August 09, 2014

Anti-Columbus Movement, Ctd

The first landing of Christopher Columbus by Dióscoro Teófilo Puebla Tolín
Within the theatre of political conversation, debate and argument in Ireland, and especially Northern Ireland, I find a self-hating, infantile and rejectionist school of thought that dwells within the republican mindset. The one that defines itself by it's relentless resentment towards Britain and its long involvement in Ireland. 

A reactionary ideology that sees British involvement as only one of land seizure, confiscation and conquest, degradation and exploitation, conflict and instability; as though prior to British involvement the island was one of immutable peace and stability; and as though, if Britain wasn't involved, other great super powers would not have done the same and probably much, much worse.

And that point was made on Radio 4, the grandest of ironies for myself - seen as a planter by the most extreme nationalist. The point was made by Dr Luciana Martins of Birbeck College who is from Brazil and was speaking about how Brazil emerged as a nation. She said:
"There was de kind of regret that we weren’t discovered by the British because the Portuguese legacy wasn’t so good. So there was something about, ‘Well if we were discovered by the British we would be the United States now’."
Phrases like 800 years of British occupation and other redolently anti-British sentiments are fatuous as they are unfounded by the fact they impose mores of today on the circumstances of the past. They are meaningless and utterly mealy-mouthed, engines that splutter dismal verbiage and euphemism, cloaked in smug, sanctimonious solipsism, as though Ireland can enjoy as the profits of western liberal democracy without the pain. That is an insult to the principles of civilisation.

Christopher Hitchens explored this with regard to the anti-American left in America:
"You’ve seen what anti-Americanism leads to. It leads to the worship of what I wouldn’t hesitate to call fascism. It leads to a masochistic attitude to our own democracy and our own civilisation. It leads to the over-privileging of the most dismal, reactionary and dismal ideas of all; the ideas of religion."
Christopher Hitchens also said here:
"When [Barack Obama] got his good behaviour Nobel Prize, in other words the prize you get in the hope you will do something for peace… one of the soggy and regrettable things that he said was that he looked forward to a nuclear free world… there are two distinctions to be made here. One is that of, if you like uninventing the idea of thermo-nuclear free world almost seem to wish that there weren’t even nuclear reactors. Bizarre in common with a lot of green talk, experience a nostalgia for a pre-industrial, pre-modern society, agrarian relations where life is more simple, warm and human for which I’ve no nostalgia at all. I don’t take any stock in any of that. But I think bullets can be take out of the gun and the gun put in a drawer."
America is what happens when you operate the Ulster Plantation over a continent. I would like someone to tell me what treaty was signed or what public consultation was held with the indidenous. If we claim the right to use the lachrymose slogans of "800 years of British occupation" for can we claim it for them all. Apply those standards to north America, to Australasia, New Zealand and those other nations so profoundly shaped for the better by the British hand. 

In my previous blog post, Christopher Hitchens said:
"I can never quite decide whether the anti-Columbus movement is merely risible or faintly sinister... It is sinister, though, because it is an ignorant celebration of stasis and backwardness, with an unpleasant tinge of self-hatred."
My previous post in full here
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