Today is St. Patrick’s Day. It tends to be a pretty big deal. But in Belfast, Northern Ireland, it is also something of a hot potato, seeing that the Republican movement seem to own everything which has to do with Irish culture in the North. Enter Republicans, enter everything Left; enter the Great Unwashed (the anti-war brigade). I was walking through the city centre today, minding my own business with my wife and one-year old son, when I was interrupted by a hippy female member of the Socialist Workers Party (of NI), who, on my way past, thrust a leaflet at me depicting the words, ‘End the occupation of Baghdad’.

I saw red. I stared her straight in the eyes and leaned over so I could be heard above the crowd-noise.
“End the occupation of Baghdad? When 85% of Iraqis polled say they want the coalition to STAY?” She got angry. “Aw, that is bullshit.”
“You don’t want to hear that, huh?”

But she had already moved on to another apolitical member of the general public, loading her propaganda into their passive fingers. And it just reminded me of the general problem with these people – as soon as you begin to talk logically, they get angry. ‘How dare you bring empirical evidence into this?! Don’t you realise that we have an ideaology to push here?’

It’s like – they genuinely don’t give a damn about the facts. They’re good with megaphones but bad at just talking. They’re good at sitting in the middle of the road chanting, but bad at having a reasonable conversation. They’re good at getting passionate about a nice little dreamy philosophy, but bad at plugging the holes in that philosophy with any real substance of logic.

Most of those who would claim to be ‘anti-war’ simply have not thought about the issues enough to work out that their claim is illogical. They see the word ‘WAR’ and before you could blink, let alone think about it, they’ve got their grubby little flyers printed and their posters up and their megaphone batteries charged. They must be on speed.

The main problem with all of this is not that they are wrong – there are plenty of good, reasonable people who are also wrong. (I may be one of them.) The main problem is that they are prejudiced toward an extremely hostile form of politically-charged passivism BEFORE they even start. And yet, by its very nature, it is contradictory – they are against using force against brutal regimes (possibly using the arguments that innocents may be killed [whilst ignoring the possibilities of how many MORE innocents may be killed by NOT acting]) but they are somehow not against using force to vandalise a local McDonalds in the name of anti-capitalism, or using force to tax the working citizen in order to be ‘charitable’.

Their position is supposed to be so ideaological … but it falls apart at the most basic level of scrutiny, as encounters like the above prove.

See today’s great Telegraph article by Janet Daley for more on a similar track.

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John Wright

johnwright@softhome.net