Skip to main content

tv   Michael Brendan Dougherty My Father Left Me Ireland  CSPAN  August 28, 2019 5:05am-6:36am EDT

5:05 am
[inaudible conversations] tina thank you everybody for coming. i am a visiting fellow here at aei and we are here for a great conversation. it will be a conversation tonight about nationalism, nationhood, family and father had and this excellent new book
5:06 am
which i absolutely love "my father left me ireland" by michael brendan dougherty. in some ways is very different from what we do, from what i'm used to. i'm a scholar here at aei and we are a private institute for public policy research. we do lots of social science studies and in fact social science studies get a bad name in "my father left me ireland" but in a way that highlights what we have in common to the section that goes after how nationhood in the modern day is often well i'll put it like this a nation today in a modern way of thinking is at best problematic. it is at best problematic a useful administrative unit. that section is tipped off by the author michael daugherty talking about singing to his
5:07 am
newborn baby over and over again the same songs. the foggy dew, the wind that shakes the barley and even the patriots game which i tried to sing in that lullaby way. this is familiar to me because i also sing my children to sleep with irish songs. i mostly use irish rebel songs because they are a lot easier and i don't have the vocal chords that mr. dougherty does. the stories that we tell our children, this is another way of educating in addition to the public policy research type stuff who typically do here at aei and there are birchers and perils of this. my story before he bring out the other here is one of apparel. my son charlie was learning about world war ii and he turned to me and said deb i'm a little confused. are the british and the the same thing? charlie what are you talking
5:08 am
about? we were on the same side as the british in world war ii. we were on the same side as the british? suddenly i realized as a catholic family growing up with the stories of st. thomas more a love of america will which had to fight against the braves and an irishness that you could come to understand the brits is only the bad guys. i thought about the lullaby and i would sing to all six of my children kevin barry about a rebel who went off with his head held high was executed and he was as simply name your co-conspirators and kevin barry answered no and was sent off to his death. why do we sing the songs to our children? not to demonize it but because we know the creation of a good populace, the creation of improving our world the same thing we try to do public policy research and good policy all of that primarily is not the job of our public policy researchers
5:09 am
but of our poets and are storytellers. here at aei is excellent that we have in my opinion a brand-new irish-american poet and storyteller michael brendan dougherty who will give us a few remarks about his great book an american son's search for home. michael, thank you. [applause] >> i am brandon dougherty. i am michael brandon dougherty from national review. so i've had trouble in the last week with a book coming out people asked me what is this book? it's hard to summarize sometimes in the 14 seconds before the commercial break interrupts you.
5:10 am
so i'm going to quote with absolutely no vanity in my heart at all a couple of reviews real quick just to situate it. a timeless tale of familial longing. andrew sullivan called it a heartbreaking tome to maternal love and sacrifice. alan jacobs called it a book about revisionist history but not in the usual sense of the term. it was also called via edward a. moving lyrical memoir about fatherhood and identity is stirring defense of nationalism and attack on once in a critique of some of the core assumptions of liberal modernity. its it's also i would say fundamentally a romance book.
5:11 am
i'm six years old and i'm sitting in the backseat of a car. my mother and father are in the front seats. the morning before we flew into ireland and as we were banding i pretended to count the shades of green and the fields as we circled above the airport. i had to know if there were 40 let my schoolteacher said. at this point in the back of a car we are looking over the hood of a very deep grey gray sky, so great that it's turning all the green grass blue. the wind whipping around. this is possibly the oldest memory i can recall being with my father. my father's been talking about his job driving around ireland and delivering books. this is long before the eu built roads and highways that allowed you to drive through ireland
5:12 am
while missing everything is beautiful and worthwhile about it. the drive was a long day's work. he's smiling and looking at my mother in the loving way which was new to me as if you are trying to say watch this. that's when he turns to me and informs me our noble blood, the blood i have for him. did you know michael that you are descendent from the high king? did you know that? their parts of the upholstery that are torn. there are parts of my father sweater that are threadbare. i noticed my father examining my reaction. you see the point was that the irish blood, the irish royal blood had got us nothing except it was still a post over the whole earth. my mother let her heart sickness over this man drive her crazy in
5:13 am
a way. her parents listened to irish lullabies of tula rule a rule which was composed in detroit. but she started to think of herself as irish and her son as irish and she started studying the language, taking me to these weekends in rural new york where you were forbidden from speaking to she started singing the songs and teaching me a little bit of the history and the history that i learned as a child was straightforward and heroic. a people coming out of captivity colonization on one side and rule on the other. irish people, irish rebellions and the confederates against protestant usurpers as united irishmen in this role of westminster as all white boy tenets against their wicked landlords that young ireland's
5:14 am
republicans against the power of the english monarchy and nationalists against british imperialism and finally as the irish nation itself. against those who attempted to rob them of their culture, their history and their self-understanding. it was rebellion itself that made you irish. but what did i have to rebel against? i got tired of this view of ireland as a teenager. the people coming out of captivity was a joke from historian roy fosler about the excessive view of irish history that he and his contreras set out to destroy. so the leaders of ireland's most heroic rebellion were fed into a counternarrative. the national liberation promised by the rising became a kind of perverse joke. it was the moment and on opted
5:15 am
body of radicals short-circuited the democratic process instead of home rule to write rich recent by this person be of colds into the anglo-irish for. a very exacting idealism rising by the cause of a reasonable war. the irish lose decent builds institutions and have to turn towards a church that is corrupt and crotty asked and in an odd twist of counternarrative echoed the and religious bigotry of hard-core unionists. you see the conclusion is obvious. the irish catholics because of their irishness and catholicism were unfit for self rule. that was the view of ireland's professional cast in the 1990s and increasingly it was my view to. what was ireland but a belching superstore along the atlantic
5:16 am
sending me riverdance and frank courtland ashes and a hundred other we have be ugly disgusting cultural products coming out of the celtic tide. but something about this was unfounded. i realized the education i got, the one that taught me to despise these things was an education that wasn't really preparing me for anything about manhood. it wasn't preparing me for doing the basic things you have to do in life, having children, raising them correctly and eventually i did mary and i found as my mother did when a child was coming to me i suddenly was falling in love with ireland again. i looked back at these men, men
5:17 am
like patrick pearse in a different way. pierce was if you don't know the sun of an english stonecutter and an irish mother. he did a little career in law in the beginning of the 20th century before turning his mind to education. it was an experimental secondary school for boys with the national spectacle. the boys put on plays. he taught them in irish. it was an irish medium education and he taught them irish sport particularly hurling. he'd announce the education system the english had set up in ireland as a murder machine and he is writing about it. he compared it to the separate education set up for in antiquity.
