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Showing posts from May, 2020

Our Anti-Science Government

Our Anti-Science Government             Gerry OShea A major debate is underway in America about how best to deal with the greatest crisis faced by the country since the Great Depression almost a hundred years ago. Two clear positions can be identified in this national discussion, each one representing separate belief systems and values about how to deal with the current pandemic. It brings to mind the fault line in the 19 th century between Enlightenment thinkers for whom scientific results were sacred and conservatives who wanted to hug the accepted traditional wisdom of those times.   The life and work of Charles Darwin come to mind. His research   culminated in the great scientific manual, The Origin of Species , which claims that humans evolved from lower forms of life over many millennia. This thinking ran smack into serious trouble because of the seven-day creation story in the Book of Genesis. Today the Vatican has no problem accepting the results of Darwin’s

From Patrick Pearse to Brother Mick

From Patrick Pearse to Brother Mick         Gerry OShea   Most Irish people would name Patrick Pearse as one of the greatest Irish heroes. He led the Easter 1916 Rebellion in Dublin that lit the flame for the Irish War of Independence which led to the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty. This was considered a successful outcome by most nationalists, even though they had to accept that six of the Irish thirty two counties remained under British control. Some commentators question the wisdom of the 1916 Revolution, arguing that, considering the bloodshed and division that it caused, we might have been better to settle for the watered-down version of John Redmond’s 1912 Home Rule Bill. Following that line and letting the imagination ramble, a Home Rule parliament might have invited Pearse, a prominent nationalist and educator, to serve as the first Minister for Education in a Dublin administration. Such imaginary ruminations allow us to focus on his commitment to progressive educational


Neoliberalism                Gerry OShea The story is told that shortly after the great trade union leader Mike Quill arrived in New York, he inquired about what kind of government existed in America. After someone gave him a brief explanation, he replied “well we are against the government anyway.” Mike had just come from a family that fought the British in the Irish War of Independence and that was equally hostile to the Free State Government which took over in Dublin in 1922, four years before he left for the United states from his home in Kilgarvan, County Kerry. President Reagan’s oft-quoted statement that “the most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I am here to help” always evokes   loud applause from conservative audiences. His words encapsulate the belief that the less state involvement in all aspects of life the better. They always make one exception for military spending, and so they endorse the present defense budget in the U

The Biden Candidacy

The Biden Candidacy             Gerry OShea How do you explain that a 77-year old former vice-president who finished way down in the voting in the early primary elections in Iowa and New Hampshire and came in a distant second in Nevada is now a virtual certainty to get the Democratic nomination? Senator Sanders performed very well in those first states, winning two and ending up a close second in the third. He had a seasoned organization consisting mainly of enthusiastic young people, many of them supporters from the 2016 campaign, and plenty money, raised in small donations. Steve Kornacki the accomplished predictor of political trends on MSNBC summed up the situation before South Carolina by saying that even allowing that Biden would win that state in double digits, he still faced a steep mountain to be in contention for the nomination. All the polls had Sanders ahead by a mile in delegate-rich California on Super-Tuesday and there was a real question about Biden gettin