Ep#24 – Douglas Murray

Douglas Murray dropped in on The #GSPodcast this week.  He was at his usual erudite & amusing best.  We covered a wide range of topics including The Trojan Horse Plot, British Jihadists,  Hamas/Israel, the veil, Julian Assange and he shares a wonderful Christopher Hitchens anecdote.  We also waste a moment or two reflecting on the demise of Mo Ansar.  Be sure to read his hilarious e-book ‘Islamophilia‘ & his Spectator Blog.

Also available on StitcheriTunes &Direct Mp3 Download

Guest: Douglas Murray (@DouglasKMurray)

Please support the show by becoming a patron: http://www.patreon.com/gspellchecker

Relevant Links:
Buy ‘Islamophilia’ on Amazon
Read Douglas Murray’s blog at The Spectator
Watch Douglas Murray Debate Julian Assange on YouTube
View the ‘Douglas Murray Archive’ on YouTube

14 comments

  • I have enjoyed your podcasts immensely. They have given me some very good information as well as food for thought. This podcast, while somewhat interesting failed miserably when it delved into the areas of privacy and the Israeli/Hamas conflict.

    You are entitled to believe that it is fine that governments spy on all of their citizens, allegedly for reasons of security, but many of us strongly disagree. If the basis for your support of spying is that Julian Assange is a bad person and only western democracies are targets of such groups then this is an incredibly weak position. The loss of privacy is an incredibly dangerous state of affairs. The western democracies were the last bastion of privacy but, sadly, with people too willing to give it up it seems we too will be like Russia and China.

    Finally, your support for Israel in the current conflict was surprising to say the least! Did the Godless Spellchecker just pick sides in a religious conflict? Look, I know this situation, at least today, has more to do with geopolitics than religion but you cannot deny the religious foundation. Yet you still picked a side. Hmmm.

    • Israel is a secular democracy which was founded by socialist atheists. The religion to blame for this conflict is islam.

    • Stephen Knight

      Hi Marty,

      Thanks for your comments. I must say I’m a little confused by them. I’m not sure whether you’re holding me personally responsible for the views expressed by my guest Douglas Murray, or you’ve misunderstood the things I actually did say/agree on. Before I address your points, I’d like to remind you that the views of Douglas Murray are his alone.

      You are entitled to believe that it is fine that governments spy on all of their citizens, allegedly for reasons of security

      Where did I say this?

      but many of us strongly disagree.

      And? This doesn’t appear to mean anything.

      If the basis for your support of spying is that Julian Assange is a bad person and only western democracies are targets of such groups then this is an incredibly weak position. The loss of privacy is an incredibly dangerous state of affairs.

      Again. Where did I say this? I’d like to think me and Douglas sound alike, but I know we don’t. I didn’t affirm my support for spying by criticing Assange’s character, I merely noted my fascination with the public’s willingness to idolise criminals like Snowden & Assange (they are) and those that have put people in more danger (they have). The fact I find the two a little odious says nothing of my viewpoints on spying.

      Finally, your support for Israel in the current conflict was surprising to say the least! Did the Godless Spellchecker just pick sides in a religious conflict?

      Once again. Where did I say this? I agreed with Douglas’s observation that there is a distinct difference in rhetoric/tactics between Israel and Hamas, hence the qualifier about drones and suicide bombing. Just this last week I was accused of anti-Semitism for criticising the IDF on Twitter. If we’re picking sides, I choose that of the Palestinian civilians, who are victims of both Hamas and the IDF. And the side of the Israeli civilians who have to live under constant bombardment and fear. I think one can notice these things without being boxed off as ‘taking sides with Israel’. Not that I said anything remotely like that on the actual podcast though…

      Thanks for your comments, but I’d appreciate it if you held me to account for what I actually say though, rather than what you imagine I’ve said.

      GS

      • Hi Stephen,

        I am a new fan and admirer of your work. Catching up on some of your back catalogue here.

        Could you clarify your comment: “If we’re picking sides, I choose that of the Palestinian civilians, who are victims of both Hamas and the IDF.” Do you mean that that the IDF are targeting Palestinian civilians, or have a choice in the tactics that they employ?

        Marc

  • Sorry it took so long to get back. Life gets in the way.

    OK, first let me say thank you for taking the time to read my response and putting actually responding. My initial reaction was that I was probably just caught up with you being a polite host and agreeing with your guest on some of his comments. After listening again, that wasn’t the case at all.

