The Atlas Society Asks Andrew Doyle

August 16, 2023 01:00:10
The Atlas Society Asks Andrew Doyle
The Atlas Society Presents - The Atlas Society Asks
The Atlas Society Asks Andrew Doyle

Aug 16 2023 | 01:00:10

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Show Notes

Join CEO Jennifer Grossman on the 165th episode of The Atlas Society Asks, where she interviews British writer, comedian, and broadcaster Andrew Doyle about his latest book "The New Puritans: How the Religion of Social Justice Captured the Western World."

Having received his doctorate in English Literature from Oxford, Andrew Doyle has written many plays and musicals, including the critically acclaimed political drama "Borderline." His several books include "Free Speech and Why it Matters," and his latest: "The New Puritans: How the Religion of Social Justice Captured the Western World." As a stand-up comic, he’s a frequent performer in the UK and the co-founder of Comedy Unleashed, London’s free-thinking comedy night.

But of all his creations, he’s perhaps most famous for Titania McGrath, his parody of the flower of wokeness, whose Twitter bio reads: “Activist. Healer. Radical intersectionalist poet. Nonwhite. Ecosexual. Pronouns: variable. Selfless and brave. Buy my books.”

Titania has two books of her “own”: "Woke: A Guide to Social Justice" and "My First Little Book of Intersectional Activism."

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:00 Hello everyone, and welcome to the 165th episode of the Atlas Society asks, my name is Jennifer Anju Grossman. My friends call me Jag. I am the c e o of the Atlas Society. We are the leading nonprofit organization introducing young people to the ideas of Ayn Rand in fun, creative ways, including graphic novels and animated videos. Uh, today we are joined by Andrew Doyle. Before I even begin to introduce our guest, I wanna remind all of you who are joining us on Zoom, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. Uh, go ahead, use the comment section to type in your questions, get in the queue, and we will get to as many of them as we can. Our guest, comedian and writer, Andrew Doyle, is a literary renaissance man, uh, having received his doctorate from the, uh, from Oxford. He's written many plays and musicals, uh, including the critically acclaimed political drama borderline. Speaker 0 00:01:04 His several books include Free speech and Why It Matters, um, and the latest, which I cannot recommend enough, the New Puritans, how, uh, the Religion of Social Justice captured the Western World as a standup comic. He's, uh, frequently, uh, performing in the uk and he's the co-founder of Comedy Unleashed, London's Freethinking Comedy Night, but of all of his creations, um, he's perhaps most famous for Teton McGrath, his parody of The Flower of Wokeness, whose Twitter bio reads, activist, healer, radical intersectionalists poet, non-white eco sexual pronouns, variable, selfless, and brave by my books. Uh, Teton also has two books of her own, including, um, woke, A Guide to Social Justice, and my first Little Book of Intersectional Activism. Andrew, thank you for joining us. Speaker 1 00:02:09 Thank you very much for having me. Speaker 0 00:02:12 So, um, first, Andrew, you have one of the most varied and more interesting personal and professional trajectories of any of the guests that we've had on our show. Uh, like Ayn Rand, you knew that you wanted to be a writer from a very young age. What were some of the first things that you wrote? Speaker 1 00:02:31 The first thing I can remember writing was a, a story about someone being kidnapped by aliens, which I wrote in a small notepad when I was approximately six, I think six years old. And my grandmother typed up into a kind of book form, but I say book, it was about six pages long. Um, but, uh, that's the earliest thing I, I can remember. Uh, and yeah, I was always fascinated by literature. I always loved reading. I adored books. Um, and, uh, I recall her hiding them, uh, under my bed. So that, and then sort of trying to read 'em after the lights out, in other words, finding a way through. So I was sort of obsessed with them. So, yeah, I've always, I've always loved, it's always been the thing I, I was good at. I wasn't particularly good at, uh, maths or science or those kind of things. I, I wasn't attracted to those. Um, so I just pursued the things that I liked. And then in terms of creative writing, uh, I got into playwriting. I got in when I was at university. I started writing plays. I set up a theater company, uh, at university and wrote plays specifically for the theater company. And then started writing fringe shows in London. And those were plays, mostly comedies and then sketch shows. And then from that, I developed into standup, and so started, uh, working on the standup circuit. So that's how that sort of worked. Speaker 0 00:03:46 Well, uh, it's interesting when you say fringe plays. I remember, uh, a critic once said that the Alice Society was a fringe organization. And I thought, well, I, Ayn Rand herself wasn't particularly mainstream. And a lot of times the real change and the innovation and the creativity, it doesn't come from the mainstream. It comes from people that are pushing boundaries. So, uh, so I like that I mentioned, uh, your doctorate, you in English literature, but you have two additional degrees, one in English Renaissance literature, and one in English Renaissance poetry. What drew you to that particular field? Speaker 1 00:04:28 So I just kept specializing, I think. So my initial degree was in English literature, and then I found that the, the area that I was thriving in most was the Renaissance period. Uh, so I then did a master's degree in Renaissance literature, and then I realized that, uh, I was sort of doing particularly well when it comes to the poetry. So I specialized again for the doctorate and went for English Renaissance poetry. So it just seems every time I, I went, I progressed to the next level. I, I specialized, uh, more. Um, so, uh, and also it was partly a, a product of where I was going when I was applying for, um, courses for my doctorate. I eventually was accepted into Oxford. And, uh, because Oxford has such a great, it has the body and library, it has the greatest collection of, uh, early modern manuscripts probably in the world, so, or at least close to it. So it seemed like a good opportunity to sort of go down that route and explore, uh, that particular era. Uh, and I, when I got there, I was keen to learn, uh, how to read secretary hand, uh, um, 16th century handwriting and to engage in manuscript work. And that was something I was really, uh, excited by at the time. So that, that's how that worked. Speaker 0 00:05:39 So typically we view, um, academia and much of the literary and theatrical scene as embracing or even pushing the kind of dogmatic ident identitarian politics you satirize and critique. I'm wondering if, uh, first, is that correct? And second, have, um, your views about culture, about politics evolved over time? Or, or, or were you always kind of the contrarian? Speaker 1 00:06:09 No, I, I, I think they have definitely evolved. I think, you know, studying English literature at the time that I did, uh, late nineties, early two thousands, um, inevitably, uh, the humanities departments in the UK were very much sort of, uh, very much revolved around the notion of postmodernist theory. So particularly the study of English literature, there was lots of chatter about fco. Uh, there were lot, lots of talk about deida. You had to really engage with theory, uh, before almost, uh, as a priority over the text themselves. I started getting quite dissatisfied with that, and I started to find that the, the theorists actually ended up obscuring what was powerful and beautiful and poetic about the, the work. And I realized there was a better way to read it. What, what people used to derive as liberal humanism, I suppose. Uh, they, they're very mistrustful of the idea of the, of a trans historical, cross-cultural universal ideas and themes in literature, particularly in, in canonical writers such as Shakespeare and, and sure. Speaker 