5:18 am
he wrote to the children of the free work path all noble and goodly things that would tend to make them strong proud and valiant. the children of the all such dangerous knowledge was hidden. they were taught not to be strong and valiant but to be sleek, to be up seque is, to be dexterous. the object was not to make them good men but to make them good and so in ireland. sleek obsequious and dexterous. i remember reading these words with my sleeping newborn infant daughter in my lap and thinking this is harvard enyel and every prep school and every product of those schools i've ever met in this trade of journalism in washington d.c.. the idea of becoming strong and proud and valiant was something i was taught in school to laugh at.
5:19 am
i wasn't taught that directly. there was talk that by education so i had to confront this man pearce. pearce was a home roller. he was a moderate like everyone else in the democrat in 1912 when home rule was first passed. as he saw it undermined and subverted into it democratic or a he'd joined the hard-core nationalists and many others did and he wrote this essay ghosts which has been formative in irish history ever since. the irish proverb low to him but do is evil. the men who have led ireland for 25 years have done evil and they are bankrupt. they are bankrupt in policy, bankrupting credit, bankruptcy now even in words. they have nothing to propose
5:20 am
ireland. no wisdom no counsel of courage and when they speak they speak only untrue than blasphemy. their utterances are no longer the utterances of men. they are the mumblings and g. rings up -- they built upon an untruth that conceived of nationality is a materialism or a spiritual thing. they made the same mistake a man would make if he were to forget that he had an immortal soul. they have not recognized in their people the images of god. the nation to them is not a holy thing in violent and in viable. they thought of nationality is a thing to be negotiated about is a man negotiates about a terror for a. robb rather than immediate jewel to be purveyed -- preserved in all peril of things so sacred that it may be not brought into the darker places at all or
5:21 am
spoken of where a man travel. pearce was announcing this generational curse on the home rulers who tried to bargain with an empire that when organ with him a parliament that laughed in their faces, egg king that worked with members of that parliament for democratic achievement of the violence within it. my use of this essay in this book was brought up to me the other day on irish radio. the host of the radio said its disdainful of democracy. its extremist demands have echoed uncomfortably in irish history ever since inspiring cadres of them men of violence
5:22 am
into their own hands. in fact pearce wasn't totally disdainful of democracy. it was only on its one point whether the nation was a holy thing to be preserved against all peril. whether people would recognize the image of likeness of god and its life. the radio host was correct about my intentions with that passage in with this book. i have her old pearce's generational curse. i too believe in ireland today life bearing the image and likeness of god has been denied and transgressed. this crime goes down with the blessing of democracy and in increases the shame. the shame is general though. it's not specific to recent events in ireland. it's a shame of a whole
5:23 am
generation that believed i liberating itself from the taboos and prejudices of her previous agent would find real freedom and what they found instead was they were liberated from responsibility and from care of their own children. fatherlessness is now common in america, becoming common in ireland. this book is an odd book. the joy of my life was discovering in my childhood i suddenly faced with this daughter was doing the same crazy things my mother did. we tend to think of a way of extending ourselves in the future when we think of it via logically but i noticed in this book that it actually works the reverse way, that my child sent me back to my parents and my
5:24 am
child would give me looks that i recognize as my mothers looks or my father's and the needs my child had impressed upon me to go to my parents and asked them what to do. i notice also that it was my parents, my mother in particular who was impelling me toward the future. was she who is bothering me with some of her dying breath to give her a grandchildren. i have only gotten three so far but we are working on it. and so i found that pearce was right when he talked about the hand of the past weighing on the present or the future. my mother weighed on me to get on with life and become a man, to become a father. history weighed upon these rebels in 19162 men up, to do something for posterity.
