Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Northern Ireland: the malign idealism of the terrorist

Who in their right minds would want to restart the violence in Northern Ireland?

There are three persistent groups who are still in love with death:
  • Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA)
  • Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA),
  • Óglaigh na hÉireann.

    The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) is in ceasefire.
The fact that there are four groups indicates that ideological fundamentalism is at work, of which more later. They will not succeed, because the people of the land, who are the ultimate source of political power, are sick of violence, and there is a difference between grassing someone up and imparting information that will allow the people of northern Ireland to get on with their lives.

Politicians are obliged to dig into the thesaurus of condemnatory epithets, starting with madmen/criminals/psychopaths, but it is more important to understand their motivations.
These are people with a single idea: that Ireland should be one nation across the whole island, purged entirely of British influence.

It is the single, total, obsessing idea that is the root of all political evil. It is not confined to terrorists. The idea of free market fundamentalism, or of individualism, or any other single ideal is just as destructive, because we live in a complex system of interlinked realities, not in some kind of bubble dominated by a single perfect concept.

Perfection is not possible. Politics is about optimising the various forces that go to make up society.

This is not to say that there are no guiding principles of political and economic behaviour, and politics should be based on the best assessment and harmonisation of the available principles.
In the 21st century, the emerging insight is that politics cannot be just based on some aspect of humanity, whether that aspect is the individual or society, the need for order or the need for liberty, but the situation of mankind as a species whose existence, like all other species, is entirely dependent on a healthy environment.

That insight resolves all the other political insights.

Am I contradicting myself by putting forward the ecological insight as the primary ideal? I do not think so, because the ecological principle is based on fact - science if you will - rather than ideals.

From the ecological insight, all the other ideas flow - the need to rely on energy income from the sun, rather than damaging use of capital energy sources, and above all, the need to co-operate with each other peacefully and creatively, rather than indulging in the cycle of destruction, hatred and death that is expressed in all militarism, from the mind-boggling magnitude of the war machines of Governments, to the merciless anger of the Real IRA.


Buck Phershcha said...


your argument does'nt flow too well, but I think I agree. I don't get the rationale for calling them fundamentalists. But beyond that the ecological imperative would seem an appropriate prism through which to view it all. But such abstraction is hard to implement.

good luck with it all

Anonymous said...

I think the INLA are on ceasefire and have been since 1998.


Good Article anyway

Rosso Verde

DocRichard said...

Why I said fundamentalism is first, that there are three groups with the same idea, that of continuing the bloodshed, and if they were driven by reason, they would coordinate their efforts.

Though, come to think of it, it is in their interests to operate in smaller units, so that isn't a very good argument.

Fundamentalists relate everything back to a single idea: "The Bible/Q'ran/Torah is the word of God", "The British must get out of the isle of Ireland" (thing is here is that their actions will if anything increase the Brit presence in the 6 counties).

So they - the CIRA and RIRA are driven by a single over-valued idea(l), which is the foundation (fundament) of their course of action.

Here is a concrete example of ecological cooperation leading to peace.

Rosso, thanks for the correction, I have amended.