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The Gay Rights Revolution in Ireland

What the results of the Irish referendum tell us about the state of culture and religion in the West

Many people ask me why I write so often about LGBT stuff on this blog. Even people who pretty much agree with my position are tired of reading about it. I get that, I really do.

The reason is simple: I care about religion and culture, broadly speaking, more than just about anything else. The biggest news on that front is and has been for years coming out of the cultural revolution in gay rights, and what that means for Christianity. An older secular liberal friend of mine — strongly pro-gay rights — who lived through the Civil Rights era said to me not long ago that the swift change in our culture’s attitude towards gay rights is the most astonishing social revolution she has ever seen. She’s right. For society and for Christianity, the changes are massive, even though most people don’t yet see them.

You may welcome these changes. You may reject these changes. What you may not plausibly do is to deny the revolutionary nature of these changes, and of this historic moment in the history of the West.

The most astonishing thing yet happened yesterday: the people of Ireland — Ireland! — voted to institute same-sex marriage. Complete and official results won’t be in until later on Saturday, but early returns suggest that the vote is not even close: two-to-one in favor of legalization. This makes Ireland the first nation in the world to embrace gay marriage by a vote of its people. This was not some socially liberal country like Denmark, but Ireland. Telegraph columnist Tim Stanley:

Why were the forces behind Yes so overwhelming? Well, it could just be that the case for gay marriage is so strong – that the siren call of equality was irresistible. It could also be that the No side’s arguments were out of touch with how the West now views not only gay rights but the institution of marriage itself. No campaigners kept on talking about the importance of parenthood – as though marriage was still a legal contract entered into with the express purpose or hope of raising children. But this traditional understanding of marriage has long since passed away. It’s about love, children are not necessarily a priority, and religion is window dressing. Given this tectonic shift in attitudes towards marriage, it’s going to be harder and harder to insist that it be limited to just a man and a woman – or even just to two people.

But this referendum was about more than just the right to marry. Much, much more. It was the manifestation of a social revolution that’s been simmering away in Ireland for some time.


To emphasise, the Yes vote was undoubtedly a reflection of growing tolerance towards gays and lesbians. But it was also a politically trendy, media backed, well financed howl of rage against Catholicism. How the Church survives this turn, is not clear. It’ll require a lot of hard work and prayers.

Notice Stanley, who is a conservative, did not say “how the Church reverses this turn”; he said “how the Church survives this turn.” I can’t see how this vote can be read as other than a sweeping and decisive rebuke of the Roman Catholic Church, which has discredited itself in Ireland with a series of horrible sex and abuse scandals (however exaggerated some of them may have been in the media). Catholicism in Ireland appears to be collapsing in the same way it fell apart overnight in once-solid Quebec. To be clear, I think this is a disaster of the first order. But leaders of the Irish church bear some responsibility for it.

That said, even if the Irish Catholic Church’s leadership was filled with saints, I doubt the result would have been much different, precisely because of that “tectonic shift” that Stanley mentions. More on that in a moment. Before we get there, though, consider what Brendan O’Neill, the maverick atheist editor of Spiked, had to say about the atmosphere in Ireland surrounding the vote:

So, the armed wing, political wing and chattering wing of the Irish elite is behind Yes. And what’s more, they’re actively demonising the No side, treating them as pariahs whose backward ways of thinking could harm Ireland and her citizens. The Psychological Society of Ireland issued a dire warning about the arguments of the anti-gay marriage camp, claiming they could ‘impact detrimentally on people’. A writer for the Irish Times called for the establishment of a ‘homophobia watchdog’ to keep a check on the words of the No side. The end result of the sacralisation of Yes and demonisation of No is a strangled, unfree debate. This is especially the case on social media. There, in the words of O’Hanlon, those who express doubts about gay marriage can find themselves ‘driven offline’.

This moralisation of the marriage debate is a dangerous game, for it means that, whatever the outcome on Friday, Ireland will likely feel more divided than ever — between a new class of allegedly decent people in Dublin and the old, the religious, The Other.

And consider this powerful column from Irish journalist and gay marriage opponent John Waters bears reading and reflection, because it sounds very familiar to many of us Americans. Excerpts:

I met a man the other day who confided his belief that, in pushing this amendment, [Irish leader] Enda Kenny had provoked in Irish society a “mental civil war”, which will have ramifications of their type just as serious as the Civil War of 93 years ago. He may be correct. The stories I’ve come across of intimidation and hate-mongering are for me unprecedented in over 30 years writing about Irish life and politics. I met men whose daughters begged them not to let anyone know they were thinking of voting No, lest they, the children, be ostracised by their peers.


