Friday, June 13, 2008

Ireland Sticks a Fork in Plans for EU Power Grab; Tells Elitists in Brussels to Pound Sand [UPDATED]

Erin go bragh!
DUBLIN, Ireland - Ireland's voters have rejected the European Union reform treaty, a blueprint for modernizing the 27-nation bloc that cannot become law without Irish approval, electoral officials said Friday.

In a major blow to the EU, 53.4 percent of Irish voters said no to the treaty. Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen now will join other EU leaders at a summit next week to try to negotiate a new way forward.

Anti-treaty groups from the far left and right mobilized "no" voters by claiming that the treaty would empower EU chiefs in Brussels, Belgium, to force Ireland to change core policies — including its low business tax rates, its military neutrality and its ban on abortion.

Rural and working-class areas were almost universally anti-treaty. Better-off parts of Dublin registered stronger support for the EU. In suburban south Dublin, a largely wealthy and highly educated district, the "yes" camp triumphed with 63 percent of the vote. But a neighboring, scruffier district voted 65 percent "no."

Anti-treaty pressure groups warned that the EU would use treaty powers to reduce Ireland's ability to control its own tax rates and maintain a ban on abortion...
(emphasis added)

My Comments:
We'll soon be seeing stories about the "ungrateful" Irish who have "taken advantage" of EU economic development projects in order to fuel their "Celtic Tiger" economy, but who have now "betrayed" that investment in their well-being by turning their backs on the rest of Europe.

But it's not like the rest of Europe haven't benefited from Ireland's development into an economic power.

UPDATE (15 June)
What other blogs are saying about the Irish vote:
Prolife Victory in Ireland at The Truth About Margaret Sanger (with lots of links to the responses at several other blogs, which I therefore will not list here)

Did the Irish save civilization again? at From Burke to Kirk and Beyond ...

How The Irish Saved Civilization - AGAIN! at Island Breezes

All Hail the Irish! at What's Wrong with the World

Treaty of Lisbon: "The Irish Save Civilization", Part II? at Against the Grain
The general reaction to the Irish vote seems to be overwhelmingly positive, with many alluding to Thomas Cahill's best-selling book from over a decade ago titled How the Irish Saved Civilization.

But then there's this reaction, which responds to my post (as the blogger in question is wont to do) with labeling and questioning of motives.


I'll be sure and call up my cousins in Ennis, Co. Clare (with whom I've had the pleasure of staying on a couple of my visits to Ireland, and with whom I correspond fairly regularly), and chastise them for their "Americanism" in voting down this latest effort at re-colonizing their country and re-imposing foreign rule.

And just to stir the blood a bit, here's my post from last year on the anniversary of the death of Ireland's greatest modern-day hero (and devotee of G.K. Chesterton), Michael Collins. By the way, the blogger above who took issue with this post also took issue with that one, as well.

Seems Tony has a problem whenever the Irish get too "uppity".

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At 6/13/2008 7:28 PM, Blogger Tito Edwards said...

On a more supernatural level, it was the Irish that saved most of Europe from the grip ignorance and depravity with their missionaries. Europe should be thanking Ireland for showing them the light of Christ.

At 6/13/2008 8:46 PM, Blogger Defund Abortion Guy said...

Tito, you are exactly right. And I was glad to see Investors Business Daily recognize that today:

The Irish had the nerve to vote "no" on the 287 pages of gobbledygook called the Lisbon Treaty. But fanatical Eurocrats, eager to take what's left of sovereignty from Europe's nations, won't let democracy stop them.


Many centuries ago, Irish monks saved Europe from itself by preserving the moral and intellectual foundations of civilization. Unfortunately, the continental powers are unlikely to let the Irish save Europe from itself a second time

At 6/14/2008 10:51 AM, Blogger Morning's Minion said...

Funny that you guys are aligning yourself with the Marxist left, the terrorists, the lunatic fright fringe, and a shady unknown businessman with ties to the US defense industry against all mainsteam opinion. Abp. Martin of Dublin said clearly that the treaty would have zero impact on abortion in Ireland, and that it reflected Christian humanist values (even withouitg a direct reference Europe's Christian history). Of course, he did not tell people how to vote, but also said that try ti understand the treaty and not use it as a protest vote.

For that is what happened. People felt insufficiently informed. For thoswe Americans lauding the result, decrying a federal Europe, I assume they will now be pushing for the disbandment of the US armed forces.

At 6/14/2008 9:56 PM, Anonymous SB said...

