Monday, February 28, 2022

Ukraine and the Decadence of the West


US Soldiers at Grafenwoehr Army Base, Bavaria, Germany 

(A) Some Introductory Remarks

[1] Grafenwoehr army base, Bavaria - the largest US base outside America. Male soldiers parade in women's shoes with signs "We Are ALL hurt by Rape", "LOVE Should NOT Hurt", "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes".
This MIGHT make sense if it was a "cunning plan" by Joe Biden (AKA Baldrick) to trick Putin into (A) believing that US soldiers are decadent wimps (B) thus encouraging Putin to attack the West and be annihilated. The problem is that only (A) is likely to be valid!

[2] Tweet by Richard Moore who apparently is really the Chief of British spy agency MI6 and this is not a Parody Account!

Richard Moore @ChiefMI6 · Feb 25 With the tragedy and destruction unfolding so distressingly in Ukraine, we should remember the values and hard won freedoms that distinguish us from Putin, none more than LGBT+ rights. So let’s resume our series of tweets to mark #LGBTHM2022

[Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans+ History Month 2022]

[3] And of course Ireland - trying hard not to be left behind in the slide towards self-destruction: Target of 35pc female involvement in military is ‘ambitious’
The Defence Forces have described a target of 35pc overall female participation within the organisation as “ambitious”. The target was recently recommended in a report by the Commission into the Defence Forces which also cited a “masculine” culture in the military.... The Commission was established by Defence Minister Simon Coveney in late 2020 in response to concerns about the capabilities of the military and an ongoing retention crisis. [ Note (i) ]
[4] On the other hand we have the Catholic Bishop of Derry Donal McKeown.:
The horrible events in Ukraine ask our western states what is it that they stand for. Amongst the threats to our society is not just a rampant Russian war in Central Europe, but the fact that liberal democracies look like little more than economic or industrial entities. Does Europe have any pretence at virtue or at generosity that goes beyond self-interest?...

" A widespread emphasis on entitlement and on victimhood generates a corrosive blame culture. It is unhealthy when we demand that something impersonal called the ‘State’ should pick up the pieces of every mess that we make. A dependency culture weakens us individually and communally. Virtue and responsibility will build hope and healing"......

"If western countries are unable to offer the world more than consumer goods and mind-numbing entertainment then we have nothing to boast of except our hollow economic power which struggles to drown out our nightmares."
"The West will only truly win when the Russian people reject the current regime and its ideology. My fear now, however, is that whatever happens in Ukraine, the West will lack the moral staying power to see down the threat posed by Putin....

" Meanwhile the curse of the 24-hour news cycle is that we can obsess over the dramatic and the visual at the expense of the important. This focus on what is happening on the ground distracts us from the real battle: that of values. Putin believes that the West is morally degenerate, that its support for democratic values is weak, and that its populations are more interested in their quality of life than Ukraine."

(B) The Decadence of the USA - and NATO

On January 26th 2022 the Irish Independent published an article by conservative Catholic, columnist and author Sohrab Ahmari that originally appeared in the Washington Post: Biden is Correct to Ignore War Hawks over Ukraine. I actually disagree with his conclusion regarding Ukraine but he provides a wealth of information - including (remarkably) some issues that Left and Right in the USA agree on!
"Left and right agree on very little these days, but they share a sense that something has gone profoundly wrong with America – internally. The two camps disagree over the diagnosis, whether it’s structural racism or elite liberalism that’s to blame, but the symptoms are apparent to both: the decrepit infrastructure, the loneliness that haunted young Americans long before social distancing, widespread job and health precarity, addiction and homelessness.

"Then there’s the cultural incohesion, an inability to agree on the most basic facts about US history and identity...... Biden’s [original] posture was perfectly sensible, given the political mood in Europe and especially its pivotal power, Germany. It also reflected a deeper wisdom, in continuity with his two immediate predecessors, that US power is over-stretched, exhausted and battered by domestic polarisation and decay."
Ahrami believes that the "war hawks" are asking the US President to be more zealous for European security than are Europeans themselves. He states that a majority of Europeans are ambivalent, at best, when it comes to America, Nato and the Russian threat.
"A 2020 Pew Research Centre survey of populations in 16 key Nato states found a majority opposes using force to defend a fellow member state in a conflict with Russia.

"In France, 53pc oppose fulfilling the Western Alliance’s Article 5 obligations under such a scenario, compared with 41pc who would back military action. More startling still, 60pc of Germans oppose using force to defend a fellow member state. [!] Ukraine isn’t even a Nato member.".
Ahrami believes Western Europe’s has no real commitment to Ukraine’s territorial integrity and points to our lackadaisical response to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and "stealth invasion" of the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine:
At various points since, Paris and Berlin resisted economic sanctions against Moscow, on occasion even calling for existing sanctions to be lifted. Meanwhile, Germany has remained determined to push ahead with Nord Stream 2, a natural gas pipeline running from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea, thus bypassing Ukraine and Poland and tightening Moscow’s energy stranglehold on the continent. 

Successive US administrations of both parties begged for a rethink, to no avail, until Biden dropped the issue last year. Lately, Berlin has signaled it might abandon the project if Russia invades Ukraine – maybe!
Sohrab Ahrami believes it's crazy for the USA to try to police Europe’s borders when Europeans have been this indifferent, this long. I disagree with his conclusion while recognising that the premises of his argument are largely correct!

On the foreign fields, the shambolic and shameful abandonment of Afghanistan will go down in the history books as one of the most craven acts by any US leader. It also rang the dinner bell for Vladimir Putin’s Ukrainian invasion. After all, when news emerged that Mr Putin had watched the live footage of the evacuation and laughed throughout, the die was cast. He already had the idea of invading Ukraine, but the American performance in Afghanistan told him that now was the time to make that idea a reality. [ Note (ii) ]

 (C) The Decadence of Germany

[ 60pc of Germans oppose using force to defend a fellow NATO member state!]

On 29 January Ambrose Evans-Pritchard the international business editor of the Daily Telegraph wrote Markets Remain Calm despite Talk of Imminent War yet Putin knows he has a Narrow Window and a Strong Hand
It is now or never for Mr Putin. The stars are unusually well-aligned for the overthrow of the post-Cold War settlement....

The Kremlin enjoys the same partial advantage on the politico-military front. European Nato disarmed through the austerity years and is now near rock-bottom, while Russia has been re-arming for a decade. The White House is perceived to be a pushover after waving its objections to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in a shabby deal with Germany....

