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Can Ireland survive the new cultural revolution? If your economy is ruled from California, then your society will be too

Cancelled, cancelled, cancelled, cancelled, cancelled, etc etc Photo by: Geography Photos/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Cancelled, cancelled, cancelled, cancelled, cancelled, etc etc Photo by: Geography Photos/Universal Images Group via Getty Images


December 31, 2020   6 mins

Talk to an educated Irish person in a global city today, and you will quickly discover that they hold the twin ideologies of post-Celtic Tiger Ireland: a vague sentimental remnant of the Irish ethno-nationalism of the revolutionary period and the internationalist and multicultural open society values of Google.

Point out that these are contradictory in any way, like mentioning Ireland’s role as an international tax haven or asking why there are so many Irish nationalists living in London, Berlin and San Francisco and so few living in Dublin, and you will be met with defensive anger.

As a former colony, historically unsullied by the sins of slavery and imperialism, Ireland’s national identity has been largely free of the culture of pathological self-hatred found across most of the liberal West today. An uncomplicated sense of national pride has remained the default, even and sometimes especially on the political Left. But all of that is about to change.

“Toppling statues is just the beginning”, ran a recent Irish Times headline, if the goal is “How to make Irish culture less racist.” As self-flagellating stories about the Irish public’s racism are set to now become a daily part of life, Ireland’s elites can breathe a sigh of relief. Any populist pressure they sensed brewing while overseeing a deeply economically unequal society with skyrocketing homelessness, rents and outward youth migration can now be replaced with an imported moral narrative that turns the spotlight around on the reactionary masses who must, in the name of equality, learn to think of themselves as privileged.

While educated Irish young people in Dublin copied the Black Lives Matter protests from America, our culturally progressive and economically Thatcherite Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, recently singled out the statue of Irish Republican Sean Russell as a problematic target. Russell fought in the War of Independence and died trying to secure arms from Germany in 1940.

Wrongly thinking that historical facts could ever stand a chance against the wrecking ball of the current international woke cultural revolution, some Republicans correctly pointed out that he was not doing so out of any allegiance to Nazism, having tried to secure arms from any nations that might give them. Protesters still vandalised the statue anyway, painting it with the gay pride rainbow flag with added black and brown to mark their support for Black Lives Matter.

Having uncritically adopted the fashions of American academia, Ireland’s new young educated elite have started parroting the imported language of “white privilege” versus “people of colour”, and the dangers of nationalism versus the superior multinational capitalism-friendly values of openness.

There is little reason to think the cultural revolution sweeping across Europe from America will stop and listen to the “but we’re on your side!” pleas offered by Irish Republicans about how they supported the anti-apartheid movement in the Eighties or how our nationalist heroes were anti-imperialists or that our Republicans today are economically left-leaning and pro-immigration.

Anyone who thinks these details will matter, and that any remnant of Irish cultural nationhood will be immune, is simply not paying attention to the unstoppable internal logic of the current cultural revolution underway. This new generation of elite aspirants are already showing that they make no such distinction and simply recast the native Irish as “white people” whose privilege needs to be checked and ultimately dismantled.

It is worth asking why the woke cultural revolution sweeping Irish society would spare a single one of our national statues, monuments or heroes. One could go through the entire list of signatories of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic and find cancellable and problematic thoughts uttered by each of them in different contexts. The deeply Catholic Constance Markievicz cited the “anti-Irish ideals” of “immorality and divorce” against the Anglo-Irish Treaty. Patrick Pearse explicitly wrote of blood sacrifice and the Irish race, saying that, “there can be no peace between the body politic and a foreign substance that has intruded itself into its system” which must be expelled or assimilated through war.

Why wouldn’t our literary heroes also be wiped from the canon and from the public space? The continued dominance of Irish literature in our universities is certainly open to the accusation of being exclusionary and too white. What about George Bernard Shaw, who once wrote that “Any competent historian or psychoanalyst can bring a mass of incontrovertible evidence to prove that it would have been better for the world if the Jews had never existed”? What about W. B. Yeats, who preferred fascism to democracy? Who will be left in our compliant little colony of Silicon Valley to defend any of these figures a few years from now after the woke cultural revolution has replaced the unsuspecting old guard with the new?

What about the special place given to the Irish language in state institutions, which it could be easily argued excludes and discriminates against foreigners? What about the explicitly ethnocentric Irish right of return policy, which grants people with Irish grandparents the right to citizenship? Irish liberal media used to love showcasing the young children of immigrants playing hurling or speaking Irish, which offered a vision of the future in which anyone could be Irish through adoption of the national culture, but what happens when those young people are filled with poison in the indoctrination camps of university and taught to fear and resent the native population as white racists?

Surely they’ll let us keep the Marxist James Connolly, one might think, who could be spared due to some often cited quotes that liberals love about the limitations of nationalism without economic equality or against the oppression of women. In fact, the Connolly statue was defaced by anarchists years ago. On May Day 2005, the statue of James Connolly in Dublin was graffitied, and a black bloc hood and mask — the kind associated with antifa today — placed on its head, supposedly in the name of “appropriating” and “reclaiming” the figure; and that was back when the anarchist cultural project was not yet indistinguishable from every elite institution, from academia to the NGO sector to the international capitalist class.

