Douglas Murray

British political commentator

Douglas Kear Murray (born 16 July 1979) is a British author, journalist and political commentator. He founded the Centre for Social Cohesion in 2007, which became part of the Henry Jackson Society, where he was Associate Director from 2011-18. He is also an associate editor of the British political magazine The Spectator.

Edmund Burke made the central conservative insight; that a culture and a society are not things run for the convenience of the people who happen to be here right now, but is a deep pact between the dead, the living, and those yet to be born.
To immerse oneself in popular culture for any length of time is to wallow in an almost unbearable shallowness.
If it were agreed that everybody did bad things in the past, then it would be possible to move on and even to move beyond it.


  • Mark Steyn for instance wrote a wonderful book [...] Bat Ye'or of course, a great scholar, a great writer, with famous Eurabia [...] More than half the children in Amsterdam schools are non-Dutch [...] It will happen during our lifetime. This is not the distant future. 11 years until you lose the Netherlands.
    • speech at November 2006 "Restoration weekend"(broken link|date=May 2023)
  • What about the Hindus? This thought occurred to me the other night while watching an evening of documentaries about Islam on BBC4. By the end, the viewer was left with the distinct impression that we would all still be living in mud-huts if Muhammad's mother had remained a virgin.... But what this farce of bad TV and worse history did remind me of was that if, say, the Hindu community had only been fortunate enough to produce four young men willing to blow the hell out of Londoners and provided a clerical and political class willing to make excuses for them, then the BBC might credit Hindus with inventing the modern world. The government would be pumping tens of millions of pounds into their community events. Young people would be taught Hindu scriptures with resources from the public purse. The Guardian would be bowing its collective editorial knee before their deities. At Christmas, the most rabidly genocidal Hindu leader available would doubtless broadcast to the nation on Channel 4. When you stand back and look at it, the problem for all the other religions is that they just can't seem to provide the eager young foot-soldiers that Islam can.
  • This is how it goes in Europe now. Everything barely worth saying will be said endlessly. And the only things that are worth saying won’t be said. What are those things? Among other things the fact that we are living with the consequences of an immigration and ‘integration’ fantasy which should have been abandoned years ago. Instead our governments have kept pretending that the weakening of Europe’s external borders and the erosion of its internal borders happening at the same time as one of the largest population replacement exercises in history could have no tangible effects on our continent’s future. They pretend that Britain will always be Britain, France will always be France, Sweden will always be Sweden and Belgium will always be Belgium.
  • While the concepts and realities of borders and national identity, which are erroneously believed to encompass a “Fascist” worldview, remain so tainted as to be unusable before any audience of people under 30, the concepts of solidarity, equality, and other benign spillages from the Marxist-Communist worldview remain wreathed in halos. What their exponents mean in practice, what endpoint they seek and what restraints they would ever exercise, never gets asked. But it is in this environ of spilt Marxism that such figures as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren now address their growing young audiences. Were equality (which they press instead of fairness) to have been tainted by an ideological ordure equivalent to that heaped on the concept of borders, then our current conversation would be very different.
  • Political debate can barely occur in an atmosphere in which people assume words and terms to have distinctly different meanings. They slide, slip and decay. But in the world we are in – where anybody might edit a Wikipedia definition, and where plenty of people are learning on the hoof about complex and disputed ideas – we need to try to agree on what words mean rather than define them for ourselves.
  • One of the strange habits of our time is the one in which a self-appointed class roams the land, hands cupped to their ear, hoping to discern something they can identify as a ‘dog-whistle’... One oddity of the whole business of trying to hear dog-whistles is very basic: if you can hear the whistle, you must surely be the dog. It is the nature of the analogy that a non-canid cannot hear what the dog hears. So to be able to hear on a whole different aural wave-length to everyone else – to be peculiarly attuned to the tones of the time and to be able to explain to everyone else – is one heck of a power to bestow upon yourself.