5:25 am
now that biological connection to my father, the joy of my life after my daughter's birth and the fact of my irish father's parentage into the real social fact. he sees my grandchildren more than he saw me. he saw his granddaughter the first day of her life and he didn't see me for nine or 10 months. so this book is a romance of fatherhood. my father and i missed each other in my boyhood. we only found each other late like any good romance novel. so i come back to that story of the car where he informed me of my royal blood. that implanted something in me, that story and it implanted this
5:26 am
longing for him and this recognition of his longing for me and somehow we navigated this understanding. so my father's own absurd host that irishmen even with american accents we are crowned with sad songs, mary rebellions and foolish absurd sacrifices that annoy everyone else. my daughter runs into his lap and she calls him graden dad unselfconsciously. i wouldn't trade that for all the spice in india, all the raw materials and oil of iraq or any of the tee that they dumped in boston harbor. thank you. [applause]
5:27 am
>> thank you michael and we are welcoming to the stage are responded rick caldwell. chris is the editor of the claremont review of looks. he himself is writing a second book so if anybody is fit to comment on the book gets chris. anyway chris please tell me what you think is interesting and important. >> i think almost everything about this book is interesting and important. you know michael said earlier that it was hard to describe what the book was about. i can describe it fairly easily. we have a different situation here. he was brought up by his mother and left by his father. so if you look, you know it sounds sort of like it actually
5:28 am
resembles the autobiography of our most famous irish-american, our last president actually. this is a kind of a richer and more ambitious and literary attempt to bring two stories together. if you look at the title of this book, "my father left me ireland" that's the title of two books. the first book is my father left me in the second book is ireland. so there's something in this first book. you have a really sad, it's a very raw american book of the sort that irish people can't rewrite. there is a sort of a self revealing autobiographical thing of the sort that americans really excel at and other people don't. could i read something?
5:29 am
do you mind having someone read? >> i want people to read it. >> i would like to read you a passage. it's a perfect description i think of something a lot of children of divorce will kind of share. i sat in mike grandmothers rocking chair just in the uniform of my catholic school. gray slacks, a white dress shirt and a cotton type red eyes stare down my black shoes across the blue carpet to eucom his father missed addressing sitting across from me. you told me the news. your wife is pregnant. your wife? i had let myself forget and you were having a child sin. i was going to be a brother. how was i a brother to someone who was not my mother's child?
5:30 am
why do you need to be a big brother to someone 3000 miles away? was i going to be to them what there was to me a name placed on the relative i have never seen? being a child i could not even ask these questions. the one skill i had to deploy was talking to adults and the exact response i wanted to elicit from me but the strategy was failing in that moment. what do you want from me? what did my mother want? i was falling silent. i was crying. you have to get in the car and go. neither of us got to see how hard this was on the other. in a few minutes i would run out of the house venturing halfway up iredell avenue under the delusion that would make it to school before they would return any child sobbing that way belongs, in his home but not moment he gave me a goodbye hug and reassured that you are still my father and nothing would change between us. i'll ever want is what's for
5:31 am
change. i had never thought any of it through until then. i didn't really know why you live 2000 miles. is new enough not to ask. this announcement revealed to me the secret hope in my heart. this is the raw material for which this book is built and as michael has described he started to study ireland which is kind of a sad thing when you think about it. but there is the raw material of a very kind of interesting resolution to this problem in the history of ireland and without being formulaic about it ever he sets up a parallel in the course of this book which i will describe, hopefully not to
5:32 am
dampen the experience of reading this book for anybody but this book is really not, it's not about the mythology of ireland and you know the great, the lords of ancient times and brian peru and all that stuff it's actually a kind of a close study of the easter rising in 1916 so it's sort of an ideological origin of a disturbed life in if you know bernard bailiff spoke about the american revolution and what i think he finds and correct me if any of this is nonsense is that it's not so much a release of a nation from captivity but the rise of the nation into identity. the interesting thing about all of these people in their different ways and it's really
5:33 am
spectacular and the spilled out way here but for all of the people who were involved in that rising it was about claiming an idea of ireland for themselves. here it's become extremely subtle. it's about an assertion of one's identity. it seems to be about an assertion of identity which ireland had never had a four like these people are founders but once the rising is over and once a civil war starts it becomes clear that they did have that identity, you know? that they had it by wishing for it and that is the sort of, that is what he is seeking in a
5:34 am
parallel way. i won't go into too much detail. >> i was running the stories together. what was interesting to me is there is all this ideological gobbledygook that gets spoken of about the easter rising and that some of that is actually useful. people talk about how the zionist movement to establish israel and the irish national move and where it attempts to recapture or substantiate their manhood or their nations manhood that they have been conceived but they gotten used to conceiving of themselves as victims in history. they have almost gotten comfortable with the label.
