Infantile Ireland

Infantilism is a theme I’ve been returning to over the years, and to be specific, the infantile thinking of the Irish nation.  If we were looking for a living  example, we should be grateful to Enda Kenny, though of course, he’s far from the only example, even if he might be the most embarrassing.

Recently, the Psychological Society of Ireland held a conference during which various speakers discussed the Irish psyche as an example of postcolonial society, with speakers pointing out our delusional approach to life and our warped sense of nationhood.

I can understand this, just as you can if you happen to be Irish.

Who hasn’t experienced the strange and pathetic Irish need to be liked?  Not the Dutch.  Not the Finns.  Not the French.  Not the Germans.  Not the British. Not the Greeks.

Nobody in Europe, apart from the Irish, suffers from that sad need, and yet such neediness is what has landed us in our present predicament.  The need to be liked transcends the need to be respected, as our Prime Minister recently demonstrated when he collected a little bauble as European of the Year.

Can anyone  imagine the Greek prime minister travelling to Berlin in order to receive a  toy from the German magazine publishers?  What would the Portuguese think if their leader jumped in the air when somebody threw him a shiny plastic bone?

It was the need to be liked that led Lenihan and Cowen to submit when their masters instructed them to guarantee every bank in Europe.  They might not have realised that, but ultimately, Brian and Brian were serfs in a way they might not have understood themselves.

Unlike many countries who underwent revolution, we didn’t achieve any real independence.  All we did was transfer power from one privileged group to another, which was always the plan.  We ended up with men in the shadows continuing to exert control as they do to this day, but we still needed politicians in order to maintain the illusion of democracy, and here’s where the crunch comes.

We’re serfs.  Our mindset is that of the serf.  We never crawled out from beneath the power of those who determined our future in colonial days, and in the world’s most extended example of Stockholm Syndrome, we still cling to such notions today.

In apeing our betters, we Irish have failed to stand on our own two feet and face the world as adults.  Instead of doing that, we  promoted a class of people who copied  the accents and manners of of the former ruling classes.  We gave these people highly-paid jobs in the national broadcasting company where nationwide attitudes are formed, and we set about creating a country with an inferiority complex.

The effort succeeded.  We consolidated our national inferiority and eliminated all efforts to become a distinct society.  We didn’t want to be Irish.  We rejected it.  Just as in previous decades we eschewed our language, now we turned our backs on local accents, because at our heart we are ashamed to be Irish.

We are ashamed of what we are.  Let’s face up to it.

We are ashamed to be Irish.  Listen to the mid-Atlantic accents our young people use today.  Why are they ashamed of the way their parents speak?  Why do they try to speak like Americans?  I doubt they’re aware of this.  If you confronted the average 20-year-old, they’d probably be completely baffled, but that’s because the process has happened over such a long time that they think it was always like this.

Leaving all that aside, we need to ask ourselves why we have, as a nation, such a desperate need to please.

Is it the shit-eating desire  to placate an oppressor?  Perhaps.

Nobody talks like Enda Kenny in real life, do they?  Realistically, do you know anyone who talks like Enda Kenny?  I’m willing to bet that Enda Kenna doesn’t talk like Enda Kenny when he gets home and just wants to relax with a coffee.  But this is something we Irish have internalised: the belief that there’s something wrong with how we talk.

Watch Enda giving a speech and you can see a man doing battle with his inner self.  His elocutionised persona is fighting his inner Endaness to the death in an embarrassing embodiment of the fundamental Irish conflict.  How to be yourself while at the same time satisfying your outer snob.

Snobbery is the ultimate expression of insecurity and I’m afraid Irish society is riddled with it, in a deeply pathetic way.  When I was a kid, our teachers imposed a ridiculous old snob on us in a futile attempt to modify our accents, even though there was nothing wrong with our pronunciation.  Why?  Because our vowels were not the ones formally ordained as socially acceptable.

And who made this judgement?  More fools, desperately trying to hide their own personal insecurity.

Ireland doesn’t work and it never has worked since independence for three reasons.  The first is because the country has always been in the grip of a privileged elite who never cared whether the government was British or local.  The second is that Irish people have been deliberately infantilised in order to make them accept whatever insane proposition they’re presented with.  The third is that we have been deliberately conditioned to think of ourselves as inferior, which is why neither we nor our politicians have the balls to say NO to Europe when asked to commit national suicide.

We are serfs.