Connolly, the Catholic revert who fought and died alongside ethno-nationalists won’t stand a chance when they come for him next time.

Unlike the republics that can claim to be founded on abstract and universalist principles, sooner or later there is simply no getting around the brick wall of truth that the Irish nationhood envisioned by our revolutionary founders was fundamentally ethno-nationalist. How could it have been otherwise? Historians can offer all the contextualising explanations they like but this will be the awkward truth the woke internationale will use to bury it in shame.

Nationalists will no longer be dealing with a few scattered genteel revisionist intellectuals like Conor Cruise O’Brien, but the full tidal ideological force of the American Empire, with its sophisticated cold war psychological warfare tactics, its world dominating oligarchy and every elite institution at home and abroad on its side.

Ireland is uniquely vulnerable to all of this as a nation without a national economic base, wholly reliant on the whim and will of aggressively ideological multinationals temporarily parked there for tax purposes. After gaining national independence, Ireland had to embark upon the difficult task of making an agrarian economy, which had been shaped and distorted by its role as a colony of the British Empire, independent and backed by an indigenous industrial base. As trade union economist Michael Taft has documented, this project failed at key historical moments and was ultimately replaced by the easier route to modernity of inviting international capital to base itself there using tax incentives.

As a result of the low-tax policies introduced in the late Nineties, Ireland today is effectively a tax haven, hosting the European headquarters of Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter and many others. Some of these companies have been found to be paying as little as 0.005% tax. While this project gave Ireland the Celtic Tiger economy, it also produced a deeply unequal society totally subservient to the sovereignty and ultimately the values and culture of the corporations who today are its guiding force. For our obedience, we received surely the lowest of honours just last year when anti-yellow vests French intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy congratulated us for being “a people who resist the winds of populism”.

It is a tragic irony of Irish history that, having fought a globe-spanning empire to build an independent Irish nation, and having fought the imperial landlords through agrarian peasant movements before that, giving the world the very word boycott, it stands today as a tax colony of American tech in which the native young leave because of its unchecked speculative landlordism.

While its subservient relationship to the British Empire brought famine and hardship, Ireland’s subservient relationship to an American progressive tech oligarchy brought about the Celtic Tiger and as a consequence we were happy to ignore the truth of the arrangement: that we were simply passing from one form of colony to another. It will now be a second but no less bitter irony that the native Irish working class will soon find themselves in the same position as the British have — despised as reactionary by our own elites and morally and economically blackmailed into accepting their more enlightened values.

Like all doomed traditions, our banal ethno-nationalism has been passively held by the majority while the intellectual and moral foundations that once justified it have been slowly replaced and degraded while nobody was paying attention. When a full confrontation with the liberal internationalism we invited in during the Celtic Tiger years inevitably happens, those foundations will already be gone and we will no longer be able to explain why having any right to a national culture or national sovereignty is anything other than racist and exclusionary.

The small conflict sparked by the Sean Russell statue was a moment of escalation. Whether it was too soon to bring the wrecking ball in or not, to make the Irish too acutely aware of what is coming, remains to be seen, but the direction of the historical winds should be obvious.

The revolutionary generation that gave us the Irish nation understood that you cannot be culturally, intellectually or economically self-directed if you’re ruled from a foreign power. These recent events have started to reveal the irreconcilable and contradictory nature of the official ideology of post-Celtic Tiger Ireland, which tried to dress our colonial relationship to international capitalism as a national triumph. The Irish will soon learn that if your economy is ruled from California, your society will start to look like California, a nowhere of the very rich and very poor, but without the sunshine.


Angela Nagle is a writer and author of the book Kill All Normies.


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Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago

Point out that these are contradictory in any way … and you will be met with defensive anger

One of the most bizzare reactions I have noticed over the last five years is the anti Brexit vehemence of Eire academia. The UK is a third country to Eire. Why are they so fussed if the UK stays or leaves the EU?

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

If you followed the Irish accents of those working at the EU during the Brexit years, you might be led to conclude that the reason they were so vocal was that they saw an opportunity to exercise the kind of sneering spite that you might expect from a vengeful child.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Additionally, a No Deal outcome would have dealt severe damage to the non tax haven part of their economy – and potentially forced them to build an “EU wall” on their island.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

But if they’ve thrown in their lot with the EU nations (which is their right of course), they can hardly expect a nation leaving the EU to take that into consideration. From what I recall, Eire remained neutral through WW2 – they put their national interests first when their neighbours were getting fried, why would they expect any other nation to do otherwise?

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Fully agree, I was just responding to why they might have responded as they did.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Eire famously sent a letter or telegram of condolence to the Germans following Hitler’s death.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Oof. Who were the party in power at the time?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

I don’t know. Wasn’t de Valera in almost perpetual power around that time? I guess he was Fianna Gael or Fianna Fialle (I have no idea how to spell the names of these parties), assuming those parties existed at the time.