5:35 am
one of the reasons that the rising in 1916 was so transformative for irish whites was for 30 years basically from 1898, 20 years, it 1898 to 2016 the irish has been fulfilling this cultural movement's torch language revival, alex, plays on the stage. they have been filling themselves in some eyes almost morning the death of bearish nation in the famine and then suddenly enters onto the stage this political crisis, this whole moral crisis and the irritant of unionist beginning to arm themselves and then onto this pregnant moment men like owen mcneill patrick pearce, tom clark who start translating this
5:36 am
sentiment, the sentimentality and to political action, into reality and in the same way in a much smaller parallel way i am borrowing their wish until it becomes true in my own light innocence willing my father to become the father he should have been. >> one thing i want to ask you about in your writings and you can comment on this for sure to put the universality of timothy patrick carney and i'm irish and i like that but the first people to react in your book word jewish friends of ours and explicitly talk about zionism and the parallel between hebrew and the irish language but there are other i think parallels to
5:37 am
other cultures so talk about that. >> well, the irish nationalism of 100 years ago similar today. irish leaders were interested in national movements in czechoslovakia, in hungary, in india. leaders would meet with indian figures both in india and new york to discuss this mutual project of those establishing british rule in their territory. you know you often see some of the same romance in polish nationalism at the end of world war i. the one nation who comes out of world war i feeling totally vindicated publicly as poland. the idea of their nation
5:38 am
resurrected after a century in the grave. so yes there's a commonality among nationalist and people remarked today like the fact that nationalist or national conservatives in poland talk to other ones in france or brazil and the portrayal of their ideas when in fact it's a common way. it's just the way conservatives are socialist talk across borders. hoping for the good of similarly minded people in our nation. >> you know michael has written i think very intelligently and very independently certainly about nationalism in europe and if there are common things. there was an irish nationalist
5:39 am
arthur griffith somewhere in the middle of the 19th century that went to hungary and wrote a great look about hungarian nationalism as well. michael if you don't mind by reading another passage again i think an interesting thing about the idea of nationalism that comes in is what can i want to stick with this idea that it is working in parallel to this personal identity and his family nationalism is one of the things that makes michael's journalism on the subject so interesting. nationalism, nationalism is about strength but it arises from weakness is its detract or
5:40 am
say and it's the rare person who can keep both of those things in mind at the same time. one of them was owen mcneill the historian that michael just spoke of and i will quote is passage about that. mcneal's enemy was not just the english of course but the latitude of the irish. this is one of the least understood aspects about political nationalism and i'm surprised this misunderstanding could even grow up in ireland. nationalism does not spring from the meat headed conviction that one nation is best in every way but from something like a panicked realization that nobody in authority or randy was taking the nation seriously. everyone is engaged in some enterprise while the common inheritance is to threaten or rob. it might put on a mask of full
5:41 am
fearful knowledge of the nation's vulnerability. >> no one in ireland thinks ireland is the best at just about anything. no one thought we have always emigrated and industry intervention philosophy, the common view is much more common than that. however this cultural movement, this cultural nationalist movement did end up producing the national literature that is the pound for pound champion in western europe in the 20th century. so it is funny though that you know political nationalism is misunderstood even in ireland. part of it is of course the
5:42 am
reaction i talked about in the 90s, anti-nationalism was born of real suffering and sorrow inflicted on the island by men and the provisional ira put on the mantle the 1916 rebels not for a week as the rebels did, not in this almost doomed attempt to serve the nation honorably. the 1916 rebels marched into their captors hand and pearce turned over his sword to a commanding officer on the other side of the battle. i was not the provisional pact takes in the 1970s, 80s and early 1990s. and so there was a kind of highly motivated view, highly motivated determination to tear down the national mythology.
5:43 am
the idea of this motivated revisionist history in 2016 as ireland was celebrating these events i was watching and singing the songs to my infant daughter while these events are going on and the national broadcaster put together the most expensive reduction, drama about the rebellion and in its patrick pearce is portrayed quite literally by a danish filmmaker as a religious fanatic on par with the islamic state, completely insensible, let thirsty even for the blood of children. in fact comparison of the rebels to isis was so common in such a sign of faux sophistication and intellectual achievement in ireland that you think geldof
5:44 am
got on television to make the same comparison. this is obviously motivated by ireland's attempt to secularize irish institutions to legalize abortion and same-sex marriage and tear down the tradition of the church. one of things i tried to do in the book is talk about when we are looking back on our history i admit that we are always going to take to what our motivations and their desires and our ambitions. the question becomes what are your ambitions and desires and how will that over and your understanding? my search in this book, the search for home is an attempt to search for something better within myself and in doing so i find this noble story. >> could ask you about what seems to be a big temptation in that search particularly when you are talking about the exact moment you were growing up.