Mr Putin does not have to worry about serious economic retaliation. Germany has effectively vetoed use of the financial “nuclear option”, which would to expel Russia from the SWIFT system of international payments. Berlin’s argument is that such sanctions have asymmetric blowback. The US has little direct exposure and would suffer modest loss. German and European companies with large interests in Russia would take the brunt... “I don’t see anything on the economic front that would seriously frighten Putin,” said Ian Bond, former ambassador and British security planner now at the Centre for European Reform......

Energy dependence has turned core Europe into an accomplice by default.... Top figures in the German Social Democratic Party are not even willing to take Nord Stream 2 off the table if Mr Putin annihilates Ukraine. Defence minister Christine Lambrecht said there is “no connection” between the two issues. Chancellor Olaf Scholz has belatedly agreed to demands from Washington and his Green coalition partners that there should be some linkage but the commitment is too vague and half-hearted to have much deterrent value. He still insists that the pipeline is a purely “commercial” matter. Germany has not only refused to sell vital weapons to Ukraine but is actively preventing its Nato allies from doing so.
Regarding this point British journalist (and Berlin resident) Justin Huggler described an encounter between the mayor of Kiev Vitali Klitschko and German foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock at a Security Conference meeting in Munich (!)
"We need defensive weapons. We face one of the strongest armies in the world. We are ready to fight, to defend our families,” Mr Klitschko told Ms Baerbock. “Thank you for the 5,000 helmets,” he went on, referring to a shipment of helmets Germany sent instead of weapons. “But we can’t defend our state with them, it’s not enough.”

The emotional outburst laid bare divisions that remain within the Western alliance. Germany claims it has a longstanding policy of not sending arms to conflict zones because of its Nazi past. [ Note (iii) ]

 See also Reuters article dated 21 January Germany blocks Estonia from Exporting German-origin Weapons to Ukraine 

Germany is blocking NATO ally Estonia from giving military support to Ukraine by refusing to issue permits for German-origin weapons to be exported to Kyiv as it braces for a potential Russian invasion, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday...[The USA and] Many other NATO allies, including Britain and Poland, also agreed to export weapons directly to Ukraine, but the German government declined to do so.

Germany has not supported the export of lethal weapons in recent years,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told a news conference on Friday. In the case of Estonia, Berlin is refusing to allow a third country to send artillery to Ukraine because the weaponry originated in Germany, the Journal cited Estonian and German officials as saying

Germany has had a belated change of heart as described by Telegraph journalists in
Since the end of the Cold War, Germany has reduced its troop strength from 500,000 to about 200,000 today. On the day Mr Putin ordered his troops into Ukraine, Alfons Mais, the chief of the German land army, admitted that the Bundeswehr was in a desperate state and was “more or less bare”. “The options we can offer to politicians to support [Nato] are extremely limited,” he wrote on LinkedIn.

(D) Conclusions 

60 per cent of Germans oppose using force to defend a fellow NATO member state! How many would refuse to defend their own country and collaborate with any enemy for a peaceful life? [ Note (iv) ]

At a Conference in Munich (!) Germany claimed it has a longstanding policy of not sending arms to conflict zones because of its Nazi past. For the same reason it banned Estonia from sending German-manufactured weapons to the Ukraine to help it defend itself. Germany has a degraded and perverse attitude to its Nazi past - more akin to Self-Hatred than Repentance. (Catholic confessors used to be good at distinguishing between the two.) One example is the case of the 93 year old "Nazi Grandma" Ursula Haverbeck convicted several times for the crime of Holocaust Denial, released from prison at the end of 2020, quickly charged again and due to face a new trial about now. The German authorities have been pursuing her since 2004 as their armed forces decayed, they made themselves dependent on Russian energy supplies and resolved not to assist a non-NATO member attacked by Russia - because of Germany's Nazi past! This is the kind of Weimar Decadence that helped Hitler to power in the first place and is now empowering Putin! [ Note (v) ]

BUT Germany has reversed course, has agreed to major sanctions against Russia and is sending arms to Ukraine and beefing up its military forces - so all is now OK! Forgive my cynicism but I agree wioth the Telegraph's Jeremy Warner that West Totally Unready for Sacrifices Needed to Really Hurt Putin
Are western electorates even remotely prepared for the economic deprivations this latter course of action – a war with Russia in all but name – is likely to entail? The already near hysterical political reaction to the cost of living squeeze suggests strongly they are not. Without wishing to trivialise today’s hardships, they are as nothing compared with what would come. “Welcome to the brave new world where Europeans are very soon going to pay €2,000 for 1,000 cubic metres of natural gas,” said Putin’s sidekick, Dmitry Medvedev, rubbing it in over Europe’s unfortunate dependence on Russian gas.

We have grown so complacent and lazy on the fruits of globalisation that the idea of anything more than a temporary interruption in the onward march of economic progress is so far beyond any recent experience as to be thought almost impossible.....So forgive my scepticism when the West promises to put up a meaningful fight against Putin’s power play. Even ignoring the threat of nuclear annihilation, the price of defiance will be high. It is not clear that mollycoddled western voters have the stomach for it. By all means, Europe must scramble to wean itself off dependence on Russian gas, but exactly the same thing was said in 2014 after Crimea. Small wonder Putin thinks he can get away with it.
"Mollycoddled western voters" indeed. Long before the Welfare State was even thought of, the main functions of the State were supposed to be defense against external aggression and maintenance of internal order. In part A above, I quote Bishop Donal McKeown regarding our "dependency culture", "emphasis on entitlement and on victimhood" and "demand that something impersonal called the ‘State’ should pick up the pieces of every mess that we make". These attitudes are now rotting the foundations of the State especially in Germany where the chief of the German land army, admitted that the Bundeswehr was in a desperate state, was “more or less bare” and unable to contribute to NATO's response to Putin.

If this crisis continues and impacts seriously on the State's ability to supply voters with goodies, I predict that our sympathy with the people of the Ukraine and refugees will evaporate with extreme speed. Western voters will start denouncing President Volodymyr Zelensky for 'intransigence' and demand he conclude a "peace at any price" with Russia!


(i) I recall reading about an Irish guy who joined the British army during the Second World War and became one of its highest decorated veterans. After the war he left the army and led a troubled unhappy life until dying in a car crash about 1950 - a time when there were few cars on Irish roads. A country needs people like that in times of War (although they can be trouble in peacetime). Our current Defence Minister and his "Commission" are doing their best to alienate such men and ensure they will never join the army. "Masculine Culture" indeed!

(ii) It's likely that Putin's advisers showed him the photo at the head of this article. If so he undoubtedly laughed a lot!

(iii) Another nice illustration of the link between Barbarism on one side and Decadence on the other! And it also happened at a Conference in Munich!