Damian Grant
Damian Grant
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Fraser, I think the tone of your reply says more about you than it does about the issue under discussion.Why don’t you take a moment or two look up the spellings of the political parties to which you refer? Given that Ireland is one of the UK’s closest geographical neighbours, sometimes I feel that so little seems to be known about the country politically, economically or socially. Just my opinion.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Damian Grant

Well my quick spellings don’t seem to be too far off, given the circumstances. How many other English people are even familiar with De Valera or could even name the two main Irish political parties? Not for nothing did I follow The Pogues around the pubs of north London in 1984/85.

Alan Healy
Alan Healy
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Fianna Fail – same as now .

Paul Booth
Paul Booth
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Even worse. De Valera went to the German legation in Dublin, and signed the condolence book following Hitler’s suicide.

Corrie Mooney
Corrie Mooney
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Booth

As was proper diplomatic formality.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Corrie Mooney

Diplomatic formality for a geocidal maniac?

kildare54
kildare54
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

well that was DeValera and it was a message sent to the German legate in Dublin. Many Irish fought Nazism.

Chris Hopwood
Chris Hopwood
3 years ago
Reply to  kildare54

Weren’t seven of them awarded the Victoria Cross?

Eamonn Toland
Eamonn Toland
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

It was an absurd observation of diplomatic protocol by de Valera that his closest advisors begged him not to pursue.
What makes it odd is that de Valera had called for multi-lateral action against the fascist invasion of Abyssinia as President of the League of Nations in 1936, and very deliberately recognized Judaism in the Irish Constitution written in 1937. The Jewish community in Ireland later planted the Éamon de Valera forest in Israel as a mark of their appreciation.

Last edited 3 years ago by Eamonn Toland
Damian Grant
Damian Grant
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Not that any Irishman or woman ever signed up to fight for the British in any of their far-flung lands….none whatsoever, Prashant!

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Damian Grant

Why would they have?

JohnW
JohnW
3 years ago

Because the British army to this day ï»żhas a regiment called the Royal Irish Regiment that “recruits men of the right quality and calibre right across the island of Ireland”.

Eric Dempsey
Eric Dempsey
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

I have Irish grandparents so understand some, if certainly not all of the Irish historical antipathy towards the British. If there was one country that understood the reasons behind Brexit and the fact that it was mostly ordinary working Brits who voted for it feeling shafted, ripped off and left behind without the tools to change anything for the better, it would be the Irish? It didn’t matter who you voted for you got an EU championing party so people were giving up. Yet, Irish people have come across to us as flunkies of the EU and wanting to put the boot in at every occasion. All you seem to have done is to have replaced one colonial master for another.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago
Reply to  Eric Dempsey

Thanks for explaining. The Irish border stuff was not even on the radar for me during the Brexit debate, and I was greatly puzzled why it blew up in the way it did after the referendum. I guess I don’t have the historical antenna to understand the strength of feelings, around what seemed to me to be already settled historic issues. I also could not understand how the Irish could maintain a historical nationalist resentment while simultaneously tacking towards cosmopolitanism as espoused by the EU – either stance on their own made sense but both compartmentalized within the same individuals seemed to me contradictory.

bob.moore
bob.moore
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

The “strength of feelings” is because there are two communities in Northern Ireland. I suggest you read a good book about it.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Some hatreds are never forgotten and never forgiven.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Pretty dumb though.

David J
David J
3 years ago

Travel back in time and you will find that Ireland had plenty of involvement in the slave trade.
For centuries Irish slavers raided across the Irish Sea for saleable human flesh.
For a time, Dublin was the biggest slave market in Western Europe.
And plenty of Irish merchants were involved in the later Atlantic slave trade.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  David J

I suspect your comment refers to others before the 50,000 slaves the Irish installed in the Magdalene Laundries.

Not all slaves have to be imported from overseas …..

Corrie Mooney
Corrie Mooney
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

That’s not, strictly speaking, slavery.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Corrie Mooney

A fair point – I suspect it felt more like an “open prison” than a plantation for many of the workers.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Corrie Mooney

True, they were domestic slaves, to be abused at will and worse.

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
3 years ago
Reply to  Corrie Mooney

More like one of those camps the PRC has for Uighurs, to tutor them in the ways of righteousness, and get a bit of labour out of them too.

Corrie Mooney
Corrie Mooney
3 years ago
Reply to  David J

What slave trade? Pre-Christian times?

This comment is risable.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Corrie Mooney

Towards the end of the fourth century Irish slavers were raiding the coast of the decaying corpse of Roman Britannia.

The Romans called them Scoti or Scotti.
The fabled St Patrick is thought to have been one of their victims.

But surely you know this so why the fake outrage?

Corrie Mooney
Corrie Mooney
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

I said pre-Christian times. And St. Patrick was certainly one of their victims.

And he was an abolitionist. Slavery disappeared from Ireland until the Vikings.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Corrie Mooney

Pre-Christian for Hibernia but not for Britannia.

Off course you have inadvertently highlighted the fact that the Roman Empire bestowed the dubious benefits of Christianity on the barbarian Irish. Thank you.

What would have happened do you think if they hadn’t bothered?