1 00:07:09 So, but of course, what is so wonderful about Shakespeare is quite that trans historical quality. It is because it, it, it, it engages with something about the human spirit that is common to everyone as common to us now as would've been in his time. And that's something that people really mistrust because with the, uh, historicist, you know, old and new, they seem to, uh, develop this trend, or at least, uh, cultivate this idea that it's impossible to have any kind of insight into any particular period of time, what Fuko might have called a episte, uh, a parti a particular segment of knowledge, time, and place. Uh, and that we have nothing in common with these people. And so you have to sort of deeply contextualize everything historically, nothing that, not, not that there's anything wrong with having an understanding of historical context, but the point being that I, I re, I rejected this idea that as someone writing in the 2020 first century, I could have no connection really with someone who was writing in the 16th century. Speaker 1 00:08:10 I didn't think that was right at all. So that was something I ended up exploring in my, in my doctoral thesis as well, precisely that idea. So I became, I started to become skeptical about the critical theory approach to English literature by virtue of the fact that I was kind of forced to read a lot of it. I think that's how that happened. Um, and so it wasn't ever about Contrarianism. It really wasn't. I, I remember going to some academic conferences and people lauded fco, like he was some kind of saint. I mean, there was even a book by a man called David Halprin called Saint Fco towards the gay hagiography. That was the name of the book. And I, I, I became skeptical because reading it, I realized it was, uh, it was all built on sand. There was not much there. I remember asking questions about fuko in a, in a conference, and they, they didn't really have the answers. You know, they made some statements. Fuko would've thought this, and I would say, well, how do you, how did he know? And they couldn't answer that question. Um, so yeah, it was just, it was just through experience rather than cynicism, I think. Speaker 0 00:09:12 <laugh>. All right. Well, let's talk about the term woke as it was originally advanced as a progressive perspective on awakening to signs of pervasive racism and bigotry. Nowadays, it's become almost a catchall, uh, term for anything that conservatives, uh, object to. How do you define it? Nor how does tatanya define it? Speaker 1 00:09:39 We would define it very, very differently. Uh, so in the book that I, the, my most recent book, the New Puritans, I sort of divide it into, there are four key characteristics of the belief system that we colloquially call woke, although I prefer to refer to it as the critical social justice movement. I think that makes more sense of it. Um, and these key features are firstly, uh, the notion of, um, uh, the, uh, power structures, the idea that there are power structures that undergirds society. Uh, these are in a ian sense, that power doesn't work in a top down way, but it's a kind of a, a grid that runs throughout every strata of society. You have that power notion. There's also the idea of censorship. Um, the, the woke believe in censorship. They believe in the, this nexus of power and knowledge, again, a ian principle, the idea, uh, that, um, uh, effectively that our entire understanding of reality is wholly constructed through language, which means that if you want to redress injustice in society, you need to redress how speak, how people speak, or certainly limit how they speak. Speaker 1 00:10:42 Those of you who are familiar with 1984 will understand that that's a very Orwellian notion, the idea of new speak. That is specifically the party in that novel says they want to limit the scope of speech in order to limit the scope of thought. So that's, that's the other, that's the second idea. The third idea is this idea of, um, lived experience. Uh, the, the, they won't believe in sort of multiple truths, um, uh, that, that one truth is no more important than another. Uh, there are different, they call ways, different ways of knowing, uh, and, and that lived experience, one's, one's own personal perception of a, of an event is just as irrelevant as anyone else's. In fact, in the, in the, in the, in the discourse of critical social justice, if you can originate from a marginalized group, your unique individual perspective is more potent than, than someone else's because of what, what they call standpoint epistemology. Speaker 1 00:11:33 Uh, you are from a marginalized group, and therefore you have a better insight of the world, not just a different insight, but a better insight. Um, so those are the, and the other, the other key thing, what have I said? I've said language censorship. The other thing is group identity. So the idea that, uh, rather than, uh, in a marxian sense, you would, uh, interpret the world through the lens of commerce, through money, through class. Uh, instead you interpret the world through group identity, these being specifically race, gender, sexuality, gender identity. Um, often not class, actually, some intersections will include class, but most of them forget to do so, even though it is the most obvious thing that is connected with privilege. So those are the thing, those are the key belief systems of what I call the woke movement. But, um, the woke themselves, or a lot of people within that movement will say that woke simply means the old definition, which is being alert to injustice, particularly racism. Speaker 1 00:12:31 Well, if that was all it meant, then I would say that I was woke, because I believe in that as well. But, uh, I think most of us would. But of course, the word did originate from me. You know, you've gotta give them credit. It did originate from black civil rights activism throughout the 20th century. It dates right, right back to Lead Bellies song about the Scottsburg Boys, you know, and then had a resurgence in the early 2010s with the Erika Badoo song, uh, which was called Master Teacher Stay Woke. Um, black Lives Matter in around that time, sort of seized this as a kind of term. So it was very much, that was the sort of resounding definition. And then you get a new phase around 2, 2 20 15, 20 16, where activists of an identitarian, uh, bent, uh, seized the term, hijack the term and start saying, this isn't about racial injustice. Speaker 1 00:13:18 It's about any form of, uh, power imbalance that we detect in society. It's about these, this dynamic between the oppressor and the press, that the oppressed and the idea that you can divide humanity within into those very two binary, reductive, uh, categories. So, and those were the people who were proc censorship as well, and, and very authoritarian in their approach. So invariably, the word became associated with that kind of movement. So now we've reached a point where if you say, woke, if I say to you, I know this person, and he's woke, you will know what they think about pretty much every topic. You'll know their opinion on every political issue of the day, because the woke, as we now understand them, follow a script, they don't really thinking for themselves. It's, it is an ideology. As with all ideologies, you follow a set of rules. Speaker 1 00:14:04 It, it's further problematized because some people on the right do now use it as a term of abuse or as a kind of snar word. And that has enabled woke activists to say it is an invention of the right, and that they never used it to describe themselves, but of course they did. And there's those of evidence of that. You just have to look online. When Jack Dorsey appeared on a, a stage at a conference in 2016, he had a stay woke t-shirt on. He was really proud of this. So now, no one said at the time, oh, that's just a right wing slur that you are, uh, promoting on your T-shirt. So it's been through so many evolutions. And of course, then people like me were satirizing the movement. And I was always describing these people as woke. I wrote a book called Woke, and I was doing it out of, out of a