5:45 am
that is you seem to be a person who in the mid-90s before september 11 which is a time in the united states when it for lack of a better term ironing had full range. everything was ironic. everything was a joke. spongebob was sort of like me. that was the worldview of the culture at the time. you seem to made a conscious decision about irony at some point. there seem to have been people urging you to resolve whatever problems you were having with their own sense of belonging or
5:46 am
whatever. you seem to have felt that you were being urged to resolve that by declaring all your conflicts basically meaningless, basically i don't have a father but no one else really has a father anyway. no one has anything to be proud of anyway. ireland has a crummy history but none of these countries are really worth fighting for anyway. when did that come together in your mind and do i have that right? >> it's something you understood more and more in retrospect. since the formation i was given culturally. this book is also about how the culture raises children as well. the home sits within a complex, the homeland or culture and that has an influence on children and what i do for my nation from the
5:47 am
fashionable things like you know these kind of silly books that have some truth to them but bring to save the study of history a demythologizing attitude like lies my teacher told me or the way people recommend to you a people's history of by howard zinn or something like that. they have all read it but the attitude i discovered over time. wasn't obvious to me when i was a teenager was that this was dissolving any sense of duty. in a sense i was being thrown back on myself by the culture and instead of the culture and my family. my mother and teachers would have been a a party to this in some ways. they are afraid of exercising authority over me telling my
5:48 am
what i ought to like and what i ought to love. so the culture's message was be true to yourself and i think a lot of people in my generation coming up the 90s found was that we were much more tyrannical in the privacy of our own home than our parents would have been if they played a role in her life. we were to the list judging ourselves. if you don't know what is virtuous than every defect, even ones that don't matter to you, your looks, your intelligence, all of that becomes reason to abominate yourself and feel alienated. >> mike and i grew up about 20 miles apart in the same age. a lot of public-school history was simply tearing down -- and
5:49 am
so when i started to listen to the lyrics especially the irish rebel songs or the song of foggy dew these men who father battle where literally they took over. the pinnacle of this if i'm correct is taking over post office for a few hours, a few days and before getting wiped out that somehow a tactical thing from the narrow lanes accomplish nothing but the fact that the songs were written about them made them win and the fact that they found their graves by pearce's site is a layered goes that was worth fighting for. that's almost impossibly
5:50 am
sentimental in today's study but especially in their chronic days of the 1990s when the vietnam war, we were doing worse in somalia or bosnia or whatever. these men gave their lives for something that didn't accomplish something but it accomplished everything. it was almost embarrassing to sign up to the sentimentality of that. >> fundamentally every idea, every political idea is a mask for power and manipulation. in fact it's not just confined to the 90s. that cynical attitude towards all political ideas in the them all persons exist in popular entertainment. one of the things that is kind of funny that i don't write in the book but in the back of my mind this sitcom. have you ever seen modern family
5:51 am
the sitcom portrays all human beings in the family and bottomless lace cynical and manipulative. the only redeeming feature is when they are caught out and they just acknowledge their bottomless cynicism. they played for laughs. it's funny in a family that all against all. however i can't watch it without wanting to blow my brains out. >> i don't think the irony is confined to the 90s. the only reason i mentioned the 90s when you were being formed and you were asking these questions most forcefully and because they think 9/11 actually brought the shadow of reality irony and put them into irony as it here belts but i think an
5:52 am
interesting aspect of this book on both the personal memoir level and on the political philosophy type level is a kind of a sort of a parallax time of being caught out at the time which i think is very important in ireland. in a way we are sort of at the high point of let's say at distance and ironic distance. if you look at brexit in england now. i think that the key way that brexit has been derailed through the issue of the irish border in the key thing that the opponents of wrecks that have been able to argue is that if you return to a
5:53 am
hard order which we never really had that if you are to establish a hard order between northern ireland and the rest of ireland you would go back to the battle days. would violate the. >> of the good friday agreement of the late 90s and what makes the good friday agreement possible is probably an eroding sense of nationalism on both sides of the border and ultimately an eroding religious base on both sides of the border. he came to matter less that people on this side were ultra- protestants and people on the site for catholics in the irish pub -- republic. what really mattered is were all european. >> i want all of you to think of your questions for the rest of this. put your hand up when you have
5:54 am
them but isn't that like if you love peace and erosion of the stubborn protestantism would be a good thing. that's circular you'd find if you ask around the average pub around dublin. >> yes, you would put the problem in northern ireland is they refer to themselves as committees, and unionist communities and nationalist communities that have dueling national loyalties. i'm not sure i agree with christopher that the identities have receded terribly in northern ireland. >> i'm saying that's the argument. >> that's right. that is the argument. >> i would say they probably have.
5:55 am
>> the good friday agreement was to meet the political implications of less obvious and less humiliating although there are questions. the police service of northern ireland rather than the constabulary. there are no crowns that are worn. there are little gestures that are in an attempt to provide the illusion that you are not living in a country at all that has symbols that the public or the state requires you to acknowledge that all the symbols have been reduced into the private sphere as well. even national identity comes out as a private concern. and yet it's not dealt with. we saw a week ago a republican group claimed to be engaging the
5:56 am
enemy by which they mean the police and killing in the process of journalists. my fear is that the attempt to reraise national identity is doomed but if it were successful it would be a calamity on the ground that the anti-nationalists would recognize because national loyalty enables, when national loyalty is shared without any disputed order lands, national loyalty allows protestants and catholics in the public environment to live together peacefully to share their landed with together and find their imaginations to each other just as national loyalty allows me to
5:57 am
argue with ezra kline one day over the telephone on a podcast, but the deepest issues of politics and yet would enable our sons and daughters who died for each other in a time of stress and war. but if we tore national loyalties down entirely in order to eliminate nationalism what you would get his blood pride in creed becoming the objects that prevent peace on a shared territory. >> could i just ask what you think of the regime that came out of the 1916 easter rising. if revolution is not going to be just self actualization and there has to be some accountability to history somewhere. it looks for much of the 20th
5:58 am
century ride up into the end mid-1980s, ireland had made an extraordinary bargain. it was probably less prosperous than it would have been as a dependent part of the british empire. they created a kind of extraordinary thing not quite capitalist economy. the only non-capitalist economy that was not communist and it was really an extraordinary kind of society. since about the 90s people in ireland have begun to repudiate it. i know there is a lot of you know historical wishful thinking about the past and you see them places like spain and places that are living down regimes they don't like. it's almost as if they wish if you want to repudiate it --
5:59 am
what's your opinion about the society that existed for 80 or 90 years after the easter rising? >> you know what's funny my father and i have different opinions on this. he lived in that world and i talked about in the book how when he recalls the ireland of his childhood where he grew up in this housing development in dublin for i would say the upper port for lack of a better term. ireland was the start place and he pretends to be shivering thinking about it. my sense of ireland my fragmentary -- environment that's it was warm the place of real intimacy. i had this experience where the land reforms that were
6:00 am
accomplished in the late 19th century re-created the peasant economy and a place when you'd took oldster from the rest of the ireland you had a company -- country that didn't experience industrialization. so you have a represenative economy and catholic conservatism that goes along with it. they never industrialize totally and make the transition to service the financial economy and gives the place character where you have been destroyed or liver who are so many other places a de-industrialized working-class. so it does provide a different flavor to irish society. one of the things that
6:01 am
discredited the state of course was the experience of immigration in the 1950s and again another wave in the 1980s. the whole idea was if we are going to establish our own irish state obviously the problem of immigration should and if we are governing ourselves. we can't blame it on the british but it doesn't end. now i would blame it on the british in some way. the post-war british economy which was ireland's greatest trading partner, crucial trading partner goes into total depression and near collapse in the post-war era and this is devastating to ireland. >> i would say only in the 70s really. there was a lot of rebuilding in england up until the 70s.