This has been the most comprehensive betrayal of democratic principles by an establishment in living memory. And it is not that most politicians actually care one way or another – many have simply either caved in to the bullying or are playing to the “cool” vote, perhaps thinking that they’ll be safely over the line to their pensions before the consequences kick in. But the consequences will come, and sooner rather than later, devastating families and individual citizens in thousands of tragedies played out in the courts, in proceedings in which neither nature nor biology will any longer feature as a criterion of parenthood.

Whereas the scars of this ugly campaign may acquire a superficial healing in time, the deep tissue damage to our most fundamental protections will persist until some saner generation, perhaps chastened by disaster, grows to sense in this Republic. The amendment has been sold through the misuse of words, especially “equality”. The Irish Constitution already provides that all citizens should be equal before the law, allowing for different treatment by virtue of difference of capacity and function. But equality has become a blackmail word, which in this revolting campaign has been employed with extreme prejudice to compel people to abandon not just their own most precious rights and protections but also those of their children’s children.

One acute difficulty is that the discussion is so surreal that most people are unable to see how serious the danger is, or even get their heads around why we are having this conversation at all. How did a tiny minority manage to impose its will on the entire political establishment, when most causes and grievances don’t rate a Dáil question?

We find ourselves asking each other questions that in a million years we’d never have dreamt of wasting a moment on – like, does a child really need his father and mother or might not the schoolmistress and the milkman, or the fireman and the milkman, be just as good? People are dizzy with this because when you try to answer an absurd question you come up only with absurdities.

Same-sex marriage is so radical an idea that it would make for a difficult sell even if the model on offer were free from detrimental consequences and canvassed with sensitivity and discretion as part of a listening process in which the normal checks and balances of democracy were in full working order. Since the opposite is the case here, the results can only be catastrophic. Almost nobody – including many an intimidated nodding Yesser – is ready for what a Yes is likely to mean, so that, in time, the consequences flowing from a Yes would create a climate of antagonism towards gay people far worse than anything conjured up in the lurid imaginations of LGBT lobbyists. A Yes would also be a green light to any group of bullyboys in Irish society with an agenda to peddle. In this campaign, the blueprint has been written, refined and road-tested, setting out how, by threatening, demonising, intimidating, and smearing you can have your way.

There will be other consequences too: a new climate of prohibition concerning certain forms of thought and speech, an Orwellian revisionism directed at texts and records bearing witness to old ideas. And if you think this extreme, ask yourself: who among our political class is likely to resist? The fingers of one hand will prove more than adequate to the task of enumerating them.

Read the whole thing.

We are dealing with a less intense version of the same thing here. Gay marriage is going to come to this country by Supreme Court vote next month, but do not be under the illusion that this will settle anything. The “new climate of prohibition concerning certain forms of thought and speech, an Orwellian revisionism directed at texts and records bearing witness to old ideas” is coming to America too. If you don’t see this, you are being willfully blind. Bishops and leaders of the orthodox, or at least officially orthodox, churches — Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox — who are not soberly but unhesitatingly preparing their people for this is a sign of their dereliction of duty.

There can be no doubt that elites embraced the gay marriage cause early, and have campaigned relentlessly for it. The propagandist role of the news and entertainment media, which barely pretended to neutrality, is one that will be studied by future historians. But we must resist thinking that this outcome is one forced on the rest of us by elites, and we should take this landmark moment to reflect philosophically on why it happened. And, we should stop reacting to every single one of these advances, and step back and consider the long game.

One of the most difficult things for many American conservatives, especially religious conservatives, to accept is that gay marriage did not come from nowhere. It is the logical outcome of the Sexual Revolution, which in itself is the logical outworking of Enlightenment liberalism. What do I mean?

It may be helpful to draw on a recent book that is not at all about the culture wars, but that offers a perspective on them: Matthew B. Crawford’s The World Beyond Your Head.  Crawford says that “autonomy is arguably the central totem of modern life. It hovers about our concepts of individuality, creativity, and any number of other terms that convey the existential heroism we’re expected to live up to on a daily basis. It is an idea that we moderns have made our dignity hinge on.” And he says it was baked in the cake from the Enlightenment:

Locke’s concern with illegitimate authority extends beyond the kind that is nakedly coercive to the kind that operates through claims to knowledge. His political project is thus tied to an epistemological one. The two are of a piece, because “he is certainly the most subjected, the most enslaved, who is so in his Understanding.” Locke does some of his most consequential liberating in his Essay Concerning Human Understanding. 

