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Ireland: Our Reliable Tonic for Western Hubris

whenever the west starts being vain, Ireland offers itself as an anecdote

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, March 09, 2005.

Sometimes, when you watch television, even the most liberal, tolerant, and stupid of us must grimace watching the actions of foreign peoples. Really, admit it. Who has not visibly cringed at moronic, masked men firing AK-47’s in the air to celebrate a victory, a defeat, a wedding, a birth, a funeral, or a Tuesday without rain? Of course, what they’re really celebrating is themselves, always men and always in charge or pretending to be. It can’t help but make us feel enlightened, superior, so Past All That, it really will leave a void in our self esteem when the rest of the world catches up to the civilized, sophisticated West. Bow and Scrape Ye Inferior People, ye…

So, it was with some small embarrassment, an emotion to which I still aspire, that I read today that in the home regions of my forebears, my antecedents, those giants of civilization – Are you still on your knees, peasant? Well, get on them – which is to say those blessed isles (less the sceptered half of the largest), home to unpronounceable village names and single malt liquors and the Ur melodies of popular music and the delicate trill of bagpipes and drum, a blemish has appeared. This reflects on me, so I’m, you know, peeved.

The Irish Republican Army, hereinafter called the IRA, a blessed Roman Catholic organization of drug lords and knee cappers heroically dedicated to eradicate those fiends in human form, the British and Orangemen of Northern Ireland, attained near illustrative perfection recently. It seems that two of its members were in a pub and got into an argument with a third fellow, and seeing no alternative they stabbed him to death. A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do, you know? Or, in this case, two men gotta do.

Immediately, the sophisticated, political, and absolutely non-military arm of the IRA, called Sinn Fein, swung into action, applying their more sophisticated methods to the situation over that of their militant comrades. Using their most up to date and sophisticated understanding, which apparently hovers around 1900 Sicily, the IRA announced the following.

It had banished the two miscreants from their hallowed organization. Then, some other guys. Sinn Fein removed some people from the rolls as well. They contacted witnesses to the crime and told them they had nothing to fear, a virtual admission of their past. And then, the piece de resistance: they offered to kill the two murderers themselves if the family of the stabbing victim wished! All they had to do was ask!

It appears that the Belfast sisters of the victim somehow did not accept the kind and generous offer. It would be nice to believe that this was because they hated violence and wouldn’t want children and widows to accumulate on their word. But the truth is more likely they know that Sinn Fein, the IRA, and all the Union and Orangeman organizations are mere street gangs, devoted to patriarchal respect and fear issues, and that they have at best only tenuous control over their members. The word of such is valueless.

When this went public, Sinn Fein realized the response was not what had been envisioned, and they denounced both the offer and the murder, and then had the temerity to blame all of it on the Unionists, their Protestant co-enablers of Irish orphanages and widowhood and suicide, which charmingly is the number one cause of death among the young of the Emerald Isle.

The people who publicly offered to murder their own miscreant members in expectation of applause are clearly not familiar with the vaguest outlines of civilization, decency, or common sense, much less law. This, in the middle of First World Ireland, is tribal witch doctor medicine, is Mafia justice, is ….. Let me take that back.

I apologize to the Mafia and to witch doctors. This was far worse than they are. Those entities often have the honesty to be selfish, vengeful, and up front about it. This was today’s Irish/Celtic/Gaelic values under the world’s light, and since it wraps itself in the gossamer of supposedly superior procedures and religious totems, of high patriotism, it has the added deleterious feature of grotesque posturing hypocrisy that sinks it below considerations with the faults of others.

Nothing in Mesopotamia, nothing in Darfur, nothing in the eastern Congo over which the West religiously clucks has been worse or so clearly recalibrates the hubris of supposedly civilized people. It could have been, just as easily, the offer of a Protestant Unionist gang, or the Crips or Bloods here. Or any Latin American drug lord trying to pose as a human being for public adoration while marketing both cocaine, produced by slaves, and children to various types of addicts around the world.

That’s how bad it is, and considered while hearing the strains of Danny Boy should not make it more palatable.