(iv) For Irish equivalent see "Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, the Simpsons and Our Insect Overlords"

(v) Another example of the corruption of Germany's attempts to face up to its Nazi past dates from 1970 when the Red Army Faction (or 'Baeder Meinhoff Gang') started a terrorist campaign that lasted until 1998. As per Wikipedia "the group was motivated by leftist political concerns and the perceived failure of their parents' generation to confront Germany's Nazi past, and received support from Stasi and other Eastern Bloc security services." (On meetings with KGB in Dresden the group was also met by Vladimir Putin, then KGB resident in East Germany!) In 1977 Jillian Becker published "Hitler's Children: The Story of the Baader-Meinhof Terrorist Gang" a study of the 'first generation' of the RAF that pointed out that the terrorists were more akin to Nazi Stormtroopers than to the forces of the German Federal Republic that opposed them. In addition German journalist Stefan Aust wrote in 1985 "The Baader-Meinhof Gang drew a measure of support that violent leftists in the United States, like the Weather Underground, never enjoyed. A poll at the time showed that a quarter of West Germans under forty felt sympathy for the gang and one-tenth said they would hide a gang member from the police. Prominent intellectuals spoke up for the gang's righteousness (as) Germany even into the 1970s was still a guilt-ridden society." As per Wikipedia: "Horst Mahler, a founding RAF member, is now a vocal Neo-Nazi and Holocaust denier. In 2005, he was sentenced to six years in prison for incitement to racial hatred against Jews. He is on record as saying that his beliefs have not changed: Der Feind ist der Gleiche (The enemy is the same)."

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

China's Grey Eminence and the Future of America and of Christianity


Wang Huning

Professor Wang Huning - China's Grey Eminence

China's Grey Eminence and 'America against America'

François Leclerc du Tremblay, also known as Père Joseph, was a 17th Century French Capuchin friar, confidant and agent of Cardinal Richelieu. He was the original éminence grise ("grey eminence") the term for a powerful advisor or decision-maker who operates secretly or unofficially. His historical successors include Talleyrand, Metternich, Kissinger, Vladimir Putin adviser Vladislav Surkov - and today Chinese academic Wang Huning, the very influential adviser of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Wang Huning was never a dissident but appears to have been an admirer of the United States and its achievements. This could have translated into good news for both countries and assisted reformers who wanted to liberalise the political regime in China. Unfortunately after a 6 months stay in the USA  in 1988 he concluded that the country had bred a  "younger generation [that] is ignorant of traditional Western values” and actively rejects its cultural inheritance and that "nihilism has become the American way, which is a fatal shock to cultural development and the American spirit". .

According to an article on Bloomberg News on 13 January 2021 "A $2,500 Book on U.S. Decline Is Suddenly a Must-Read in China
After chaos engulfed the U.S. Capitol last week, some Chinese intellectuals found themselves searching for copies of an out-of-print book to make sense of events. America Against America” forecast the U.S.’s decline due to domestic conflicts more than 30 years ago. [1]

Among the things driving demand was the author: Wang Huning, the Communist Party’s No. 5 leader and top political theorist to three Chinese presidents. Some copies have surged to more than 16,600 yuan ($2,500) on Kungfuzi, an online marketplace for antiques. That’s more than 3,000 times its original asking price in 1991, when Japan was more widely seen as America’s big economic rival.

The interest in the book is the result of a renewed desire to understand a U.S. that is in the midst of a civil cold war,” said Wang Wen, executive dean of Renmin University’s Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies. “China’s doubts about the U.S. will certainly increase in light of recent events.

Wang Huning and America - A Dark Vision

[Much of the following is taken directly from two articles (A) by N. S. Lyons The Triumph and Terror of Wang Huning in Palladium Magazine on 11 October 2021 and (B) book review by Habi Zhang The Chinese Communist Who Understands America in Law and Liberty, 15 November 2021]

In 1988, Wang—having risen with unprecedented speed to become Fudan’s youngest full professor at age 30—won a coveted scholarship  to spend six months in the United States as a visiting scholar. Profoundly curious about America, Wang took full advantage, wandering about the country like a sort of latter-day Chinese Alexis de Tocqueville, visiting more than 30 cities and nearly 20 universities.

What he found deeply disturbed him, permanently shifting his view of the West and the consequences of its ideas.

Wang recorded his observations in a memoir that would become his most famous work: the 1991 book 'America Against America'. In it, he marvels at homeless encampments in the streets of Washington DC, out-of-control drug crime in poor black neighborhoods in New York and San Francisco, and corporations that seemed to have fused themselves to and taken over responsibilities of government. Eventually, he concludes that America faces an “unstoppable undercurrent of crisis” produced by its societal contradictions, including between rich and poor, white and black, democratic and oligarchic power, egalitarianism and class privilege, individual rights and collective responsibilities, cultural traditions and the solvent of liquid modernity.

But while Americans can, he says, perceive that they are faced with “intricate social and cultural problems,” they “tend to think of them as scientific and technological problems” to be solved separately. This gets them nowhere, he argues, because their problems are in fact all inextricably interlinked and have the same root cause: a radical, nihilistic individualism at the heart of modern American liberalism.

The real cell of society in the United States is the individual,” he finds. This is so because the cell most foundational (per Aristotle) to society, “the family, has disintegrated.” Meanwhile, in the American system, “everything has a dual nature, and the glamour of high commodification abounds. Human flesh, sex, knowledge, politics, power, and law can all become the target of commodification.” This “commodification, in many ways, corrupts society and leads to a number of serious social problems.” In the end, “the American economic system has created human loneliness” as its foremost product, along with spectacular inequality. As a result, “nihilism has become the American way, which is a fatal shock to cultural development and the American spirit”.

Moreover, he says that the “American spirit is facing serious challenges” from new ideational competitors. Reflecting on the universities he visited and quoting approvingly from Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind, [2] he notes a growing tension between Enlightenment liberal rationalism and a “younger generation [that] is ignorant of traditional Western values” and actively rejects its cultural inheritance. “If the value system collapses,” he wonders, “how can the social system be sustained?”[3]

Ultimately, he argues, when faced with critical social issues like drug addiction, [4] America’s atomized, deracinated, and dispirited society has found itself with “an insurmountable problem” because it no longer has any coherent conceptual grounds from which to mount any resistance.

"Civil Religion" and Christianity

Wang concludes, “political customs” and “political traditions” sometimes are more powerful than laws because “laws are written on paper whereas the former are engraved in hearts and minds.” Hence, Wang argues that it is Americans’ sacralization, as he calls it, of the Constitution that makes it transcend those pieces of yellowed papers to be vibrant and everlasting.