Charles Taylor points out that “the whole Essay is directed against those who would control others by specious principles supposedly beyond question.” These are the priests and the “schoolmen,” those carriers of an ossified Aristotelian tradition. The Reformation notwithstanding, political authority and ecclesiastical authority remained very much entwined and codependent in Locke’s time.

Political freedom requires intellectual independence, then. Locke takes this further. Following Descartes, he calls on us to be free from established custom and received opinions, indeed from other people altogether, taken as authorities. … The project for political freedom thus shades into something more expansive: We should aspire to a kind of epistemic self-responsibility. I myself should be the source of all my knowledge; otherwise it is not knowledge. Such self-responsibility is the positive image of freedom that emerged by subtraction, when you pursue far enough the negative goal of being free from authority.

Crawford goes on to say that the natural progression of this line of thinking is to doubt the possibility of the Self knowing anything for certain — other than its own feelings, he implies. He says that “the origins of modern epistemology are intimately bound up with the origins of our moral-political order.

What is at risk, when we start revisiting the question of how we encounter things, is the whole chain of forgotten polemics by which a very partial view of the human person got installed in our self-understanding: the anthropology of modern liberalism.

Understand that by “liberalism,” he means not the social politics of the Democratic Party and its supporters, but the entire Enlightenment framework of social and political ideas.  All of us Americans, whether we call ourselves liberals or conservatives, are liberals in this sense. I am no different. I believe in free speech, freedom of religion, civil rights and the other hallmarks of liberalism. Now that liberalism has evolved into hostility to what I believe to be true about religion, morality, and human nature, I — like all orthodox Christians — have to face the fact that liberalism, which all of us Americans took in with our mother’s milk, may ultimately be alien to our faith, because in the end, it enthrones the choosing Self over God or any conception of external, transcendent Truth.

This is not simply a matter of political power having shifted away from those who hold to a more-or-less orthodox Christian view, so now these people (like me) are tempted to take our football and go home. This is about the radicalism of same-sex marriage, and how quickly it has taken hold in the West, and realizing that it has done so because it is a fulfillment of liberalism, which exalts the autonomous individual. It is to consider that under postmodern liberalism, Anthony Kennedy was right when he said that the bedrock of American liberty is “the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” Is this not what our culture now believes? Is this not the end point of liberalism?

Reflect on Michael Hanby’s long, important First Things essay about the “civic project of Christianity,” especially this part:

The prevailing nominalism, voluntarism, and mechanism infected eighteenth-century assumptions about nature and nature’s God with a built-in obsolescence. Therefore, it is fair to say that the ontological presuppositions of liberal political theory were fated to undermine the classical and Christian moral inheritance and the nobility of liberalism’s own ideals. For instance, inasmuch as the founders’ notion of free self-government rests on an essentially Lockean conception of freedom as power outside and prior to truth (however much God or truth imposes an extrinsic obligation to obey, and however reasonable it is to do so in view of future rewards and punishments), then American liberty will eventually erode the moral and cultural foundations of civil society inherited from Protestant Christianity. The founders fretted over this possibility in their own lifetimes.

John Locke in the Second Treatise remarked that law enlarges the scope of freedom. He does not appear to have considered the converse, that freedom enlarges the scope of law. But insofar as liberal freedom is atomistic and precludes the claim of others on the property that is my person, the state tasked with securing this liberty will exist to protect me from God’s commandments, the demands of other persons, so-called intermediary institutions, and, ultimately, even nature itself. The liberal state then becomes the mediator of all human relations, charged with creating in reality the denatured individuals heretofore existing only at the theoretical foundations of liberalism.

The result, as Pierre Manent and others have observed, is a paradoxical coincidence of absolutism and libertarianism, indeed an absolutism that grows in proportion to the increase in liberty. For every clarification of negative rights brings with it an increase in the scope and power of the state to secure and enforce them. The line between negative rights and positive entitlements is thus inherently blurry. If I am to have a right to free speech, for example, then I must be empowered to speak and be heard, which means using the power of the state to give me the resources I need and to suppress anything that might disempower me. Finally, insofar as a mechanistic understanding of nature and a pragmatic conception of truth are the correlates of the abstract individual and the liberal notion of freedom as power, even a ­Newtonian understanding of nature, reason, and freedom will eventually destroy the foundations for the rationality of natural law, as reason is reduced to the calculation of forces and law becomes an ­extrinsic imposition.

