July 05, 2007
Southerners, like the European Celts who are their primary cultural progenitors, tell stories. Of course, all peoples tell stories, but Southerners tell stories not merely to entertain, certainly not to flatter their vanities and trick the gullible into adoring or fearing them, but to provide lessons or warnings, to make points, to dig at the hard, necessary truths, to jolt people into realizing that indeed there is no new thing under the sun. Such an approach, which is the antithesis of the legalistic approach (points made by quoting Law or the customs and preferences of the Elites, usually with threats), springs from a healthy culture that recognizes, and, more importantly, accepts, the power, the truth, of logos. Though it is aside from the main thrust of this piece, I believe it could be helpful to some readers to state that this deep cultural respect for logos is one of the more salient reasons that all Celtic peoples converted rather easily and quickly to Christianity, while save for the few significantly Romano-Celticized tribes (such as the Franks), Germans remained gleefully murderous pagans for centuries and/or became equally murderous Aryans, the two, pagan and anti-Trinitarian Germans, marauding Europe right into and through the Dark Ages, until they too, finally, became sufficiently converted culturally so that their contributions would be major expressions of Christendom rather than assaults against it.
The path the comments on this excellent article by Scott Richert took made me recall a small, seemingly unimportant, story from Irish history that I learned while reading for a graduate level course in Irish Renaissance Literature. The Gaelic Athletic Association was one of the two major Irish cultural organizations to be founded in the late 19th century (the other was The Gaelic League, focused on language and literature). The story from Irish history that I recalled concerned one local GAA chapter that had moved rather quickly to stepping into realms other than hurling and Gaelic football. Revival of ancient Irish sports was horrific enough to the Elites getting filthy rich from the British Empire, but for dumb Mick jocks and their fans also to express interests in literature and culture was to risk them becoming full-fledged cultural Nationalists, and that could not be tolerated by the Empire that tolerated every religion of every people it conquered, save the Catholicism of Celtic peoples.
What this local GAA soon had on its hands was a member who was a vociferously ultramontane Catholic who fit the stereotype of the Anglo-Saxon puritanical mind: he professed burning desire to exterminate non-Catholics, at least from the GAA. He demanded that Protestants and Dissenters be banned from all GAA activities; he cast aspersions on all members who did not wear surnames that were Gaelic in origin. All expressions of support for even Home Rule (within the UK, in opposition to demands for total national independence) he met with calls for expelling all non-Catholics from any political rights in Ireland .
The local GAA members, being decent, common sense types, ignored the rants at first, assuming that idiocy self-exposed would just go away when others did not clamor to it. But then another member rose in opposition. He declared that the Vatican had betrayed Ireland for a thousand years and would do so endlessly. He emphasized that the majority of leaders of the 1798 rising against British imperial rule were Protestants of strong Deist sensibilities. He said that backward faith in a foreign power like the Vatican had been Ireland ‘s greatest weakness. He said that unless Irish culture adopted all people who lived in Ireland and accepted their religious beliefs as equal and allowed them to add to Irish culture, then it would die anyway.
Then the row was on among the members of the local GAA, with lines rather quickly drawn and too few left in the middle trying to show the wrongs, the absurdities, of each side. The result was a local GAA that was totally ineffective.
As we all should have learned at least from watching the Watergate film All the President’s Men, the key questions are always where is the money trail and who profits?
The conclusion to that local GASA story would not be known for decades, until after the Easter Monday rising, after the Black and Tan war, after the British partition of Ireland as the easiest and least expensive way for the Empire to control it, after the Irish Civil War. Each troublemaker in the fracas had been a paid agent for Dublin Castle, for the British Empire, each had been an agent provocateur, playing a role to try to make Irish cultural groups ineffective through endless in-fighting and then to bury them.
Considering that every truly conservative (as opposed to the self-righteous imperialistic liberalism that is neoConism) site that allows comments has repeat problems similar to those that ruined that local GAA, I would suggest that we all make an effort to recognize those whose views can serve only to divide and conquer for those who hold the moneybags of power in the Yankee empire. Who knows how many trouble makers on various sites, in various groups, are agents provocateurs, some for the imperial government, some for groups such as the ADL or SPLC?
What I do know is that when a couple of people ruin commentary on an article as important as Richert’s, they serve, whether they so know or are accidental serfs, powers as insidious, as amorally corrupt, as those that paid to try to destroy the GAA and other Irish cultural groups. I hope that those who take part in our lively discussions on the comment forums here at Takimag.com will remember that incivility and cheap, slanderous assaults on the personal integrity of their interlocutors effectively serve the cause of censorship.
James Cantrell is author of How Celtic Culture Invented Southern Literature.