Eamonn Toland
Eamonn Toland
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

According to Kenneth Clarke, Western Civilization might have been lost.
From 600 to 800 half of all literary output in Western Europe was by Irish monks who preserved classical thought, and in the person of John Scotus Eriugena provided one of the greatest philosophers of the era, according to Bertrand Russell.

bob.moore
bob.moore
3 years ago
Reply to  Corrie Mooney

Was he an abolitionist? I’ve never seen any evidence for that.

Corrie Mooney
Corrie Mooney
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

“Involvement in the slave trade” is a very odd way to phrase it.

As if slavery wasn’t a universal human institution until the various stages of (overwhelmingly Christian) abolition.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Corrie Mooney

I think you have the wrong ‘target’.
I haven’t said ” involvement in the slave trade”.

Pete Rose
Pete Rose
3 years ago
Reply to  Corrie Mooney

Bristol had a slave market in the 10th century. It’s largest patrons were Irish chieftains. Google it.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Rose

Did’nt St Wilfrid speak out against slavery in about 1008 AD in Bristol?

Penny Gallagher
Penny Gallagher
3 years ago
Reply to  David J

Wasn’t that mostly the Vikings who had nested in Ireland

bob.moore
bob.moore
3 years ago
Reply to  David J

Dublin was the biggest NORSE slave trading market in Western Europe. The Irish were the slaves they were selling.

Iceland is founded on Viking men and what are now Irish and Scottish women. Ireland and Scotland didn’t exist at the time.

And the “slave trade” otherwise was in both directions across the Irish Sea. Slavery was the norm in those days.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
3 years ago
Reply to  David J

St Patrick was a slave.

Simon Newman
Simon Newman
3 years ago

Ireland was of course not a colony, but neither did it enjoy the fruits of Empire the way Scotland did; religion being a major factor.

Corrie Mooney
Corrie Mooney
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Newman

Ireland most certainly was a colony: one of the worst off.

Simon Newman
Simon Newman
3 years ago
Reply to  Corrie Mooney

Ireland was a part of the United Kingdom.

Eamonn Toland
Eamonn Toland
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Newman

Only from 1801, and it took another three decades to ward off a rearguard action by the King and allow Catholic and Dissenter to sit as MPs in Parliament. The Plantations occurred in the sixteenths and seventeenth centuries.

bob.moore
bob.moore
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Newman

It was of course exactly a colony – in fact the methods developed in Ireland were the ones used by the British settlers in the New World. Settlers and all.

Alan Healy
Alan Healy
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Newman

Religion , yes . The major factor , though , was that it wasn’t built on coal , so no industrialisation . An increasing population had nowhere to go , but refused to move . When disaster struck it was our fault . And we did too little to help .

Eamonn Toland
Eamonn Toland
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Healy

Refused to move, or caught in a horrendous poverty trap?
For over a century after the Glorious Revolution, Penal Laws had mandated that Catholic landholdings be subdivided among all heirs, unless one of them converted to Anglicanism. Inevitably and deliberately Catholic landholdings shrank. Over 90% of the land changed religion within a century, and Catholics became tenants-at-will, with the poorest subsisting on highly nutritious potatoes.
Without no right of tenure, no incentive to improve smallholdings and no fluency in English, the poorest had few options.
Benjamin Disraeli summed it up just before the Famine in 1844 when he formulated the Irish Question:
“A dense population, in extreme distress, inhabit an island where there is an Established Church, which is not their Church, and a territorial aristocracy the richest of whom live in foreign capitals. Thus you have a starving population, an absentee aristocracy, and an alien Church; and in addition the weakest executive in the world. That is the Irish Question.”

Last edited 3 years ago by Eamonn Toland
Eamonn Toland
Eamonn Toland
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Newman

The Ulster Plantation of the early 17th century was undoubtedly a colony, as acknowledged by those who conceived it following a scorched earth campaign in the Nine Years War that killed tens of thousands of civilians.
King James I/VI was advised by his courtiers that “the well-planting of this Colonie” by Protestant settlers from Scotland and England – who were forbidden to take on native tenants – would bring ten times the value of his recent plantations in Virginia, as well as “extirpe the very root of rebellion”.
What could possibly go wrong?

ard10027
ard10027
3 years ago

The Irish are as defeated and Ireland is as broken today as it ever was in the wake of the ’98 or on the darkest day of “Black ’47”. It’s just that those “educated young people” Angela Nagle refers to (as well as most of the older ones, “educated” or not) are too stupid to recognize this. I can say this with confidence. I am Irish, and I’m ashamed of the place. There’s a reason the country gained (partial) independence at the time it did, rather than before or since, having to do with the peak influence of Catholicism moulding entire generations of people into independence of mind before political independence. That’s gone now, and unless the Catholic Church gets its act back together and starts teaching its doctrines again unapologetically and with absolute clarity, there’s no hope for Ireland. Or anybody else, for that matter.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago
Reply to  ard10027

If one wants independence of mind, why would one join a Church? If people are ‘independent’ why would they sign up to a set of creeds (i.e. commit themselves to the same itemised beliefs, held simultaneously)?

