Irish Blog Whacked

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Criminalization, Intimidation, Division of Anti-Internment - PSF ?, IRSP ? or RNU ?, Dublin Rally

What the UK WASPs taught the US Empire builders !


"The writing may have been on the wall as early as the summer of 1971, for Heath was to write that the SDLP walkout had ‘deprived Stormont of any remaining legitimacy’."  from


'The End of Stormont 1972-73' from Making Sense of the Troubles by David McKittrick and David McVea 

Quote from a communique on Dublin march;  "Just back from the rally in Dublin...I didn't see anyone from PSF, IRSP, or RNU at the rally, at least none that I would have recognized. If anyone didn't attend this rally over party political differences they ought to be ashamed, for this campaign to release Marian Price and our internees is not political, it's humanitarian.

I don't share the same views as Marian, but I share in her plight. I'd like to take this opportunity to call on everyone, republican or otherwise to set aside their differences and unite in support of the POWs......... we need to get it together on the outside and put the pressure on them to unite. I think that this can be done if we all set aside our differences and went about building unity. We all need to see this for what it is - a humanitarian disaster.

It's time to set the squabbling, name calling and party political sectarianism aside. It's time for us to stop falling for the oldest trick in the Book of British imperialism - divide and conquer. We've had over 800 years of this. You'd think we'd have caught ourselves on by now. In 1981, we showed the world what we could do by uniting behind our hunger strikers. As one by one those young lads starved to the death, we took to the streets as one people........we are going to need to do this again, or we will never resolve the issues in Maghaberry/Hydebank, or make the Brits end internment, end the occupation, unite this country, or build the Socialist Republic so many have suffered or died for..

Unity is our only strength. We will never achieve anything without it. We all talk of a united Ireland and the Socialist Republic, but in reality, we will never unite this nation until we show that we are capable of uniting ourselves. The sooner we all realize this and do something about it, the better not just for our loved ones who are rotting in Gaol, but for ourselves too..........."

Another Interesting Right-wing Irish Times Discussion :

Caring for me, myself and I all too much in vogue nowadays ;