The civic project has taken as gospel ­Murray’s conviction that the founders “built better than they knew.” But this presupposes the very thing in question: that the state and its institutions are merely juridical and that they neither enforce nor are informed by the ontological and anthropological judgments inherent in their creation. That exactly the opposite has more or less come to pass suggests rather that the founders built worse than they intended, that the founding was in some sense ill-fated. This does not make liberty any less of an ideal or its obvious blessings any less real. It simply suggests a tragic flaw in the American understanding and articulation of it. Nor need this diminish our affection for our country, though it is an endlessly fascinating question, what American patriotism really means today. One can love his country despite its philosophy, provided there is more to the country than its philosophy. Yet it is surely a sign of the impoverishment of common culture and the common good—and an index of the degree to which liberal order has succeeded in establishing itself as both—that we are virtually required to equate love of country with devotion to the animating philosophy of the regime rather than to, say, the tales of our youth, the lay of the land and the bend in the road, and “peace and quiet and good tilled earth.”

This creates a great temptation for protagonists on all sides of the civic project—right, left, and in between—to conflate their Christian obligation to pursue the common good with the task of upholding liberal order, effectively eliminating any daylight between the civic and Christian projects. For example, virtually absent from our lament over the threats to religious freedom in the juridical sense is any mention of that deeper freedom opened up by the transcendent horizon of Christ’s resurrection, though this was a frequent theme of Pope Benedict’s papacy. If we cannot see beyond the juridical meaning of religious freedom to the freedom that the truth itself gives, how then can we expect to exercise this more fundamental freedom when our juridical freedom is denied? Too often we are content to accept the absolutism of liberal order, which consists in its capacity to establish itself as the ultimate horizon, to remake everything within that horizon in its own image, and to establish itself as the highest good and the condition of possibility for the pursuit of all other goods—including religious freedom.

What he’s saying here, in part, is that liberalism stands on philosophical (that is, ontological and anthropological) principles that are at bottom antithetical to the Christian understanding of what being is and what man is. You can hear the MacIntyrean echo in this passage, when Hanby warns that it is a mistake to commingle one’s Christian duty with upholding the liberal order. What does the orthodox Christian think, say, or do when the liberal order brings about something that the faith tells him is evil, and establishes laws and customs that inevitably lead to the dissolution of the family? A reader e-mails this morning:

The Irish vote yesterday is quite a shock.  Somewhere I read once that the rapidity of “Progress” these days makes strangers between parent and child.  In my mid 30’s I feel I am already an alien to popular culture; this despair should have been prolonged – how am I to thrive with this feeling for another 5 or 6 decades!?

Nisbet extrapolating from Ortega y Gasset:

“…to suppose that the present family, or any other group, can perpetually vitalize itself through some indwelling affectional tie, in the absence of concrete, perceived functions, is like supposing that the comradely ties of mutual aid which grew up incidentally in a military unit will long outlast a condition in which war was is plainly and irrevocably banished. Applied to the family, the argument suggests that affection and personality cultivation can somehow exist in a social vacuum, unsupported by the determining goals and ideals of economic and political society.  But in hard fact no social group will long survive the disappearance of its chief reasons for being, and these reasons are not, primarily, biological but institutional. Unless new institutional functions are performed by a group – family, trade union, or church – its psychological influence will become minimal.”

Marriage and family seems doomed in democratic society; the evidence is everywhere.  I imagine I am late to the game in recognizing this.  I knew it was on its knees and wobbly, but Nisbet is forcing me to come to terms with its eventual disappearance.

Yes. We must be realistic about where we are, and where we are likely to go. Liberalism and its institutions — including, note well, market capitalism — are not destroying Christianity and the traditional family because they are being perverted. They are destroying Christianity and the traditional family because it is in their nature to do so. This is not being forced on people — though their desires have certainly been manipulated — but it is something they have chosen, because it expresses what they believe to be the truth about being, about man, about meaning, and about liberty.

