The beating of the drummers

For those, like me, not versed in the various strands of traditional Catholicism in Ireland, the name of a movement called “Ireland needs Fatima” might be unfamiliar. Their facebook page shows an organisation full of young men, disproportionately from migrant backgrounds, committed to spreading the message that Ireland needs to embrace the message of Our Lady of Fatima.

They dress in red sashes, and seem to engage in a lot of street engagement, in the form of old-school missionaries, or contemporary Mormons. Perhaps they are best thought of – stylistically – as Roman Catholic Jehovah’s witnesses who might greet you on the street, rather than at your front door. Their page is scattered with images from Rosary Rallies, and interspersed with quotes from various religious figures, ranging from St. Ignatious Loyola to St. Basil the Great. In Latin countries where Catholicism is still a part of daily life for a majority of people, their kind would not be an unfamiliar sight. In Ireland, they are admittedly a curiosity.

But they take their faith literally. Up to and including, as this video posted online yesterday shows, the bit about turning the other cheek in the face of violence:

One should always be wary, as a matter of course, about videos posted online. Always look, especially, for that which is not shown. In this case, there is longer footage on youtube of the events that took place before the assailant above started to attack his victims. The group appears to be sharing, in an admittedly loud and potentially annoying way, it’s ideas about how Ireland should turn back from transgenderism and re-embrace Catholicism. Their style, it might fairly be said, could be annoying.

But even if it was: We are told, endlessly, in Ireland that we live in a tolerant and diverse and accepting society. What is diversity, if not a country in which many different cultures and ideas compete and intermingle amongst each other? And what is tolerance, if not a country where those ideas which repel and disgust you are met not with violence, but with either silence, or debate?

A country in which words on a leaflet are seen as an excuse to attack the people handing out the leaflet is not one which is in a particularly healthy state of tolerance, or diversity, for my money.

But more than that, there are questions to be asked here – the kinds of question that would be asked if the shoe was on the other foot. This incident, I suspect, will generate very little coverage, which is unusual for an incident of a white man attacking migrants in the centre of Dublin. One shudders to think of the national conversation that would presently be ongoing if the attacked migrants had been handing out leaflets in favour of more immigration, rather than in favour of more prayer.

We would, it is fair to say, by now have had at least three statements from Government Ministers. We would not yet have had a column from Fintan O’Toole in the Irish Times, but he would presently be writing it. We would likely have a Garda campaign to identify the assailant, and his arrest would be imminent.

All of which is exactly as it should be. Except, in this case, it is missing.

The reason for that is not hard to divine. These young men, with their backwards and outdated ideas about things like sex and marriage and Pride Month simply have no place in modern Ireland’s endlessly touted but conspicuously finite reserves of compassion and acceptance. They are, in the most literal sense, enemies of the modern state.

Because the state does not actually stand, you see, for compassion, or diversity, or tolerance, or acceptance. Those are simply the bywords it adopts for that which it actually stands: Progressive conformity.

Every society in human history has united itself at times by rallying against the outsider and the heretic. The United States, even while fighting fascism, locked up and interned people for the crime of having Japanese heritage. The United Kingdom, for several centuries, sought out and persecuted Papists. The Chinese, today, throw Uigher Muslims in camps as threats to the state. Even the currently blessed Ukrainians do not have a perfect record when it comes to their treatment of the Russian minority within their borders.

In Ireland, oddball chaps like those bleating helplessly about “aggression” in the video above are the closest thing we have to the enemy within. And a little bit of rough justice on the streets, tossed their way, can be perfectly tolerated in a society which is increasingly ordered towards the active suppression in law of dissenting views.

That’s why Ministers are silent. That’s why the papers are, too. And that is why any attempt at compromise with the presently dominant ideology is a farcical waste of time. The values they preach are not, in fact, their true values at all. They do not seek tolerance of “Ireland needs Fatima” – they seek its extinction. And so, in turn, over the longer term, should we seek theirs.

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