I myself have nothing against anyone joining whatever ‘Church’ they want to, but it would seem odd to list one of the outcomes as ‘independence of mind’.

ard10027
ard10027
3 years ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

Because independence of mind means accepting the existence of objective reality. If two people disagree, one at least must be wrong. Both may be, but at least one must be. This simple statement has huge ramifications because if truth is objective, there can only be one truth and eventually, everyone must come to it.

Usually, when people talk about independence of mind, they’re actually talking about personal appetite. Human beings have a massive capacity for validating in their own heads whatever it is they want to do, but that doesn’t make what they want the truth, and going your own way — pursuing your own appetites — doesn’t make you independent of mind.

Liberty is a limited thing. Whatever the prevailing culture says, a man (as an example) cannot become a woman. There are objective boundaries on freedom, and the paradox is that only by accepting those boundaries do we maximize our personal liberty. This can be a very difficult thing to do, since accepting those limits usually involves rebellion against a licentious society which appears to be offering ultimate, unlimited personal liberty.

The Catholic Church has been teaching this for two thousand years, but only in a few places has this teaching taken even shallow root for long enough to make a societal difference. Ireland in the hundred years or so after the famine was one of those places, and as a result, the Irish State was born out of this way of thinking. After all, the British Empire was, at least on an individual level, not a particularly repressive entity. It believed strongly in personal liberty, just as the prevailing culture today claims to.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  ard10027

I wonder what the inhabitants of the Magdalene laundries thought about Catholic doctrines and personal Liberty ….

ard10027
ard10027
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Ooh, mic drop. Newsflash. Sexual abuse is as bad as it ever was, if not considerably worse.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  ard10027

I didn’t mention sexual abuse (rampant or otherwise).

Would you like to address the point I actually raised about church-supported enforced labour ?

kildare54
kildare54
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

I dont think he will because its not relevant to what he was saying.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  kildare54

Not in the comment immediately above, but the previous one contained the following :

“unless the Catholic Church gets its act back together and starts teaching its doctrines again unapologetically and with absolute clarity, there’s no hope for Ireland”

My suggestion was that those doctrines did little for those in the Magdalene laundries.

The word “unapologetically” seems the most misplaced.

PS – I’m also still unsure as to where I may have referenced sexual abuse …. but I’ll happily comment on that when someone writes an article on Catholic doctrines in Boston.

kildare54
kildare54
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

still not relevant.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Don’t forget the Christian Brothers (Buggers), as they were/are known.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

What about Tuam Co Galway, and the Bon Secours Hospital – the Auschwitz of Ireland, and still unresolved.

Terry Mushroom
Terry Mushroom
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Are you suggesting that men, women and children were taken from their homes from all over Europe to be tortured, maimed, starved, beaten, worked to death and gassed on an industrial scale? All part of a plan to destroy an entire people along with gypsies, homosexuals and others for no other reason than they existed? Because that’s the analogy you are using.

I don’t want to minimise or deny any wrongs or suffering in Tuam. But, courteously, you must be more accurate in the point you are making.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Terry Mushroom

Yes, you are correct, that was an
OTT description.

Tuam happens to be a charming little town, so I am somewhat at a loss as how to describe the horror of the incident without damming the name the Town itself.

Perhaps the ‘Sisters of Death’ for the Bon Secours will have to suffice.

Some years ago when discussIng the case with the head of Irish Archaeology, I asked him if he was conducting an archeological dig or investigating a Crime scene. He seemed unsure himself and could only offer an evasive answer. Poor chap.

bob.moore
bob.moore
3 years ago
Reply to  Terry Mushroom

Considering that mortality rates for children in Tuam approached 50% the comparison with Auschwitz isn’t that far fetched. And those groups you mention above were also favourites of the church to discriminate against.

Terry Mushroom
Terry Mushroom
3 years ago
Reply to  bob.moore

The gassing, working to death, medical experiments on conscious people (twins were children of particular choice) torturing and mass executions on countless people for no other reason than they existed is more than “discrimination”.

I’d add that in your criticism of the Catholic Church, you left out the state and the hypocrisy of Irish society.

ard10027
ard10027
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

In fact, you were using the Magdalene laundries as a metaphor. What we’re arguing here is the culture war the author refers to in the title of the piece, but writ small. I say it’s better to live Catholic. You’re arguing it’s better to live … well … whatever. The specific evils to which you refer are the missiles you’re firing at the Catholics, but you’re not arguing for whatever it is you’re upholding, and I’m not at all sure you even know what that’s supposed to be.

We’ve had fifty years of “jam tomorrow” progressiveism — socialism’s modern flag of convenience — in Ireland. It’s been seeping out into society through every orifice of the culture, through the left-wing parties, of course, but since electorates have proved notoriously resistant to socialism at the ballot box, it has to be spread by the back door, through the media, through the academy and latterly, thought the professions including, terrifyingly, the judiciary.

And it’s becoming increasingly apparent it doesn’t work. If you’re in Ireland, look around the streets. The first thing you’ll notice is the ever increasing preponderance of skangers. This is very much a cultural thing. There were always down-and-outs in society, of course, but today, if you’re working class, it’s expected you look and act like a tramp because the “educated” (in the academy referred to above) middle-class in the media, professions etc; have absorbed the unspoken assumption that you can’t expect any better of working class people.