kind of courtesy, because the people I was describing described themselves as woke. Speaker 1 00:14:49 It's only later they decided that they never described themselves as woke. And that was all an illusion. But they have a very revisionist tendency. What they will do is say something in history just didn't happen, even when there is evidence that it did. That's another feature of, uh, of, of this movement. So, yeah, very complicated word, been through loads of evolutions. There are good reasons to problematize the term if you are a member of the woke movement, because if your enemy can't name you, they really can't defeat you. And so we don't know what to call these people. Do we call them woke? Well, they'll just come back and say, oh, that's a, that's a slur. Do we call them, uh, leftist identitarian? Well, I don't think they're particularly left wing because they don't really care about addressing economic inequality That's really not on their radar. Speaker 1 00:15:31 Uh, do you, what, what, what else can you call? You can't call them progressives because everything they do ends up being regressive. You certainly can't call them liberals, because anyone who supports, uh, censorship and the, um, oppression of political dissidents is an authoritarian, not a liberal and illiberal. So, uh, we've got nothing to call them and <laugh>, and that makes it difficult. That's why I favor the idea of Woke is a pretty decent shortcut. Most of us now know what it, what, what we mean by that, and failing that, I'd call them the New Puritans, which is the title of my book. Speaker 0 00:16:03 Yeah, well, I it in the book Speaker 1 00:16:05 A long answer. Sorry about that. Speaker 0 00:16:07 No, that's alright. Uh, in that book, you have a, a really interesting, um, quote from Humpty Dumpty, from Louis Carroll's, uh, you know, Alice Wonderland, which used, in which he says, I think, you know, uh, the words are whatever I choose them to mean at any particular moment. And so, yeah, of course, if if you can't have, uh, definitions, if everything is all relative, then it's really, IM impossible to have any kind of constructive debate. Now, I wanna remind everybody who's watching that we're going to start taking, um, your questions. So queue up, get them in there, um, and we're gonna get to as many of them as we can. Uh, and we're gonna turn to the new Puritans. But first I want to talk about Tani. I McGrath, as you can tell, I'm quite obsessed with her. Uh, she's the character you invented to portray kind of peak social justice consciousness. She's really the funniest character you will find on Twitter X. And, uh, of course, with her two books, um, woke The Guide to Social Justice, uh, which you published in 2019, and, uh, which I haven't read that I'll be turning to next, uh, my first little book of intersectional activism, she has become a literary powerhouse in her, her own right. So how did you come up with, uh, the idea and how do you keep her so fresh and funny? Speaker 1 00:17:33 Well, you know, it's funny, I I I I don't tweet very much as her anymore. Uh, I, I, I think what's happened is I've, I've just, I've done so much with her. I've done two books. I've done a live tour. You know, I wrote a script and hired an actress and, you know, I might do something else with her. I might develop her in another medium. But because I've been going since on Twitter since early 2018, you know, so now that's five years. And now there's this proliferation of those types of, uh, satirical characters online. I dunno what else I can say through her. So what I do now is I reserve it for when I've got something particular, when something happens and I've got something particular today, I will tweet about it. I also write a, a monthly column as her for magazine in the UK called The Critic. Speaker 1 00:18:14 So I'll still keep the account, and I'll still occasionally, but really, you know, I, I've got lots of other things now that I wanna move on to. Um, but I think, uh, you know, I just got very sick and tired of, within the comedy industry, there was this sense in which you couldn't mock this particular belief system. And it didn't make any sense to me because this is a belief system that would be akin to the kind of the, the, the Pharisees in the New Testament, the, the, the people, the pri people saying that you have to do what we say. I mean, that's always the people that comedians have gone after, isn't it? And I, I just got very sick of this idea that they should be ring fenced from ridicule. I also hated the way they bullied people. I mean, so much of what I've done has been a, a response to, it's based on my hatred for bullies. Speaker 1 00:18:59 And you'd see them dog pile people on Twitter and attack anyone who has a slightly different point of view and interpret any dissent as evidence of fascism and the most extreme things that they could say. And I, and I thought it was right for Satir, and I thought the best way to do that was on Twitter, because that was their playground. That was where they all were. Uh, and so I created a character on Twitter and, um, I had this idea that she was gonna be a slam poet, and she, she was gonna do this really awful 'cause Slam Poetry's terrible, let's be honest. And that she was gonna, well, we have some Speaker 0 00:19:28 Of her poetry in here. Speaker 1 00:19:29 I do, yeah, there's a number of poems by her in that book, and there's some in the other one as well as an appendix. And, um, so, but she thought, she thinks she's a genius. I love the idea that she was very rich and privileged, but kept me too on about oppression all the time. That, that always makes me laugh. I noticed that so many of the activists at the time, and still actually, you know, going on about privilege were posh. I mean, they were just rich. They'd had everything on a plate. You find this in the UK at the moment. We've got a campaign group called Just Stop Oil, who are environmental campaigners. And whenever they're interviewed, they are so plummy voiced, and they have names, like even the, the, we, our, our sort of version of the Black Lives Matter activists over here who tore down a slave trader, a statue of Edward Colston in Bristol, took chucked it in the river. Speaker 1 00:20:16 They went to court and their names, one of them was called Sage Willoughby, and one of them was called Hugo Ponsford. And these sound like fake names of a parody account on Twitter. And they talk like they're aristocrats now to me, I don't know what's going on there, whether that because they've had so much privilege in the world, they feel like they have to make amends for it. I dunno whether there's some kind of, and that's probably just some awful cod psychology on my part, but it does make me laugh. It is funny to me. Um, and so, and also just the idea of privileged white people, telling black people what they should think and is all, I mean, that during the, uh, the Black Lives when they had the blackouts, the, the the zone in, um, in, after the Black Lives Matter riots. And I remember seeing this video of these white, young white people in masks protecting. It was an area just for black people, they were protecting. And a black cop was trying to get in, and they were shouting at him about what a racist he was. And it was like, this is incredible, but some privileged white people attacking black people for not thinking the same way that they do, and they can't see how hip hypocritical that is, but also how, just how bloody funny that is, <laugh>. Speaker 0 00:21:25 So it was some, definitely Speaker 1 00:21:27 There was something in it. So yeah, so I just went along with, um, with her and, uh, I, I sort of, I developed the character, wrote the book, had a lot of fun with it. Then when the first book came out, I was, I was outed by a newspaper at the Times of London who did some investigative work and found out it was me. And that story broke the week of the book's publication, which looked very cynical. Like I'd planned it as a stunt, and I really hadn't. And that became a story. Then it became a story that I was the person behind it. And then I was on TV a lot doing interviews and