“Barbarians: How The Baby Boomers, Immigration, and Islam Screwed my Generation” is the debut book on political philosophy by Lauren Southern. The book is a must-read for Conservatives and Matthew Hopkins News recommends it as a purchase. Nevertheless, Lauren Southern is no Ann Coulter – like Ann herself Lauren is sui generis.
One of the great forces behind the Conservative revival and the crumbling of the failing institutions of the left has been books of political philosophy. Authors such as Ann Coulter became best sellers by challenging the comfortable leftist status-quo.
But Coulter, for all her charms, was by no means the only one. One of my personal favourite writers is Economist Thomas Sowell. An African-American he clawed his way up from poverty and out of the stifling embrace of leftism to become a pre-eminent Economist. He is Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
Before I became a Conservative, before I studied computing or law, my undergraduate degree was in Economics and Sowell is a master. His logical, thoughtful and reality-rooted analysis has made him a bulwark of right-wing thought and of course a hate figure to the left. “The Vision of the Annointed”, is an important book and deserves a place on every right-wing bookshelf.
Another important writer is Tammy Bruce, the author of, “The New Thought Police: Inside the Left’s Assault on Free Speech and Free Minds”. A lesbian and formerly a leading light of the National Organisation for Women, Bruce became a right-wing radio show host and Republican. Her book deals with a number of issues including way the left monopolises women’s rights whilst selling them out for political expediency. Bruce is also the author of, “The Death of Right and Wrong”.
Where does Lauren Southern fit?
To start off with, Southern is not Ann Coulter and in some ways that is a good thing. Coulter is one of my favourite authors and my favourite book of hers, “Treason” is essential reading for a rounded understanding of Senator Joe McCarthy and his era.
Coulter’s devastating critiques of the left were always lengthy, intellectual as well as funny and meticulously noted. If she said Bob the Democrat was an axe murderer, there would be 15 newspaper articles cited, often (amusingly) including the Guardian or New York Times.
Southern’s book is far shorter than a Coulter title and I finished the whole thing in a morning. It comes out at about 61 pages when printed. It is much more accessible, whilst still revealing a keen intelligence. The book is at times flippant over meticulous, such as when discussing the masturbation habits of left-wing activist Coral Segal (better known as Trigglypuff). This is footnoted as, “Don’t ask. Just don’t”.
The core difference between Coulter, Sowell, Bruce and Southern is that she is a politician whereas they are ultimately a lawyer, an academic and a redemptee. Coulter, Sowell and Bruce are critics of the left, though their writing often reveals their thoughts on various issues. This is essential to the movement, but much more is needed. As Coulter herself said, “We have way too many lawyers, the price for them has plummeted and you will have a miserable and unsatisfying life” (archive here).
Southern begins with six chapters of criticism but ends with a chapter summarising her vision for solving the problems of the world. It is a summary but it sketches out the high points of a coherent vision. Southern is not a lawyer – she is a sophisticated and charismatic activist. A populist leader, not an academic. She is not Ann Coulter but in a class by herself.
Chapter One – The West is Dying
This chapter deals in general terms with Southern’s views of the challenges facing modern society. These include unrestrained hedonism, an abandonment of western values such as free speech and the failure of the left-wing doctrine of ‘diversity’. The chapter is fairly short and could be seen as a summary of many other social critics, with an emphasis on the inherent value and success of the traditional Western worldview.
Chapter Two – How Tenured Hippies Ruined Everything
In this section of the book, Southern deals with the current left-wing hegemony in academe and the corrosive effect it has on society and education. Southern uses as her example one particularly strident and obnoxious academic she encountered during her own education. Wisely, she does not name him – making him an everyman for all of us who have encountered opinionated teachers. Aside from that, she really treads the ground of writers such as David Horowitz (author of “The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America”). There is nothing wrong with this chapter, but aside from Southern’s personal anecdotes it is nothing new.
Chapter Three – How Think-Tank Fogies Ruined Everything
Here Southern identifies a legitimate and core problem of modern Conservatism, namely, its weakness and fear of speaking the truth. The recent successes of Donald Trump, the rise of Breitbart, these are explained in terms of the failure of the traditional right and the neoconservatives to respond to the challenges of the era. It is a coherent narrative of past failures – essential to rectifying them.
Chapter Four – How Immigration is Ruining Everything
The problems caused for modern society by indiscriminate immigration in a world of scarce resources and incompatible cultures is a topic that requires strength and forthrightness. Southern herself has faced censorship over this such as being thrown off an interview with Kay Burley on Sky News (archive here).
Of course it is worth reminding ourselves that Burley has a chequered history herself. Burley faced calls for her sacking after a series of cruel questions to Peter Andre about his children (archive here). Burley was also filmed in a fracas with another female media worker – with her hand around the other woman’s throat (archive here)!
Chapter Five – How Islam is Ruining Everything
Despite its facetious title, this chapter deals in thoughtful terms with the complex problems caused by the clash of values between the West and Islamic values.
Chapter Six – How I Ruined Everything
Perhaps the second most important chapter in the book and one of the reasons I rate it, this deals with the responsibility the current generation bears for the world’s problems and the ways they can help to take action and to rectify matters. By looking inward, Southern helps readers to understand the challenges the world faces.
Chapter Seven – How to Stop Ruining Everything
Every political manifesto requires a message – a vision for the future and an exposition, at least in outline, of goals and a programme to achieve that vision. Southern has made clear her criticism of society and here she sets out her views on how to resolve it.
Donald Trump’s political strategist and Senior Counselor, Steve Bannon, is on record as stating that they are building, “an entirely new political movement” founded on revived “economic nationalism” (archive here). Like other political thinkers such as Vox Day Bannon has understood the potential to garner large followings by extolling the values and culture that made the West great. Such thinkers are gathering those themes into a revived, modern, positive form of nationalism.
Southern joins this stream of thought. To Southern the root of the world’s problems is that, “The West is withering away from cancer, and globalism is the cancer”. The solution? “It all starts with nationalism […] It’s awesome”. Southern makes it clear that in her view, before the West can begin to heal it must recall the values that made it great.
In an passionate manifesto she explains that nationalists should not be tainted by extremist 1940s governments anymore than modern Democrats should be confused with Stalin. Every ideology has its lunatics and dictators. A modern, positive form of nationalism means recognising the value of our heritage and championing it in the battle of ideas.
By writing “Barbarians”, Southern has placed herself amongst the forefront of a new generation of Right-wing philosophers. Like it or not, her views are shared at the highest levels of government in the United States, Russia and increasingly in parts of Europe. These ideas are shaping our world and should be understood. Southern makes that easy. For these reasons, her book belongs on any Conservative or right-wing bookshelf.