The selfish worldview as preached by Ayn Rand has helped create the mess we are in
THE US presidential election is a wonderful spectator sport, but thank God I don’t have to vote in it. The prominent part played by religion is one fascinating aspect.
For example, there is an ecumenical Christian group called Circle of Protection, with members from many Christian denominations, which believes treatment of the poor is a key election issue.
It called on the presidential candidates to declare in a video response where they stood on poverty. Meekly, Obama and Romney did just that, and their responses are available on YouTube.
Obama’s is particularly striking, as he uses the word “Christian” again and again, and even talks of falling on his knees many times to ask God for help, not only in his personal life, but in governing the US.
It is just impossible to imagine an Irish political candidate doing the same without being accused of not being in touch with modern Ireland, and of ignoring the secular nature of our State. Of course, the cynics will say that by emphasising his own Christian faith, Obama is just playing to the bigots who don’t like Romney’s Mormonism.
Perhaps the same cynics would say Paul Ryan was added to the Romney ticket to woo the Catholic vote, which has been quite lukewarm about Romney so far. Ryan is very clear on his opposition to abortion, which will not harm Romney with sections of evangelical Christianity either.
And yet, Ryan provides yet another illustration of how different the US is from Ireland.
I know very, very few Catholics or Christians who would admire Ayn Rand, while Ryan gave people her books as Christmas presents. In fact, I wonder how anyone could admire Rand and still say they were a Christian.
Her ideas are directly opposed to Christianity. Take this quote.
“Man – every man – is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.”
The title of one of Rand’s books, The Virtue of Selfishness, sounds like a parody of a self-help book, but she was completely serious. She felt altruism was a deadly virus that destroyed the possibility of human happiness.
The Jesuit Fr James Martin, without I believe specifically mentioning Rand, manages to satirise this approach brilliantly in his parables of the “not so-social gospel”. He takes well-known parables such as the parable of the loaves and fishes and rewrites them according to the gospel of rugged individualism.
So, when the disciples approach Jesus to tell him the crowd of 5,000 are hungry, Fr Martin has Jesus reply: “Don’t waste your time and shekels. It would be positively immoral for you to give away your hard-earned salaries for these people. They knew full well that they were coming to a deserted place, and should have relied on themselves to bring more food. As far as I’m concerned, it’s every five thousand men for themselves.”
When the astonished disciples demur, Jesus goes on to explain: “That’s not my problem, Thomas. Better that their stomachs are empty than they become overly dependent on someone in authority to provide loaves and fishes for them. Where will it end? Will I have to feed them every day?”
The parable ends with Jesus declaring the ancient truth that there is no such thing as a free lunch, taking most of the loaves and fishes for himself, giving a miserly portion to the disciples and keeping some back in case he gets hungry later.
It is a very funny parody, but the trouble is that it comes scarily close to what is being preached in many quarters today. Rand’s ideas have percolated into popular culture.
Ironically, although she despised libertarians, she was a huge influence on them. And much of our culture is defined by libertarian values. It is a culture dominated by first person singulars – I, me, mine.
Many people in effect live by a creed that says their personal concerns come first, and they don’t much care what other people do, so long as it does not interfere with them. What looks like tolerance is often profound indifference, a failure to care enough either way to expend energy on an issue.
It leads to tiny circles of care that extend just as far as myself and those I choose. It removes all possibility of caring in a sustained way for the stranger or the outcast.
Of course, collectivism in any shape was one of Rand’s pet hates. The unfettered individual was her ideal.
She forbade her followers to ever consciously perform an unselfish act. An organisation dedicated to her ideas, the Ayn Rand Institute, has a page aimed at recruiting university students for campus clubs. The headline is “Five Selfish Reasons to Participate”.
The world created by such a bleak view of humans is not some kind of laissez-faire capitalist paradise, but the mess we now have to live in and will bequeath to the next generation.
Sustaining and resourcing circles of protection for the weakest and most vulnerable is indeed an important aim.
Sadly, thanks to the influence of writers such as Rand, even over those who have never heard of her, such an aim is in vogue neither in the US nor in Ireland.
Comments (26)
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With "Many people in effect live by a creed that says their personal concerns come first" Breda omits one important angle. One must first be in a good enough condition (many factors in that, like health in mind and body, being fiscally secure, etc.) to be capable and willing to be concerned for others. If one is not in such a condition, it is probably very difficult to be concerned for others when one's own condition can't facilitate bandwidth for it. Apparently there are many people today who are in that situation.

If, instead of the phoney human rights that now govern out legal system, we had access to human rights where truth, life, family and security were the motivating force behind our legal system then the weak and the vulnerable would be looked after like anyone else.

But alas we seem to be moving further away from these things.

Ayn Rand at the end of her life was actually dependent on welfare I seem to recall reading somewhere recently. She probably was a psychopath I believe. (Sidenote: Alan Greenspan was a friend and an adherent of her philosophy)

Re: "Sustaining and resourcing circles of protection for the weakest and most vulnerable is indeed an important aim." It is and actually it benefits everyone in the long-term, so you can actually make an economic argument (as well as an altruistic one) to support this idea.

Anthony Gerard
She was crazy. No question about it. Helen Mirren portrayed Rand in a movie some years back, worth a look. I'm no fan of her free market ideology but The Fountainhead is a decent novel and the old film adaptation with Gary Cooper is particularly good.

Des Freedom
I have that book but never got past "Who is John Galt?"

It's a fierce big it worth the effort?

Not in my opinion.

Mongo Smellybeard
Atlas Shrugged sounds like a lot of auld tiesh to me.

BO'B is really engaging in a bit of strawman bashing with this effort. Objectivism is a non-philosophy philosophy. Like Creationism, it can't be disproven but doesn't add anything to our ability to understand the world around us.

