Ed West

Ed West

Ed West writes the Wrong Side of History substack

The mind virus killing academia

We lost a giant last month with E.O. Wilson’s passing. A man who stood on Darwin’s shoulders, Wilson had that rare distinction of inspiring a whole discipline in the form of evolutionary psychology. The great sense of loss did not seem to be shared by Scientific American, however, which soon afterwards put out a piece

What really matters in the Covid culture wars?

During the grimmest days of the First Crusade in 1098, the western Christians found themselves besieged by the Turks in Antioch. They had travelled more than a thousand miles from France, and countless fellow believers had died in the almost impossible trek across the known world; now running out of food and water, they were

Brought to book | 15 November 2018

‘The barbarians drive us to the sea, the sea drives us to the barbarians; between these two means of death we are either drowned or killed.’ So wrote the British monk Gildas in his 6th-century proto-polemic On the Ruin of Britain, recording the arrival of the hated ‘Germans’ to the island. Bad news for the

Only a British Rudy Giuliani can rescue the Tories in London

Our road was closed last July so that pipes could be installed underground, a mundane bureaucratic procedure that, for my children, led to the most memorable summer of their lives. For weeks they played in the street with friends while our front door was left open, strangers instinctively smiling at kids being able to run

Will Britain stand up to Russia?

A Russian man convicted of spying for Britain has mysteriously been taken ill due to an ‘unknown substance’ – I wonder who could be responsible? Of course one can’t assume at this point, and the Russians will express bafflement as to why they’re being accused of poisoning Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. No doubt

Citizenship is dead

Once in a while some Socialist Worker people set up a stall outside my local Tesco to shout slogans at the progressive middle-class folk who make up much of the local demographic. One of the phrases I’ve heard them use is ‘Refugees welcome! Tories out!’ which is great and everything, except – what if the refugees

Children’s cinema is conservative – and brilliant

The Oscars promise to be truly unbearable this year, with vomit-inducing levels of sanctimony followed by the usual gibberish from the commentariat. The results and speeches and even clothes will be subject to endless politicised scrutiny, and whatever the film industry does to stay Woke, the Buzzfeed headline will inevitably be ‘and people aren’t happy

A tale of two Brexits

At one point during Boris Johnson’s speech today he asked the audience: ‘We all want to make Britain less insular, don’t we?’ Silence. Media-training experts use an initialism to try to get journalists and other talking-heads to come across well on television – BLT. Does the audience believe you? Do they like you? Do they

Ed West

Children’s cinema is conservative – and brilliant | 14 February 2018

The Oscars promise to be truly unbearable this year, with vomit-inducing levels of sanctimony followed by the usual gibberish from the commentariat. The results and speeches and even clothes will be subject to endless politicised scrutiny, and whatever the film industry does to stay Woke, the Buzzfeed headline will inevitably be ‘and people aren’t happy

Why is porn ok but grid girls aren’t?

I guess there comes that time in every man’s life when he realises he is in fact a dinosaur and he’s never going to keep up with social mores. May as well just get use to your children’s gritted teeth every time you open your fat, opinionated mouth on anything. I find myself reaching that

The Bayeux Tapestry is coming home at last

The Entente Cordiale is alive and well, it seems. It was announced today that, thanks to the benevolence of Emmanuel Macron, the Bayeux Tapestry will leave France for the first time in nine centuries, and be loaned to Britain. Strictly speaking, though, you could say the tapestry was coming home, since it was almost certainly made

Is political correctness speeding up?

One of the most influential and popular ideas of the post-war era was that of the Authoritarian Personality, which linked fascism with a number of personality traits, including conventionalism, anti-intellectualism and prudery. Conservatism, in other words. It has become popular to believe that being right-wing is synonymous with being authoritarian. Society may have no common culture

Does alcohol make us more right-wing?

Although I wrote in my last post that social media makes people miserable, Twitter is also a fantastic resource for acquiring knowledge from experts and specialists in different areas. One of my favourite accounts is Rolf Degen, who daily tweets a number of scientific studies into human behaviour. Just before Christmas he linked to a story concerning the

Get off social media for 2018

Was 2017 that terrible? Everyone feels like they’re losing and the world is going to hell, and in many ways it does feel like a dark cloud is approaching. This article, about a sex robot conference being moved after a threat from Islamic extremists, did strike me as the sort of thing one of the more

The boredom of living through ‘interesting times’ 

Robert Tombs, author of the majestic ‘The English and their History’, has written in the latest Spectator about how Brexit has become the trigger for a new culture war in Britain. He likens it to the sectarian arguments of the 18th century, pointing out that: ‘When I hear prominent Remainers unquestioningly supporting the demands of

Christmas markets without armed police are now a thing of the past

I love the Christmas season, so friendly and wholesome and filled with evocative memories – but don’t the machine guns and anti-terror bollards seem to go up earlier each year? Look at the touching festive scenes in Manchester, and Edinburgh, and we’ll see the police and barriers across the country from Liverpool to Lincoln. It’s not quite Bedford Falls

All conservatives should support Michael Gove’s green crusade

‘The sea is in my blood. My father made his living as a fish merchant, as did his father before him. Generations of Goves have gone to sea, harvested its riches and fed families with the healthiest — and most renewable — resource on the planet, our fish.’ So begins Michael Gove’s passionate call to

The marriage gap

Whatever their views about the monarchy, most people will warm to the news of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement. Sentimental as it sounds, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the last royal wedding and how happy I felt for Prince William and Kate Middleton, as she was then. It was one of

How much is immigration to blame for the housing crisis?

I’m never going to be able to own my home, that’s why I’ll vote Labour; also the Tories are horrible to immigrants and they don’t think animals are alive or something, my friend Molly shared it on Facebook. That’s basically the crux of the argument I’m hearing, obviously a reductio one, and I sense the

Stop Appeasing Stupidity

I’ve always thought of the Daily Mail as catering to a sort of Roundhead English tradition, the inheritors of low Protestantism, the solid middle class, high in conscientiousness and below average in openness. That’s not my tradition, personally; I identify with the Cavalier inheritance, more Catholic, more reactionary-but-in-a-jokey-way (or is it?), represented by the Daily Telegraph,