The Russian Orthodox philosopher Nicholas Berdyaev, in his The End of Our Time, written in the early 1920s:

Holy Truth is union and not disunion, and it is not a limitation; nor is it concerned above all to maintain man’s right to err, to deny and outrage Truth, although Truth itself includes liberty. But what is humanist Democracy if not an assertion of a right to error and falsehood, a political relativism, a sophistry, a giving-over of the decision of truth to the votes of a majority? And what is rationalist philosophy if not an entire confidence in the individual reason, fallen though it be from the height of Truth and cut off from the sources of being? — moreover, an affirmation of a right in thought not to want to choose truth or to look to it for the ability to know.

… Truth must be accepted freely and not under constraint, it will not allow slave-relations with itself: Christianity teaches that. But modern history has for long been wedded to a theoretical liberty to accept Truth, to a liberty that had no free choice, and that is why it has made up ways of thought and life that are founded not upon Truth but on the right to choose no matter what truth or lie, which means the creation of a culture and a society without an object because they do not know in the name of what they exist.

So has been brought about this latter time when men prefer not-being to Being, and as man is not able to serve and live for himself alone he makes false gods, if he does not know the true God. He has been unwilling to receive the liberty of God of God and perforce has fallen into a cruel bondage to deified deceits, to idols. He has been without freedom of spirit and it is not in the name of liberty that the man of the end of this age rises in revolt and denies Truth. He is in the power of an unknown master, of a superhuman and inhuman force that grips the society that does not want to know Truth, the holy truth of God. Only in Communism have we been able to learn something about the tyranny of this master. Nevertheless, it has already made what I have called a breach in the defences of modern history. We must choose. Liberty as a formula, as now understood, is discredited; it is imperative that we go on to its substance, to true liberty.


Life is not dominated and controlled by the Church but by the Stock Exchange; the people are large do not understand, much less are ready to fight and die for, any sacred symbol; men no longer discuss the dogmas of the Faith, they do not live on Christian doctrine, the divine Mysteries [Sacraments] mean nothing to them: they consider themselves emancipated from “the holy folly of the Cross.

… The disciples of “progress” cannot bear any suggestion of a return to the ideas of the middle ages and zealously oppose any tendencies which they consider mediaeval. This has always surprised me. Firstly, they do not believe at all in the vitality of the beliefs which are associated with the mediaeval spirit, still less in the possibility of their triumph; they re convinced of the solidity and lastingness of the principles of modern history. Then why so much excitement? Secondly, it should be made clear once and for all that there never has been and there never will be any return to past times; their restoration is impossible. When we speak of passing from modern history to the middle ages it is a figure of speech; such passage can take place only to a new middle age, not to the old one. That is why such an event should be considered as a revolution of the spirit, and anticipated creative activity, and not at all as the “reaction” that it seems to the “progressives,” who are frightened because their own cause is so deteriorated. Moreover, it is time that people stopped talking of the “darkness of the middle ages” in contrast with the “light” of modern history; such talk represents views which are too thin, if I may say so, to be worthy of the level of contemporary historical scholarship. There is no need to idealize the middle ages as the romantics did. We know their negative and truly dark aspects quite well: brutality, roughness, cruelty, violence, serfdom, ignorance of nature, fear in religion bound up with horror of hell-fire. But we also know that the mediaeval times were truly and eminently religious, that they were carried along by a longing for the vision of God which brought the people to the verge of a holy madness; we know that their whole culture was directed towards that which is transcendent and “beyond,” that they owed their Scholasticism and mysticism, to which they looked for the resolution of the supreme problems of being, to a high tension of the spirit to which modern history has no equivalent. Those ages did not waste on exterior things energy that could be concentrated on interior… .

In reality the mediaeval civilization was a renaissance in opposition to the barbarism and darkness which had followed the fall of the civilization of antiquity, a chaos in which Christianity alone had been the light and the principle of order. … A return to the middle ages is then a return to a better religious type, for we are far below their culture in the spiritual order; and we should hurry back to them the more speedily because the movements of negation in our decadence have overcome the positive creative and strengthening movements. The middle ages was not a time of darkness, but a period of night; the mediaeval soul was a “night-soul” wherein were displayed elements and energies which afterwards shut themselves up within themselves at the appearing of this weary day of modern history.