I was pleasantly surprised to agree with much of this article, right up until to the last two sentences. There is a sustained confusion in this paper (principally from JW and BO'B) and website (from a few commenters), between liberalism and libertarianism. Opponents of the former seem determined to conflate individual freedom with the deranged idea "do whatever you want, and to hell with the consequences".

The liberalism that I understand is about maximising freedom for the greatest possible number of people. You should have the freedom to live your own life however you want. But, that freedom does not extend to things that would impinge upon the freedoms of others. It's well summed-up by the maxim "your right to swing your fist ends where my face begins". So you don't have the right to drive your car as fast as you want. Industries don't have the right to dump their waste into rivers. Advertisers don't have the right to make false or misleading claims about their products. Business owners don't have the right to discriminate against customers or employees on the basis of gender, ethnicity (etc). It's not at all the same thing as "do what thou wilt".

These are just some of the many ways in which liberalism differs from libertarianism. Liberalism recommends laws and regulations to keep rogue individuals from depriving others of their rights. Libertarianism, on the other hand, favours smaller government, privatisation, de-regulation. Let them do as they please; regulations are expensive and bureaucratic, the free market will sort everything out in time. For example, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 effectively ended the racist Jim Crow laws. But Ron Paul, libertarian, opposes the Act because it restricts the rights of the individual to run their business the way they want. Not that he thinks segregation was a good thing, but he values the rights of the bus company to segregate its passengers more than he values the rights of the passengers not to be segregated. This is at odds with liberalism. And it means he's still a racist.  

Returning to the present day, I agree with Breda's critique of libertarianism. But she is wrong to describe our society's liberal tendencies as a "laissez-faire capitalist paradise". A liberal society believes in protecting the vulnerable from the powerful, whether that means caring for the sick / elderly / homeless (etc) through social welfare and other programs, or giving certain minimum rights to employees with regard to wages, hours of work, holidays (etc). Historically, it's usually been the conservatives who oppose such reform.

But it has further implications, which I believe are the ones that Breda disagrees with. Liberalism leads to the conclusion that you have the right to bring up your children in accordance with your religion, but not that you have the right to have your form of religious instruction carried out by the state. Even if yours is the majority faith. Because that would impinge upon the rights of the (more "vulnerable") minority. It also leads to the conclusion that equal rights should be afforded to people regardless of (among other things) their sexuality. And therefore a legally privileged status like marriage should not be denied to all but one group. And other conclusions which BO'B, JW and others find distasteful.
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Mongo Smellybeard
I mean Des' description but it is a wider problem. We all fall into that trap from time to time.

Des Freedom
Omigod! I'm not sure which questions to answer at this stage.....but lest there be any confusion I don't regard Catholicism as the ritual destruction of oak trees.

Liberalism is a religion/philosophy/political stance whereas "liberalism" (Irish Times style) is a mental illness that thinks it's Liberalism.

If Catholicism is the destruction of oak trees than "liberalism" is a massive waste of spruce trees....

"The liberalism that I understand is about maximising freedom for the greatest possible number of people. You should have the freedom to live your own life however you want. But, that freedom does not extend to things that would impinge upon the freedoms of others."
No man is an island especially in todays world where we depend on others for nearly everything - work, food, clothing, even entertainment. So no matter what you do you are inpinging on others. The area of family life is one of the best examples where freedom these days is exactly the same as the libertarianism you describe.
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I was referring to desertion of family responsibility.

You're not being very clear. Do you mean divorce?

"Obama’s is particularly striking, as he uses the word “Christian” again and again, and even talks of falling on his knees many times to ask God for help, not only in his personal life, but in governing the US."
As the Gospel says "You will know them by their Fruits" and America exemplifies everything that is undesirable in today's world .

The reason for this is American society has come to a dead end. This is evident in the fact that their version of human rights (which we are now aping here e.g. the children's referendum) in based on "Enlightenment" thinking with an emphasis on an atheistic individualism which seeks to replace religion with science, bans God from all aspects of life, replacing Him with a system that puts the interests of the individual over the interests of the common good and society at large. (as Breda points out above about Rand “Man – every man – is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.”)

