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I Take No Pleasure in Being Right...
The world is undergoing a tremendous, rapid and violent transformation. Sadly, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the situation in Israel are almost certainly just the beginning of what is to come.
If you’ve yet to read my book, here is what I said in the preface over two years ago:
When I started writing this book in early 2021, I began with a preface that I felt most accurately summed up the challenge facing the Western world. When I showed it to friends, they told me it was ‘beautiful’ and ‘well-written’ but insisted that I not include it as it was ‘melodramatic’.
I heeded their advice.
However, shortly before the book went to print, in February 2022, Russian forces invaded Ukraine. I hope with all my heart that by the time you are reading these words the conflict has been resolved. No doubt, endless articles have been written about how and why it happened to help people in the West deal with the shock and surprise of the invasion.
There are political, economic, historical, military and even religious explanations for how a war broke out in Europe in the twenty-first century. Many make sense, some are even true. But there is a broader theme few commentators understand or wish to acknowledge which is the subject of this book and the original preface which I include below:
The Gur Emir Mausoleum stands in the heart of the ancient city of Samarkand in modern-day Uzbekistan. The magnificent structure, known colloquially as the Tomb of the Commander, was built to preserve the remains of Tamerlane, a terrifying conqueror who modelled himself on Genghis Khan. His tombstone is inscribed with the words ‘When I Rise From the Dead, the Whole World Shall Tremble’.
On 21 June, 1941, Soviet anthropologists led by Mikhail Gerasimov opened the tomb on the orders of Joseph Stalin and began exhuming Tamerlane’s body. As the scent of frankincense, rose, camphor and resin filled the air, Gerasimov and his team discovered an additional inscription inside the casket: ‘Whoever Disturbs My Tomb Will Unleash an Invader More Terrible Than I’. The following morning, Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union.
The history of humanity is a series of unopened tombs, which hold not only the stories of our past but also stark warnings about our future. As I write this in January 2021, the West is suffering from a global pandemic. Covid-19, a virus of the body, has brought devastation to millions of people around the world and forced our governments into unprecedented measures whose consequences will become apparent in the years to come.
The virus and our zealous response have ravaged the global economy, deprived us of our civil liberties and caused untold damage in every area of our lives. But another devastating epidemic has spread like wildfire through the Western world, particularly the Anglosphere, and shows no signs of abating. Unlike Covid, this is a virus of the mind.
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If you are fortunate enough to have avoided Twitter, do not work in a progressive industry and are not a recent graduate, your awareness of this virus may be peripheral. You may not yet be familiar with terms like ‘Critical Race Theory’, ‘Social Justice’ and ‘Wokeness’. I envy you.
But even so, if you’re reading this book you’ve likely spotted that the world around us is changing at unprecedented speed. You may have noticed a dramatic change in tone in our public discourse. Nearly two-thirds of Americans now say that they fear expressing their political views, including a majority of Democrats (52 per cent), Independents (59 per cent) and Republicans (77 per cent). In Britain, nearly half of us feel less free to speak our minds, while only 20 per cent feel more free to do so than we did a few years ago.
Perhaps you’ve watched in confusion as men and women have been positioned not as partners but opponents in some kind of ‘Battle of the Sexes’. It may have struck you that our conversations about race have become a way to separate us rather than bring us together.
You may have watched in confusion as statues of historical figures were defaced or torn down by angry mobs. Perhaps your employer brought in someone to explain that being white imbues you with some sort of original sin or that being black or brown makes you a victim of life.
You may even have been on the right side of these issues for years. Perhaps you thought that only bigots worry about expressing their problematic beliefs, that men are toxic and white people should atone for the terrible crimes of their ancestors and their inherited privileges in society. You may have spent your life supporting progressive causes, giving money to charities for disadvantaged groups and being on the ‘right side of history’. And yet, as J.K. Rowling discovered, your belief in basic biology may be your undoing nonetheless.
Even if you are fortunate enough to have avoided direct contact with these issues, you may have noticed an odd feeling. What it is you can’t explain and, for now, it is relatively easy to ignore. As you busy yourself with daily life, you reassure yourself that things can only get better. And yet, in those rare moments of reflection, you cannot help feeling a sense of foreboding. It is hard to put into words how you know this but someone somewhere has opened another cursed tomb.
The initial phases of Operation Barbarossa, Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union, which began on 22 June, 1941, were a huge success. German armoured formations which had blitzkrieged their way through France, Belgium and the Netherlands in 1940 were now speeding towards Moscow, crushing disorganised Soviet resistance as they went.
My great-grandfather, who had just returned home from the Winter War with Finland, was thrown into the meat grinder of the Eastern Front along with millions of others to stop the German advance. Like him, most of them never returned.
If you’ve ever travelled from Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport into the city, you may have noticed three odd-looking metal structures along the road. These anti-tank obstacles mark how close the enemy came to taking the city.
Across the entire front, the Soviet Union fought for its survival. Nowhere was the war more intense than at Stalingrad. Fierce fighting in the city went on for months, with Stalin sacrificing more and more men and materiel in recognition of a simple fact: retreat was no longer an option.
As the Battle of Stalingrad hung in the balance, on 20 December, 1942, the body of Tamerlane was returned to his tomb and given a full Islamic burial. Within days, the Soviet Union mounted a successful counterattack at Stalingrad and went on an offensive that would not stop until it reached Berlin, saving the world from Nazi domination.
Today, the fate of Western civilisation hangs in the balance once again. The tomb of discord and division has been forced open by a small group of ideological zealots. Retreat is no longer an option. Either we bury the hatchet and heal or the whole world shall tremble once more.