Sacralization is a unique feature that Wang identifies in America’s “colorful national character.” Wang writes, “The American nation does not have a disposition for mystification or deification, but it has a special nature that I call ‘sacralization.’” Wang noticed that Americans tended to sacralize certain qualities or phenomena they saw in politicians, athletes, businessmen, film stars, singers, technology innovators, as well as football games, national ceremonies, the military, and the space shuttle.

It is of a cultic nature, but it is not a religious cult,” Wang writes, “pragmatic Americans find it hard to worship abstract, legendary, and invisible objects, but they can worship success, bravery, adventure, and wisdom in their own surroundings.This sacralization of a spirit for Wang is what Rousseau means by “civil religion. Wang’s following words are particularly illuminating: “The process of sacralization has a fundamental social function, which is to maintain and transmit the core values of society . . . It is here that people’s sentiments, ideas, beliefs, pursuits come into some kind of agreement . . . In such an individualistic, self-centered society, sacralization is the best mechanism for spreading core values.”

Wang did not overlook the religious side of the American mind, though. In a section called God on Earth, Wang discussed another paradox about America. Varied religious organizations and vivacious religious activities play a cohesive role in public life. They are what he called “Soft Administration.Wang noticed that religion both maintained social order and promoted freedom of society. He concluded that what made religion work in America was its secularization, separation from politics, and non-superstitious nature. [5]

Return to China and End of Idealism

Once idealistic about America, at the start of 1989 the young Wang returned to China and, promoted to Dean of Fudan’s International Politics Department, became a leading opponent of liberalizationWhen Wang won national acclaim by leading a university debate team to victory in an international competition in Singapore in 1993, he caught the attention of Jiang Zemin, who had become party leader after Tiananmen. Wang, having defeated National Taiwan University by arguing that human nature is inherently evil, foreshadowed that, While Western modern civilization can bring material prosperity, it doesn’t necessarily lead to improvement in character."

Many Chinese are Pleased with Wang's View of the USA!

From the smug point of view of millions who now inhabit the Chinese internet, Wang’s dark vision of American dissolution was nothing less than prophetic. When they look to the U.S., they no longer see a beacon of liberal democracy standing as an admired symbol of a better future. That was the impression of those who created the famous “Goddess of Democracy,” with her paper-mâché torch held aloft before the Gate of Heavenly Peace on Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Instead, they see Wang’s America: deindustrialization, rural decay, over-financialization, out of control asset prices, and the emergence of a self-perpetuating rentier elite; powerful tech monopolies able to crush any upstart competitors operating effectively beyond the scope of government; immense economic inequality, chronic unemployment, addiction, homelessness, and crime; cultural chaos, historical nihilism, family breakdown, and plunging fertility rates; societal despair, spiritual malaise, social isolation, and skyrocketing rates of mental health issues; a loss of national unity and purpose in the face of decadence and barely concealed self-loathing; vast internal divisions, racial tensions, riots, political violence, and a country that increasingly seems close to coming apart.

As a tumultuous 2020 roiled American politics, Chinese people began turning to Wang’s America Against America for answers. And when a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, 2021, the book flew off the shelves. Out-of-print copies began selling for as much as $2,500 on Chinese e-commerce sites.

Wang's Nightmare as China Encounters Same Problems! 

But Wang is unlikely to be savoring the acclaim, because his worst fear has become reality: the “unstoppable undercurrent of crisis” he identified in America seems to have successfully jumped the Pacific. Despite all his and President Xi Jinping’s success in draconian suppression of political liberalism, many of the same problems Wang observed in America have nonetheless emerged to ravage China over the last decade as the country progressively embraced a more neoliberal capitalist economic model.

Socialism with Chinese Characteristics” has rapidly transformed China into one of the most economically unequal societies on earth - more so than the USA. Meanwhile, Chinese tech giants have established monopoly positions even more robust than their U.S. counterparts.  Corporate employment frequently features an exhausting “996” (9am to 9pm, 6 days a week) schedule. Others labor among struggling legions trapped by up-front debts in the vast system of modern-day indentured servitude that is the Chinese “gig economy.” Up to 400 million Chinese are forecast to enjoy the liberation of such “self-employment” by 2036, according to Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba.

The job market for China’s ever-expanding pool of university graduates is so competitive that “graduation equals unemployment” is a societal meme. And as young people have flocked to urban metropoles to search for employment, rural regions have been drained and left to decay, while centuries of communal extended family life have been upended in a generation, leaving the elderly to rely on the state for marginal care. In the cities, young people have been priced out of the property market by a red-hot asset bubble.

Meanwhile, contrary to trite Western assumptions of an inherently communal Chinese culture, the sense of atomization and low social trust in China has become so acute that it’s led to periodic bouts of anguished societal soul-searching after oddly regular instances in which injured individuals have been left to die on the street by passers-by habitually distrustful of being scammed.

Feeling alone and unable to get ahead in a ruthlessly consumerist society, Chinese youth increasingly describe existing in a state of nihilistic despair encapsulated by the online slang term neijuan (“involution”), which describes a “turning inward” by individuals and society due to a prevalent sense of being stuck in a draining rat race where everyone inevitably loses. This despair has manifested itself in a movement known as tangping, or “lying flat,” in which people attempt to escape that rat race by doing the absolute bare minimum amount of work required to live, becoming modern ascetics.

In this environment, China’s fertility rate has collapsed to 1.3 children per woman as of 2020—below Japan and above only South Korea as the lowest in the world—plunging its economic future into crisis. Ending family size limits and government attempts to persuade families to have more children have been met with incredulity and ridicule by Chinese young people as being “totally out of touch” with economic and social reality. “Do they not yet know that most young people are exhausted just supporting themselves?” asked one typically viral post on social media. 

But even those Chinese youth who could afford to have kids have found they enjoy a new lifestyle: the coveted DINK (“Double Income, No Kids”) life, in which well-educated young couples (married or not) spend all that extra cash on themselves. As one thoroughly liberated 27-year-old man with a vasectomy once explained to The New York Times: “For our generation, children aren’t a necessity…Now we can live without any burdens. So why not invest our spiritual and economic resources on our own lives?”

"Liberalism" in China and in the West

So while Americans have today given up the old dream of liberalizing China, they should maybe look a little closer. It’s true that China never remotely liberalized—if you consider liberalism to be all about democratic elections, a free press, and respect for human rights. But many political thinkers would argue there is more to a comprehensive definition of modern liberalism than that. Instead, they would identify liberalism’s essential endpoint as being the liberation of the individual from all limiting ties of place, tradition, religion, associations, and relationships, along with all the material limits of nature, in pursuit of the radical autonomy of the modern “consumer.”