They’ll never admit they think that way, of course, but they do. So, to avoid looking themselves in the mirror, the prescription becomes “we haven’t been doing enough to what hasn’t been working”. So they go further down the road of “the compassionate state” and create huge sink estates for the aboriginals to be contained in, but with basic services thrown in. But really, these places are just reservations like in the old westerns, and the compassionate progressives who administer them are like the Indian agents. Just give them whiskey and blankets and everything will be fine. And that’s why these places are sinks of moral and personal depravity — performance there is rising to the level of expectation.

That is the essential difference between the Catholic and socialist/progressive mindset. The true Catholic expects better of skangers; the progressive doesn’t and thinks he’s being humane and compassionate by validating the skanger’s moral funk. And it worked, because without the Catholic “do it anyway” attitude of one particular generation of Irish people, the Irish state would not have existed in the first place.

Now, if you’re going to argue that the Magdalene laundries and Tuam were demonstrable excesses of that Catholic mindset, you would be right. But then, condemning the centre by reference to the extreme is an old leftist trick. When, for example, those opposed to abortion argue that it’s wrong, the left automatically invoke rape and incest. But that only works if you’re willing to confine abortion to cases of rape and incest and condemn it in all other cases, which, of course, the left never is. In other words, it’s a trick, just like the Magdalene laundries and Tuam is a trick, at least in the rhetoric of the progressives. They don’t actually care about it except inasmuch as it’s a stick to beat Catholics in pursuit of their own ideology. If it were anything else, the outrage about young male suicide rates, or tranches of humanity in the sink estates who’ve never worked and never will, or the scourge of drug abuse — all of it directly attributable to progressive policies — would evoke as much outrage as Tuam or the laundries ever did. But they don’t because in the end, progressives don’t care.

Like it or not, Catholicism is the only game in town. We’re as good as it gets.

bob.moore
bob.moore
3 years ago
Reply to  ard10027

It’s not condoned though as it was in the catholic church in Ireland.

Corrie Mooney
Corrie Mooney
3 years ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

That’s a long complicated, and imperfect answer. But essentially individual liberty arises out of the concept of morality.

bob.moore
bob.moore
3 years ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

As someone raised as an Irish catholic – I was even an altar boy – I agree with you 100%. The idea is utterly ridiculous.

William Murphy
William Murphy
3 years ago
Reply to  ard10027

Given the total doctrinal incoherence under Pope Francis, I would not hold my breath. The guy did not say a word about the introduction of gay marriage in Ireland in 2015 or the legalisation of abortion in 2018. Given the horrible record of sexual abuse (for which Pope Benedict apologised in. 2010), perhaps he was advised that any heavy handed moralising would look grotesque.

But Ireland is only a tiny piece of the Catholic picture. If Pope Francis and his old friend Grand Imam el-tayeeb can actually declare in 2019, with a straight face, that all religions are willed by God, then satire is dead (Google their beyond-ludicrous “Document on Human Fraternity” ). And so is any chance of a religous/nationalist revival in Ireland.

bob.moore
bob.moore
3 years ago
Reply to  ard10027

I’m Irish too and asserting the Catholic Church in Ireland encouraged independence of mind is the most laughable thing I’ve read in a very long time.

William Murphy
William Murphy
3 years ago

Sean Russell by himself embodied a string of contradictions and ambiguities. He died on board a Nazi submarine after a trip to Berlin where he had worked alongside an SS officer. But he seems to have honestly imagined that he could help from the Nazis to further Irish independence without Adolf later taking over Ireland, once he had conquered Britain. But Sean also sought arms from the Soviet Union and the USA.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/

But Sean is only one of the embarrassing figures to soil the pure and holy image of Irish nationhood. There was the long running strand of Catholic integralism, which almost inevitably had anti-Semitic undertones, no matter how much its spokesmen protested that Jesus and His Blessed Mother were Jewish. Father Denis Fahey was one emninent proponent of this paradoxical line of thinking.

So you had a particularly vile persecution of Jewish shopkeepers in Limerick in the 1900s, less than 50 miles from my mother’s family’s farm. It was inflamed by a visit from Redemptorist preachers conducting a mission to local parishes. It seems so incongruous to have a racial disturbance in a landscape I recall as tolerant and hospitable.

Yet, to counterbalance Sean Russell, you had huge numbers of Southern Irish enlisting in the UK armed forces in WW2, making at least a partial mockery of Irish neutrality. The RAF ace Paddy Finucane was only one among many Irish heros. Not forgetting those Irish Americans in the US armed forces.

weewasta
weewasta
3 years ago

Interesting point made of “As a former colony, historically unsullied by the sins of slavery and imperialism, Ireland’s national identity has been largely free of the culture of pathological self-hatred found across most of the liberal West today”.
Not in Ireland I agree but many travelled to the Caribbean and became ‘sullied’ there (as were the English, Scots & Welsh). Have a glance at the wikipedia entry for “Irish immigration to Montserrat” where it states “These Irish people not only made up most of the population but they grew wealthy and played a huge role in the island’s economy, becoming far more successful than their English and Scottish counterparts because, as one contemporary explained, ”They knew how to be tough and efficient slave masters.”
The transatlantic slave trade was a huge endeavour touching, in one way or another, the majority of people in the British Isles. It’s convenient for many to pretend it did not happen, but it did. In many cases the English owned the plantations but the Irish, Scots & Welsh ran them on a day to day basis. It was their income, that’s how they earned a living. Many from the Celtic nations don’t like to be reminded of it but that’s what happened.
After the end of slavery many former slaves took the surname of their previous owners, have a flick through the Jamaican (for instance) telephone directory and see how many Irish (& Scots) names appear.