things. So that really propelled her. And also every time she got banned from Twitter, that sort of propelled her as well. You know, it's the Streisand effect, isn't it? Um, so Speaker 0 00:22:07 Yeah. Tell tell me about that. What did she get banned for? I didn't realize that Speaker 1 00:22:11 A few times. There were seven, I think seven or eight ban there, there were a number of one day suspensions, and then there were a couple of seven day suspensions. But then she got a complete ban, and I got an email through saying, this is it, you can't come back. And it wasn't clear it was a joke. I mean, they're all, they're all, you know, they're satirical quips. Um, it, and it was either the people at Twitter taking it seriously, or it was them just wanting to get rid of her because she was satirizing their ideology. And of course, as you know, pre Elon Musk, Twitter was a bastion of social justice activism, you know, so of course they would've hated her. Of course they would. Um, but they actually revoked that permanent, I mean, they call it a permanent suspension anyway, which is se a semantic contradiction to begin with. But then they let her come back. So it wasn't permanent at all. I mean, it lasted, I think it lasted 24 hours. And in that time, and then I came back and I wrote an article as her, uh, entitled, now I know how Mel Nelson Mandela felt being locked on Twitter for 24 hours. So she, she, she perceived herself to be this great martyr for the cause of social justice. And, um, but Speaker 0 00:23:16 You could, she probably loved it. Speaker 1 00:23:18 Yeah, well, she loves being the victim, that's the thing. So absolutely anything where she can be the victim is, is perfect. And that's really a comment on, as you know, the way in which the critical social justice movement and the woke have, have weaponized victimhood in a really frightening way. So it's now to be a victim comes with a great degree of clout, which I find, uh, quite bizarre. Speaker 0 00:23:41 Yeah. I think we need a tatanya McGrath doll. That's what I would like to, Speaker 1 00:23:45 Dol would be good. There was someone who did Speaker 0 00:23:47 That, you could pull a spring, a, a string and she would just spout her various Yeah, that Speaker 1 00:23:52 Would, that would be, there were t-shirts and there was a, someone did a religious candle, votive candles as her, because she became like a sort of quasi religious figure, I suppose, because I do see the work movement as a kind of religion. Um, yeah, a doll would be good. Um, I dunno what I'll do. I'm, I'm, I'm considering a couple of options. I'd quite like to develop her in some other medium, but I'm not quite sure what it is yet. Speaker 0 00:24:14 Yeah, well, we could maybe do a Draw My Life video. Yeah. Of her. Speaker 1 00:24:18 Yeah. Who knows. Could be Speaker 0 00:24:20 Anything. Um, all right. So, uh, your concerns about the state of free speech remain a theme throughout your various books and articles, obviously, including Yeah. Uh, of course, free Speech and why it Matters. How have we arrived at this moment where the former champions of free speech that, you know, Berkeley Free speech movement and its heirs, are now in favor of a more restrictive approach to debate and discussion? Speaker 1 00:24:50 It's one of the most tragic things, but I suppose it is also not all that surprising, insofar as the very notion of free speech is almost miraculous. Any society that embraces it is very rare, historically and globally. I mean, uh, most of the countries in the world today are, do not have free speech, and certainly not in history. It's, it's an aberration, if anything. Um, which means, I suppose that with every successive generation, you have to restate the case for freedom of speech because it is not something that you just, you achieve, and then it's there forever. There's always, there is something about the human instinct that has a kind of tendency towards authoritarianism, an impulse for it, certainly an impulse for power, I suppose. We are all status seeking primates. This is something we're gonna have, and therefore, you really have to be on your guard. Speaker 1 00:25:43 Um, so in a way, it's not surprising. What, what I found depressing, I suppose most of all, is that the very people who should be the, uh, the, the sentinels of free speech are the ones who now are the most, uh, aggressive towards it. But it, it, it's not a left right thing. You know, this I think is a major mistake. Um, both the left and the right have the same propensity for authoritarianism. This is something that George Orwell recognized. This is why he couldn't get Animal Farm published in the first year after he'd written it, because no one could. People were very angry at the prospect that he'd exposed the idea of leftist authoritarianism as if that could be a thing. But he had no time for authoritarianism on either side of the political spectrum. That's something that, so I don't, you know, when I was growing up, the, the, the tabloid newspapers who were calling for films to be censored or banned, or books to be banned, they were all right wing. Speaker 1 00:26:34 They were all things like the Daily Mail, the Daily Express. Now it's not, now they're all left wing. It's books like it's Mag, it's papers like The Guardian or The New Statesman, or, you know, those are the ones who are saying, ban this filth effectively. That was the phrase that they used to use on the right back in the sixties. They're the ones saying, you know, we've, you know, we, and you know, I think, I, I just think it fluctuates at the moment. It happens to be the case that the most authoritarian and, and the most pro censorship, uh, is that's coming from the left. Um, but I don't think that's gonna be permanent. And I've certainly seen sensorial, uh, people on the right, and those people are growing as well. I think. So I think we have to be a bit bit careful about it. Speaker 1 00:27:14 And I think we, the other thing that I find incredibly depressing is the way in which artists have now embraced the idea of censorship. That's, that's really upsetting to me. Uh, in comedy in particular. Obviously, I come from a standup committee background to see comedians, you know, excusing attempts to cancel other comedians. I dunno if you saw, um, but my comedy club, I run a comedy night in London called Comedy Unleashed. We just programmed a night at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which was due to beyond tomorrow. Uh, and it's being canceled by the venue because they disapprove of the opinions of one of our acts, Seman called Graham Linehan. Um, now this has got become big news in the uk. It's in all the papers today. And I've been bombarded with phone calls from journalists today about this, because we are putting the show on. Speaker 1 00:28:05 Anyway, we found an alternative venue. We are putting it on. I mean, this venue put out a statement saying, and this is an arts venue. It's an, it's a venue that's stages, artistic, creative performances. And they put out a statement saying, we do not approve of this, this comedian's views, uh, uh, we will not allow him to violate our space with his views. That's the phrase they used. Now, that to me, is incredibly depressing. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the largest arts festival in the world. It is the most eclectic. You can see all sorts of things there. And yes, if you look hard enough, you will find very offensive things. And that's part of the thrill of it. And again, we see the, the passage of time, back in the sixties and seventies, it was the Christian right at the Edinburgh Fringe protesting the shows saying, this is degenerate filth. Stop this. Now, it's rainbow clad leftist or self-proclaimed leftist activists saying, shut this down. This is awful. So, like I say, authoritarianism is not specific to any particular political tribe. It it can, it can manifest in all sorts of ways. And I think we've seen evidence for that, and we've gotta, we've gotta push back against it. Speaker 0 00:29:13 Well, um, I am all the more appreciative of your joining us than from the UK on a day when you've had this <laugh>, uh, event blow up and the media is hounding you. So, um, Speaker 1 00:29:25 I wouldn't say hounding. They're, they're requesting, they're, they're requesting. I, I've written a couple of articles, I've done a few interviews, and, and they've been, but it's, it's, yes, it's, it's actually, it's gone much further than I thought. And there's been a, and there have been some comedians, again, trying to excuse the banning of this other comedian, and that that is particularly, but comedians I know, and I've, I, I found that kind of unfathomable, really. Hmm. Speaker 0 00:29:51 All right. We're gonna dive into a few questions here. Um, uh, from YouTube, Scott is asking about, are the UK and the, uh, European Union, uh, about the same level of woke as the us. I've had a similar question about, um, sort of free speech. The state, to the extent that you're aware of our situation here, Speaker 1 00:30:16 The European Union is very bad on free speech. It's got a very bad track record, and it's tried to implement, uh, measures to censor the internet and to punish social media companies for, uh, con content that appears on their site. It's, and, and they will do so undemocratically, because the EU is an essentially undemocratic body. The European Commission, those people are not voted in, they're appointed, and they make a hell of a lot of the laws and regulations. And the key thing about any, uh, democracies, you have to be able to vote out the people in power. And we couldn't do that with the eu. And that's why I, it was a great victory for democracy as far as I'm concerned that we got out of it. Um, but yes, I think they do have a tendency towards what we call woke. Um, it's variable because there are so many different countries within the eu. Speaker 1 00:30:59 You know, even someone like Macron in France, you know, he's, he's, he's got some very woke elements about him. But at the same time, he stood up and said, we're not gonna tolerate activists tearing down our statues and our historical monuments. That's not for you to do. So every country has a different, uh, you know, Canada has a terrible problem at the moment, uh, with Justin Trudeau, um, a very authoritarian government, very narrow minded. Um, and, uh, the way that they behaved with the trucker protest was beyond belief, where they are seizing people's assets and bank accounts, and even suggesting that fundraisers towards the truckers were gonna be redistributed to charities of their choosing. Unbelievable stuff going on there. And that's only getting worse. As far as I can see. They're on the verge of compelled speech. I think they've already got it. They will be, uh, they, they, um, criminalize people for misgendering, for instance, for the language that they choose to use. Speaker 1 00:31:50 It's a dire situation out in Canada. Uh, you guys in America, I think in terms of wokeness, you, you have problems with Biden. Biden was appointed as, but you know, the only reason that he got the nomination is that he was the, an not the anti woke candidate, but he wasn't the woke candidate. Right? Uh, and that didn't turn out well, because as soon as he was in office, that all went out the window. Um, and, and when you have, uh, a government that is so ideologically driven in that way, things go wrong, things go very wrong very quickly. And I, so I, you know, I see in America activists calling for amendments to the First Amendment, you know, saying, let's say, let's, let's carve out the idea of hate speech and say, yes, free speech applies to everything but not hate speech. The A C L U, which is such a glorious tradition of defending free speech, even of abhorrent individuals. Speaker 1 00:32:38 Now you have, you know, one of the lawyers working for the A C L U, chase strangle put out a tweet saying that he wanted a book banned, and that he would die on that hill. The A C L U has lost its way, it's now, it's now, like with all of these things, whenever an institution becomes infected with the woke ideology, that becomes its sole purpose for existence. Amnesty International, same thing. They put out tweets about trans women are women, all the mantras of, of the, the social justice movement. And they stopped doing their job, which is trying to, to, to support prisoners of conscience. You know, so, so it's, it is an absolute disaster in America. However, what I will say is, because you have the First Amendment, because it is a codified constitution, you have a massive advantage over us. We don't have, we have an unwritten constitution in the uk. Speaker 1 00:33:25 It's based on precedent and interpretation. You know, we, we have, we, we, that's why we have hate speech laws in the uk, which would never fly in America. We have, they're basically encoded in two forms. They're encoded in the, um, public Order Act and the, uh, communications Act of 2003. Um, and these two acts are the reason why, for instance, a 16 year old autistic girl was arrested this week by West Yorkshire Police because she remarked that one of the police officers resembled her lesbian grandmother, and that's it. And they stormed into the house, broke into the house, it was really breaking and entering and kidnapping, uh, took her away. Um, they don't even have a legal justification to do it, as far as I can see, because the Public Order Act actually, uh, has a dwelling defense, which means you can say what you want in your own home, not so in Scotland. Speaker 1 00:34:16 Scotland has just introduced a hate crime bill, hate speech bill, rather, where you can be arrested for things you say in the privacy of your, your own home. Imagine that that would never happen in America because of that First Amendment. It absolutely wouldn't. So Ireland is going down the same route as a, as Scotland very authoritarian, very woke. Um, I just think the fact that you've got your First Amendment, I think it, it is a kind of lock, a kind of safeguard against the worst excesses of the Biden administration and the worst excesses of those kind of mindsets over here. Up until very recently, we had a thing called Noncrime hate incidents. Police were recording thousands and thousands of people for noncrime. So, for instance, if you said something to me, and I interpreted it as being a, I don't know, a homophobic remark, and I phoned the police, they put on your record that you had a noncrime hate incident relating to homophobia. Speaker 1 00:35:07 You wouldn't be told about it. And then when you apply for certain jobs where you need a disclosure check, like a teaching job, it would show up and you wouldn't get the job. So this is the essence of authoritarianism. The police have no business investigating noncrime. It's the opposite of what they should be doing, <laugh>. So we have serious problems in this country in terms of the police. The police are very ideologically captured. They will, uh, arrest people and get, I mean, there are, you know, 3000 people arrested every year in this country for offense, things they say online. And to me, that should never happen once that's 3000, too many. Um, I know people say some horrible things online, and they say, oh, but that's the price you pay for free speech, as you know, is that you've gotta take the rough with the smooth. Speaker 1 00:35:47 You, you, you will hear some horrible things, but I'd rather hear some horrible things and be upset from time to time and be offended, uh, than live in a society that doesn't have freedom. So I think on balance, the US is in a better state than us. However, because of your history of, um, of, uh, slavery, race relations, those kinds of things, it is more of a powder keg in some situations. And the summer of 2020, I think, proved that that could have only started in America in a way that, that couldn't have started over here. But then note how quickly we, uh, imported the tenets of critical race theory from America to the uk. Makes no sense here. We have a completely different history, uh, than you guys. It doesn't, it one does not map onto the other. Uh, we even had protests in London during that, that summer of 2020 when, uh, black Lives Matter supporters were putting their