speaking we continue to pretend that the people who are pointing to the issues if they just went quiet and went away we could all have our comfortable quiet life again can I can I give an example of something that might counter that bit please just so that and this I think points to something I think there has been a kind of cultural shift if we go back to the Blair error if we go back to new labor in 2005 they tried to introduce the religious discrimination act and what
that would have meant was that if anyone comedian made a joke about a religion or mocked anyone's religion then they would have been liable to prosecution now that didn't pass but by very small one because Tony Blair himself didn't turn on haha always a good thing though and we had the might of Rowan Atkinson on our side so this was my point so we had basically a concerted effort amongst prominent comedians spearheaded by Rowan Atkinson to say no this is too much this is a
sledgehammer to crack a nut this is not something we should be getting behind fast forward to our time and you have the countdown killer case the Nazi Pope case where someone makes an obvious joke in a video and he's prosecuted and that goes to court two year trial found guilty comedians totally silent no what I'm saying is I think something has changed in that intervening time period what this is where the target selection on this is so damn clever the problem is is that most people
don't have time in the day to work out if the Glaswegian YouTube poster is a Nazi or not my my presumption in most cases is not to assume everyone is a Nazi until they prove otherwise but we do live in a culture which takes the contrary point of view on that assume Nazism on everyone's behalf until they prove absolute ideological cleanliness and we don't we don't know quite how you do it but how did the count dank how does the count don't thank a guy get out of it he he
appears to be trying to bring back Nazism through the means of his girlfriend's dog which is weird well particularly since that Gestapo arrested a man during the war for teaching its dog to teaching their dog to do a Nazi salute so they but even the Gestapo let that go but but the Scottish judiciary they took it all the way you know I mean I mean that's a very funny one because the the cyber crime Intelligence Unit invent investigated him for two years read all his emails all this text
they found no evidence whatsoever of far-right leanings but because the Guardians got a hunch you know we just assumed what but this this is a this is a cyst this is a serious problem built into this because the feet again the few a few weirdos among us most of whom will be here over the course of this weekend will will stand up for the Nazi pug themed Glaswegian poster guy on the principal and because then you have to look into a bit but assuming that most people don't have the time or the
energy to do that they just think I don't know that I want to do it because otherwise if he does turn out to be a Nazi again I don't think he does but if he does and you're stuck with Nazi some Pig pug dogs salute guy and then what was the point of that it does it makes it seem so frivolous doesn't it all this stuff is about such silly things but actually the principle is so serious it isn't about a dog and the solute it's about what it represents you know and and the
problem I have and I have to I've discussed this a little bit recent is how could we see because it happens an awful lot this has happened an awful lot and in my life whenever it's happened to somebody I know I've always come out fighting them as hard as I can it happened recently to my friend Roger Scruton it happened some years ago to my friend ayaan Hirsi Ali and I always fight to defend them because of my friends and I know it's a lie but here's the problem most people
aren't in that situation most people don't have anyone who can come out and fight on their side or they don't have anyone with platforms to come out on their side or with any any credibility as it were and and and they don't and the person who the accusations being made of doesn't have any significant body of work to go to so you just don't know I mean there was a case with the Asda supermarket worker recently who who was fired for liking this billy connolly video that
also demonstrates the retreat I mean Billy Connolly makes it one joke about Islam fifteen years ago ten years ago or something and it's so unusual that it occasionally goes around the internet again as people you know just to quite pleased that there's a guy laughing at suicide bombers because nobody else has the guts to do that which is pretty damn amazing just to start with but this this thing goes around the internet sucks sometimes it goes round and a guide as the likes it bang
he's fired well again the guide Asda isn't in a circle of writers and thinkers and and doesn't have and then you're like do I have time to dig through the Asda supermarket workers back Facebook called this is why I think we're quite privileged in a way that we do say what we want and we can but I always think about this if I was still working as a teacher I wouldn't make jokes I wouldn't I wouldn't tweet the way that I tweet well this here's one way you could
start you start dresses everybody everywhere stand up for your mates yeah when you know they're being lied about always do that yeah and you know if more people around each of these cases that could happen with maybe we get somewhere I think that's a really good time should we take it out to the audience let's do it oh loads our hands okay who do you like the look of most oh you do you do it because okay okay we'll go here could you do would you mind standing up when you ask the
question so that we can get your very suggestive oh let's we'll talk afterwards anyway

