Bonus Content: The Nose Grows

As the tyranny pandemic ramps up on the streets of Dublin, two entries from this week's Diary explore the strategic gaslighting by our 'leaders' and the path of pseudo-freedom that brought us here.

Continuing the policy of providing open access to the more important items from my weekly Diary — from the perspective of public access to understandings I may have stumbled upon — we republish this week two days’ entries from this week’s journal. The first describes a recent intervention by Taoiseach-in-waiting Varadkar, in which he attempts to gaslight the Irish public about his role in dragging us towards tyranny. The second seeks to place all this in its proper historical context.

MONDAY
Something is shifting in the minds of our rulers and ‘leaders’. (I am never sure whether both of these words should have quotes around them: It seems incontrovertible to put them around ‘leaders’, since these unspeakable creeps have zero credibility to lead anything except a Pride parade; but ‘rulers’ is more ambiguous since, whereas it is true that they fancy themselves in jackboots and epaulettes, and even more so that they have shredded the democratic ethos that vivified this country for a century, they are really just the gofers and poodles of outsiders, which in sum is why I render things as above.) 

I saw a clip of the Donnelly creep lying his head off in the Dáil. He was claiming that the absence of excess deaths in Ireland last year proves that the ‘measures’ worked in suppressing the ‘disease’. In a society with a free press, these falsehoods would have been despatched from consideration in less time than it takes to say ‘black is black’, but here it functions as Polyfilla to do a temporary job on the crumbling wall of lies. 

It is more than a month since RTÉ was patching together elements of the mortality figures for 2020 and 2021 to make it look like ‘3,200 more people died in Ireland between 1 March 2020 and 28 February 2021 than would have died in a typical 12-month period’. (See my previous Substack article, ‘The Manipulation of Covid Mortality Statistics, here for the truth about this)

That narrative now appears to have been abandoned in favour of a ‘We did it!’ yarn. But it would take a decent journalist (if such could be found) roughly three minutes to rebut what Donnelly was saying: There were no excess deaths in 2020 and the spike in deaths in April, 2020, which was statistically absorbed over the summer, had passed before the lockdown measures could possibly have taken effect. 

This week, Varadkar was trying to pull a similar stunt with international comparisons, but, like small boys and biro stains, it won’t wash. If there were no excess deaths in Ireland there was no pandemic in Ireland, and that is the end of the matter.

An odd strand has crept into the rhetoric of the Would-be-Taoiseach-in-waiting: something like an attempt to lay a trail of pseudo-regret for the history books about what has been happening over the past 15 months. 

A video appeared during the week of a contribution he made a few weeks back to a debate of the Joint Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, in which he sounded vaguely like a lockdown sceptic, but then turned back into a fascist. 

The first thing you notice about Varadkar is that his Pinocchio nose is beginning to dominate his face in a way that makes him look like a different person altogether.

He began by meandering remotely about what he described as the ‘laws’ they had passed since March 2020, as if it were all just a dream to him. 

‘We have passed some extraordinary laws in this House and signed into law some extraordinary regulations I never thought we would because of the pandemic,’ he said.

‘We have curtailed people’s freedom in a way I never thought we would in the past year or so and we have given the Garda powers to do things I never thought we would give it the power to do.

‘This is a pandemic and it is not over yet but, in my view, the sooner we can expire those laws the better. I want to see people’s individual freedoms and the inviolability of their homes restored and Garda powers returned to what they should be.’

Can he be this stupid? What does he think the word ‘inviolable’ means? Does he think that, once the inviolability of people’s homes has been usurped, this can be reversed — the unringing of a bell? The erasure of a rape? By which honourable figure? By what process? Under what guarantee? 

In a bid for Gaslighter of the Year (an award he walked away with last year) Varadkar then informed the Dáil that he had a commitment to ‘individual liberty and personal freedom.’ I don’t say he said this with a straight face, but he said it without any apparent indications of irony. 

Warming to his theme, and conscious that not one person in Dáil Éireann would stand up to challenge his effrontery, he went on to express his concerns about civil liberties. 

‘If you’d told me two years ago that we would live in a country where it was illegal to leave the State for non-essential reasons, illegal to enter the Sate for non-essential reasons, that you couldn’t have people over to your own house or you couldn’t meet outside with more than 15 people, I would have thought you were absolutely bonkers,’ the Taoiseach-in-waiting said. ‘What has happened in the past year or two really is unprecedented. We overuse that term but what has happened in the past year really is unprecedented.’