While there is a pretence of Christianity in American society "This people honours me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;" This is obvious in the fact that the Judeo-Christian version of human rights based on the Mosaic Covenant which established an absolute right to the one true God, the right to the truth, the right to life, the right to a natural family and the right to ownership of property are noticeably absent from their legal system.

Jay Gee
Ayn Rand the advocate of selfish individualism ended up turning to the State for help towards the end of her life when she was ill and poor.
I guess all her 'friends' took her writings too seriously.

"Sustaining and resourcing circles of protection for the weakest and most vulnerable is indeed an important aim"

I think selflessness is far more in vogue these days in this country than the days when the vast majority stood by as a tyrannical church systemically abused and tortured and utterly destroyed the lives of thousands of vulnerable children, young single mothers and their families. Up until 1993 we had a law, vehemently supported by that church, that made it illegal for same sex couples to be couples, and today that church and certain organisations still oppose the equal rights for those couples. Some people are so selfish in their beliefs and their parenting that they implant their religious beliefs into the young vulnerable minds of their children in attempt to skew any chance of them making a rational, objective choice on their own (to the point where we end up with buckets of lukewarm believers who aren't sure why they believe or what they believe - quelle surprise). How selfish is it to mutilate the body of your baby boy because of your religious convictions? It's just my opinion: I could go on; I could be wrong

This cry that selfishness is a new idea that is in vogue is utterly ridiculous. Ireland was once a very, very brutal place. It is undoubtedly less so now. If you were a member of a vulnerable minority which year would rather live in?

While we have a very friendly reputation, we are certainly not good at looking after our own here. We're like the family who make the downstairs spotless for the big visitor while making sure that the dysfunctional members of the clann are kept quiet upstairs.

We have a way to go, but we are on the road. People like Breda O' Brien are trying to make us believe that we left some mythical better place behind us. It just isn't so.

David Smith
This atavistic (and all too predictable) response serves only to strengthen Breda O'Brien's case. Wailing and gnashing of teeth for the victims of an abuse scandal, the most recent incidences of which date back twenty and thirty years, while being completely indifferent to the deaths (not abuse, deaths) of 110 children in state care within this decade; the unexamined assumption that religious belief is indoctrinated accompanied by the narcissistic assumption that the author is himself, of course, far too strong-minded and intelligent to fall for all that old rot. Ireland was not 'once a very brutal place' - it still is, and the source of the brutality is an ostensibly 'live and let live' mentality which in reality is a rationalization of the right to do whatever the hell you like, whenever the hell you like and anybody who objects can go straight to hell. The whole point of freedom is that it has limits and the the man who doesn't recognize that is a pig. We make moral choices based on right and wrong, not rationalizations that sound like morals, and the way we distinguish the second from the first, is that if it's the second, we'll always somehow end up getting whatever we want, and some other sod will pay the price for us. That's why we don't care about the 110 dead children; the state which was supposed to look after them is so very circumspect in NOT telling us when we do wrong; it's also why we pretend to care about the historical scandals of the Church - they WILL tell us, even if they do wrong themselves.

I said, clearly, that we have a way to go. In no way I am indifferent to the deaths of children in HSE care - there is certainly, however, different circumstances to the cases than the endemic abuse the church carried out. To call them analogous would be say that HSE workers actually killed children and then covered up that crime - and I don't see how you could ascertain my indifferent from what I wrote (if it was a sin of omission, I also omitted the Northern Troubles, so clearly I don't care about that either by that measure). Thank you very much for making the point that the most recent incidents of abuse and cover up were historical, which goes precisely to my point. I never said once that religious people weren't intelligent, merely that weren't automatically selfless, that viewed with some objectivity their actions could be deemed to be quite selfish. The overarching point that I made, that a person in a vulnerable minority, given the choice, would I'd say rather live in the Ireland of today than this mythical yesteryear when people were supposedly better to each other.