As regular readers may have gathered I’ve long regarded Kevin Myers, the British-born journalist, as one of the chief proponents of the bizarre form of anti-Irish self-hatred that permeates much of the media establishment in Ireland. With his odd “racial” theories about Irish politics (that Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin politicians and voters are of “uncivilized” native Irish descent while Fine Gael politicians and voters are of “civilized” colonial British descent) and his frequent recourse to distorted or false representations of Irish history, in any other nation he would be relegated to the fringes of society. But here he finds a ready and comfortable home in our news media; a news media filled with people every bit as anachronistic in their opinions and attitudes as he is. This platform allows him to issue his regular apologias on behalf of British rule and misrule in Ireland, regardless of the facts (or the truth), as well as discussing his many other, er, theories.
Yet there is a strange kind of relief in knowing that it is not just the Irish (and our native identity, language and culture) that he loathes, or the British for whom he will act as an apologist. From an article he has penned for the Irish Independent on President Obama comes this delightful explanation of the US Civil War and its origins and consequences:
“As for President Lincoln, I can barely write about him without shattering my keyboard in rage at both his hypocrisy over slavery and his ruthlessness, as he visited ruin and death upon his fellow Americans.
He sought union rather like the Provisional IRA did, except that he had the resources to impose an overwhelming campaign of terror upon his enemies.
The Confederacy really didn’t want to be anyone’s enemies; the southern states simply wanted to go their own way, just as the American colonies had originally chosen to do.
The system of slavery was certainly evil, but it was also complex, and could not be ended by a simple fiat and the mass-release of a largely unlettered, culturally dependent and socially naive people. It required time and care, neither of which was available in the middle or immediate aftermath of a quite abominable civil war.”
If you’re now thinking to yourself, “Did I just read what I thought I read?”, well, yes, I’m rather afraid that you did. Not often that one reads a defence of the Confederate States of America. Or indeed that there should have been a gradual (?) end to slavery. How long, I wonder, does Myers think that should have taken? Ten years? Fifty years? A hundred?
Who says you can’t qualify evil?
But there is more. Myers provides this description of Barack Obama, President of the United States of America. Hold onto your hats boys and girls.
“Racially, he is half and half, namely a mulatto (not, however, a term ‘The New York Times’ has ever used about him).”
I’d say not. For all sorts of reasons that Kevin Myers will probably never understand.