‘We want to go to a new normal. We want to build back better as people say.’ 

Who says that? The representatives of the New World Order, an elite group of degenerates that includes Leo Varadkar, says it. No one else says it. 

‘But one thing I definitely do not want to keep on the statute book is this draconian legislation for any longer than is necessary.’

He seems not to consider that it doesn’t matter whether these draconian laws remain on the statue books or not: As we have now seen on two occasions, once they have been introduced, they can be restored at the drop of a truncheon. Sunset clause anyone? 

Then he decided he might as well go for the gaslighting triathlon, adding that he was ‘bothered’ by the fact that people had not spoken out ‘more’ in favour of civil liberties during the pandemic.

‘There will be proper debate on that in the Dáil and I would encourage deputies to speak freely on this, you know,’ he said.

‘Don’t feel that you’re against public health or something if you raise these concerns. Civil liberties matter and concerns about civil liberties have almost disappeared in the past year or so and that bothers me.’

There is zero evidence that Mr. Varadkar is bothered about civil liberties. When Gemma O’Doherty and I went to court in defence of our own and other people’s civil liberties, we were set upon by a shiver of hack blueshirt judges. Our case was essentially that the lockdown measures were ‘absolutely bonkers’, but the courts and media tried to paint us as the crazy ones. Neither Varadkar nor his concern for civil liberties was in evidence. 

It’s like he wants to pretend that he’s ‘still’ a democrat even though he’s been behaving like a reincarnated Hermann Göring for 15 months. It’s like he’s trying to convince himself and the rest of us that we’re a free society undergoing temporary unfreedom, due to unavoidable circumstances, rather than (the truth) a formerly free society in the grip of gaslighting psychopaths. It’s like he’s suddenly realised that someone who wasn’t an outright fascist would have acted and spoken differently over the past year — more apologetic, perhaps, explaining things in human terms rather than gloating and gaslighting and threatening. So now he’s trying to fill in the blanks, pretending he thinks all this is as crazy as any sane and sensible person knows it to be. 

But if Mr Varadkar wishes to apply to rejoin the human race, I would respond that the first thing he needs to do is kindly remove his jackboot from my face.

TUESDAY

It is strange to reflect that the state incursions on human freedoms of the past 15 months have their roots in what were once deemed liberations. Indeed, it is possible to trace a trail of such pseudo-liberatory phenomena going back to the years following the bedding-down of the Irish Constitution, to the middle of the last century. 

A key such development was the introduction of divorce, in 1996, presented as a liberation of unhappy spouses, and especially of women, which collaterally allowed the state access to the most intimate affairs of families in ways that had hitherto not been countenanced. From this there sprung an enormous industry, the Family Law System, which enabled judges to deliberate on the intimate behaviour of adults who had broken no law, laying open the threshold of the family home to interventions based on perspectives that, though no more than concocted ideologies, carried with them threats of dire penalties of the most personal kind. In this capricious, arbitrary and in effect lawless system, we can see many of the roots of the behaviours of state authorities since March of last year, treating people as if their most private actions, spaces and livelihoods, existed under licence from the state, and so were subject to suspension at any moment. 

Actually, this development had a prequel in the so-called ‘Mother and Child Scheme’ of the early 1950s, when one of the earliest social controversies of independent Ireland pitted the socialist and Clann na Poblachta Minister for Health, Noel Browne, against the Catholic bishops. 

It is nowadays impossible to initiate a discussion on this matter other than on grounds of seeking the beatification of Browne, a man I knew very well and liked enormously with some political reservations. But a great deal of what concerned the bishops had to do with what they saw as state encroachment on the family. The controversial measures arose from provisions of — mark this title — the 1947 Health Act — which the bishops feared would result in a regime akin to what had emerged in Britain under the NHS, granting broad licence to the state to intrude on matters properly belonging to parents. This Act, of course, has been used as the ‘enabling act’ for the legislative adventuring of the past year, going far beyond anything involved by either Noel Browne or the Catholic bishops who confronted him —albeit to the total indifference of the Catholic bishops of 2020/21. 

It might well be argued that the controversy that raged back then had its culmination six decades later, in 2012, when the Irish electorate was persuaded to transfer some of the most crucial rights of parents into the custody of the state. The constitutional provisions implicated in the so-called ‘Children Referendum’ were enshrined in Article 42, which concerned the authority of parents, not least in relation to educating their own children. The state, which in 2012 conducted a smash-and-grab of those rights, has over the past 15 months opted to suspend indefinitely the education(s) of the vast majority of Irish children. 

