Interview with Melanie Phillips on “World Turned Upside Down”

Has Western civilization now reached a point where it has stopped trying to survive? That is one of many questions raised by British journalist and author Melanie Phillips in her recent book, The World Turned Upside Down: The Global Battle Over God, Truth, and Power. In an exclusive interview with Accuracy in Media, she was very critical of the role the media have played in creating this upside down world, as she sees it. She said that “The British media are worse than your American media. At least in America you have Fox News, you have talk radio, which can challenge the otherwise unchallenged worldview of the Left represented in organizations like CNN, ABC, and so on—and our BBC. But the fact is, most journalists are on the Left, and most journalists, I think, are acting as fifth columnists in the war against the West, a war waged both from within and from without.”

Melanie Phillips worked for a decade for the left-wing British newspaper, The Guardian, as a correspondent, editor and columnist, starting in 1977. From there she went to The Observer (which had been bought by The Guardian), The Sunday Times and later The Daily Mail, and has written several books along the way, including the widely acclaimed Londonistan. She also currently writes for The Spectator.

Among the issues most important to Ms. Phillips, are the breakdown of the family, the obsession with multiculturalism, the phenomenon of radical Islam coming into Britain and not being dealt with properly, and Israel, of which she is a passionate supporter.

She explained that she decided to write The World Turned Upside Down when she realized that the above-mentioned issues, and others such as how the war in Iraq was reported, had something in common: “They were all issues on which it was not possible, any longer, to have a proper discussion or debate; they were all issues on which the progressive side of politics took the view that it wasn’t simply that they believed that people who dissented from their point of view were wrong, they believed that they shouldn’t be allowed to speak at all.”

What these issues have in common, she concludes, is that “They were all linked by the fact that they were all ideologies—that is to say, they were all governed by ideologies such as a whole range of -isms: Feminism, anti-Americanism, environmentalism, anti-Zionism, moral and cultural relativism, and so on. And all these ideologies, because they’re ideologies, basically, they start with the belief that the idea is not only correct, but can’t be challenged, whatever that idea is, and then they force evidence to fit the idea.”

Below, in italics, are excerpts from the interview. You can listen to the entire two-part interview or read the transcript here.

The higher up the social and educational scale you go, particularly people who have been educated in universities in the last decade or two, you find that they are people who are much more likely to have a highly ideological view of the world, to be anti-America, anti-West, anti-capitalism, and to have—most importantly—no idea what truth and objectivity actually are. They disdain the whole notion of truth and objectivity, and they’re the people who are the most vicious and venomous towards Israel, a subject I care about very deeply. I am, myself, a Jew, but I also believe that Israel should be supported not simply in its own right, but because I believe Israel is a kind of paradigm issue of our time, that as far as Britain and Europe are concerned, it’s where the most irrational and bigoted views coalesce under the umbrella of “being rational” and “progressive.” It’s a kind of symbol, if you like, of where we’ve lost the plot over a whole range of issues.

So all these ideologies—look at environmentalism, look at anti-Zionism, anti-Americanism—we may think that some of them, or all of them, are horrible and destructive, but from the point of view of people who believe in them, they are all ways in which they think the world can be perfected.

So it is extraordinary that the Left literally march on the streets of London, literally march shoulder to shoulder with the Islamists. I think there are a number of reasons. The most obvious reason is that they are both revolutionary movements wanting to overturn Western society and its culture, and replace it by something else. Now, it’s perfectly true that the Islamists want something radically different from the Left, in terms of what they want to replace it by, but they are happy to use each other as troops in the common cause of defeating the West. So that’s the first thing. The second thing is that they are all Utopian creeds...

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