I find truth in the observation that from the 1960’s onwards the scholars and thinkers of Ireland, and those unfortunate enough to unwittingly consume their opinions, elevated the external and the imported over the domestic and native.
Persuaded by the latter-day judgements that repudiated the Ireland of yesteryear as a sterile, Catholic, and Gaelic failure, we allowed ourselves to be convinced that ideas such as nationhood, national identity and the national soul were insular, narrow, and racist conceptions.
Beguiled to think that we as a nation we were incapable of self-sustainability, we went from one extreme to another. From an uncultivated and insular Ireland to a culturally empty short-sighted Ireland which continues to barter resources and sovereignty for a willful dependency.
Unconcerned by the struggles of our forebears, a condescending view has arisen among our people, both young and old, which mocks and dismisses the achievement of independence and the idea of nationhood as obstacles to the creation of a ‘prosperous’ Ireland built on trading away our sovereignty.
It is an Ireland which is becoming a derivative blur caught between the United States and Britain, and driven by money alone. Our fortunes rely on external phenomena as opposed to the energies of our own self-confident philosophy. A self-serving European Union and conditionally faithful international corporations are held in impeachable idolisation.
Politicians appear more like middle-ranking executives of a minor company, emotionally neutral and grey, attempting to sell uninteresting products or communicate dull policy ideas filled with predictable terminologies.
Our sense of Ireland has gone astray. Citizens speak of their own interests phrased in sanctimonious words expressing personal complaints or victimhood. The language of patriotism is seldom seen. To speak of nationalism or nation-states is near taboo and always seen as exalting one’s nation above all else in a pernicious manner, as opposed to just simply cherishing it and wanting it to be true to itself.
Then we are made remember the insular Ireland of yesteryear by those who mischaracterise the view of Irish nationhood articulated many years ago by a man now referred to as a proto-fascist by the same people – Pádraig Mac Piarais. This view of Irish nationhood was not restricted to Gaelic Ireland, though it was the cornerstone. It did not exclude anyone who wished to bear it allegiance. It desired to achieve and maintain Irish sovereignty. It was an ‘ancient spiritual tradition.’
That is the Ireland we should return to instead of smothering the idea of Irish nationhood and independence in irony, scorn, and satire. A sovereign people endowed with a long history and a sense of self that is not the sum of the empty postmodern influences held by its population, but founded in a coherent identity that is of the Gael and the Gall.
However, if you are not convinced, I would implore you to consider the necessity of the nation-state from the following pragmatic perspective:
I am conscious of the confutations put forward against the role of the nation-state in this age of globalisation. It is seen as a barrier to the movement of people, trade and the development of the global marketplace. Or as a fading and ‘exclusionary’ social construct based on contrived reasoning. However, at least in my opinion, a state with a single cultural idiom can operate more effectively than other state-models.
I believe this is so because there would be no linguistic or cultural barriers within the state creating difficulties of communication or prohibiting interaction on account of the grievances which naturally arise between human communities.
Moreover, cultural uniformity hinders, or stops outright, regional secessionist movements from taking hold and undermining the integrity of the state on account of such a shared cultural idiom. Naturally this is all good for the economy as it reduces the costs which cultural and linguistic disunity would create.
A unified and stable state is required for prosperity and by extension a high quality of life. Domestic and foreign companies require the protection which stable states provide, as well as secure property rights, a quality national education system to create an educated and skilled workforce, infrastructure for the transportation of goods, telecommunications, energy and, indeed, management training.
In conclusion, the nation-state model, and that alone, can achieve this stability.