Support for Israel in Ireland

I’m happy to hear that Dublin’s GPO Peace Rally in Support of Israel has been such a great success, and that over 100 may have attended.

Unfortunately, some in the media, including the Irish Independent, reported that they were ‘scuffles’ between attendees and the other crowd doing a small counter-demo. This is not true. There were a couple on the anti-Israel side hauled off for attacking Gardai (one threw an egg at a Garda). The pro-Israel side were peaceful and caused no difficulties. The differences between the people who make up the two movements are incredibly clear. Its a case of the civilised and reasonable against the savage, the Trot, the Islamist, and the Shinner.

Interestingly, there were quite a few boos from the enemy when Amhrán na bhFiann was sung at the rally. While I am not sure, this was quite possibly hard-line Republicans angry that their opponents would use such a song. Though I’ve heard some of Ireland’s ‘cultural enrichers’ participated in the booing also.

Savages… like this guy

And some normal, happy people.

 

The Arab Spring: The Big Lie of the Middle East

Remember how often we were told that only a tiny minority of Muslims in the world are Islamists? With the success of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas in recent years, we were assured that they were in fact moderate Islamists, in a different league entirely from the likes of Bin Laden. I can’t count how many times I was chastised by some leftist – inevitably enamored with the protests across the Middle East – for ‘scaremongering’ about the Muslim Brotherhood.

Then came the Egyptian elections, with the Muslim Brotherhood coming out on top, and the even more extreme Salafists landing in second. Both groups came out far ahead of the nearest liberal faction. The result was only a surprise to the western journalists who spent the entire time sipping coffee with Egyptians who looked and acted just like them. The western left suddenly developed a bit more critical distance when it came to the Brotherhood.

So, was anybody at this stage surprised by Mohammed Morsi’s crackdown on challenges to his presidential authority?

Its high time to stop the fantasies and projections about “The Arab Spring”.

Unfortunately, the Arab world has merely swung from one set of bad ideas – Nasserism, Baathism, Pan-Arabism, Socialism, etc. – to Islamism, largely due to the failure of the former to live up to their crazy promises. That is all.

Can Michael D. Higgins Make Up The Rules As He Goes Along?

The Irish President acts as a national figurehead: the representative of the Irish people, regardless of their political beliefs, religion, or ethnic background. Immediately after his election, however, Michael D. Higgins made it clear that there were some people he would not be representing. This was his October 2011 interview on the Morning Ireland radio program, where he blamed the heterodox Austrian School of Economics for influencing the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, and, bizarrely, claiming they caused credit to be too cheap during Ireland’s boom period.

An even bigger breach of Presidential protocol came in February of 2012. At a talk at the LSE, Higgins condemned the privatization of services, the day before the Irish government announced a round of privatization measures and the possibility of selling its shares in Aer Lingus. Here, he was very blunt: “[privatization] is the road back to autocracy, in which a hollowed-out state is bereft of anything meaningful to attract the support of the citizen – especially the marginalized  excluded from the mainstream of society”.

Now, in the course of two days, Michael D. Higgins has decided to involve himself in two important matters. On the 21st he called for an investigation into the death of Savita Halappanavar. The Irish government has declined to comment. While expressing remorse to victims of tragedy is common enough, Higgins is suggesting a particular course of action in response. I cannot recall Mary McAleese ever doing this, though as we all know she her lapses in conduct.

Today, Higgins has taken up his sword once more, to do battle against “right-wing economists” that supposedly  “have created a neo-liberal philosophy that seemingly cannot now be questioned and that leaves control in the hands of a faceless market”.

This is uncalled for, and Higgins should be reprimanded for it. Higgins is no longer a TD.  His new role is one that is supposed to be above politics and controversy; a republican equivalent of the Queen of England. It would be shocking for Queen Elizabeth II to express hardline left-wing views on economic policy (as well as right-wing ones for that matter). No President of Ireland had such disregard for protocol. Not even Mary Robinson.

Of course, Higgins does share an important trait with Robinson, in that they are both prominent members of the Irish left. Higgins in particular has far more loyalty to the teachings of Marx, Shaw, and the Webbs that he does to the Irish Constitution. These people have absolutely no respect for existing Irish institutions if they are deemed incompatible with the socialist state they wish to build.

If President Dana Rosemary Scallon were acting in this way, you can be sure it would be making the front pages.

Maybe one day there will be a conservative President who will promote his or her own political views as much Michael D. Higgins. That would not be  a good thing. But that person could always point to Higgins for precedent.

With the shadow that will always hang over his election ‘victory’, I would be a lot more careful.

My Response to Tom Wilson on Libertarians in Standpoint

Last month I wrote a letter to Standpoint magazine in response to this article on the libertarian movement. It was printed (slightly edited) in this month’s issue. What I wrote appears below.

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Sir,

Tom Wilson writes that the libertarian movement’s young adherents embrace the notion that every man is an island and  fail to recognize the importance of virtue. I certainly would not be part of such a movement if this were true.

As libertarians, we agree with Lord Acton that “liberty is the highest political end”. However, it is not necessarily the highest or only end on every individual’s ranking of values. We do not offer a way of life (the Objectivist movement being an exception).

As a religious 23-year old libertarian, I am a minority within a minority. Yet in the absence of a state I believe we will most likely fall back on our communities and religious organisations to make up for the functions it once monopolized, or tried to monopolize. This gives libertarianism the most conservative of end results. Its why conservative sociologist Robert Nisbet, author of The Quest for Community, found a devoted audience among libertarians as well as neoconservatives in the pages of that sorely-missed journal, The Public Interest.

We recognize that not everybody will use the greater freedom we propose wisely. However, if some aspect of the welfare state has improved public morality and individual responsibility, I’d certainly like to hear about it.