From this perspective, China has been thoroughly liberalized, and the picture of what’s happening to Chinese society begins to look far more like Wang’s nightmare of a liberal culture consumed by nihilistic individualism and commodification.


[1] "It is worth noting that though it is Wang’s most famous book, copies are no longer available on Amazon or China’s counterparts such as Taobao,, or Dangdang. No official English translation is offered. Indeed, the book is as mysterious as its author. One can, however, find an electronic scanned pdf version online." [Book Review in Law and Liberty: "The Chinese Communist Who Understands America"]

[2] As per Wikipedia "Bloom titles the second part of the book "Nihilism, American Style". He introduces in further detail the concept of "value relativism", mentioned previously only in the introduction. Value relativism, he says, plagues most elite institutions of higher learning. For Bloom, this dissolved into nihilism. He notices that students follow the path of least resistance when developing their values. For students, he writes, "values are not discovered by reason, and it is fruitless to seek them, to find the truth or the good life." Ironically, when traveling this path without reason, Bloom writes, students still "adopt strong poses and fanatic resolutions".

[3] From a book review America Against America: the Chinese de Tocqueville by Scott Locklin

Spiritual crisis: Mr. Wang was very concerned that even elite university students knew little to nothing about the history and culture of the society to which they belonged. His heart was at least somewhat with the neocons of the day; mentioning Alan Bloom and his best selling 1987 jeremiad against the ignorance of contemporary university students. Mind you: the morons described by Bloom and Wang are now professors in the universities and high officials in government. They’re still ignorant pustules, now responsible for creating ever more callow gelded toads to infest the crumbling halls of American power. He identified the cultural nihilism of the baizuo all the way back in 1988; the upcoming tribe of people who would run the country into the ditch didn’t understand it, and didn’t much care for most of its inhabitants either.

[4] An update: "In 2019 alone, nearly 50,000 people in the United States died from opioid-involved overdoses, according to CDC statistics. The misuse of and addiction to opioids – including prescription pain relievers, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and heroin — has been described as “a serious national crisis” that impacts public health as well as social and economic welfare across America, according to The National Institute on Drug Abuse."  (from Gript article U.S. Judge Throws Out $4.5bn Settlement Protecting Sacklers From Opioid Lawsuits)

[5] This reminds me of George Orwell's remark in "Notes on Nationalism" (1945 essay): "If one follows up this train of thought, one is in danger of being led into a species of Conservatism, or into political quietism. It can be plausibly argued, for instance – it is even probably true – that patriotism is an inoculation against nationalism, that monarchy is a guard against dictatorship, and that organized religion is a guard against superstition." 

Sunday, September 5, 2021

The Folly of the Sisters of Charity (and other Nuns)


The Magdalene Sisters

Nuns who Trashed their own Reputations in order to "Heal Pain" of Accusers!

In July 2021, Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar decided to bolster the chances of his Fine Gael party in a by-election by throwing  a few scraps to anti-clerical voters. He suggested that ownership of the National Maternity Hospital was still a problem and that any obstetric or gynaecological service that was legal in the State would have to be available in the hospital at its new site. (See part D "The Dishonesty of Leo Varadkar" of article Leo Varadkar, the Sisters of Charity and the National Maternity Hospital ). Liberal priest Fr Brendan Hoban accused Varadkar of throwing "the equivalent of a grenade" into this so-called controversy, the salient points of which were settled years ago. However Varadkar knew he was in a win-win situation. He realised that the Sisters of Charity were not going to defend themselves so there was no danger of losing any votes. In 2017 the Sisters' most prominent representative Sr Stanislaus Kennedy reacted to a storm of anti-clerical hatred and lies directed at the nuns by describing it as "Elder Abuse"! [ See Depiction of Sisters of Charity like ‘Elder Abuse’, says Sr Stan ] No Jewish woman face to face with anti-Semites would make that kind of "mistake" and the VERY Charitable Sisters thereby demonstrated their unfitness to survive in the modern world!

(A) Irish Catholic Nuns and 'Appeasement' - "A clever plan to sell out your friends in order to buy off your enemies

The quote is from a British journalist in The Guardian in 1939 and is a good description of the tactics of the Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of Charity, Presentation Sisters, Ursulines etc over the past 25 years. I wrote about it in a number of essays on this Blog including "The Decadence of the Sisters of Mercy" and also the article entitled "Sisters of Mercy" on my old website (not Blog) The latter article also includes the related antics of other Congregations of female religious. The endless repetition of the same misguided tactics over a period of a quarter of a century suggests that "naivety" is NOT  a sufficient explanation! 

What follows is my attempt to summarise 25 years of Nuns' folly:


(i) The first apology by the Sisters of Mercy followed the February 1996 broadcast by RTE of the documentary "Dear Daughter" regarding atrocities allegedly committed by the Sisters at Goldenbridge industrial school. These allegations included a nun Sister Xavieria beating one girl (Christine Buckley) so badly that she needed about 100 stitches in her leg. It was an obvious lie - as pointed out by Richard Webster and by a contemporaneous article in The Sunday Times.  
"No medical evidence has ever been produced to substantiate this bizarre claim. The surgeon who ran the casualty department at the hospital in question has given evidence which renders it highly unlikely that such an incident ever took place. Apart from anything else, the surgeon points out that caning would not have caused a wound of this kind, which would have required surgical treatment under a general anaesthetic and not stitches in a casualty department. Yet although the evidence suggests that the woman’s memory was a delusion, her testimony was widely believed at the time." [Richard Webster]

 Christine Buckley's risible claims was indeed "widely believed at the time" - mainly because of the equally absurd apology by the Sisters of Mercy. There was supposed to be a discussion within the Sisterhood as to how to handle the allegations. I was told that older Sisters believed the "discussion" was fake, with the outcome determined in advance and that the leadership never intended to condemn the lies or defend their own innocent members!   

(ii) Second Apology by the Sisters of Mercy: Richard Webster wrote that "In the wake of the broadcast, atrocity stories about Goldenbridge and other industrial schools began to proliferate." It would be more accurate to write that "In the wake of the apology by the Sisters of Mercy.."