6:02 am
>> the post-war socialist economy was not great for ireland. sends the british inward looking for resources within and also imposes quotas and affects irish exports. ireland exports people to do the rebuilding in many cases. the speech the ireland that we dreamed of the witchy out and this idea of frugal comfort, it was a whipping boy in the 1990s and in fact the speech was misquoted frequently. >> is that the one where he talks about the superior standard of living? >> i don't notice the superior standard of living there but he
6:03 am
talked about ireland bringing frugal comfort into this spiritual light. there was a little, this became a point of shame and sport in the 1990s but when ireland goes -- in 2008 suddenly you see some of the eminent irish historians reviving the speech and wondering if there wasn't some wisdom in it for a small country and one of the funny things to do is, i don't think any of them would admit to this but this new generation of historians in ireland they seem to be flipping each other secret notes in their reviews in the irish times about how charles townshend wrote a review about the book and at the end of the
6:04 am
review the review was not as grim as the current orthodoxies have it. the idea was seize almost slipping and this knowledge they can't normally be published in the irish times in 2017, 2018 and 2019. >> raise your hand ab of a question. as a microphone. we like to make their questions see my questions here at the american enterprise institute and before you forget the book that we are talking about "my father left me ireland" is for sale in the hallway and i encourage everybody to buy it. .. how can that be resolved
6:05 am
especially you think in a way to romantic extraction is of an 1860 my inclined people to swing back the other way and be romantically abstract about the other side of things. enter into thousand and ten or whatever. and i just started to read it, and it would seem that the fact that there was a population in exile in the romantic extraction of exile and love of both real and imagined ireland and something that a been taken away from people and so forth would have a metaphorical elise perko under parallel to the reconciliation of an absent father. >> island in a way, maybe an
6:06 am
inch of writing this book is having access to a country like ireland to my father for the metaphor of a nation of a home in a home that might be broken or threatened were in some way troubled is more intuitive and my father in america. in the post- 90s world where america seems unchallengeable that creates reality and inflicts history around the world while experiencing little of itself, it would not work. and have people understand. >> i thought i lived in westchester county. >> exactly. that would not work. i do want to speak to something, the book is written in full
6:07 am
knowledge that there is a long knowledge and history of the bad irish dad, the jogger, failure, i did try to subvert that little bit and also subvert a little bit, i ireland as a little bit to his diaspora and not only in northern ireland but especially to america where many people don't know much about northern ireland, they don't understand the reality and it is so my grown closer to london then to belfast and actually belfast i would say is further away than london and dublin are to each other culturally. in the irish attitude towards america it's wonderful duration.
