The Long March of the Lemmings

In an interview with John Anderson last fall, Douglas Murray delivered a passionate denunciation of a plan by Muslim groups to host the so-called ‘Million Man March’ for Palestine on Remembrance Day.

“The soul of England, the soul of Britain, is about to be trampled on very, very visibly by people who are gleeful in their trampling,” he said with fierce contempt. “They have defaced and defiled all of our holy places, and I think that I know the British soul is awakening and stirring with rage at what these people are doing. These people came into our house—many of them broke into our house illegally. Many of them were never wanted here. They have come here; they have betrayed all of our attempts at hospitality; they’ve spat in our faces; and now they want to trample everything we have underfoot. No. No.”

It was magnificent to watch—provocative eloquence of that sort is rare these days. Murray’s analysis of the fifth column fomenting a rise in antisemitism unseen since the middle of the last century and the attitude of the anti-Western migrants who have arrived to enjoy the benefits of a civilization many detest is entirely accurate. But I couldn’t escape the feeling that Murray’s conclusion was too optimistic. A half-century into our society-wide experiment in secularization, I wonder if there are enough defenders to save the British—or Western—soul, if we indeed still have one. Murray and his co-belligerents are doing their best, but it feels, increasingly, like a last stand.

That feeling grew when we saw 300,000 pro-Palestine activists march through central London on Armistice Day, one of Britain’s biggest days of mass protest. A month later, a Daily Mail poll taken in the wake of a viral TikTok trend in which young people praised a letter by Osama bin Laden condemning the West found that one in five younger Americans has a positive view of bin Laden, scarcely two decades after 9/11. A staggering 12% of 18-29-year-olds said they had a “somewhat positive view” of bin Laden, while 8% said they had a “completely positive view.” Three in ten members of Generation Z said that bin Laden’s views were a “force for good.”

It is one thing to see Islamist immigrants in Western capitals spontaneously celebrating the slaughter and rape of Jewish families. That was grimly predictable. Muslims in London and elsewhere celebrated the 9/11 attacks, too. But to see kids praising bin Laden after he masterminded a plot to send planes filled with innocent people into towers filled with innocent people? Perhaps they are too young to remember the bloodcurdling, desperate phone calls made from the planes and towers to loved ones by Americans who realized they were going to die. Or the searing sight of the ‘jumpers’ who leapt from the towers rather than be burned alive. Or the 343 firefighters and first responders crushed when the towers collapsed.

Bin Laden did that, and twenty years later, he’s not only trending but trendy. Is it malignant stupidity? Western self-loathing? Both? To find such views in those who ‘came into our house’ is one thing. To discover that ‘the call is coming from inside the house’ is something else entirely.

Add to that the fact that conservatives and progressives are currently locked in a battle over what the soul of the West actually is. Conservatives increasingly bemoan the fact that the impact of the West on the world frequently has very little to do with ‘freedom’ or ‘democracy,’ which made up our core identity throughout the Cold War. Our primary exports are now LGBT ideology and abortion on demand, with wealthy Western countries engaging in a pernicious form of ideological neo-colonialism to force feticide, feminism, and a raft of LGBT ‘rights’ on countries with more socially conservative cultures. Many of us do not believe in what is being pushed globally under our flags and bemoan the insidious influence wielded by our representatives around the world. Is that now the ‘Western soul’?

Progressives, meanwhile, have successfully captured the institutions in most Western countries, but suffer from a strange schizophrenia in which they believe the West is evil while Western neo-colonial bullying of developing countries serves as the primary method of spreading their ideology worldwide. They hate America, but it is America demanding that other countries redefine marriage. They hate the UK, but the LGBT agenda is being forced on poor countries under the Union Jack. Progressives won ‘the long march through the institutions,’ but their self-loathing has only increased. Now, they march with the Islamists. Let’s call it the ‘long march of the lemmings.’


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