  • Campaign groups which used to oppose neo-Nazis realized that there weren’t sufficient Nazis to justify their business models. They decided that, henceforth, attacking parties such as Ukip should also come under their anti-fascist remit. Soon anybody who opposed supranational institutions or sought to restrict immigration found themselves labelled as beyond the pale. It meant that the views of the majority of the public — in Britain and elsewhere — effectively became defined as far right. In recent years this terminological mission-creep has morphed from being annoying to being disturbing. For if everybody is a fascist, then nobody is. And anyone who knows the scene across Europe will understand that we may well have need of these terms.
  • So it was that Biden ended up choosing Kamala Harris, a senator and former state attorney general who had distinguished herself most in the primaries by attacking him as a racist. On the sole occasion this was raised after she joined the ticket Harris laughed her special laugh. You are lucky if you have not heard this laugh. It is of a type rarely heard outside a penitentiary: a sort of wild, false, exaggerated impersonation of how a human being might laugh. Harris laughs like Mark Zuckerberg moves — as though he has studied these humanoids and is hoping to stay undercover until cyborg D-Day.
  • We do live in a society in which victimhood is the main goal. To be a victim and to be on the victim hierarchy, to have the delicious opportunity to be the most victimized person is clearly the aspiration. We've all seen it in our lives when people pick up the microphone in a Q&A and say 'Speaking as...', and I think 'Ah, everything that is going to come afterwards is going to be garbage.' And then they'll say something about their 'lived experience', as if there is any other kind of experience. 'In my unlived experience...'?
  • [Friedrich Nietzsche] said somebody must stand over the life of the person of resentment and say to them at some point: 'You are right. You have reason to be resentful. There is somebody who has ruined your life. There is somebody who has held you back. The person is you.' Now, that is probably the least pleasant thing to hear and probably one of the hardest things to ever say. How can a politicain, should a politician, say to certain people 'You know, you have screwed up your life, and it's been your responsibility and your fault. You can turn it around, but if you don't want to, you'll still be the only person to blame.'
  • I see no reason why every other country in the world should be prevented from feeling pride in itself because the Germans mucked up twice in a century.
    In Europe, in particular, nationalism after all sounds different depending on the country you're in.
    Nationalism in Israel sounds different to nationalism in America, sounds different to nationalism in Italy, sounds different to nationalism here in Britain.
  • Humza Yousaf, as far as I can see, is not the First Minister of Scotland [...] He's become the First Minister of Gaza, or an ambassador for Gaza, or something like that.
    But people like Humza Yousaf, I say it carefully, have infiltrated our system. He does not seem to be much bothered by the situation of the Scottish people, or the people of Glasgow who have one of the lowest life expectancies not just in Britain but anywhere in Europe.
    He does not seem to care about that or if he does, he does nothing about it. But my word if you look at his social media proclamations … you would think that he was indeed First Minister of Gaza.
    This is a problem that the Scots must sort out, the Scottish electorate must sort out, indeed the British electorate must sort out.
  • [T]his is one occasion when saying that some people are worse than the Nazis is not hyperbole.
    Average members of the SS and other killing units of Hitler's were rarely proud of their average days' work. Very few felt that shooting Jews in the back of the head all day and kicking their bodies into pits was where their own lives had meant to end up.
    Many spent their evenings getting blind drunk to try to forget. Nazi commanders had to worry about staff "morale".
  • Compare this with the behaviour of Hamas on October 7 [2023]. As those of us who have viewed the raw footage from the day have seen and heard for ourselves, these terrorists were not just pleased with what they were doing. They were elated. They spent the whole time screaming "Allahu Akbar" with delight. As they decapitated bodies and shot terrified civilians, they were grinning, congratulating each other and seeking acclaim from others.
  • I regard a lot of these modern social movements as being forms of spilt Christianity or residue Christianity which the people engaging in it don't recognize and would be quite annoyed by if told this. Nevertheless, as you say very visible, recognizable aspects of Christianity are interwoven in this. But here's the difference and here's the fatally important difference: What is being offered at the moment is a form of secularized Christianity, without any ethic of redemption and that is dangerous. Very, very dangerous. The great brilliance of Christianity is the concept of redemption. The possibility of successfully atoning for sins. Take away the possibility of successful atonement, and all you have is a perpetual cycle of guilt and I believe that is what underlies a lot of the unhappiness in our societies today.

