City Journal Winter 2016

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Theodore Dalrymple
Erecting a Tomb to Irish Sovereignty « Back to Story

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I was astonished to see this magazine and this author argue that Ireland's problems are the result of the euro and one politician and not of the Irish themselves.
While it is convenient to blame politicians and the faceless currency, every person who took a mortgage 3,4,5 even 6 times bigger than his/hers annual income can and should only blame themselves. Greed was rampant not restricted to one individual or institution.
"I never understood why Ireland, after fighting tooth and nail for over 500 years to be sovereign, was so eager to submerge themselves..."

I've wondered the same about the Croatians: Fight a bloody war to leave Belgrade only to give up their sovereignty willingly to Bruxelles bureaucrats only a generation later. Pitiful. So much for the desire for independence.

"I darned near got into a fist fight in Dublin..."

Only "darned near"!? In my experience in County Cork and Country Kerry, it doesn't even take a controversial statement for fists to fly. My Irish friends once explained it to me thusly: "First, we drink; then, we fight; and then we sing."
I darned near got into a fist fight in Dublin in 2001 when I asked the question, "After all the blood and treasure spent over the last several hundred years for Irish Independence; why are you selling out to the EU?" Had to back toward the door.
I have now read several of Theodore Dalrymple articles. Which I have to say as inspired me to believe that honesty in journalism until recently didn't
think existed. I think you are a credit and an inspiration to your proffesion.

Such "art" has something in common with the political cartoon, which can also sum up a whole constellation of thoughts and feelings in one powerful image. I am concerned, though, about the flammability of Mr Buckley's flat. I hope he has reliable smoke alarms fitted.

The Euro is nothing new; merely the latest in a long line of schemes by which national and imperial governments sought to spend beyond their means, by stealing secretly from their citizens. Every single paper currency ever created has inflated rapidly, eventually spiralling down in ruin (for those who had their wealth invested in it). A good recent book on the subject is Ron Paul's "End the Fed" in which he argues convincingly that all central banks - like the USA's Federal Reserve - are essentially motors of inflation, whose main purpose is to print paper money (or its computer equivalent). This is a pernicious form of hidden taxation, as most of those subject to it do not even realize it is happening.

The experience of decent middle class people in Britain, the USA, and much of the civilized world is summed up by this quotation: "The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation". And who said that? Not Barack Obama or George Bush, not Tony Blair or Gordon Brown... but V. I. Lenin.
I never understood why Ireland, after fighting tooth and nail for over 500 years to be sovereign, was so eager to submerge themselves in the Franco-German conquest of Europe. I understand that they sucked tens of billions of punts of badly needed infrastructure out of the EU. But the price paid by knuckling under to Brussels would have the Martyrs of the '16 spinning in their graves.
Whenever some artistic beurocrat (or artist) claims the value of his work is that it "asks important questions", you know the man is an impostor and a fake. Ask them to name one such "important question" and see them look at you dumbly, searching for words. (Here, it isn't the *artist* who is claiming the work "asks important questions", but the beurocrat).
The best account of what the progenitors of the Euro thought they were doing is to be found in a classic book The Rotten Heart of Europe, by Bernard Connolly, a rare example of an economist alive to complex political and cultural realities, and a brilliant writer to boot.

The books sets out the fact that the Euro was a French-German construct. The French were infatuated with the strength of the Mark, and saw the Euro as a means of taming it.

He sets out too the fact that the French elite (particularly key decision makers who had graduated from the ENA) saw Anglo-Saxon capitalism as the enemy. So if the Exchange Rate Mechanism -- where currencies attempted to fix exchange rates -- failed, this was not because it was a bad idea but because 'speculators' forced e.g. Sterling to leave.

The EU elite thought that the Euro was a solution to this problem because the market would no longer be able to force one currency out of it. Well, that remains to be seen.

Why the Germans joined the Euro is more mysterious. Whilst Mitterand was a power-obsessed and manipulative, Kohl was a sentimentalist, who thought/felt that joining the Euro would somehow help the Germans to lose their identity amongst a new Euro-identity.

Kohl's sentimentalism also led him to set the exchange rate between West and East German Deutsch Marks at 1-1, when the market set it at 1-5. These good intentions meant that Western Germans were very reluctant to invest in East Germany.

As Dalrymple has shown many times elsewhere, sentimentalism is at the root of many modern evils. The Euro appears to be one of them.