Douglas

so I loved both your books I'm 20 P I've got to be honest I'm 20 pages away from completing madness of crowds I think I get the gist I'm a lady oh my god yeah no and so your first book was obviously immigrant largely immigration your most recent book is about the problematic identity politics and the identities and so it seems you're with the most recent books hitting the
sort of difficult

conversation

s so I wonder what what is it are you going to continue that theme and if so is it gonna be like climate change your ways the next difficult thing to be tackled gosh let me just very quickly thank you for the question question with one correct loses sight authorial sore point I guys you I've written five books it's just this the last two that have sold particularly well and that's I regret that my book on Northern Ireland didn't fall off the shelves
fly off the shelves it didn't fly but my last two you're right right well if you are interested in taboos and dogmas and if you are for whatever reason wired not to mind treading on them this is a great time to be alive it's a really great time to be alive and and I just think that dogmas and orthodoxies tell you so much about the time you're living in you just it's it's like archaeology like living archaeology you just you see everything that of what's actually going
on in our society by looking at the things that you're not meant to talk about I think that the other thing is of course is really what I want to do is is not that I think we just need to talk about them as say any old crap it's the die I think we need to be able to interrogate and contend with the difficult issues in a reasonable manner and I tried to do that there are yes there are Oh are there some left I'm thinking about them just a lady yet back there on the yeah there we get on
the far right not the far right you know it's most of the audience probably I'm a woman I can't be on the far right and actually that was put I was gonna make them we in my last session I went to the one on toxic culture in politics and down in Cummins who was on the platform said that in the past the left would be on a March singing a song we hate the Tories we hate the Tories we hate the Tories Tories we hate you and then you'd kind of join them because you also hate the Tories
so therefore you must be left-wing and I really agreed with your point about the fact that you know if you're black you're left-wing you're a radical left winger and so those people who are black who support the right wing they're you know going against the cause and but I wanted to just ask a question I am a teacher so there are lots of things that I am NOT allowed to say including plastics in the ocean isn't the big problem the children face and but I did have a child
I'm a primary school teacher our teacher is six and I'm I had a child last year who was LGBT and we had a difficult

conversation

in the summer term where we said to her we're not going to let you change your name on the register because we have four-year-olds in the school that we need to we would have to explain it all to everybody in the school it's not good time for you to do this wait till you go to secondary school and you know then you can explore it a bit more but I had
lots of

conversation

s with her mum who said don't tell her dad because they hadn't talked about it yet but the biggest problem that I think professionals and parents are coping with in terms of this sort of issue is the question of suicide the worry of suicide and the worry of mental health and I just wondered whether you'd kind of found out anything about how this feeds into the work culture because as a parent if your child says if you don't let me do this I'm going to
commit suicide where do you go with that and as a teacher where do you go with that because the last thing you want to do is find the child has committed suicide and you feel like it's your fault and I think that's that mental health thing and the suicide thing is where these things become quite powerful I think

Douglas

you'll know you've done more researching I spoke to quite a lot of people for this book who themselves had transitioned or started transitioning and stopped or
and also the parents of people who had and I now fairly regularly find at events and other things people coming up to me who were in this position the first thing is I think that down the road we will discover that there is some crossover of mental illness and what we put into the part of the trans thing and that I think we're going to discover that autism in particular would not say the same thing as a mental illness but there's a crossover of autism with trans claims in particular and
that's already I just don't just in my own research I come across too many cases of this a child is diagnosed to be autistic and somewhere down the road says trans if it's elisany's really careful picking apart as for this specific thing look via the idea in Britain and America at the moment is you have to affirm that once a child says they're trans you have to affirm because everything that isn't a phone I have a quote from an American doctor who says is very clear she
says what are the what's the price of not affirming your child's identity it's not having a child agree with me or your child will commit suicide what a thing to just wave through my own view would be on this I think the right thing the child for that age and the school should not decide do a free fall I think there's far more trauma in my only my own experience are looking at it there's far more trauma in all of the other children being told that at any point they may change
sexes van in trying to hold that line at least during the school years and I think that we have a big problem with society if we held hostage by people threatening their own lives at us this is a really tricky one I don't need to tell you that but in most situations if somebody says do what I want or I may kill myself we try to be understanding but we're not infinitely so we're not completely blackmailed into anything they want us to be blackmailed into by that this is a hellish area
I don't envy all the teachers and others who have to deal with it at the frontline I think really we for me the problem is we haven't had we haven't been able to have the