The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam (2017)

  • More than any other continent or culture in the world today, Europe is now deeply weighed down with guilt for its past. Alongside this outgoing version of self-distrust runs a more introverted version of the same guilt. For there is also the problem in Europe of an existential tiredness and a feeling that perhaps for Europe the story has run out and a new story must be allowed to begin. Mass immigration — the replacement of large parts of the European populations by other people — is one way in which this new story has been imagined: a change, we seemed to think, was as good as a rest. Such existential civilizational tiredness is not a uniquely modern-European phenomenon, but the fact that a society should feel like it has run out of steam at precisely the moment when a new society has begun to move in cannot help but lead to vast, epochal changes.
  • The search for meaning is not new. What is new is that almost nothing in modern European culture applies itself to offering an answer. Nothing says, “Here is an inheritance of thought and culture and philosophy and religions which has nurtured people for thousands of years and may well fulfill you too.” Instead, a voice at best says, “Find your meaning where you will.” At worst the nihilist’s creed can be heard: “Yours is a meaningless existence in a meaningless universe.” Any person who believes such a creed is liable to achieve literally nothing. Societies in which that is the case are likewise liable to achieve nothing. While nihilism may be understandable in some individuals, as a societal creed it is fatal.
  • Those who believe Europe is for the world have never explained why this process should be one way: why Europeans going anywhere else in the world is colonialism whereas the rest of the world coming to Europe is just and fair.
  • If the burden of working for little reward in an isolating society stripped of any overriding purpose can be recognised to have an effect on individuals, how could it not also be said to have an effect on society as a whole? Or to put it the other way around, if enough people in a society are suffering from a form of exhaustion, might it not be that the society they are living in has become exhausted?
  • A country that believes it has never done any wrong is a country that could do wrong at any time. But a country that believes it has only done wrong, or done such a terrible, unalleviated amount of wrong in the past, is likely to become a country that is inclined to doubt its ability to ever do any good in the future.
  • To immerse oneself in popular culture for any length of time is to wallow in an almost unbearable shallowness.
  • Contra all the assurances and expectations, the people who came into Europe did not throw themselves into our culture and become a part of it. They brought their own cultures. And they did so at the precise moment that our own culture was at a point that it lacked the confidence to argue its own case.
  • The desire to continue to feel yourself guilty arguably finds its endpoint in modern European liberal societies: the first societies in human history who, when they are hit, ask what they did to deserve it. Unassuageable historical guilt carries over into the present.
  • Guilt, as the French philosopher Pascal Bruckner has diagnosed it in his book La Tyrannie de la pénitence, has become a moral intoxicant in Western Europe. People imbibe it because they like it: they get high on it.
  • For even if you believe — as most people do — that some immigration is a good thing and makes a country a more interesting place, it does not follow that the more immigration the better. Nor does it mean — however many upsides there are — that there are not downsides which should be equally easy to state without accusations of malice. For mass immigration does not continue bringing the same level of benefits to a society the more people who come in.
  • A society that says we are defined exclusively by the bar and the nightclub, by self-indulgence and our sense of entitlement, cannot be said to have deep roots or much likelihood of survival. But a society which holds that our culture consists of the cathedral, the playhouse and the playing field, the shopping mall and Shakespeare, has a chance.
  • Sweden in 1950 was an ethnically homogeneous society with almost no migration. A century on it will look an almost entirely different place. And within the life-spans of many of us it is fair to say that such a country - like most other countries in Western Europe - will become unrecognisable even to fairly recent inhabitants.
  • Edmund Burke made the central conservative insight; that a culture and a society are not things run for the convenience of the people who happen to be here right now, but is a deep pact between the dead, the living, and those yet to be born.
  • If you import the world's people you also import the world's problems, with perhaps some new ones.

The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity (2019)

  • It is wholly unsurprising that studies show an increase in anxiety, depression and mental illness in young people today. Rather than being a demonstration of 'snowflake'-ism it is a wholly understandable reaction to a world whose complexities have squared in their lifetimes. A perfectly reasonable response to a society propelled by tools that can provide endless problems but no answers.
  • Meaning can be found in all sorts of places. For most individuals it is found in the love of the people and places around them: in friends, family and loved ones, in culture, place and wonder. A sense of purpose is found in working out what is meaningful in our lives and then orientating ourselves over time as closely as possible to those centres of meaning. Using ourselves up on identity politics, social justice (in this manifestation) and intersectionality is a waste of a life.
  • If somebody has the competency to do something, and the desire to do something, then nothing about their race, sex or sexual orientation should hold them back. But minimizing difference is not the same as pretending difference does not exist. To assume that sex, sexuality and skin colour mean nothing would be ridiculous. But to assume that they mean everything will be fatal.
  • People in wealthy Western democracies today could not simply remain the first people in recorded history to have absolutely no explanation for what we are doing here, and no story to give life purpose. Whatever else they lacked, the grand narratives of the past at least gave life meaning. The question of what exactly we are meant to do now – other than get rich where we can and have whatever fun is on offer – was going to have to be answered by something. The answer that has presented itself in recent years is to engage in new battles, ever fiercer campaigns and ever more niche demands. To find meaning by waging a constant war against anybody who seems to be on the wrong side of a question which may itself have just been reframed and the answer to which has only just been altered.
  • … many Western people today find themselves imbibing the idea that 'primitive' societies had some special state of grace which we lack today – as though in a simpler time there would have been more female dominance, more peace and less homophobia, racism and transphobia. There are an awful lot of unsupported assumptions among these beliefs.
  • … we have begun trying to reorder our societies not in line with facts we know from science but based on political falsehoods pushed by activists in the social sciences.
  • Every age before this one has performed or permitted acts that to us are morally stupefying. So unless we have any reason to think we are more reasonable, morally better or wiser than at any time in the past, it is reasonable to assume there will be some things we are presently doing – possibly while flushed with moral virtue – that our descendants will whistle through their teeth at, and say ‘What the hell were they thinking?’
  • The metaphysics that a new generation is imbibing and everyone else is being force-fed has many points of instability, is grounded in a desire to express certainty about things we do not know, and to be wildly dismissive and relativistic about things that we actually do know.
  • Disagreement is not oppression. Argument is not assault. Words – even provocative or repugnant ones – are not violence. The answer to speech we do not like is more speech.