Following the documentary and apology, a family accused Sister Xavieria of being responsible for the death of their baby daughter 40 years before by burning the baby's legs. The Sisters did not admit liability but in October 1997 they paid £20,000 and expressed their "sorrow and regret" to the accusers. After receiving payment the mother gave an interview to the Daily Mirror in which she accused Sister Xavieria of using a hot poker to  murder baby Marion Howe by burning holes in the baby's legs. HOT POKER WAS USED ON LITTLE MARION.. NO CASH WILL GET HER BACK; I THINK MY BABY WAS MURDERED AT THE ORPHANAGE, SAYS PAYOUT MUM. [The Mirror, 11 October 1997, article by Neil Leslie]

The Mirror have highly paid lawyers to defend themselves against libel suits but Mirror executives rightly understood that they were dealing with decadent fools who would not fight! The Mercy leadership team made no attempt to condemn the libel or to defend Sister Xavieria. (Perhaps they did not wish to "cause pain" to Christina Howe whose baby had died in 1955).

(iii) Third Apology by the Sisters of Mercy: 
After Nora Wall (formerly Sister Dominic) and her co-accused Pablo McCabe were wrongly convicted of rape in June 1999 the Sisters announced that: "We are all devastated by the revolting crimes which resulted in these verdicts. Our hearts go out to this young woman who, as a child, was placed in our care. Her courage in coming forward was heroic. We beg anyone who was abused whilst in our care to go to the Gardai" (police.) Even after the collapse of the case against the two accused, the Sisters made no effort to apologise to Nora Wall or to withdraw their statement of support for her accusers.

The Sisters' betrayal of Pablo (Paul) McCabe was equally grotesque. In her 2006 article in the Jesuit Review Studies  "Miscarriage of Justice: Paul McCabe and Nora Wall", Breda O'Brien writes:
Paul McCabe addressed a Diocesan Gathering of Mercy Sisters in Gracedieu in Waterford in1988. His account tells of being born in Dublin in 1949 to a single mother. She struggled on until Paul was three, but she ‘had great difficulty in working, paying for accommodation and paying someone to look after me.” Thus he came to live in what was to become known as the “ old St. Michael’s”, a junior industrial school run by the Sisters of Mercy in Cappoquin. His memories of that time are “very happy ones of caring and interested women.” He then went to the Industrial School at Artane, Dublin, which he found traumatic, as it had “over nine hundred boys in a very strict set-up.”  
So when Pablo could be depicted as a victim of the Patriarchy, the Sisters of Mercy allowed him to address one of their annual meetings. When he was falsely accused of rape, they threw him to the wolves and sided with his accusers! The very patriarchal Archbishop John Charles McQuaid would never have invited Pablo McCabe to address a meeting of Dublin priests. Neither would he have betrayed Pablo - and one of his own priests - the way the Merciful Sisters betrayed Nora Wall and Pablo McCabe!

(iv) Fourth Apology of the Sisters of Mercy:
In May 2004 the Sisters unexpectedly made what was called their "second" (actually fourth) apology to their accusers. There was no obvious motive for this exercise in self-degradation but the apology was greeted with delight by leaders of "victims" groups - notably Christine Buckley. Shortly afterwards these leaders resumed their attacks on the the very Merciful Sisters. It is arguable that this apology - and the appointment of Diarmuid Martin as Archbishop of Dublin, the previous month - marked the end of any serious effort by the Catholic Church to defend itself against false allegations of child abuse.

See articles by David Quinn in the Irish Independent on 6 May 2004  Victims Welcome Sisters of Mercy Apology (as indeed they might):

The Mercy Sisters yesterday made what they called an "unconditional" apology to abuse victims and have directly appealed to victims to forgive them for any "physical and emotional trauma" they suffered while in their care. The historic apology, which was issued suddenly and unexpectedly, was prompted by complaints from victim groups that an earlier apology, issued in 1996, was conditional and appeared to cast doubt on whether abuses had actually occurred in orphanages and industrial schools. 

The latest apology by the Sisters was really a bolt from the blue. Most other statements of this sort by Church organisations had usually come as a result of intense public and media pressure. This one emerged following a long period of consultation within the Order. [My emphasis]The leadership team of the Mercy Sisters, led by Sr Breege O'Neill, were well aware that their previous apology, issued in 1996, had not been favourably received by victim groups. Although it did not deny that abuses had taken place, and both apologised and sought forgiveness from the victims, just as this one did, it also offered a partial defence of the record of the Mercy Sisters making the apology seem equivocal and conditional to some. 

 This "unconditional" apology was issued after it was clear that the allegations of child rape against Nora Wall and Pablo McCabe were false as was the claim that Sister Xavieria murdered a baby. The Sisters of Mercy "leadership team" led by Sr Breege O'Neill, ignored the protests of the older nuns who were targeted by the sociopaths and abased themselves before power

Reading out the statement on behalf of her congregation yesterday, the head of the Mercy Sisters, Sr Breege O'Neill, pleaded with victims to forgive them for any abuses they had suffered. Responding to questions afterwards, she said she accepted that all her fellow sisters could do was to ask for forgiveness and it was up to the victims to give it.

 (v) Reaction of Secular World to Sisters' Self-Abasement

  • In 2003/04 one anti-clerical Irish journalist surprised me by publishing some articles about false allegations of child abuse directed against Catholic priests and religious. After the Sisters' fourth apology he reverted to his normal hostile sneering tone. I was told by someone who knew him that he saw the apology as demonstrating that the Sisters of Mercy were imbeciles and responded accordingly!
  • A few years ago I corresponded with a much more credible individual who had done a lot to combat false allegations. However, in relation to the Sisters of Mercy, he told me that "I won't stick out my neck on behalf of people who won't defend themselves".
  • Nora Wall left the Sisters of Mercy. In 2002 she got an apology and libel damages from the Sunday World, in 2005 a Certificate of Miscarriage of Justice from the Court of Criminal Appeal and in 2016 major damages from the State. The much older Sister Xavieria did not leave the Congregation but I was told that she was deeply unhappy about how she was treated by its leaders.


(vi) In 2002, 18 religious congregations - including the Sisters of Mercy - agreed with the Governemnt to pay a voluntary contribution of €128 million towards the cost of compensating alleged victims of child abuse under a Residential Institutions Redress Scheme set up by the Government. The Redress Scheme was proposed as a way of compensating "victims" while avoiding putting them through the "trauma" of court proceedings (where evidence of wrong-doing would have been needed.) The Scheme provided for compensation for physical, sexual or emotion abuse or denial of opportunity and the validation threshold was set so low that, in effect, anyone who ever attended an industrial school would qualify for compensation.