In 2018, a similarly planned assault resulted in the defenestration of the right-to-life of Irish citizens — effected in the removal of the right-to-life of the unborn child. In 2020, and again in January and February of this year, we observed the amplification of this undoing in the systematic liquidation of elderly people, especially in nursing homes — first by the use of stress and panic in April 2020 and by vaccination in the present year. 

Much of these developments, of course, had their roots in the agitation of feminism, also known in its earlier incarnations as ‘women’s liberation’. In 2020 and 2021, feminism has been silent on the encroachment by the state on the fundamental rights of women as citizens, mothers and female human beings — young, old and, as the Eighth Amendment used to say, ‘living without birth’.

In a more general sense, the state’s adventuring into the rights and freedoms of citizens had been accelerated in 2015 in the so-called ‘Marriage Referendum’, which in effect redefined the meanings of previously iron concepts like ‘family’, ‘marriage’ and ‘parent’, in effect introducing a free-for-all which allowed state operatives to decide where the lines of rights and freedoms should be drawn, and extended them and their appointed hatchet-persons the facility to demonise all who dissented from these ordinances. Without doubt, this referendum imposed on the population an unprecedented degree of intimidation in matters concerning the disposal of rights and freedoms previously thought sacrosanct, and this new ‘liberty’ has been observable at full tilt in the actions of state operatives over the past 15 months. 

Reviewing this caravan of hoodwinking, we can see now an inexorable route to the present moment when we live under the cosh of the state in matters that, even a few short years ago, were regarded as none of the state’s business. But, no matter what you think of each or all of these developments by their own lights, it is not possible to evade the fact that by osmosis they have utterly altered the dispensation of state involvement in the everyday lives of citizens. What has happened in the past 15 months was unthinkable even 30 years ago. Who, then, thought they would ever see pensioners being dragged out of trains and churches by policemen because they declined to cover their faces with cloth muzzles? 

Yet, all of these developments, these ‘taking of liberties’ by the state, were in their time widely regarded as positive, liberatory and au courant. They attracted the support of all enlightened and progressive people. To oppose them, in any way or for any proffered reason, was to be a reactionary, a Neanderthal, or even a bigot. 

This, above all, is why we have experienced such a silence in the past 15 months from people who might have hitherto been regarded as the watchdogs of our civil liberties. I have in mind leftists, liberals, feminists, artists, rock stars, actors, journalists, and the like. 

Suddenly, the shiny-suited politicians who had implemented their agendas manifested before them in jackboots and sleeve diamonds. What had before placed them on the side of the angels now made them the allies of billionaire despots and poundshop wannabe tyrants. The apparently seamless trajectory of their freedom-seeking was suddenly interrupted by the most fundamental contradiction, depositing them in an unexpected and unfamiliar avenue, devoid of street lighting. 

Or, to shift metaphors momentarily, they had been caught in a kind of ideological offside trap. There they were, running up along the left flank as usual, the ball as though glued to their feet, intent upon the next goal. Everything seemed as per normal. They lived, did they not, in a free society, where football was allowed? They did not notice the linesman raising his flag on the right hand side. The state referee, who hitherto had been their ally and patron, now politely blew his whistle and advised them to walk away from the ball, lest they lose their privileges. The same initiative, energy, strategy, philosophy that had before informed their trusting forwards for particular rights and freedoms were now — now the trap was sprung — no longer to be any of their concern, and they immediately sensed this, and sensed also that they should not make a fuss. Now the purpose of the entire exercise was becoming visible, they saw it but could not demur, for to do so would announce them now as reactionaries, Neanderthals, even bigots, running foul of the logic which they had availed of so frequently and profitably in the past. They did not demur. They remained silent. 

That is why, over the past year and more, there has been no clamouring from the ICCL, no admonitions from Amnesty, no shouting from the Shinners, no hoo-ha from Hot Press. All had in their ways been implicated in the journey of encroachment that led us to this moment. All were compromised in terms of their most fundamental authority in the matter of speaking of what was happening. But all were also conscious that the liberal and fashionable credentials they acquired by defending the pseudo-rights and phantom-freedoms the state proffered by way of enabling its attacks on the core of the Irish Constitution could become liable to cancellation by virtue of speaking now to the far more fundamental context arising. They kept schtum and continue to do so. They have walked away from the ball and back into position.

The referee places the ball and prepares to take the free kick. The whistle blows twice. The cock crows for the third time.

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