arms up and shouting at the police, don't shoot. Speaker 1 00:36:41 Well, our police aren't armed. They can't shoot, they don't have guns. It doesn't make any sense. So, you know, it's, it's a, it's a difficult, in some respects, what I would say, I suppose, is in some respects, I think in the free speech element, you are doing better than us. I think in terms of the stuff about group identity and the creep and the influence of this very racially divisive movement, that takes a form of critical race theory. Oddly enough, I think it's, it's having quite an impact over here. Maybe even more than, I don't know, because I don't know enough about how it's going over there. I mean, I've, I've spoken to people like, Speaker 0 00:37:18 Well, we'll have to, we'll have to organize a, a tour for you. Yeah, yeah. I'll get you on, on the ground. All right. On Twitter, check, Fargate asks, uh, in the US classical literature, like Shakespeare is becoming less and less of a core component in schools. What about the uk? Speaker 1 00:37:36 Yeah, so for instance, uh, the University of Sheffield a couple of years ago, point put out a video saying that the only reason that we study Shakespeare and choice is because they're white men and they've got power. And that, you know, all of that nonsense, the decolonization of the curricular is something that's happening in schools and universities across the uk, particularly libraries, particularly museums. The British Library, which is the, uh, the UK's foremost library, it's a copyright library, which means it has a copy of every single, every single book that is published has to go to that library. So it's a great repository of knowledge. Uh, they have a, uh, uh, decolonizing working group. They created a watch list of authors that had connections with the slave trade. Um, they, uh, they determined that the, the, the, the, the shape of the main building was problematic because it resembled a battleship and implied imperialism utter a nonsense. Speaker 1 00:38:27 So, um, we, it's, it's here, it's happening. We don't have quite the same problem. I think, uh, like at Yale, I think at Yale at the moment, you can graduate in English literature without ever having read Shakespeare, which I think makes absolutely no sense, because if you haven't read Shakespeare, you don't understand the canon of Western literature. Uh, so, you know, uh, it's a mistrust of, of everything canonical, because of course, what the, the ideology tells us is that, well, what cri critical race theory is underpinned by the, the notion that society is organized by white people for the benefit of white people. And that goes for everything, which means that anyone can be reduced to their group identity. Even Shakespeare, Shakespeare to them is just a dead white man, right? That's all he is. Uh, and that's all that Mozart is. Uh, you know, that it, all of these people, that's all that Christopher Marlow is Chaa Spencer, whoever. Speaker 1 00:39:18 So, um, and when you do that, it, it means that you can, and all of these really mediocre authors end up being on the curricular by virtue of their group identity. And that is a real problem. Um, I know, I'm not saying we shouldn't broaden the curriculum from time to time, and I'm not saying we should, that there aren't great artists and writers who have been overlooked in history. 'cause there definitely are, and we should be bringing those people in. But I think once you start saying that, let's take figures out the canon who really need to be there. I mean, without Shakespeare, we don't have Western literature. Actually, we don't, like every major writer, whether they know it or not, is influenced by Shakespeare. You know, the, the, it's, it's not, it's not possible. It's like trying to understand English literature and pretend the Bible never existed, that it's too influential. Speaker 1 00:40:12 Um, uh, so I, so I do think, I do think to answer that question, yes, it's, it's, it is a problem here as well. Also because the Royal Shakespeare company here and the people who run the Globe Theater, which is the Shakespeare Theater in London, are completely captures as well. And every time a Shakespeare production goes on, it's just an identitarian mess. It's just a, it's just a, it's a, it's not Shakespeare anymore. It's a, a promotion. It's an, uh, a diversity showcase with, uh, a the promotion of a certain ideological worldview. So, so it's a waste of time. Like you're, I would say to people, read Shakespeare now, don't see him produced. I don't think in this climate a good, interesting Shakespeare is even possible. Speaker 0 00:40:56 Wow. All right. I'm gonna take one more, and then I really do wanna dive a little bit in the remaining, uh, 15 minutes or so that we have to, the new Puritans and m on YouTube, uh, asks, why wouldn't the right start to adopt the leftist tactics if, uh, so-called moderates won't stand up to anyone using them? Um, it's a bit of what you talked about in the new Puritans in terms of describing this kind of, uh, toxic cultural stew and this dynamic that's going on between sort of the Identitarian, right? And the Identitarian left. But, but h how, how do those different, you know, sides influence each other, and what is the best way for, for people that are, you know, libertarians, uh, objectives, conservatives to, to fight back? So it's, Speaker 1 00:41:50 They, the, the trouble is they are sort of inter interdependent. I think the far right and the far left, I think if you push a narrative, that group identity is the, the most important, uh, aspect of society and human relations, don't be surprised when your opponents do the same. You know, if you, if you start saying, uh, you know, that's why we are seeing a, a rise in recruitment to the far right. I think, I think we're seeing, you know, no nowhere near, uh, the extent of the far left. But I think that's a reaction to it. I think absolutely it is. Uh, we are seeing the same with, um, with, uh, men. I mean, boy, boy, young boys are now more likely to be conservative than to be left-leaning girls tend to be more left-leaning, and that, that gap is growing year on, year and year. Speaker 1 00:42:32 And why? Well, it might be related to the fact that we, for the past 10 years, we've been telling boys that they suffer from toxic masculinity and are always going to be oppressors no matter what they do. And that girls are always gonna be oppressed no matter what they do. Uh, this is a terrible message to be sending to young people, and it, each side galvanizes the other, and they react to each other. And now that's entered into politics. And you see that with the extremes on the right and the left, to the extent that you've got people talking about a national divorce for God's sake. You know? So I, I think that's dangerous. I think that's why I want, I want us to get back. I miss the days when I could sit with a group of friends and we would disagree about politics and have a few drinks and robustly disagree and still go home friends and smiling and laughing. Speaker 1 00:43:17 Those days are gone. If, if it, I've lost most of my friends from when, when I was in my twenties, because every point of slight political disagreement is taken as evidence of evil, of Malevolence. And something really kicked off in 2016, and it was Brexit over here and Donald Trump's election in America. And it just messed everyone's heads. I think to an extent that people no longer accept the idea that disagreement is no reason to abandon a friendship. Um, disagreement is healthy, a democracy is about disagreement, and we need, and that's why more for civility, something I urge in the book, free speech is civility above all things. That is not to say that you shouldn't have the freedom to be uncivil. You should. What I'm saying is, uh, I would like to see all of us to sort of try and engage with those of us who disagree without, without assuming interpreting their ideas and words in the most ungenerous way. Speaker 0 00:44:14 All right. Now I really wanna dive into the new Puritans, how the religion of social justice captured the Western world. It's really quite a masterful