The Redress Scheme was a Government initiative and did not require any input from the religious congregations. However in 2001 Sister Elizabeth Maxwell, a Presentation Sister who was then head of the Conference of Religious of Ireland (CORI), had approached the Government with a unilateral offer that the religious would contribute. Her "naivety" ensured that the Government kept increasing its demands and Sister Elizabeth kept abasing herself. An article in the the Irish Times on 1st June 2009 is entitled "Sr Maxwell says 2002 Deal May Have been Inadequate. CORI Figure has 'Open Mind' on Payments" It points out that the highest number of claims originally envisaged was 2,000 but "The Residential Institutions Redress Board ultimately received 14,584 applications by its deadline of December 15th, 2005.
The Presentation Sister who helped negotiate the 2002 compensation agreement for abuse victims with the Government has said she is keeping her mind “totally open” on what further contributions the religious congregations may make in the context. Speaking to The Irish Times yesterday, Sr Elizabeth Maxwell said she was “waiting until the meeting with the Taoiseach next Thursday to see what proposals he has’’. Then “the congregations can decide how much they can contribute’’ towards that, she said.

The 2002 agreement was conducted “in good faith’’ at the time, she said, and “on the basis of figures made available to us by the Government and the congregations.’’ Earlier yesterday Sr Maxwell said the 2002 agreement may have been inadequate in the light of information in the Ryan report. Secretary general to the Conference of Religious of Ireland (Cori) at the time of the 2002 agreement, she said she was not then aware of the extent of the abuse....

Asked if congregations should hand over €1.5 billion to the scheme, an estimated figure of their value, Sr Maxwell said they had not been asked. “We may arrive at some point like that when we speak to the Taoiseach . . . the Government may not have to forcibly take anything from us.
A "negotiator" like Sister Elizabeth Maxwell was a gift to Ireland's anti-clerics! In 2017 several politicians from Fianna Fail, The Greens, Labour and the Social Democrats claimed that the Sisters of Charity owed €3 million "Redress" to the State - at a time when it actually owed €2 million to them! The Fine Gael Health Minister who knew the truth remained silent - why defend people too decadent to defend themselves against transparent lies? [See section (B) (ii) below]. And indeed the Sisters of Charity followed in the footsteps of Sister Elizabeth, declined to condemn the lie and bowed before the power of the State.


(vii) In August 2009, Sister Marianne O'Connor, an Ursuline Sister and then head of CORI accepted an invitation from John Cooney (the journalist who claimed that Archbishop John Charles McQuaid had been a homosexual paedophile) to address his Humbert Summer School.

In her speech Sr Marianne endorsed suggestions that there be a national day of atonement for victims of abuse, and spoke of “a service where a public ritual of reconciliation could occur between representatives of the survivors, the State, the religious and the church”. Noting that her attendance at Humbert was “the first public forum to which religious have been invited since Ryan [report]”, she continued that “I am here, first and foremost, to apologise . . . to do whatever we can to make reparation.” She continued: “We religious are asking for forgiveness . . . Without forgiveness one is stuck, unable to move forward.” Survivors “had the huge challenge, and the huge power, of forgiving . . . But forgiveness, like mercy, blesses the giver and the receiver,” she said. The congregations would “provide money for reparation. But we must do much more than provide money. We must listen and learn, to the degree survivors will permit us, to journey with them as they discover what they need”, she said.

In an article in the Irish Independent on 24 August 2009, the same John Cooney reported on how "victims" had responded to Sister Marianne's touching invitation:
In turn, survivor Michael O'Brien, the former mayor of Clonmel who captured the nation's imagination by challenging the platitudes of Government minister Noel Dempsey on an unforgettable RTE 'Questions and Answers' programme, bowed to the good judge [Ryan] and thanked him "for the momentous work you and your team have done". But Mr O'Brien was only prepared to give conditional pardon to the religious congregations who locked up him and thousands of other children in penal institutions as serfs. He will forgive his oppressors only when he knows in his heart that "these people mean it when they say 'we are really, really sorry'." "I do not want silly apologies. I want to see repentance," he said.
I wrote at the time: "This was the culmination of many years of self-degradation by female religious congregations in the face of false accusers - especially the Sisters of Mercy. They have made themselves ludicrous and thereby have made it impossible for anyone to "reconcile" with them."

(B) National Maternity Hospital and The Folly of the Sisters of Charity

Back in 2017 I made three correct predictions regarding the future of this controversy - in my article Sister Stanislaus Kennedy, the Sisters of Charity and the National Maternity Hospital [2]. Well they were all the related to the same prediction really!

(i) "If the Sisters of Charity manage to handle the present crisis properly, namely by refusing to make concessions in the face of hysterical attacks, then it could discourage such attacks in future. And that will benefit lots of people apart from clergy or religious."

In that respect I was pleased to read the following in Valerie Hanley’s article in The Mail on Sunday on 23 April [2017]:
A source revealed: ‘The nuns are adamant that they have fulfilled all their obligations under the redress board. When something is repeated enough it becomes fact. There has been an awful lot of vitriol loaded on the nuns. There has been a nonsense argument going on all week and there is no basis for some of what has been said. Some of what has been said is prejudice for things that happened historically. It’s band-wagonism and politicians are running after it. The politicians should be doing better.

The nuns are annoyed and they consider some of the comments that have been made as being defamatory. I think their attitude now is ‘let the State go off and build their hospital on their own land
’. [My Emphasis]
That’s all very well and I couldn’t agree more BUT the Sister’s comment is being made anonymously. My own fear is that – under pressure – the Sisters of Charity will cave in and authorise an amendment to the National Maternity Hospital Agreement approved in November 2016. In that case, their critics will rejoice and declare themselves victorious and vindicated. In previous comments I have detailed how the Sisters of MERCY were savaged because of their constant attempts to ingratiate themselves with people who hated them. I also have an article on the subject here: Sisters of Mercy

I hope that the Sisters of Charity now understand the dangers of Appeasement – defined by one British newspaper in 1939 as “A clever plan of selling off your friends in order to buy off your enemies. (For the Sisters of Mercy, that worked the same way it did for Neville Chamberlain!)

But of course my hopes were vain and the nuns caved in!

(ii) I wrote in 2017 about  the repeated claims by politicians and journalists that the Sisters of Charity had failed to pay the balance of €3 million “compensation” that they “owed” the State. Health Minister Simon Harris said that the two matters should be considered separately. What two matters? On 23 April [2017] the Mail on Sunday (journalist Valerie Hanley) reported:
The Department of Education has confirmed to the Mail on Sunday that that the nuns’ legal costs for the Ryan Commission will be offset against the €3 million of payments for abuse victims that are outstanding. While these costs have not been finalised, media reports that were based on briefing documents have estimated them at €5 million, a sum that would more than wipe out the outstanding bill that they owe.