6:08 am
they don't particularly, the hate the idea that yanks are claiming to be irish and cleaning up plastic green junk. which was a feature of my childhood, i now really treasure in retrospect. >> i was recalling, somewhere on the west coast of ireland and encountered an ironic, timothy patrick i don't know if it going to make it, where's your family from? the calculus county less common. >> what is a place in america for common, you mean west
6:09 am
virginia? yes so it was sort of unappreciated derision is however, say my irishness was in the small town. there is a guy in a pope and dingell and i'm sure he still there and is 140 years old was professionally a storyteller to marketers, he desisted and nobody is rented, you cannot help but go into next to ask you a story, he does not ever need anything but the story is completely invented about growing up. it was my turn, anyway, questions. >> my name is christian i like to think the best of both worlds, or by taxi driver that picked you up, i ended up
6:10 am
catholic thanks to my catholic mother, god rest her soul. i guess the question goes to both michael and tim. the subject of rubber songs, what is your take on the wolf tones or for the songs of dear corporal, are you fans of music and you think it's still relevant to the state and is a song still resonate or are they stuck in the past? >> i think people have a variety of opinions and of ireland. i talk about perfect exaggerate a little bit the self-hatred or shame about irish nationals in the 1980, but if you end up, irish people like everyone else, i end up in one cap and one personal curse and gerry adams
6:11 am
and another one will find out if they know anything about patrick pierce and help divert the trip to all the sites in dublin who came out of the pup bleeding and what their cousins were like and all that. some people like the wolf jones, i am not the biggest fan. >> the ventures think overlaps, i was brought up mostly on the brothers, stay on the same side of the sink. the overlap of the brothers, like men behind the wire, this is the most ira song that they sing but if you go further down, if you end up late enough at night in towns at the river, i learned something they never knew existed, i thought i knew
6:12 am
all the songs until i was there late enough in learning the ins and outs. it had to be a small enough town, enough to drink and you got deep enough into the weeds and what we got in america from the brothers, i don't want to say sanitized but it was a little bit sanitized. we picked the easiest flights for mass-market appeal in a very good new liberal way to maximus profit by not your taking it. >> the microphone is on its way. >> my question is on the modern ira thinking back, it seems to me that the national star getting blamed but they seem to be marxist to me, all marxist international and i wonder with an ireland or within the nationalist movement, it seems we get blamed for what an
6:13 am
international movement and how does it seem today in ireland, i don't know who these in greater. >> in 1960 -- they were in 1916 the irish volunteers led by and taken over by tom clark and patrick pierce in the irish republican brotherhood and joined james connolly which was socialist force. >> apparently internationalist, connolly talked about how he would be a bomb needed by his fellow socialist by being a committed irish nationalist ever seeking the freedom and independence first. the modern ira grew out of a
6:14 am
split with the far left wing communist in the early 60s. mcginnis and gerry adams, going back to more catholic nationalist idea for the ira, at first but moscow is very interested in their grouping and informing because they were shooting at the british with a hard-line communist were infiltrating irish media and it seemed more like a debating society. one of the things about nationalism as a political movement anywhere as it tends to be opportunistic and if you're fighting a country that is seen as a couples power in a communist hatred waiting for you you will suddenly find yourself full communist, the modern pain
6:15 am
has moved progressively to the left, it's a banded under mcginnis injury adams, at one time was a pro-life party in a very catholic and character. now it's very secularist and character and a leader in gay-rights and internationalist about every question except the status of six counties. a politician has split over the pro-life issue as a conservative nationalist turn to. >> is authentic nationalism democratic or do you think there can be non- democratic forms of nationalism that are worthwhile as well? that's a good question. there is a connection between, i
6:16 am
tend to think of nationalism as a feverish movement out of a peaceful boise, one of the things that it springs up and achieves its goal and basins with in the presence. it tends to be as involved noted in the review, the modern nationalism tends to be connected with populism in a conviction that the elites are somehow failing us or feeling the future. what we mean by democratic? some of the 1916 leaders were raising our dominated by historians by being this elite clash of intellectual who did not understand and didn't care
6:17 am
enough for the lives of the common people who join the movement. nationalism always has a divide between its leaders in the foot shoulders. >> for me trying to learn irish history beyond the songs. it was really dreary. that's one of the reasons i love your book, just learning the details, how the initial reaction to the 1916 rising was negative, the anger from the streets of the people done this brought about the worship, that was new to me and pulled in quick way. it was shocking because the rise from slavery. >> is interesting that the newspaper, this is during rubber one in the newspaper was subject to censorship by the authorities
6:18 am
in the first reaction of the newspaper is hang all these communist thugs that have destroyed dublin, the identity, some people knew that they were involved in they recognize the uniforms and the symbology of the movement but when they found out it was all the other poets and language activist and respected upper-middle-class catholic figures public attitudes started to change, what's funny, that 100 years later, the same exact thing that was announced as communist agitation and irish independent for the irish times is announced as theocratic agitation in the same exact newspapers. and there is a kind, some of the
6:19 am
mystery in a sense that the rising is understood by the people only later in without the approved commentators interpreting it for them. and that leads into peoples balance rather it becomes a think tank instead. [laughter] >> there's nothing wrong with thinkingthink tank. >> he talked about the primary title but not as much as a secretary. you talk about the fracturing and reconstructing of a family. and also this year, you talk about the fracturing in the reconstruction of civil institution, and the united states. how much per lot to see in each
6:20 am
other's books and each of the sinkings? >> when i was reading the beginning of michael's book, one of the first things that occurred to me was the parallel, i was working on alienated america and charlottesville attack happened, the guy who drove the car and try to kill the people, he grew up in a couple different places without a father. and so that is a very skeleton of this. >> he's comparing me too white nationalist. i want to make that clear. >> and certainly not. >> the collapse for marriage is due to an erosion of strong
6:21 am