achievement. It's not a small book. Um, it's, uh, in, in its scope the beauty of the writing, the insights, and even the quality of the audio recording. Oh, really? <laugh> which, uh, you, you yourself narrated. Yeah. Well, it's, uh, always nice to hear an author's intentions in his words. I usually find myself disappointed, uh, in self narrated books because writing and narrating, um, are often two distinct skill sets. But I suppose having a background, um, in theater yourself does help a bit. So, uh, how long did the project take, uh, you all in and what's been the reception? Speaker 1 00:45:07 Uh, yeah, the, well, I wrote, I started writing it actually before I wrote the book, free Speech. Um, and then I stopped because I, I, I wanted to write a sort of a short book, uh, sort of encapsulating the, the key arguments for free speech, because I was getting very nervous about the way things were going. And I wanted some sort of book that that was short accessible, that was sort of, uh, go through all of those main points, why it's so important, and get that out there. And then I went back to the new Puritans, and of course, the two books are related in, in many ways in terms of the themes. Um, but with the new Puritans, uh, I guess I wrote it in about nine months, something like that. And then, um, uh, got it out there. Uh, and um, yeah, the reception's been fantastic. Speaker 1 00:45:48 The reviews were brilliant. I was expecting at least one or two hit pieces from The Guardian or the New Statesman or something. Um, but they just ignored it so that the, the ideologically captured activist publications did the sensible thing and ignored the book because of course, a bad review from then would help the book. That's, and they think they <laugh>, they, they probably know that. Um, so the response has been fantastic. And, uh, I hope it helps. I mean, I hope that all I was trying to do was trying to, 'cause so many people are confused about the movement, they're confused that it, 'cause it's self progressive, but it's the opposite. And that it uses language. That doesn't mean what it claims to mean and, you know, and that it has these sort of quasi spiritual belief systems, which they claim are scientific and all this sort of stuff. Speaker 1 00:46:35 And so I had to, it needed a full length book to walk a reader through the, the, the, the, the labyrinth that is the critical social justice movement, including a kind of grounding and where it comes from, and most importantly, how we get out of it. And that's why I compare it to the new Puritans. I compare it to a religion because I find that that makes it really accessible. You know, because people see these activists, these blue haired, uh, avatar animes online just being so vicious and wish wishing death on people and, and doxxing people and threatening them and sending rape and death threats to people like JK Rowling. And they see that and they think, but these guys have be kind in their bio and they, they say, love wins, but why are they sending rape threats? What's going on here? And that doesn't make sense without a religious mindset. Speaker 1 00:47:24 And I quote Steven Weinberg the physician in the book, because he said this thing about, you know, in a world where you had good and bad people, you'd have good people doing good things and bad people doing bad things, but for good people to do bad things, that takes religion. I'd say it takes certainly an ideology. It takes a belief system. You know, you would find good people, even in the most tyrannical regimes in the past, doing committing atrocities and thinking that and doing it with a smile. 'cause they think they're doing god's work during the inquisition, torturing people, burning them at the stake and thinking they're gonna go to heaven for it. I mean, hell, even the members of isis, I have no doubt, think that they're doing God's work right now. That's almost incomp, it's incomprehensible to us. How could you say that beheading people and all of that kind of thing could ever be good. But if you have a fervent belief in a God that is telling you that it is good, then it becomes so and so by describing it as a religion, it makes sense of them. I think they also have beliefs that are, that are unfalsifiable. They have beliefs that are, uh, effectively quasi-religious, such as the idea that we each have a gendered soul, which may or may not match our physical form. That's a religious belief. Um, Speaker 0 00:48:34 So let's get into that a little bit. One of the, uh, topics we focus, uh, a lot on here at the Atlas Society is postmodernism our pocket guide to postmodernism, our animated video. My name is Postmodernism, of course, our senior scholar, Stephen Hicks, uh, author of explaining postmodernism. Um, it seems like going back all the way to your research at Oxford, uh, focused on Renaissance discourses of gender and sexuality. As part of that you studied Fuko and his perspective, um, on sexuality. Uh, can you help us understand how Fuko and other postmodernists may have paved the way for the current, um, same debate over gender ideology? Speaker 1 00:49:24 Well, Cuomos definitely paved the way for queer theory, what became queer theory. Um, and queer theorists, as I said, essentially deified him. He wrote a book called The History of Sexuality in multiple volumes. And, and within that book, I, I think that book has particularly influential when it comes to these ways of thinking. The, the, they also promoted, of course, the deconstructive approach to, to literature. A lot of this came through literary studies weirdly. Um, I think this notion, particularly for me, whe when, when you're looking at the Renaissance, and particularly when you're talking about sexuality and the Renaissance, uh, when I was at university there, it was, it was a given. It was an absolute given that, for instance, there was no such thing as a homosexual before the word was invented. Now, the word homosexual is a Latin Greek compound that comes from the late 19th century medical discourses. Speaker 1 00:50:12 Uh, they, they, all of these literary theories theorists who were studying sexuality and say Shakespeare, right? Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare's sonnets are, are gay love poems. Effectively, the first 126 of them are one man to another. The famous poem, shall I Compare these to A Summer's Day, is one man writing to another? A lot of people don't know that 'cause they don't read it in context. So when these, uh, historians and, uh, literary theorists write about sexuality in the Renaissance era, and they talk about how, but Shakespeare couldn't have been homosexual because, because the concept of homosexuality as a category of the self did not exist before the language existed to describe it. This is a very fian idea, this idea that that language brings concepts into being not the other way round. Um, and I think that's wrong. There were all, I, I mean, I noticed this during my studies. Speaker 1 00:51:03 There were all sorts of phrases that would come up in, uh, in poetry that I was reading and diaries that I were reading, which effectively, uh, approximated what we mean by gay phrases like masculine love. Uh, there's a Ben Johnson play where this character who's obviously a kind of predatory homosexual is referred to as an old ade. And Ade of course is the lover of the boy, lover of Zeus. So you, there were they there, there there's a poet called Richard Barnfield who writes, loves Sonnets Gay, loves Sonnets. Um, they're very interesting. Uh, he was eventually disowned and disinherited and I, we don't know for sure it was because of this, but I think we can, I think it's a good bet. And, um, the idea, uh, that those poems, if you read them, are effectively a man attempting, uh, conveying his homosexual inclinations. He's someone who is, uh, encapsulating and talking about being gay. Speaker 1 00:51:58 He was a man who was no doubt exclusively attracted to members of his own sex and knew it, knew that he was so inclined. So I understand that these things do fluctuate throughout history. You know, when, I mean, ancient Rome is a very good example. You