The War on the West: How to Prevail in the Age of Unreason (2022)

  • It is clear that some unfair ledger has been created, one in which the West is treated by one set of standards and the rest of the world by another. A ledger in which it seems that the West can do no right and the rest of the world can do no wrong. Or do wrong only because we in the West made them do it.
  • This era is defined by one thing above all — a civilizational shift that has been underway throughout our lifetimes. A shift that has been rocking the deep underpinnings of our societies because it is a war on everything in those societies. A war on everything that has marked our societies out as unusual — even remarkable. A war on everything that the people who live in the West have, until recently, taken for granted.
  • Just a couple of decades ago, a course in the history of Western civilization was commonplace. Today it is so disreputable that you can't pay universities to do it.
  • Racism is not the sole lens through which our societies can be understood, and yet it is increasingly the only lens used. Everything in the past is seen as racist, and so everything in the past is tainted. Though, once again, only in the Western past, thanks to the radical racial lenses that have been laid over everything. Terrible racism exists at present across Africa, expressed by black Africans against other black Africans. The Middle East and the Indian subcontinent are rife with racism. Travel anywhere in the Middle East — even to the ‘progressive’ Gulf States — and you will see a modern caste system at work. There are the ‘higher class’ racial groups who run these societies and benefit from them. And then there are the unprotected foreign workers flown in to work for them as an imported labour class. These people are looked down upon, mistreated, and even disposed of as though their lives were worthless. And in the world’s second most populated country, as anyone who has travelled through India will know, a caste system remains in vivid and appalling operation. This still goes all the way to regarding certain groups of people as ‘untouchable’ for no reason but an accident of birth. It is a sickening system of prejudice, and it is very much alive. Yet we hear very little about this. Instead, the world gets only a daily report on how the countries in the world that by any measure have the least racism, and where racism is most abhorred, are the homes of racism.
  • There are many facets to this war on the West. It is carried out across the media and airwaves, and throughout the education system, from as early as preschool. It is rife within the wider culture, where all major cultural institutions are either coming under pressure or actually volunteering to distance themselves from their own past... We appear to be in the process of killing the goose that has laid some very golden eggs.
  • In the modern interest in slavery, very little attention is paid to the fact between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries Barbary pirates (that is, Muslim pirates mainly from North Africa) carried out constant raids not just on European ships but against coastal towns and cities across Europe... The people captured — all white Europeans — would then be either used for ransom or sold into slavery. Over the years during which the Barbary pirates operated, it is believed that they stole as many as one and a quarter million Europeans from their homes. Of course, there is no movement of reparations for those people or their descendants, and no European has seriously suggested trying to find out where any bill for compensation should be sent.
  • If it is agreed that everybody did bad things in the past, then it is possible to move on and even to move beyond it. Who wants to litigate a past in which nobody’s ancestors were saints? Some people do, and they have decided that they can do so by re-framing the history of slavery through their own specifically anti-Western lens.
  • Today the West faces challenges without and threats within. But no greater threat exists than that which comes from people inside the West intent on pulling apart the fabric of our societies, piece by piece. By assaulting the majority populations in these countries. By saying that our histories are entirely reprehensible and have nothing good to be said about them. By claiming that everything in our past that has led up to our present is irredeemably riddled with sin and that while these same sins have beset every society in history, the debtor should knock at only one door. And most importantly by those who pretend that a civilization that has given more to the world in knowledge, understanding, and culture than any other in history somehow has nothing whatsoever to be said for it.

Quotes about Douglas Murray

  • Where does Islam figure in all of this? An Islamised Europe – the denouement of Murray’s story – is fantasy. In a new afterword, he tells the reader that "none of the many facts in this book were able to be refuted and no one of any consequence has even tried to contest or deny them". Yet none of Murray's figures suggests that Europe will have a Muslim majority in any realistically imaginable future.
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