peterdebarra
peterdebarra
3 years ago
Reply to  weewasta

… well done The Rijksmuseum … a broader public will learn more about this in February when the big Slavery exhibition opens in Amsterdam – the spotlight is expected to illuminate with a new intensity the Arabic slave trade, that of West Africans’ role is selling on their fellow citizens, the unfortunates snatched into slavery by Ottoman raiders from Cornwall and Co Cork & other Atlantic coasts & hauled down to the Arab lands … and Africans’ role in the relatively un-examined South American trade in living humanity…

crotty32
crotty32
3 years ago

Ms Nagle like most journalists seems to follow the current fashion of being unable to call those who use racist language like ” white privilege” racists.

juanplewis
juanplewis
3 years ago

“What about the special place given to the Irish language in state institutions?”

If you ask me, it’s high time the true status of the language was acknowledged and got peacefully euthanised, i.e. no more special status, no more subsidies, no more wasted hours in school, which could be used to learn languages spoken by hundreds of millions, not by less than 2% of the population on a daily basis.

Would it be a sad loss? Yes, of course, but one of little consequence. Apart from priests and scholars, practically no Egyptian speaks Coptic. They’re comfortably with Arabic and we don’t see it as a problem. 98% of the Irish are almost English monolinguals. They have voted with their tongues.

William Murphy
William Murphy
3 years ago
Reply to  juanplewis

I recommend a great Irish short story
“Weep, weep for our pride” which gives a flavour of one type of passion for the Irish language. The schoolmaster in the narrator’s school is an ardent Gaelic speaker, who gives his orders to the terrified pupils in Gaelic.

His nationalist ardour is mixed with explicit anti-English racism. He sees genuine Irish independence as inextricably bound up with the full restoration of Gaelic. Obviously he could not forsee the all-conquering Anglophone Internet juggernaut.

The funniest passage of the story concerns the ballad on the death of the 17th century hero Eoghan Rua O’Neill, allegedly poisoned by the dastardly Brits. The narrator explained that the class hated the English for poisoning Eoghan Rua O’Neill because the verses about it were so long.

kildare54
kildare54
3 years ago
Reply to  juanplewis

I believe more people speak Polish than Irish in Ireland now. Yet the Constitution fantastically claims Irish as the first language followed by English. It ought now to be, if reflecting reality be English, Polish and probably another couple of languages before irish. For years the Irish National Anthem has been sung in Irish with very few people being aware that it is in fact a translation from the original which was in English, the version I learned from my family in Ireland as a child visiting from England. There was a childs picture book published a few years ago in Ireland about the uprising, a simple history. It showed the vanquished rebels holed up in the GPO gathered together singing the anthem in Irish and though the song dates from around 1910 the translation into Irish didnt exist in 1916 ! No worries there then in recounting actual facts. I understand that, though it might have changed now, that if a school student answers their exam questions in Irish that they will gain extra marks just for doing that. Further maybe again its changed but for many Civil Service jobs in Ireland from government to librarians, police etc a certain proficiency in Irish is required even if it is never used. Doesnt this discriminate against recent settlers especially when practically no resources are provided by the authorities to teach Irish to adults ? Its a right ould carryon. Mind you the well heeled middle classes have for a few generations been able to cram themselves and their children ensuring a seamless transition of influence within the Irish State.

William Murphy
William Murphy
3 years ago
Reply to  kildare54

I recall a report some years ago that one of the Dublin papers printed several pages in Polish to attract the newly arrived workers. I don’t know if that is still the case, when the Irish Poles can have websites galore on any topics they fancy.

Teo
Teo
3 years ago

The beneath the surface paradox maybe that the peoples of the British Isles are less divided than at any other time in their history. On this side of the pond BLM may have been the last hurrah that will herald in a post-progressive epoch.

Neil Papadeli
Neil Papadeli
3 years ago
Reply to  Teo

More and more I feel this to be coming. I happen to think the apotheosis of woke occurred as 2 privileged, entitled, multi-millionaires burbled half-truths and hearsay to Oprah.

kecronin1
kecronin1
3 years ago

More and more I see the US as a disgrace to the World exporting our nonsense. My grandparents hailed from Ireland. At that time the newspapers wrote that we ‘were monkeys’ which is odd considering there are no monkeys in Ireland. I think it was Comedian Steve Lopez that said the Irish were the original Mexicans. I wear that moniker proudly. We were down and out and despised. Now all that is being re-written to some bizarre fantasy of privilege. Next will be that the floating coffins were really cruise ships.