conversation

s and I think particularly in it comes to children I saw a documentary about trans kids which was on the BBC and there was a American couple and and the man was saying I love looking at my child now because might I see my little girl running I don't have to look at my little boy mincing about and and
what what is really happening there is he's fixing a gay kid isn't he I mean that's though and I do I do worry about this idea that there's a kind of rehabilitated homophobia at the at the bottom of this that that really tom boy could just be I mean for my view what is wrong with a boy behaving in traditionally masculine ways or a sorry boy behaving in a traditionally feminine way or a girl behaving an additionally masculine way if we really put you know we shouldn't be
trying to fix because actually actually this stuff that about about someone saying they don't fit into a traditional gender this is very conservative I think it's a really conservative view of gender at the heart of the trans ideology and that we need to have though we just haven't had the discussions that the trans thing runs against gay and it runs against women and that's why it's causing so much pain because it's the same thing with a non-binary thing which I
don't believe in the non-binary thing says I'm a male but I'm feeling a little bit you know female today what is that yeah what is that well we used to call that sexism right I mean there was a video with Sam Smith saying I've realized there's a woman within me and what he's doing is pouting and dancing right like a right so so that's what he that's what he thinks being a woman is yes okay why don't we take two go to the back up salute right right the back
with a blue top and the white shirts very nice yeah well this working yeah I started working on or looking at the trans issue back in 2015 because I was invited to do something on gender neutral parenting here and I discovered all this stuff and what I discovered and what I think that this is about as I discovered that by that time all of the professional ethics standards all of the kind of you know laws that are now being brought to bear on the situation the states had already been written or
had already been accepted and it was III think that ultimately this is about the replacement of social norms with bureaucratically imposed social norms and I think that what happened in the states is it after the successful campaign for gay marriage you have this vast infrastructure of campaigners who wanted something else to do and so you know literally by 2015 the ethical recommendations of the American Association of psychologists said that if you cannot affirm your patient's gender
identity you should not be treating that patient it's just incredible it's let's take with one other one or two others I saw them gentlemen there in the green lanyards very much just on the question of identity politics Jen generally I mean there is a real ethical question about whether I mean some will say mocking these tendencies is is in danger of ignoring reelin justices and it's possible it is but that doesn't mean you shouldn't mock it but on a specific question of
identity politics there's something I've noticed in the rhetoric of this which is a certain attacks be they said to be transphobic homophobic or whatever are attacks on Who I am and it's the it is this word who that's doing the work it's get mean smuggled into public discourse of quite a long time now you're attacking Who I am now in a way you can say okay it's just another way of saying you're attacking something is true of me are attacking what I am but actually
the undertow of the undercurrent of this is at your you're opposing a kind of existential threat to me and you're actually annihilating me so you find some people I mean a minority of activists but some you're denying my right to exist as if you're actually being accused of plotting murder conspiracy to murder it's not literally meant but that's the the thought and that I think whatever we can say whatever reservations might have about some of the things you know about
some of the complexities of this issue there is something in the rhetoric that I find quite worrying shall we take one more question then yeah at the back there just to yeah a fantastic discussion by the way and Frank foodie I was reading Frank freely today and he says that he says that there was 70 percent of undergraduate students are reporting that their stress or anxiety so it follows on for my colleague my friend over here about educating education so I just wonder whether this relates to
this thing about this whole notion being woke relates to anxiety and stress in young adults well why don't we just pick on whatever points and just wrap up what we what we think I'm I mean I think I think you're you're absolutely right about you hear that language of erasing people's existences and I think this this comes down to this conflation of words and violence which is something that we really desperately need to resist because they're not the same thing because
what that really is as a strategy to say that we shouldn't have this discussion because what you're doing is inflicting violence upon me and I think it's really dangerous but in terms of the younger people and their own anxieties and I think young people have always been anxious and I've always had these these these problems and I think one of the reasons why I am so optimistic is because I have been talking at universities and going to speak into students and I think most
students are sick of this you know and and you you've you hear this all the time about the snowflake generation and the generations ed and they're also you know so feeble and they're they're not some of them are there's a small minority there is a problem with resilience in that generation I don't de know there but us that's our generations fault but the the but loads of students that you talk to you actually they they want to move beyond this they're sick of it
they're just afraid and they end up capitulating with the loudest and most aggressive voices among them so I think don't write off the young generation that's what I'd say don't at all I I think they're more on board than then you realize I am I second that just add one thing to it which is I in matters of crowds I do these sort of interlude chapters and one of them which I wish I could get people to focus on more is about the issue of forgiveness and I'm sympathetic
to the to the so-called snowflake generation because I think that they are in a situation unparalleled in human history so the connectivity which we all know the virtues of has terrible terrible downsides and if I could sum that up in one way it's Hannah Arendt says in the 50s and in a lecture he gave the action in the world was always terrifying because we never knew how to undo an action that it's everything is it's impossible to undo every word we never we never did know as a
species has yet other than one one mechanism we had to deal with that which was forgiveness now the generation growing up now lives in a world where acting in the world has never been more perilous you might tweet something post something a photograph a comment be friends with something bang you're over how do you come back nobody cares nobody spends any time focusing on it nothing in the culture none of the adults everyone's too keen taking out their enemies everyone's too happy to
get some short-term gain from it nothing in the society focuses on how we get out of it so when a young person looks at this and becomes terrified of acting I'm not surprised I would be so the job of adults as it were in that situation is to try to find a way not just to strengthen young people and help them get through this life that was never exactly easy there was no generation that came through life and said well that was a doddle but not just to help them get through but to help them
find ways out this is the sort of thing the adults should be focusing on and if we weren't focusing on the navel-gazing of identity politics and working out exactly where we stand in every grievance hierarchy and where we are in the privileged chain today perhaps that's the sort of thing we'd have worked out by now or at least be thinking about that's why I say there's an opportunity cost there's a massive opportunity cost to wasting the most privileged generation in
history on identity issues when we should be doing so much more listen uh thank thank you guys for coming guys sorry about the gendered language that I write so uh and I'm I would really urge you to read

Douglas

s's book the madness of crowds it's brilliant do to read thank you very much

Douglas

he's going to be signing copies of his book over on the mezzanine by the book shop there are a limited number of copies available to buy so go over there by one and

douglas

ville site and
sign them for you but I really owed you to read it's fantastic piece of work thank you very much