Where Can We Still Speak Freely?

February 22, 2023

With Douglas Murray at Wofford College

Common Sense Society (CSS) hosted a lecture this February 22 at Wofford College featuring the British intellectual and well-known author Douglas Murray. Murray, an associate editor of The Spectator, is also the bestselling author of numerous books, including The Madness of Crowds and The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam. Known for his incisive wit and sharp commentary, Murray discussed some modern views of Thomas Jefferson, the hatred that certain thinkers today show for America’s past, and the ludicrous assertions of the 1619 Project. 

What did we discuss?

Douglas Murray exposes many of the flaws of cancel culture today, showing how these modern culture warriors have unleashed a new inquisition, tearing down America’s past heroes such as Thomas Jefferson. These historical vandals are busy destroying our rich past without offering anything better to replace it. In many cases, it seems like cancel culture isn’t motivated by intellectual honesty, but by an unthinking, zealous hatred for our own past—a hatred that leads to a frenzy of tearing down monuments. 

This current impulse to tear down the past has led to truly ridiculous developments, like attacking Western heroes and champions of liberty such as Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill. It is essential to look honestly at our society and confront our past sins, but Murray shows that such necessary introspection can go too far and become a radical, dangerous overcorrection.

What did we conclude?

Murray shows how Western society today tends to be too hyper-critical of itself. All too often, our public thinkers unthinkingly attack our past, pursuing modern-day vendettas for past historical sins. This outlook attacks the very soul of our societies and can only foment further division and anger. 

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