Douglas Murray, an author from the UK, is one of the Anglosphere’s most popular public intellectuals.
As a homosexual who is also against trans activism, Murray is proud of his neoconservative leanings, and thus naturally has a deep-rooted hatred for Islam. According to his bestselling 2017 book Death of Europe, one of the main reasons for the West’s potential demise is Islam.
Recently, he wrote a piece for UnHerd, with quite the provocative title “Why is the Right so unattractive?” which he begins by noting that the Left and the Right both lack self-criticism.
As per Murray, the Left didn’t own its failures, shortcomings and mistakes; and for this reason, its activism remained somewhat paradoxical during the Trump mandate.
He says this is the exact same problem the Right faces under the Biden regime.
However he goes on to note a difference: the “apostasy” (his own word) exclusively happens from the Right to the Left, giving the example of political commentator Max Boot, who basically left conservatism due to Trump.
On the other hand, he says that the reverse has never really happened, namely a Leftist becoming conservative. As proof, he presents the case of talk-show host Bill Maher – someone who has been bashing liberals, SJWism, cancel culture, etc. for years – yet he hasn’t “apostatized” to the extent of defecting to the Right.
For Murray, its inability to attract “apostates” from the Left is a failure of the Right.
“Religion Is To Blame”… But Is Murray Alone?
After dismissing the usual responses to the question (i.e., that they don’t move to the Right due to the lack of political courage, etc.), Murray argues that the main issue is… yup, you’ve guessed it – religion:
At the heart of this lies a centuries-old tension in America between the worlds of politics and religion. It was always said that the genius of keeping religion in the background during the founding of America was that it allowed it to flourish in the foreground later on. By contrast, the centrality of the established church in England almost guarantees the obscurity of religion’s place in public life.
And yet in America, the desire on the Right to mix religion and politics remains a significant temptation.
All of which is to say that this overlap between politics and religion remains a special type of kryptonite to any separation-of-church-and-state liberal. And that would be a subject of niche interest were it not also for the fact that it is electorally disastrous for the American Right, however enjoyable it may be as a religious or intellectual enterprise.
So Murray believes that the Right is unattractive in the US because of religion.
His reasoning is even more interesting: he rejects religion on the basis of liberalism.
This should be harsh wake up call for “conservatives,” since in reality they’re just another side of the liberal coin.
RELATED: Who Are Liberals Exactly?
Ironically, Murray came to the conclusion that religion is the problem during a conference lecture delivered by Patrick Deneen, a Roman-Catholic and Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame. Deneen has demonstrated the innate liberalism of “conservatives” in his 2018-book Why Liberalism Failed (pp. 36-37):
First-wave liberals are today represented by “conservatives,” who stress the need for scientific and economic mastery of nature but stop short of extending this project to human nature. They support nearly any utilitarian use of the world for economic ends but oppose most forms of biotechnological “enhancement.” Second-wave liberals increasingly approve nearly any technical means of liberating humans from the biological nature of our own bodies. Today’s political debates occur largely and almost exclusively between these two varieties of liberals. Neither side confronts the fundamentally alternative understanding of human nature and the human relationship to nature defended by the preliberal tradition.
Thus as per Deneen, the Right – or “conservatives” – are what he calls “first-wave liberals,” while the Left – or “liberals” – are simply “second-wave liberals.”
The entire “Right vs. Left” dichotomy in the US just then becomes a battle of one strand of liberalism against another. The roots, worldview, etc., however are fundamentally the same (what one may describe as “philosophical liberalism”).
This is particularly interesting because it gives the words of Murray wider context and meaning. Religion is not a problem for Murray alone, nor just the Left, but for all liberals – which also includes… yup, the Right!
But that’s only if they’re consistent in their beliefs.
RELATED: What Is Liberalism?