The winners of this year’s BT Young Scientist Awards saw much praise from mainstream Irish media. Entitled “A statistical investigation into the prevalence of gender stereotyping in 5-7 year olds and the development of an initiative to combat gender bias”, the two 16 year olds from Cork appeared on the Late Late Show with Ryan Tubridy to explain their project.
One of the main ‘findings’ of the project was that in their workshops, conducted with 376 five to seven year olds from different school settings, was that when asked to “draw an engineer” 96 per cent of boys drew boys, whilst just over 50 per cent of girls drew a female engineer.
Though the competition indeed includes “social and behavioural sciences” as factors that are considered eligible for entrance into the competition and generally caters to innovations and projects in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), this particular project came across as far less impartial and more opinion-oriented than any of the previous winning projects. It was also far more likely to induce the conditioned sensational bias within the punditry of establishment media, and a need to raise yet more ‘awareness’.
This recent winner has become largely symbolic of an attempt to co-opt and filter progressive ideologies into disciplines where opinions and feelings ultimately have been deemed to have no place.
Unsurprisingly, online criticism of the awardees was tainted by some media, not unlike the criticism of Greta Thunberg, as ‘harassment’. Ultimately, this speaks volumes for an Ireland which wishes to further validate itself towards the progressive ideology of market forces which make and break national economies in accordance with how willing a country is to appease its financial interests.
Speaking in May 2019 at Inspirefest, an international tech gathering at Dublin’s Silicon Docks, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar lauded the technological, economic, social and cultural change that had taken place in Ireland. Expressing his desire to make Ireland the ‘tech hub’ of Europe, the Taoiseach lauded how Ireland had transitioned from being an “inward-looking country” to one that is at the epicentre of a globalised, interconnected world.
Much media hype and celebration has been given to Varadkar being openly gay and having an Indian parent, which he has often claimed to downplay, and a product of the socially liberal, pro-free market Fine Gael party that he leads.
The lens through which he sees the need to change and transform Ireland is toward a commerce driven society. In this society, as envisioned in the Ireland 2040 plan, people, industries and communities are forced to be endlessly flexible against an arbitrary commitment to ‘progress’, where traditions and rootedness are rendered completely obsolete by woke capitalism.
Running parallel to these efforts was an article printed several months ago concerning waves of ‘Brexit Irish’ migration into Ireland. In this article, Nick Mazzei, a former British Army captain, ex-Tory election candidate and columnist now working in ‘corporate social responsibility’ stated that: “Ireland should take advantage of the hundreds of thousands of British people who have chosen it”.
Mazzei states that in the aftermath of obtaining an Irish passport that he didn’t want to be just a mere “plastic Paddy”, but wanted to also live and embrace the values of being Irish. What does that mean then?
According to Mazzei, choosing to be Irish is to see “greater opportunity in the liberal values and opportunities in a nation that wants to progress and be a key part of the EU”, and exalts the 2018 referendum to liberalise abortion laws as being symbolic of that.
Furthermore, Mazzei states that these new “citizens” of Ireland take “pride in its liberalism and its positive global reputation […] without worrying about the nationalist baggage that comes along with being British”.
What is enraging about this piece is just how shallow it is. The author values Irishness merely as an affirmation of liberalism.
To be proud of being Irish only on the grounds of a recent ideological trend illustrates just how vacuous a concept liberalism is. To put it another way, Mazzei, and many other ‘paper Irish’ who flock to live and work in Ireland would suddenly cease to define themselves as Irish were their values suddenly dismissed here. Mazzei exalts the progressive consensus trending in Ireland presently.
Varadkar first spoke openly of his sexuality in January 2015, just a few months prior to the marriage equality referendum in May of the same year. While this was part of a series of watershed moments that defined the earthquake of a ‘woke’, hyper-progressive Ireland, it was also a cleverly executed exercise in self-branding and reputation management.
A similar move was taken before the abortion referendum. Despite having been someone with a mildly stated ‘pro-life’ position in years previous, he was happy enough to forgo his own convictions when the referendum to legalize abortion came along in 2018.
Just like in Mazzei’s piece, Varadkar embraces values superficially based on whether they prove to be a means of ‘progress’ or upward economic, political or social mobility for those who outwardly embrace it. Whether or not they truly believe in the essence of the idea itself is of no consequence.
Varadkar’s cultivation of self image did not stop there though. After filling Enda Kenny’s footsteps in June 2017, it was found that the Varadkar’s department spent nearly €1.8 million on PR, advertising and communications in the first 17 months of his term. This is compared to just €16,200 under Kenny’s term.
Things like this shouldn’t come as a surprise when we consider the accelerationism of the Ireland 2040 plan, or the BT Young Scientist Awards. Neoliberalism has led to a trend where every large company specializes in catering to ‘ally’ culture, be that of the LGBT+ community, or the incentivising of non-male leadership.
These strategies function as an exercise in risk management, improving or redeeming the public’s perception of companies that may have otherwise committed malpractices or exposed employees to potentially toxic environments.
All this forms the basis of ‘CSR’, or Corporate Social Responsibility, an area in which Nick Mazzei specializes. Celebrating inclusion and diversity, Mazzei’s piece in the Irish Times is essentially a propaganda piece for big business in Ireland.
Whilst it would be cherry-picking to suggest that pieces such as this, Varadkar’s Ireland 2040 statements, and the hullabaloo regarding this year’s BT Young Scientist winners are not a ‘direct collusion’, what is important is that they aim at the same goal.
Also worth noting is the British element within this cultural change propagated from on high. British Telecommunications are the chief sponsor of the Young Scientist awards. Mazzei formerly ran as a Tory Party candidate, and served extensively within the British Army at a senior level. Varadkar, in addition to his neoliberal, globalist, multicultural agenda, recently defended the government’s decision to commemorate a now cancelled memorial for the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) under whom the Black and Tans served during the Irish War of Independence.
With this outlined, you have to ask yourself serious questions about what is at stake here if Ireland’s ‘transition’ to a more progressive and inclusive society is being celebrated from these fronts. Despite elements of tough-talk about Brexit, what appear to be British interests are being placated on all levels while being repackaged in a new, inauthentic ‘Irishness’.
Nonetheless, all of this contributes to a climate where an increasingly ‘socially responsible capitalism’ embeds itself in Ireland, distorting the physical, demographic, cultural, and ideological landscape of Ireland into one that globalist technocrats can shape as they please. The current political elites of this country may act as though they differ from each other on this matter, but their end game is the same; an Ireland that all the world that can belong to if it so pleases. A land in which people become less organic and all the more malleable.
So well put! I agree completely about the shallowness of CSR.