A National Conservatism conference was held in Rome in February 2020. One of their speakers was Douglas Murray.
Murray has, I suspect, been on this blog more often than anyone else, the most recent outing being here in May of last year. I make no apology for seeking a regular dose of his speaking. He is just so damn good!
Hmm! Either he has failed to stand close enough to his razor or we are looking at an embryonic beard. If the latter I look forward to seeing it once it has grown up. Is he seeking to adjust his image from brittle, surgical, forensic enfant terrible to cuddly uncle? If so that beard will classify as camouflage: not all beardies are avuncular, however cuddly they may look. Future adversaries beware.
What an opening! Beautifully conceived, and delivered dead-pan. Murray, the still image for this video notwithstanding, is habitually dead-pan and it works very well for him. In fact the weakest I have seen his presentation of arguments was not in a speech but once when interviewed by Mark Steyn. Being in the company of a good friend, and a funny one, he was smiling a lot and it seemed to take some of the edge off the points he was promoting.
He remains surgical. At 08:43 his withering, dismissive, dismantling of a fatuous children’s programme that the embarrassing BBC screened on the day Britain left the EU is a copybook example.
He and I have both recently been interviewed on the same podcast, though in different episodes. I wouldn’t presume to compare myself with him: he researches profoundly and has wonderful things to say whereas I am by nature a listener and tend to interview the interviewer. But we had something in common. Though both anxious about much in the world, we shared and expressed overall optimism. I said that I believed in people, which the interviewer paraphrased as “the wisdom of crowds”, the title of a book by James Surowiecki who may be appearing before long on this blog.
The title of Douglas Murray’s latest book, which I heartily recommend, is The Madness of Crowds. If that title seems to contradict my view of people the book’s content doesn’t, and nor do the closing stages of this characteristically excellent speech.