What does it mean to be “far right?”
We know, beyond any doubt, what the media, and most politicians, would like for it to mean to be “far right”. In the way in which the phrase is commonly used, it is the highest form of social sanction that the Irish establishment can apply – it means the lowest of the low. People beyond the pale of social acceptability.
You will not, as an out and proud far righter (if such a thing exists) be permitted access to the national conversation. Those who have been identified as “far right activists” will never get a slot on drive time radio or prime time television to actually explain what their views are. Granting such a person that privilege would risk career suicide, because of the media taboo against “platforming” the far right. You certainly will not be granted meetings with politicians to outline your concerns. Once the label is applied to you, in Ireland, you automatically become an unperson – a person whose views cannot be taken seriously or credibly and must actually be dismissed on a point of principle.
The “far right” are of course guilty of almost every political crime imaginable. They are – in the popular imagination of the media – the big bad opponents of efforts to fix the changing climate. They are the enemies of social cohesion. They are racist. They are anti gay, and anti transgender. Indeed, if you want your cause to be given the kid glove treatment by the Irish Times, it’s very useful for you to declare that you are opposed by “the far right”. Things opposed by “the far right” automatically become virtuous.
Yours truly – along with this entire news and commentary platform – has been denounced, repeatedly, as “far right”, both on social media, and by the loopier members of the Irish establishment. Perhaps it’s worthwhile, then, outlining my offending views and opinions:
I do not believe, for example, that is sustainable to continue with unlimited immigration into the country at a time when there exists a housing crisis, and a health crisis, both based on capacity. This is a view I share with Today FM’s Matt Cooper, but for some reason I am far right for expressing that view, and he is a liberal centrist.
I do not believe either that it makes sense to cripple the Irish economy and drive up costs for families in pursuit of climate change goals which are not being matched by the world’s largest polluters, like China or Russia. In this view, I am supported by Joe Biden, whose climate goals for the United States are vastly less ambitious than those adopted in Ireland. Again, for some reason I am “far right”, and he is a liberal centrist.
I confess: I do not really think that unbridled social liberalism is a good idea. I do not think that children as young as eight or nine need to be taught in school that there are a hundred genders, and that it is their human right to stop puberty and mutilate their genitals, and that they are special rainbow children if they do so. In this view, I suspect, I am joined by most Irish parents. Perhaps we are all far right.
I write this because, once again, yesterday, the Irish Times blared out a headline, this time about the protests against the accommodation of migrants in Ballymun:
The mayor said she believed the protests were being “orchestrated” by the same far-right activists who had held similar protests in the East Wall area of the city in December. Locals wanted to highlight the positive things being done in the community but their voices were being drowned out and that was not fair.
Is that it?
Is that really the best that the Green Party Lord Mayor of Dublin can do? Smear her own constituents?
I fear that it is.
But it’s not good enough.
The problem – and let’s speak this plainly – is that establishment Ireland, or what passes for it, is now a jabbering, simpering, clueless wreck. The health service is a mess, and they have no answer for it. They cannot solve the housing crisis, and they have no answer for it. Their climate policies are unpopular, and they cannot rationalise why. Media viewership is falling, and trust with it, and journalists have no comprehension why this may be. Faced with rising discontent and social unease after three decades of liberal dominance of Ireland, the entirely liberal Irish establishment has no idea what to do. So, instead, they need someone else to blame.
Enter “the far right”.
Here’s the thing: In the context of what “far right” should mean – then somebody like me, or indeed the someone like the vast majority of the people in this country, is not far right. I do not hold views that say my race is superior to any other, nor do almost any Irish people. I do not believe in crushing dissent or putting people in camps. I am not an extreme nationalist. I would prefer the state to be weak and functional, and do the things it is supposed to do, as opposed to strong and dominating and yet, entirely, bafflingly, and completely incompetent – which is what we have.
But in the context of what the Irish establishment means by “far right”, then I would wear the label proudly. Because all it means in Ireland – all it means – is that you’re somebody who asks questions that the ruling class do not have answers for.
Their smearing of their fellow citizens is a disgrace. But if that’s what they want to call their opponents, then more of us should wear the label with pride.