By Shane Flanagan
On Saturday, I had the morning off. It gave me the opportunity to borrow books from the Trinity Library. As I was about to leave town, I realised that I and many other commuters would be delayed yet again by another protest. The topic of this protest peaked my interest. I remembered that there was supposed to be an Identity Ireland demonstration occurring, presumably it would be a small one, yet O’ Connell Street had been taken over by demonstrators. On closer inspection, I found that these people were not supporters of Identity Ireland, but in fact counter protestors with scarcely any Identity Ireland members actually present.
This peeved me somewhat. Do we really need, in this city of all places, another raucous rally for left wing causes? At least right wing extremists tend be actual minorities and thus disrupt traffic only minimally. In actual fact, I felt quite sorry for the right wingers. They are constantly persecuted by these large oafish mobs of left wing whingers who it seems to me don’t actually have any idea of what they’re talking about. They espouse about the virtues of a pluralist society yet continually refuse to engage in one. But it’s a snapshot of the stupefaction of a modern society that has become addicted to a particular brand of weak liberalism.
The protestors were supporting the rights of refugees from Syria (and presumably anywhere and everywhere) to come here. There were also many Irish-Palestine solidarity supporters as well as those there to remonstrate with Identity Ireland for their alliance with PEGIDA, a German born organization designed to oppose what they see as the Islamisation of Western Europe. My thoughts on this politically are actually quite simple, once you have weak leadership that jeopardises the sovereignty of a country then you are bound to have groups such as PEIGIDA and they will attract the likes of nefariously minded racists. And that’s the kind of weak leadership that we have in Europe now.
But what’s curious is the political appetites of these protestors. Presumably they admire the open borders at all costs philosophy of the EU, even if it flies in the face of common sense. Do the Irish-Palestine solidarity supporters feel the same way about our relationship to Europe? What has the EU ever done for the people of Palestine? And why does the US the biggest supporter of Israel on the planet, wholeheartedly support Britain’s continued membership of the EU? I’m curious because pragmatically these two groups should be opposed to the EU for differing reasons, yet it is only ever right wing groups who comment upon it. And I think they’re right to. I believe the EU is heading for serious trouble and we are going head first along with it. In a very real way I believe the EU is a phantom danger in our midst.
Quite simply, if the EU is so great then why do so many people want to leave? Fascism as a philosophy opposes the plurality of ideas that constitutes democracy, yet someone like Nigel Farage has been often been labelled as a fascist, but thanks to him more than anyone else the British people are going to have a vote on membership of the EU. Jeremy Corbyn has been roundly embraced by the left, but in actual fact, has done nothing much except appear populist. What has he had to say about the EU vote? Even the most moderate of the new media outlets in Britain have bashed David Cameron for failing to secure any positive concessions from the EU. Yet as leader of the opposition, Corbyn has barely broached the subject.
This is a very dangerous game to play, and if politicians remain out of touch with the reality of life for ordinary people then who knows where it could lead to. Here there is not even the pretence of opposition to the ever closer union. We are dangerously addicted to our paymasters in Europe and as such we are the model state of docility. We should be asking what is the EU’s relationship with the banks that have caused havoc across the world. Our economy is now so tied with that of the rest of the world that there really isn’t an Irish Republic as such anymore. I have no problem with Ireland being set up as an attractive option for foreign direct investment, but to abandon our indigenous industries like we have been doing for so long is a dangerous game. Bertie Ahern isn’t as stupid as he let on to be during the Tribunals and his words this week in the Irish Independent about the EU reforming corporation tax won’t be of much comfort to those who are already sceptical of the path were on. As such protesting on the street is a sideshow, and the danger may not be from those coming into Europe but form those who already here and who are already in charge.
PEGIDA may certainly be an irrational reaction to the mass immigration practices now afoot within the union, but we should try to analyse rationally the effects of allowing such the vastly different culture of Islam to take root in Europe. Most Muslims are absolutely peaceful people in the vein of their prophet Muhammad, but Muslim culture is vastly different from that of the Post Christian one that is alive here today. For one, it is more communal and less individual than generic Christianity. Yet, it is not alien form our own practices, but we should be wary of those who adhere so strictly to religion and I believe those Muslims who oppose freedom of speech in Ireland are fervently wrong. One of the follies of modern atheism is that Atheists believe theology to be stupid and thus all religions are equally stupid. This is a naive stance as Atheists are used to living in the post Christian West where religion is more often than not viewed as a gimmick. As it’s safe to equate leftist politics in this country with Atheism than we should be wary as this is not the case with Muslims, and having taught religion to Muslim students, I know this to be true. We have our own dark history of theocracy and we should be wary of that ever happening again.