    On the secrecy issue after Mr. Murray said there is a public disconnect between “we don’t want any snooping” and the morning after an attack there is an outcry about “why didn’t they know.” In response you said, “…I’m not entirely sure where this is coming from, it is a very strange idea, that we should be celebrating people, criminals essentially some of them already fugitives for putting and posing more danger.” I’m not sure about “celebrating” Assange and Snowden, I suppose there is some of that, and yes, they are criminals and fugitives but that is decided by the governments that were exposed. Funny how that works. Again, as far as posing more danger, I’m with Ben Franklin, “he who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither.”

    On the Israel issue. After listening again you do agree with Mr. Murray after his long rant favoring Israel over Hamas and ask a question about the difference between drone strikes and suicide bombings but this is such a quagmire and you have been so wrongly accused by others of taking both sides in the conflict I’m going to move on. On this topic, thanks for the link you supplied today from the former Hamas member. That was the single most informative piece I have read on the topic.

    Thanks for all you do and keep it up.

    Marty

    • Stephen Knight

      Hi Marty,

      Thanks for replying. I’ll address a few points.

      I’m not sure about “celebrating” Assange and Snowden, I suppose there is some of that,

      ‘Some’? Seems we appear to occupy different worlds:-) They’re celebrated by the left as defenders of free speech & truth, with celebrity endorsements, frequent media appearances and even movie biopics. Their public personas transcend that of mere whistle-blowers, to say the least. I’ve not checked, but I’d be willing to wager they’ve even won awards. If the word ‘celebrate’ isn’t justified here, it’s not justified anywhere. They are in fact ‘celebrities’. Again, the fact that I find this cult of personality “a very strange idea” is not the same as confirming my support for unrestricted government snooping, I just have my doubts as to whether their activities have been beneficial, or detrimental to security.

      Again, as far as posing more danger, I’m with Ben Franklin, “he who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither.”

      Easy to sloganise, but that tends to simplify a rather complex issue. Benjamin Franklin had no understanding of the security concerns presented by a 21st century Western Climate. I very much doubt the ‘freedoms’ he had in mind concerned the contents of your emails.

      On the Israel issue, I’m not sure whether you are still misunderstanding, or misrepresenting. I didn’t ‘ask a question about the difference between drone strikes and suicide bombings’ at all. I said (bold added for emphasis):

      Me:“Yeah, I agree, I mean I hear a variation of the same sort of argument where people are unable to give a distinction between, sort of, Drone Strikes and suicide bombing”

      Douglas Murray “Yeah, Exactly”.

      With this point, my ‘agreement’ can only be referring to the distinction he made between Hamas and Israel, in terms of targeting civilians. I have, a few times rowed with people on Twitter who can see no difference in a targeted military strike (a drone, even if responsible for civilian deaths) and making a goal of targeting civilians by stepping on a busy tube train, during rush hour with a backpack full of explosives. Although both are responsible for unjustifiable horrors, I think intent and mandate really matters from an ethical standpoint on these issues. And no, to avoid any further misunderstanding, this isn’t a pro-drone argument either. I’m well aware, and critical of some of the unethical practices involving them. See ‘double tap’ in regards to Drones, for example.

      I probably did leave myself open for some misunderstanding by beginning my sentence with “I agree”, even if only referring to a particular point made at the tail end of a much larger monologue (which I went on to qualify with my drone remark). I think it would be best if I take care not to do that in future. Public speaking is very much a skill-set that I’m still learning. Although, having said that, I don’t think it matters how clear you are on a topic like Israel, misunderstanding will fly!:-)

      Thanks for the feedback,

      Always appreciated,

      GS

  • So embarrassed I have never heard of Douglas Murray before last Sunday’s BBC programme. I might not agree with all his positions but I do appreciate his reasoning behind all he puts forth.

  • Pingback: What Happens When They Come Home? | The Bully Pulpit

  • Pingback: What Happens When They Return? | The Bully Pulpit

  • Pingback: Some Thoughts On Douglas Murray’s Advice To Secularists | Godless Spellchecker's Blog

  • I notice in your introduction (Douglas Murray interview) you used the the common US-ism ‘momentarily’ instead of ‘in a moment’. Comment?

What do you think? Leave some comments!