The ruling ideology in Ireland is one which promotes and uses a top-down command structure, a structure which entails the creation of artificial structures in order to supplant ordinary civil society. For example, among public affairs organisations, there is an overall predominance of those which are State-funded, and which vastly outsize actual representative advocacy organisations.
Among media, RTÉ is by far the largest media group, with its 2018 turnover of €339 million being almost as much as the €365million combined turnover of INM, Irish Times, Communicorp, and Virgin Media 1. Indeed, if Communicorp and Virgin Media were to attempt to merge, this would be deemed to be anti-competitive, yet RTÉ is allowed to continue to have such a dominant position.
Furthermore, the Taoiseach Micheál Martin has spoken in favour of increasing the mandated funding for RTÉ. Martin has also advocated for the State funding of newspapers; effectively abolishing a free press, though this is a secondary concern. Martin was also the only party leader who was in favour of retaining the Seanad when its abolishment was put to a referendum. The Seanad was founded to be a body which possessed actual vocational expertise, in pursuance of contemporaneous Roman Catholic ideals; but it has since become but a means of providing failed or aspiring politicians with prestige and influence.
It was during Fianna Fáil’s 1997-2011 period in governance that State-funding of NGOs massively increased. These command structures are entrenched in opposition to actual civil society institutions such as the family, small and medium enterprises, independent charities and non-profits, independent media, religious congregations, and trade unions.
Another aspect of the division between the top-down command versus the organic grassroots worldview is that those who favour the latter, believe that culture and commerce are antagonistic, and that the State is the only entity which should provide for the arts.
While culture and commerce are sometimes antagonistic, they can also be complementary, such as schools of music where the playing of musical instruments is taught to a high standard. These high standards are the product of private-sector, for-profit establishments.
Another example is private non-profit schools, which often provide a higher quality of education than public schools. The low-quality nature of the education — most self-evident in language teaching — is something that is prone to occur only in the public sector.
Those who work in the private sector deem their work to be morally valuable as they must meet the needs of a paying public. They also deem the public sector to be amoral, as it is based on arbitrary taxation and political favouritism. In contrast, those who work in the public sector deem their work to be valuable because of a self-righteous belief in their own values. They then deem the private sector to be amoral as it deviates from their value imposition, as well as the fact that it exists purely to make profit.
The reason commercial activity can be morally valuable is because the term ‘commercial’ designates that which persons freely deem to be worth paying for. Given that there is a belief among the command sector that culture and commerce are mutually exclusive, this has led to the promotion of cultural independence from moral value.
The sector which traditionally provided for the arts, independent of commercial interests, was that of independent wealthy patrons. In recent decades the State has supplanted this role, though given the amoral and secular nature of the State, this has led to their patronising of art forms which have no aesthetic value, and the funding of grievance studies in universities, which have no academic value.
Irish society is already top-heavy with these command structures. Given that very many advocacy groups are predominantly State-funded, and that so many media performs the role of publicists for advocacy groups, it is not clear where the State, advocacy groups, or the media begin nor end. This overlap is further demonstrated by the amount of ‘journalists’ who move into public relations, especially as advisors on behalf of government officials.
Politicians, media, and NGOs often talk about there being a ‘consensus’ on most issues. Although oftentimes this is a false, self-serving way of trying to monopolise their own views. As such, the public’s purview of allowable socio-political discourse becomes narrowed, and therein one finds raised the spectre of a growing ‘far-right’.
These dynamics have become self-evident during the lockdown, where the command class finds itself largely unaffected by job losses or wage cuts. It is this class who are in favour of the forever lockdowns, and who state how pleased they are with an enlarged State. Meanwhile small to medium enterprises, independent non-profits, and civil society have been devastated, all of whom want the restrictions to end immediately. All those who want an end to the rolling lockdowns need to protest continuously until the Government is forced to change its policy.