Derek M
Derek M
3 years ago

Ah poor old Ireland, I find it amusingly ironic that the Irish republicans were so keen to throw off the shackles of the British empire but have enthusiastically embraced the neo-liberal EU empire and woke US cultural imperialism. The author makes some good points but she let the IRA too easily off the hook for their Nazi collaboration. To paraphrase a famous Irishman in a different context, “One must have a heart of stone to read this without laughing.”

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago

How sad, so it’s really a case of “pog mo thoin” as they say.

Fooled by Randomness
Fooled by Randomness
3 years ago

There are a bunch of assertions here that need to be challenged:

1. That there are more Irish nationalists in London or Berlin than in Dublin – this is simply totally wrong. Its fake news on a Trump scale. Irish nationalism, in whatever guise it exists, really only exists meaningfully in Ireland. You could argue that its stronger in Munster than Leinster if you like, or that northern IRA men still influence Sinn Fein if that is your local partisan cup of tea, but the days of meaningful influence outside the island of Ireland is gone. The early revolutionaries were heavily influenced by Rome; that too is gone, blown away by 20 years of scandals which have largely demolished the Catholic Church’s authority.

2. That anyone subscribes to “Google” values. Google believes fundamentally in one thing – wielding oligopoly power to make a profit from data. It does not have values, per se. It does adapt itself to be successful wherever it goes. So yes in California, it professes to support an open society and multicultural values and is “woke”. But it is just as happy to make money in places like Alabama and Turkey, which have different values. Its a corporation, not a philosophy. Most people, including its Irish employees, know this.

3. That the multinationals produced a more unequal Irish society. Irish society was unequal long before the multinationals arrived. Seventy years of emigration, limited economic opportunity and centre-right politics helped concentrate wealth in few hands up til the 1990s. If anything, by arriving in and hiring so many locals who might otherwise have emigrated, and by ignoring a lot of the social strata and focusing on merit, the multinationals have generated more opportunity and promoted social mobility. Try getting promoted in a domestic, family owned Irish business and see how you really get on.

4. That the ethnocentric nationalism we started with in the 1920s is incompatible with the internationalism we imported with the multinationals and that these will clash, which is the basic theme of the piece. Aside the vague description of what this “internationalism” might actually be, are these really that different ? Where are the real problems ? Ireland’s ethnocentric nationalism, such as it was, was already quite advanced internationally (look up Frank Aiken) and pretty adept at managing the conflicts and contradictions. You just have know a bit of history and see how much it evolved. A lot of these “conflicts” that are mentioned are basically being conflated; whether you are a tax haven has little bearing on gay marriage or racism.

The crux seems to come where the writer asks “what happens when those young people are filled with poison in the indoctrination camps of university and taught to fear and resent the native population as white racists?” Seriously ? Which Irish institution is actually doing that ? I know academic politics are savage alright, but the “cancel culture” does not come from the university administrators; it comes from the students who run the societies and the millenials. There is of course some dumb PC stuff. But is it going to turn the children of Polish immigrants against Ireland ? This is not to say, by the way, that Irish people are not racist. But we were racist before Intel as well; just ask Phil Lynott’s mum. Even if the Irish Times articles are a bit PC-silly, its worth confronting that racism.

Bottom line; if this is one of the best pieces written in 2020 on Unherd, then Unherd needs to up its standards.

I would agree with one thing Angela says: Irish people do have an uncomplicated sense of pride in being Irish, I don’t think its limited to “educated” people (whoever they might be) or the Left. We are generally an optimistic bunch, and we generally find a way.

bob.moore
bob.moore
3 years ago

The main thrust of this article is correct although I would argue with many of the details. In effect we are already ruled by FDI …. we won’t do anything to upset the multinationals here. Considering Ireland would be like Albania with bad weather without them I think that’s understandable. It may turn out to be a Faustian bargain, we shall see.

Paul Brennan
Paul Brennan
3 years ago

This an excellent article by an erudite author. I would just add that in addition to the techies, the internet is also responsible for spreading the debilitating spirit of the new political correctness that will drown our sense of ourselves. We will just be walking zombies, consumers and cowed.

Albert Kensington
Albert Kensington
3 years ago

Great piece

rick stubbs
rick stubbs
3 years ago

This clarified some things for me so thanks.

John Sheehan
John Sheehan
3 years ago

There are so many ways in which this article is simply dreadful. One example is the reference to the IRA supporter Sean Russell, equating the damage to his statue in Fairview Park as some sort of Irish response to Black Lives Matter. The statue was severely damaged on at least one occasion long before BLM ever existed. This was probably the work of left wingers who drew the line at accepting support from Nazi Germany. To argue that Russell wasn’t really a Nazi , he just wanted their help to overthrow a democratically elected Irish government, is total nonsense.
The one thing which is most likely to stoke anti-British feeling in Ireland is the collateral damage done to our economy by Brexit, and the sneering references to Ireland somehow having sold it soul to the EU. Membership of the Single Market and Customs Union have been a huge force in promoting development in Ireland – it’s not all about being a tax haven! Leaving the Single Market and Customs Union will not turn out well for the UK , and it gives me no pleasure to say this, as a weak UK economy has adverse effects on Ireland