community and not always easy to find it. and so michael's mother said i need to give her something else, american society today especially suburban new jersey in new york does not necessarily provide the info structure to build a family and the way that some places, 30 years before the wright neighborhood in philly, you're born to a single mother, you're right there and things are taken care. it's not as easy as in the 1980s. she gives him ireland. which is an american irish activist group i thought the books were parallel you looked
6:22 am
at the institution of civil society and i was looking more closely at the relationships in the home and since i joke to people, your book was a meditation on burke's little platoons in mind was on ideas society of a contract between the living, dead and unborn. the experience that i write about in the book, write about that it primed you for the skepticism that was generous in the '90s about authorities, institutions, real purpose because the primal fact of your life is that someone who supposedly owed you in his time and attention and care and affection felt free to absent himself in some intimates away. it is my belief, i try to narrow
6:23 am
this, but my children reconnected me too my father, my deceased mother into this national tradition, it does so in a vivid way in my particular case given the circumstances i was born into. but i think it's true on a general level for society the societies without the children are more humble before the past and more active and are forced to make these character building sacrifices for the future. >> i think both books are combination of the modern project, a lot of people for left and right sandifer, and moving up the particularity of the prejudices of the past and towards something more general and universal, i used to work
6:24 am
the rats in disinherited, an introduction, but we don't need these roots, the inability to see the difference between stuckness and rootedness is very big modern problem, and we hear people saying, but we need to do in the modern economy is get people to move up and move on to some place else, sometimes that is right. i think that is what is right is the same project that we need to move, become more secular and mature, we need to move beyond the things that are dividing they also make us belong to something. you remove the things that are dividing us, you're removing our ability on a human level. >> this project of liberation, it is not just about constraints
6:25 am
of the prejudices in the past, what i'm trained to say, it is literally an attempt to liberate deliberation ideas to liberate people not just from prejudice of the parents but to the duties to the children and i don't think it's a stretch to say that this is not just an obstruction, you saying i don't have enough respect for history, it's just part of it, but ultimately we see the liberationist movements are refusal to children, a portion of unwanted children and euthanasia of the old, it manifests itself that's the shame of trent escape and that i
6:26 am
borrow from pierce that he gave that is why a bar for the modern day. it's an interesting distinction in this book, this book is about self-realization but it's a very specific kind, it's about finding yourself, it's not about inventing herself. it is interesting, the way the father in this book dragged into this project. at the beginning it is clear that michael is trained to build a bridge and there is a risk of creating an oven. but it's interesting how at the end of the book, i think this is a gradual thing, he actually emerges as a member of the
6:27 am
cynical generation against whom michael is so harsh in so many ways. it's a book about reconciliation but within the reconciliation there are still ongoing areas of contention that strikes me. it's an attempt, i talk about an introduction as to rebuild home for my children in the letters or invitations to my father to get into the game as it were. and he takes it first on the civil with his children and i think the hope of the book is addressing it to him and his personal way as someone i want to love not just to condemn an abomination it invites the
6:28 am
freedom to talk between a generation of millennial's who felt in some ways our summer baby boomer appearance abandoned us. not just literally but by absentee their judgment and authority from culture. >> we have time for one last question we will take those to write their back to back. the more into them after we get both of them. >> the customer for coming, this is a very interesting book, i was wondering, given the language that use that was used at the. the 1960 rebellion's, rediscovery of manhood, where does that leave women in the story and more portly, what does nationalist project offer or not offer women particular given the history in spain right now
6:29 am
there's a nationalist movement whether the rallying cries against violence against women that they do not like. how do you reconcile that tension that might leave women cannot support these kind of projects? i'll give this question, and michael might answer whatever he thanks. two that was a great question. my question is, is there something distinctive about the political character of irish-americans that the rest of us should be aware of and be observant of? >> the first question first, in 1916 the rebels were joined, i mentioned the irish volunteers with irish citizens army, but there's also common which is a militant of women's movement and
6:30 am
included many jets and others in fact the first woman elected was constance who comes out of that movement she is another during in romantic figure in the moment and much love even today in commemorations of centennial. one thing that was not as noted in the centennial's commemorating her was that after the rising, after her election and she abstained from taking her seat like irish republicans did, she cited the memory of seeing the boys outfit praying the rosary as a factor in her conversion to kabbalah schism. she was not the only protestant or unbeliever who was caught up
6:31 am
in this moment the found herself afterward converting. the irish state "after words" that was founded "after words", many feminists complain and it started divorce became much stricter in ireland that was in the united kingdom. so you have to contrary to myth with a 1916 includes lots of liberationist and feminist of that time but the state-funded is dominated by catholic institutions into his question about the political character of irish-americans, watch your wallet. [laughter] in a moments battle, we will
6:32 am
think of the old sod. one of the things i think about, the fenian ruminant in the united states where hundreds of union soldiers, union civil war soldiers just after the war and list themselves in the irish republican brotherhood insane plan of invading canada to ranson for irish freedom another doomed rebellion. it's actually in a weight defeating the canadian national. it would not be bad to do a repeat of that work i think. >> when i was studying, there is a class called the guardian class, is represented like dogs their loyalty and willingness to attack. i had a professor who once said
6:33 am
to a mixed group, sometimes i think plato was purchasing irish-american classics. and they looked at me as i might take that as an insult and i took it as a compliment. again, outside we have a reception it's usually just whining cheese, this time i was told we have wine and beer, i'd add whiskey but the washington, d.c. is keeping us down and will happen. more importantly for sale outside and on amazon and anywhere books are sold my father left ireland, most people will say as john mccormick put a trinket down, it's brilliant. thank you all for coming and everybody please thank chris and michael. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
6:34 am
6:35 am
>> good evening and welcome. we are delighted to have jacqueline jackson and jesse jackson junior. first it is my pleasure to introduce to you


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on