Blood has been in the water for Ireland’s most prolific and perhaps only self-identifying neoconservative over the past fortnight, with the targeting of DCU lecturer Dr Mark Humphrys by anti-racist campaigners.
Aiming to put the Computer Science lecturer and part-time political pundit out of a job because of his denunciation of the Black Lives Matter movement, a considerable phalanx of commentators with axes to grind have been calling for the blogger to walk the professional plank.
Working out of his personal blog, as well as the occasional Sunday Times plinth, Humphrys has carved a niche for himself as the Republic’s most vociferous defender of the state of Israel, alongside promoting his brand of New Atheism and classical Liberalism.
Not perhaps to the taste of this author and general readership of this publication, he is at least sincere in his beliefs, and to be commended for doing so with his own name and academic credentials nailed to the masthead. A major rarity in Ireland.
Commendable for bursting the bubble on the Ibrahim Halawa case against a toadying press, Humphrys has illustrated a willingness to stray from the pack relative to mainstream Irish journalism. While perhaps not to one’s exact liking, he is well worth bookmarking even if one has to step over ungodly amounts of pro-Israel and anti-Republican commentary.
Humphrys’ ordeal began when mostly African students on campus stumbled upon his writings on the American BLM movement, misconstruing his denunciations as racist and even going so far as fabricating quotes, or at least misreading them.
Regardless of any contextualisation, Humphrys soon had a social media mobbing on his hands, led by Christine O’Mahony (famous as the activist who nearly destroyed Ógra Shinn Féin through her public defection), as well as PBP organiser Darragh Adelaide.
Arriving in Zulu formation outside Humphry’s place of work, 200 or so students, activists and journalists assembled last week in a protest tacitly endorsed by the Union of Students of Ireland, as well as DCU’s own Student Union.
Receiving oration by such luminaries as Ibrahim Halawa and Bashir Otukoya, previous to the rally DCU itself had put out a statement on the matter. Accepting the fact Humphrys work was potentially offensive, college management underlined the fact it was written in a personal capacity, though reiterated its commitment to equality and inclusion, etc. etc.
For any ideological ill feeling I felt towards Humphrys, the spectacle of the protest and the impish attendees seeking to displace a man from his employment soured any trace of schadenfreude to be had.
The ultimate insult was the fact that this controversy, which consumed a major third level institution, had originated from a Snapchat post on a year-old article, only adding to the childishness at play.
Further to the accusations, any reading of Humphrys’ work and ideological underpinnings discredits the notion that he is racist or trades in racist ideas. In a normal political spectrum in a normal country, Humphrys would be a bog-standard centre-right commentator rather than being portrayed as the cutting edge of Irish fascism.
Humphrys is the genuine article when it comes to the defence of liberal democracy both at home and abroad. An uber-Churchill fanatic and anti-Republican atheist straight out of a noughties Christopher Hitchens video, to classify him as being on the far right is an insult to both parties.
On his own part, Humphrys in his hyper-Americanism perhaps invited the BLM mania to this country in his fawning over the ailing superpower. Long past its political heyday, the racialised factionalism we see permeating American culture is infecting Ireland by media and cultural osmosis, something a man like Humphrys fails to appreciate.
While perhaps like Humphrys, in that I am foreboding about the role Islam will have on this country in the years ahead, the primary issue to my eyes is the Liberalism which has demoralised Irish society to the point of allowing such a demographic transition.
Liberalism got us into this hole and sure as hell won’t be of much assistance in getting us out. Mobs of BLM fanatics outside campuses seeking to professionally garrote wayward academics is not a bug of Liberalism, but rather a feature.
A decade ago in the New Atheist or counterjihad epoch, Humphrys’ views would be reluctantly tolerated by the mainstream. Now frantically trying to close the door on populism or anything containing trace elements of dissent in the post-2020 period, the classical liberal from DCU might as well be spouting Holocaust denial to leftists baying for blood.
In this instance, one should have sympathy for the neocon for the sake of academic freedom and for fear of placating lynch mobs. However, let us not forget how we got into this mess.