know, Hadrian had, the Emperor Hadrian was in love with his boyfriend. Was it Antoninus? I think that was, it was his name. I could be wrong on that. But his boyfriend, when his boyfriend died at a very young age, 18, 19, he had him deified. He, he had statues of him put absolutely everywhere. There's loads of them, and no one blinks an nine, no one cared about that. It didn't matter. So things do change and cultural context changes regarding, uh, regarding sexuality. I get that. And I think that is right and it should be taken on board. Speaker 1 00:52:41 But the idea that a homosexual or a heterosexual or a bisexual cannot exist unless we have words to describe them, that is a purely postmodernist ian idea. And it's informed this whole notion of the construction of the self and the, the prioritization of identity within the discourse of sexuality. And that's what's led us, I think, ultimately to where we are now, where we have hundreds of different genders and people can, uh, invent their own pronouns and say that I'm just innately a cat and I must be addressed as with cat, cat self pronouns. Uh, that that's where it, that's, so it led to an absurdist endpoint. What started out as quite interesting, theorizing <laugh> then leads to lunacy and pandemonium, I think. Speaker 0 00:53:30 All right. Well, I had many other questions. Um, and, uh, also a lot of great ones from the audience that, um, we're not gonna have time for because we're coming up on the top of the hour. But, um, I, uh, recently interviewed an author who shared some advice that he had received from Charles Murray who said that if you set out to write a serious book and, uh, the New Puritans, it's nothing but a, a serious and beautifully written book. Um, if you set out to write a serious book and there were, uh, and it doesn't change your mind on at least a half a dozen issues, then you were doing it wrong. So, with the new Puritans, were there ways that you changed your mind, or at least things that surprised you over the course of researching and writing the book? Speaker 1 00:54:23 One of the main things that surprised me is that I, I mean, I've read an awful lot of the identitarian lefts books, <laugh> and essays and articles. What a number of the things have surprised me that actually there are very interesting and, uh, eye-opening moments within those books. They, you know, it's that I, it's that thing of your detractors often make good points. Um, you know, when I, I had seen so many sort of, uh, little speeches and, and things about, either About or by Robin DeAngelo, who was the author of White Fragility. And the, the book is terrible, don't get me wrong. It's, it's really bad. But, but every now and then, there's a good point, <laugh>, and, and, and that sort of shakes you a little bit. And the other thing is, is, is, is Speaker 1 00:55:08 It does open your eyes to the, to this notion of lived experience. I think there's a lot of value now in hearing what people have to say about their own lives. What I, what I argue is that you can't extrapolate that and, and make generalized conclusions about society based on one person's individual experience. I think that's where they're going wrong. I think it is valuable to listen to people and their experiences, but not to formulate policy on that basis. So for instance, someone says, I have perceived racism at Oxford University, and therefore Oxford is an institutionally racist place. That's where you're going wrong there, because for a start, your perception could well be wrong. Most of our perceptions are wrong 90% of the time. Uh, so that, uh, that to me, I think has been, uh, the most eyeopening. The other one that I really was shocked by, because, you know, in the book, I, uh, I, I try, I compare the, um, the new Puritans to the Puritans of New England of Salem in the late 17th century. Speaker 1 00:56:06 And, uh, because I thought I knew that story, you know, I thought I, you know, I, I'd studied the crucible. I'd directed the Crucible, uh, <laugh>. I, I knew it very, very well. Uh, I'd seen films about the witch hunts in Salem. I didn't know until reading the, uh, transcripts of the court sessions, uh, the extent to which the magistrates and the ministers and the people in charge knew that the girls were lying, or at least knew that it wasn't real. And, and there are so many examples of this, where, for example, one day in the court, one of the people, one of the girls, you know, how they were screaming and crying witch on everyone who was there, right? And were hanged as a result. On one day, this girl pulled out a blade covered in blood from her side and said, that witch has just sent this blade into me. Speaker 1 00:56:56 And a man, a local villager said, no, that broke off my knife the other day. And you saw it and picked it up, and that's why you've got it today. A lie was exposed in court and the magistrate straightaway said, we'll move on. And they ignored it. Similarly, whenever the girls accused someone who was powerful, someone like who, who was the, the acting head of Harvard College, they accused his name was, uh, the Samuel Willard, and they accused him. And the magistrate said, no, you must be mistaken. You must be thinking of Constable Willard, who was a local guy. So, no, that's not the behavior of people who are genuinely seeking truth. Uh, that to me was a great surprise because I had always assumed it was a collective hysteria that everyone became involved with. Actually. It was a combination of hysteria, but also intimidation and fear that you might be the next accused. Speaker 1 00:57:47 And that, I think is a really good analogy to what is happening today. And actually the first draft of the book wasn't, I didn't include very much about Salem at all. I think it was half a page, it become, it now bookends the book. It's now the opening chapter and the closing chapter because I discovered in reading and writing the book how similar it is in so many ways to what we're experiencing at the moment. In addition, if you think about it, Salem was a little over a year, and they weren't witch hunters. That's another thing that shocked me. They weren't witch hunters. They were, they were not people who went around crying, witch. They were good, decent God-fearing people who afterwards said, what the hell were we doing? And they repented and they said, this was awful. But we got caught up in this. And I think it's the same today. You have activists like the screaming Girls crying Witch or Turf or Fascist or Nazi or whatever they say racist homophobe. That's their equivalent of which, and they would go away if the people in authority, the politicians, the commentary just said, it's not true. But like the ministers of Salem, like the magistrates, they, they capitulate. So I just see so many parallels there, and I think that's why that was something that changed my mind. My whole perception of what happened in Salem was changed, uh, by researching this. Speaker 0 00:58:57 Well, thank you for doing the work and presenting it. So, uh, beautifully, everyone please go out and buy, uh, Andrew Doyle's, the new Puritans. Um, or as I mentioned, the audible version is pretty spectacular, so check that out. And then Andrew, uh, good luck. I, is it tomorrow that you have this show and the new venue? We do Speaker 1 00:59:18 And we're going to, um, we're going ahead with it. Like I say, different venue, so we'll see what happens. Um, we are not letting anyone know the address. We're emailing the address to people who've bought tickets. 'cause it's a sold out show. Uh, so the activists hopefully won't know how to find us. Speaker 0 00:59:32 Alright, <laugh>. Well thank you Andrew. Um, thank all of you for joining us today for asking your terrific questions. Uh, if you enjoyed this video, if you enjoyed the work of the Atlas Society, uh, please consider making a tax deductible donation, uh, to [email protected]. And please be sure to join us next week when Stephanie Slade, a senior editor at Reason will join the Atlas Society, asks to talk about fusion. We'll see you there. Thanks.

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