And finally:

Knowledge, morality, art, the State, economics, all must become religious, not by external constraint, but freely and from within [Emphasis mine — RD]. No theology can regulate the process of my knowledge from outside and impose a norm: knowledge is free. But I cannot any longer realize the ends of knowledge without adverting to religion and undergoing a religious initiation into the mysteries of Being. In that I am already a man of the middle ages and no more a man of modern history. I do not look for the autonomy of religion but for liberty in religion. No ecclesiastical hierarchy can now rule and regulate society and the life of the State, no clericalism is able to make use of external force. Nevertheless I cannot re-create the State and a decayed society otherwise than in the name of religious principles. I do not look for the autonomy of the State and of society in regard of religion, but for the foundation and strengthening of State and society in religion. Not for anything in the world would I be free from God; I wish to be free in God and for God. When the flight from God is over and the return to God begins, when the movement of aversion from God becomes a movement towards Satan, the modern times are over and the middle ages are begun. God must again be the centre of our whole life — our thought, our feeling, our only dream, our only desire, our only hope. It is needful that my passion for a freedom without bounds should involve a conflict with the world, but not with God.

Berdyaev says that regarding religion, the culture cannot “maintain a humanist neutrality but must inevitably become either an atheist and anti-Christian civilization or else a sacred culture animated by the Church, a transformed Christian life.” He further says that in our time,

modern religion has become merely a department of culture, with a special place reserved for it — a very small one. It must again become all, the force which transfigures and irradiates the whole of life from within: its spiritual energy must be set free to renew the face of the earth.

Writing about the prophetic Berdyaev (who aligned himself in exile with the neo-Thomist Maritains), Bradley Birzer said:

At the conclusion of The End of Our Time, Berdyaev once again stressed the unreality of politics–as a distraction and a hindrance from that which really matters, the order of the human soul towards the highest things, especially God and eternity.

Or, as Berdyaev put it, politics attempts to remove us from “the interior life.”

For the Christian to assume victory over the next century, he concluded in 1923, would be sheer folly. Throughout the West, in every type of regime (free and unfree), he feared ruin. Far from establishing a century of progress, God was calling Christians back into “the catacombs, and from there to conquer the world anew.”

As Christians–of whatever stripe–”we are entering an epoch of ill-omened revelations and we must fearlessly face up to realities. And there is found the meaning of our unhappy joyless age.”

Reading Nicholas Berdyaev is not uplifting, but it is truly enlightening, in the best sense of this distorted word.

Certainly, looking back from 90 years after Berdyaev wrote these words, one would be hard pressed not to see not only the mystic but also, perhaps even more importantly, the prophet.

Practicing politics as usual distracts us from the essence of the challenge, and how it is to be met. Those who hold to orthodox Christianity must understand the nature of the times, and quit trying to fight the forces of liberalism on their own terms. We can’t hope to win, and, as Hanby says, we can’t afford to make the mistake that doing our duty before God is the same thing as upholding the liberal order. We must prepare ourselves, our families, and our communities to live out now and in the generations to come, amid the ruins of modernity, Berdyaev’s neo-medievalist vision.

This, I believe, is called the Benedict Option.

I look forward to seeing what Brian Kaller, the American Catholic expatriate living in rural Ireland, has to say about the meaning of today’s vote. I don’t know where he stands on gay marriage, but I do know where he stands on modernity. I think Brian years ago decided to undertake his own version of the Benedict Option.:

I did what many people do; I joined groups and got tangled in the internal politics. Eventually I left them behind, and years later they’re still bickering over the same things. I wish I knew an easier way to recover than to salvage what you can and leave the rest.

As he said in a recent interview:

 Most people sense something has gone terribly wrong with the world; they don’t agree on the specifics or the solutions, but they feel it in their bones.

Our culture diagnoses such feelings, prescribe medicine for them, and offers screens to distract you from them. Entire ecosystems spring up – talk radio, conspiracy groups, online subcultures and new churches – to explain the world, and most just direct everyone’s frustration at some other group. But if you look at the world’s situation right now and feel a measure of grief, it doesn’t mean you’re sick, it means you’re decent. That feeling is why our species deserves to be saved.

Another reason for hope: It took only small groups of people – suffragettes, civil-rights workers – to move mountains in the past, and you probably have far more wealth and privilege than they did. We possess greater fortune than any people in history, and have a responsibility to use it.

It doesn’t mean you’re sick, it means you’re decent. And: salvage what you can and leave the rest. 

The world has heard the collective voice of the Irish majority today. People like me, and like many of you, need to listen now to the still, small voice of an Irishman (by marriage) named Brian Kaller. There are Brian Kallers all over our own country, and they will be finding their voice, and finding each other. If we see things as they really are, we will understand that we have no choice. And this will be made clear to us in the weeks, months, and the years to come.

UPDATE: Contemplate this:




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