Friday, August 28, 2009

Letter to a new friend

Sometimes exchanges of ideas with new acquaintences inspire enough of a shift in the kind of everyday thought patterns one has to make one realize there's alot more going on in one's brain that it seems. Like they say, two heads *are* better than one. 

I referred my blog to a new acquaintence, an Irish expat living in The Netherlands, I believe, who expressed the opinon that issues confronting America are best left to that continent. To which I replied (plus additional comments)

I've been in Ireland for almost eight years, and in that time there's been significant upheaval in the structure, adminsitration and oversight execution of the EU with much prognostication, wringing of hands, and gnashing of teeth over the unknown outcomes as issues arose and subsided. Each time my opinion was solicited, I referred to my American History studies of yore, applying what happened from the Continental Congress and the Articles of Confederation to the Constitutional Convention which resulted in the United States Constitution as a guide to how things would eventually pan out, regardless of the issue at hand. The parallels are striking and almost completely lock step the whole way. 

I think that all the issues, to some degree or another, that are bouncing back and forth over there in America shall eventually rear their ugly heads over here in Europe, either in the context of the challenges to the Irish State as it wends its way through the current financial morass, or the EU at large, it's continued expansion, the civil rights issues hindering some states ascension to the Union, and the myriad cultural clashes among the sometimes-allies-somtimes enemies but perpetual rivals are bourne. 

Considering, also, the HUGE effect immigration and the persistant Irish culture has had on the United States, there is a surprising amount of connection, most recently the American influence on the Irish economy which essentially enabled the Celtic Tiger and is unfortunately leading the current financial malaise. Like it or not: There is, therefore, most definitely something applicable. In lock step parallel.

The similarity of issues surrounding social dynamics are remarkable. Travelers are the Hibernic equivalent to Blacks and include a turmoil of tensions, albeit exclusively cultural rather than also physiological in nature . All the immigrants from newly admitted Eastern European states mirror issues around Mexican and Central/South American immigrants who are accused of robbing citizens' jobs and draining government social welfare resources. The difference being that people who had a short while ago been illegal were suddenly fully vested EU citizens with the same rights and privileges of any Irish Passport holder. But, then there are those Nigerians who perportedly only come here to have their babies and qualify for free housing, free mobile phones, free automobiles, free dole and enjoy an "in-your-face, I don't care, you can't touch me, I have mine you get yours, suckers" attitude. Same old ignorant hogwash. Only the names are changed to affect the innocent.

There's the effect of the Church on Same Sex Unions. Polls show over two thirds, a full 67%, of Irish citizens support Gay Marriage. That is, the full monty, the whole enchilada, the big lebowski, not some half-baked, let-them-eat-cake, separate is not equal, half-assed substitute. But, look at what we're getting instead: codified second class citizenship. And the government and national/corporate media spin is that the gay community is happy and grateful to get that much. Fifteen years ago you queers'd go jail, afterall. Don't make a fuss so we can pat ourselves on the back. We must protect the children!

Don't get me started. Except that's the conservative, merchant class elite dictating public perception in order to maintain the status quo. Oh, jeez, don't get me started.

Regional rivalry, large states v. small states, federalism v. centralized authority, the role and power of state courts, the role and power of appeals courts and courts of last resort, individual sovereignty, statute recognition across state borders, levying taxes, raising-arming-funding defense forces... The list seems endless.

I believe the rise of the European Union is a crucially important counterpoint to American imperialism, multi-arena world domination, especially its financial sector hegemony. The UK is being extremely silly holding out, not joining the Euro monetary standard, especially for such transparently egotisitical reasons. Eventually, they must acquiesce, and the longer they wait, the more humiliating it's going to be.

The older I get, the plainer the simple truth: Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. It really is like deja vu all over again, even if we're doing it again for the first time.


  1. Nate : you've been to Ireland & view
    that as a typified example of the EU.
    IS that wise?

    It is not IMO. With regard to one of the most
    important Treaties of the European Union,
    the 1997 Amsterdam Treaty, Ireland is one
    of the mere five 'fringe-nations' in that
    regard. In that regard it has more in common with some of the pretty places from where
    you write the new Irish sub-class are coming
    from: Romania Bulgaria Cyprus (&Leichenstein).

    In my book, Ireland is "almost, but not quite"
    in the European Union. And for sure it is no
    "heart of the european union" [I, personally,
    doubt there is 'any' heart in Ireland; but then again, it's been a long three years in exile
    and for no good reason].

    Whereas it is natural enough for US citizens to
    assume all other supra-state political organisations shall arrive at some point at the same outcome of the USA ... one should not base assumptions upon the European Union from having lived only on its most extreme outer-fringes.

  2. Oh, Noel: Where to begin?

    You are mistaken in presuming I expect the EU to somehow magically evolve exactly as the US did in its formation. Too many small details make such an outcome impossilble. What I commented on is the striking similarity of issues raised, process of their resolution, and the resultant execution of same. I spoke generally of EU evolution. Specifically, I cited Hibernic equivalence, not pan-European similarity, of Travellers, et al, to Afro-Americans. 'Twas enough to make my point, I think.

    I recognize Ireland is not typical of greater Europe. There is a plethora of unique historical influences, of which eight hundred years of foreign occupation is but one. Living in Ireland doesn't mean seeing only Ireland. There are jet planes, ferries, automobiles. Telephones, newspapers, conversations visitors and expatriots. Just because state run television limits the scope of government approved dissemination of information doesn't mean limitation similarly to the information from which opinions may be formed. Even the outter fringes of a most societies get the internet.

    There's more, but I can't be arsed. The implication is that I suffer sterotypical Ugly American arrogance which leads to myopic, faith-based pronouncements. As a researcher and journalist, I find it handy to check facts. That is, go to the source and ask, "Is this what you meant?" Saves alot of hot air.