See also
Re-inventing Ireland. Time to grow up.
Ireland Needs Vision and Focus
The Non-Fighting Irish
The Loss of Local Irish Accents

14 thoughts on “Infantile Ireland

  1. We would’nt need to revolt if we had a leader with balls.We need someone with balls to tell them who’s bailing who, and it certainly is’nt Ireland being bailed out.I see red every time that gobshite Noonan speaks with his quiet voice.In the last year 3 banks have gone down the Swanee in Denmark and the world has’nt stopped turning.Noonan should be telling them that Ireland can longer afford bail out commercial enterprises on the continent,that should be down to there own governments.

  2. Please, tell me more about this revolution. What can I do to help bring it to a successful conclusion?

  3. Go to Shanghai to learn about Germany. Population of about 20 million and pretty much EVERY taxi is a VW santana–old reliable workhorse–that’s just Shanghai–Germany’s ongoing economic interest in China is staggering in it’s depth and organisation. In Beijing they have a Lufthansa centre–in reality it’s a huge complex with Kempinski 5 star hotel, BMW and Mini dealership, German supermarket, german restaurants, german clothing, German coffee and cake shop, German everything.
    I admire them; of course the Euro is an enormous help to them in achieving this; it would be a real struggle with a strong Deutchmark..
    Germany’s economic model depends on the Euro and we are paying the price for their success.
    We need our own currency and the ability to set out interest rates. It might be very painful in the short term, but it might be our only hope. Our exit from the euro might be the catalyst for it’s downfall, like the first man to walk away from a crowd of spectators entranced by a 3 card trick shyster on the street. It only takes one soul to walk away and say enough is enough.
    Enda isn’t that man; he likes the camera and the adulation too much. Enda will still be collecting winged statues in Berlin, James Reilly will be wondering where all the young people have gone who are supposed to be paying for the growing nursing home population. Maybe Berlin will pay for our hero politician’s pensions? Vichy.

  4. The post-colonial mindset persists in the cute hoorism where it’s considered commendable to rip off the state. It would be unthinkable in Germany for people to think it a laugh to evade tax and legal obligations.

    Look at the banner at the Euro 2012 football championships – Angela Merkel thinks we’re working – it betrays a sense of being schoolboys dodging the eye of the schoolmarm.

    There are no politicians who challenge those mindsets.

  5. Have to disagree. The next generation will be different. Some of the hardest working and brightest people working successfully at the biggest multinationals are ordinary Irish, who couldn’t care less if people liked them and are far from Serfs. Internationally, for the size of our country we are disproportionately successful. The fact that our political system is set up to elect idiots who will fix your pot holes and sort out your passport has nothing to do with a post colonial mindset. We have grown out of that I’d like to think.

  6. I feel Irish politics is based around the thinking that Irish people are happy just to have a vote no matter how bad the service is and that definately comes as a direct result of post colonial politics

  7. Today I feel somewhat sad and ashamed to be Irish. I will preface my comment by stating that I understand the matter I refer to is under investigation. A beautiful woman, Savita Halappanden is dead in this year 2012. It would appear that the Catholic ethos of this country has been a contributory factor. We will not mature as a nation as long as we remain in the clutches of the Catholic church.

  8. Taking all into consideration regarding post colonial politics and mind sets. I noticed, probably more than ever this year, having had the opportunity to listen, some of it unavoidable eavesdropping, to conversations by a large cross section of mostly Europeans, the one thing that really hit home in their discussions on all manner of topics was that their views were not subjective.
    I find the Irish in general have a way of basing their opinions largely on their own experiences and taking on board the experiences of others, its a common Irish attitude to judge situations in a very herdlike manner, how many times do you hear ” How could he have done that, shure thats not what we were brought up to do ” a very basic example and not a great one but its in our thinking that we always seem to look to others to reinforce our view of the world and attitudes in general……..too insecure to seek out a different view ?

  9. Saw that on the Independent website, disgreaceful, waiting on more facts but if it is true that her life could have been saved it is another tradgedy in a long line of tradgedies

  10. IF the facts are truly as presented then it would truly be a disgrace. I am no supporter of abortion but I don’t understand local demonstrations in the Republic about clinic services in Northern Ireland—like we have our own shop in such good order that we can meddle in other people’s underwear drawer–we need to cop on to ourselves.

  11. Zombie banks, zombie hotels, zombie parliament, zombie-what-more…?

    We will undeniably become definitive serfs if British Gas gets its mits on Irish drinking water

    rights after the bidding for Bord Gais!

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