Monday, 9 September 2019


Governments used to govern. They used to declare a direction and aim their populace towards it.

Over the last 25 years global corporations developed economies more powerful than many nations.

Our governments could no longer govern.
They could only react.

That’s when it all went wrong.

Struck impotent by market forces, governments relied on supplying whatever these massive corporate entities needed.

You voted in election after election and it made no difference. Whoever you voted for the government got in, and whoever they were you felt ignored, disenfranchised, deserted and powerless.

Our party political paradigm is broken forever.

It’s not an attractive look, all this governmental trembling with sycophantic excitement at the prospect of investment from a foreign multinational, or twitching with fear as one pulls out for more favourable rates elsewhere.

When the Berlin Wall came down, we felt headed towards an acceptance of otherness: an appreciation of how much we can collectively and individually gain from the differences in each other.

As it turned out, Soviet communism wasn’t the only political system that took a fatal blow back then.

Having defeated its dreaded alternative, capitalism grew stronger than the countries it fed on.

If we as a species survive long enough to have historians looking back at now, they will see populations of humans running around in panic, desperately trying to feel empowered and heard, after their old system failed them.

We all like to feel strong, convinced and led. Let down by the failure of party politics, millions of unhappy people have sought refuge in distant ideological corners, huddling with others they perceive as similar, looking for meaning, safety and belonging.

With powerful government out of the picture, the alternatives are stark: either let the corporations rule, insert microchips into our brains and turn us into products, or turn to a demagogue.

I hate the word ‘populist’ as much as the execrable term ‘ethnic cleansing.’ Tyranny should not sound fun, nor genocide healthy.

Those of a rightist bent are drawn to populist charismatics, like Johnson, Trump, Le Pen and countless others handed power on fictional manifestos, because people want to believe in impossible future glories.

Others of a more lefty persuasion find reassurance in identity politics, which involves politicising your ethnicity, religion or sexuality.

Ever-expanding hordes of self-righteous moralisers have become equally as judgemental and narrow-minded as the dictators they claim to despise.

Thankfully Ireland lags behind the rest of the western world in this struggle. The ideological differences between the two major parties here is unfathomable, as yet far too enigmatic for data farming algorithms to fully dissemble.

So while we can, let’s raise our national, separatist and rainbow flags, and be proud.

Why shouldn’t we be?
Go ahead and eat only what you feel is ecologically fair and humane.
Wear the traditional clothing of your grandparents’ homeland.
Cook the dishes of our neolithic ancestors.
Ask to be referred to as he, she, it or anything you want.

I don’t care.

I don’t care where you come from or who you sleep with. Identify yourself as whatever you want, as long as nobody suffers unsolicited emotional, psychological or physical pain.

Just do me a favour and don’t go on about it.

I’m happy for you, truly I am, but I don’t seek your approval, so why seek mine? 

Be and do what you must, enjoy life, and, oh yeh, don’t try to impose on me or anyone else what we should be, say, eat or do.

I don’t care if you’re straight or fluid, black, pink, pescatarian, Sagittarius or evangelical.

I’ll see the person, not the labels.

What I do care very much about, however, is the direction identity politics is taking.

The fight against what was known in the PC prairies of Lefty Land as ‘cultural appropriation’ has now turned into a McCarthyite witch hunt, employing the weapons of thought limitation and artistic control.

Cultural appropriation was a term conceived to help protect vulnerable cultures from dilution.

Now it is now being imposed on the creative process, delivering a dogmatic rigidity in what needs to be the natural home of free thinking.

This inverted bigotry is causing hate-filled invective in the world of publishing. 

Authors who write about characters with different skin colours, or sexual orientation to their own, have their books rejected.

Publishers now employ Professional Sensitivity Readers, who will highlight anything the author has written that might upset somebody.

Writers are vilified, threatened with violence and harassed daily, if they are perceived to have crossed the cultural appropriation line.

Lost in the post party-political void, those who mock the rhetoric of the Right for its prejudice insist on imposing their values on others, by enforcing limits on creativity.

The Left needs to wake up, unshackle itself from the straightjacket of excessive protection, and remember that people need freedom of expression, not a choice between two types of dictatorship.

I saw a placard at a rally that read:

Let’s Make Orwell Fiction Again!

I don’t care who you are, how you live or describe yourself.

Just never tell me how I may use my imagination.

©Charlie Adley

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