May 27 • 3HR 7M

Douglas Murray: From Poetry to Free Speech

A delightful three hours with writer, journalist, poetry aficionado, and social commentator par excellence, that will seem like 15 minutes.

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Lawrence M. Krauss
The Origins Podcast features in-depth conversations with some of the most interesting people in the world about the issues that impact all of us in the 21st century. Host, theoretical physicist, lecturer, and author, Lawrence M. Krauss, will be joined by guests from a wide range of fields, including science, the arts, and journalism. The topics discussed on The Origins Podcast reflect the full range of the human experience - exploring science and culture in a way that seeks to entertain, educate, and inspire.
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I have to say that Douglas Murray reminds me in several ways of my late friend Christopher Hitchens. It is not merely that they are both English, eloquent and well-read. Douglas doesn’t suffer fools gladly, and pulls no punches when necessary. But he is otherwise charming, thoughtful, and willing to enter into respectful intelligent conversations on many topics. Both Douglas and Christopher have been journalists covering dangerous parts of the world, which has helped shape some of their views. Douglas is more conservative, Christopher was in some ways more liberal, but their deep reserve of knowledge combining literature and current events makes listening to either one of them compelling.

I first got to know Douglas through his marvelous book, The Madness of Crowds, a take-off on Charles Murray’s 1841 classic Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, which was “A distillation of some of the most humiliating, terrifying, and confusing things humans have done in collectivity”… treating things like alchemy, haunted houses, and the crusades. Douglas’ book discusses modern craziness, cutting with surgeon-like skill to the heart of issues related to gender, race, identity politics, and of course free speech.

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The Madness of Crowds was followed more recently by The War on The West, which took up where the former book left off, dealing with issues ranging from postmodern attacks on the western Canon, attacks on modern science, and more recent ‘Critical Race Theory’ related attacks on modern western society.

I discussed all of these issues with Douglas, but was very pleased to be able to bookend the dialogue, front and back, with a discussion of poetry. He writes a weekly column for Free Press on the virtue and joy of committing great poems to memory, and while I have a limited appreciation and tolerance for poetry in general, there are a few poets, T.S. Eliot, and Rainer Maria Rilke in particular, who I greatly enjoy. It was a pleasure to listen to Douglas recite some favorite lines, and to discuss these sublime subjects with him before and after we dropped down into the muck that comprises the modern culture wars.

I hope you enjoy this discussion as much as I did.

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