Crucially, the department has confirmed that the reason for the delay in resolving the problem is nothing to do with the nuns, but is down to its own officials figuring out the final costs of the congregation’s legal representation at the Ryan Commission…..
Yet, as Ms. Hanley pointed out, the claim that the Sisters owed €3 million, had been repeatedly cited by politicians from Fianna Fail, The Greens, Labour and the Social Democrats and the media as justification for outraged comments about the agreement brokered by Kieran Mulvey. Did the Minister for Health not liaise with his Education colleague? Or did he decide to sidestep the issue – on the basis that discretion is the better part of valour when faced with anti-clerical hysteria?

Back in 2017 I wondered what would have been the attitude of Jews if they had been attacked in similar fashion? Suppose that a Jewish group had offered to donate land for a hospital under precisely the same conditions as those agreed in November 2016 between Holles St and St Vincents. Suppose that the media and politicians erupted with hate-filled lies – including claims that the Jewish group committed “atrocities” against children, “experimented on [a child] for vaccine trials” and owed the State €3 million. Suppose that the Government Ministers responsible failed to defend the Jewish group against the lies and it was left up to a Daily Mail journalist to find out – via a Freedom of Information request – that the Jewish group owed nothing and had actually overpaid!

I wrote that this would never happen because the Jewish group would immediately defend its slandered members and take legal action against those responsible. Anti-Semites know this and are very mindful of the risks they would be facing. So Anti-Semites have to be very careful – but NOT anti-clerics and in particular not anti-clerics who tell lies about nuns. The leaders of female religious congregations have always preferred the Appeasement approach. This has worked for them in much the same way it did for Neville Chamberlain in the 1930s i.e. it encourages further attacks from people who recognise moral cowardice when they see it. 

Thus Leo Varadkar's recent attempt to win votes in the Dublin Bay South by-election by bullying supine nuns!

(iii) An article in the Irish Medical Times “A Complicated Delivery” by editor Dara Gantly on 10 May 2017 concluded as follows:
…What is of further interest now is that the Minister [for Health] wants to begin a “broader conversation” about the structure of our health service, including the role of voluntary hospitals and the interest religious congregations have in them. This has been happening in education (slowly mind), so we should not be too surprised to see it start in Health.

That is a good thing and I want to separately put in place a process to facilitate that broader conversation which is long overdue and which will, rightfully, take some time,” Minister Harris has noted. ..
I wrote in 2017 "And what will be the nature of this conversation IF Minister Harris sees that the Sisters of Charity and the Church will not stand up for themselves but will attempt to conciliate the mob? When politicians and the media claimed that the Sisters owed €3 million in “compensation”, it was not the Minister for Health, but a Daily Mail journalist who queried the Department of Education and discovered that the Sisters owed nothing and in fact had over-paid! 

"If the Sisters of Charity attempt to appease the mob in relation to the National Maternity Hospital, then reason and logic will NOT feature in the future “broader conversation” referred to by Simon Harris!"

And so it has turned out!

The Sisters Surrender to the Secular Power!

On 31 May 2017 Sr Mary Christian, Congregational Leader of the Religious Sisters of Charity issued a Statement confirming that the Sisters were withdrawing from any involvement in St Vincent's Hospital that they had founded in 1834 - and also confirming the abandonment of the hospital's Catholic ethos:

The Religious Sisters of Charity will end our involvement in St Vincent’s Healthcare Group and will not be involved in the ownership or management of the new National Maternity Hospital.....

Upon completion of this proposed transaction, the requirement set out in the SVHG Constitution, to conduct and maintain the SVHG facilities in accordance with The Religious Sisters of Charity Health Service Philosophy and Ethical Code, will be amended and replaced to reflect compliance with national and international best practice guidelines on medical ethics and the laws of the Republic of Ireland.

The SVHG Board, management and staff will continue to provide acute healthcare services that foster Mary Aikenhead’s core values of dignity, compassion, justice, quality and advocacy....

Nobody was fooled by this pious invocation of the name of their foundress. It was clear that they were surrendering to the pressure (and blatant lies) of a secular mob. Their cowardice ensured that the attacks on them would continue - even to the present day!  


In 2017 I referred to an editorial in the Irish Medical Times (10 May)  entitled  “Minister Build That Hospital” subtitle Sorry episode has revealed much that is ugly about modern Ireland and quoting Doctor Ruairi Hanley
….Regrettably, there is another factor in this dispute that has taken us beyond mere clinical disagreement. Over the past month, a baying liberal cyber mob has entered the fray and all sense of perspective has been lost. Please note, I am not referring here to those colleagues who have genuine concerns about this project. As already stated, I disagree with these people, but I respect their view.

No, the group that I find beyond parody are the extreme liberal, Catholic-hating online brigade who appear to think that a giant abortion clinic is the most important priority for South Dublin. I suspect some of these people will not be satisfied until a few nuns are imprisoned and the Catholic Church is effectively eradicated from any involvement in Irish society.

Liberal outrage
The vicious, obnoxious tone of some members of this new mob is truly appalling. They have turned on Dr Rhona Mahony, an outstanding and dedicated obstetrician who is a role model for Irish women. But, let’s be honest, the cool gang could not care less about the facts. Once they heard mention of nuns the red mist descended and it was then we moved to a classic liberal outrage contest.

For these individuals, online perception is always more important than clinical outcome. In their world it is apparently acceptable for this project to be sabotaged, with negative consequences for women and children, so long as a few elderly nuns get a good cyber-kicking.

Naturally, if the mob gets their way the hospital will be delayed at a cost of tens of millions of euro to the taxpayer. In my opinion, this would undoubtedly be the most expensive act of online ‘virtue signalling’ in human history. [RC My emphasis]

As an aside, I make no apologies for pointing out that the Catholic Church has done enormous good work in healthcare for the poorest in society over the past century, even if I am one of the only doctors in Ireland willing to say this publicly. [RC My emphasis]….. 
Indeed Doctor Doctor Ruairi Hanley was "one of the only doctors in Ireland willing to say this publicly." This was an Editorial in the highly prestigious Irish Medical Times written about a controversial topic and during the height of the controversy. So how many Comments did it attract? Precisely one - from my NON medical self! 

Why were other doctors so reluctant to stick their necks out? I suspect that it was only partly fear of the "baying liberal mob" that Dr Hanley refers to. There is also the fact that the Sisters of Charity refused to defend themselves and abased itself before said mob - as Irish nuns have been doing for the past quarter century!  Leo Varadkar felt free to insult them again in order to please anti-clerical voters in the recent Dublin Bay South by-election. He knew there would be no comeback from the nuns - least of all from Sr Stanislaus Kennedy whose "progressive" reputation COULD have enabled her to embarrass Varadkar, had she not opted to stay silent!