Whence comes this fetish for the majority? Apparently if 51% of the people approve of something, and one can come up lots of ad hominems about the 49%, then the 51% must be morally and intellectually correct, and no other reason need be given. Hmmm. I can't agree with that approach to any issue.

Moreover, why should anyone care whether Ireland approved? Did Ireland have a veto? If not, how is life expected to get worse in Ireland? What difference does this make? Be concrete, if possible.

At 6/14/2008 10:50 PM, Anonymous Victor said...

then the 51% must be morally and intellectually correct

I don't believe Jay said that.

It is undoubtedly the case that those of us cheered by this vote are saying "the people spoke" (and this has happened to "Europe" on every occasion that the people have been "allowed" to vote). But that's only because the EU-pushers have an anti-demos fetish, a contempt for the populace and an infallible sense of their own (self-)righteousness. Unless you think government legitimacy has nothing whatever to do with consent, contempt for the EU-pushers is entirely rational.

But that doesn't mean that whatever 51 percent want becomes, on that basis, sanctified (where could anyone ever get THAT idea?) It is the case that 51 percent (or some pre-agreed-on supermajority) will get what they want in politics based on whatever arguments will convince that 51 percent to coalesce into being. But "a right to rule" is not at all the same thing as "morally and intellectually correct."

Did Ireland have a veto?

Every nation had a veto. The treaty only took effect if all nations ratified.

But only Ireland had an unbreakable constitutional requirement for a referendum; in the rest, parliamentary passage was sufficient. (The Eurocrats rigged those rules after what happened to Maastricht persuaded them that the people had no right to do anything other than agree with what the Eurocrats told them ... reason enough to reject any changes with the stamp "EU-approved" on them.)

At 6/14/2008 10:51 PM, Blogger Donald R. McClarey said...

"Funny that you guys are aligning yourself with the Marxist left, the terrorists, the lunatic fright fringe, and a shady unknown businessman with ties to the US defense industry against all mainsteam opinion."

Gee, those poor unwashed Hibernian peasants just didn't know that the EU was good for them. They just aren't capable of deciding that they would rather rule themselves rather than by Brussels. Oh well, as London can attest, the Irish stubborn streak against being ruled by outsiders is of long standing.

At 6/15/2008 12:31 AM, Blogger Morning's Minion said...

Donald, read what the Irish bishops had to say before you bring your Americanist perspective into it.

At 6/15/2008 5:59 AM, Blogger Donald R. McClarey said...

Actually Tony I am bringing my perspective as someone who has Irish blood on both sides of my family. It would be odd for Ireland to give up its independence less than a century after it was purchased at a very high cost in centuries of blood. As to America you were the one that compared the EU to our federal union, a comparison I think which highlights differences rather than similarities. It will be interesting now if citizens in other nations in Europe will compel their governments to subject this to popular vote.

At 6/15/2008 8:01 AM, Anonymous SB said...

Victor -- I was questioning Morning's Minion, whose approach seemed to suggest that the treaty was right because it was "mainstream" (whatever that means) and because the opponents are bad guys (bad guys = anyone who opposes).

At 6/15/2008 11:05 AM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

"... some US Catholics (the usual suspects) ..."

Tony A,

I'm not sure what that's supposed to mean, but I'm sure you meant it charitably. NOT.

So, I say this to you from the bottom of my heart:


At 6/15/2008 12:28 PM, Anonymous Victor said...

Victor -- I was questioning Morning's Minion, whose approach seemed to suggest that the treaty was right because it was "mainstream" (whatever that means) and because the opponents are bad guys (bad guys = anyone who opposes).

Ah ... OK.

But I must add that it didn't read way from what you wrote -- e.g., using the noun "51 percent" and saying that they can demagogue and name-call and thereby become right. In this case, "51 percent" voted against the treaty (actually, 53 percent, but the point is the same -- "the majority"), and MM's explanation for why the treaty lost is demagoguery by anti-treaty people (i.e., the majority).

That he himself did nothing but name-call in his initial post, and his use of "mainstream" refers to "the 49 percent" (i.e., the majority are out of the mainstream ... TRY to say that three times without laughing) is merely a reflection of his usual stunning incoherence and breathtakingly self-righteous arrogance.

At 6/15/2008 1:36 PM, Anonymous SB said...

I should have said, "Whence comes this fetish for the mainstream?"

At 6/15/2008 3:48 PM, Blogger Morning's Minion said...

None of you here is Irish. You are all 120 percent American, and heavily influenced by Americanism. The people in Ireland do not think like you (hint: look at how they see Bush...). They would also not see you as Irish, but as American. Trust me. You have no idea who you are arguing with here. I find this attempt to identify with the country I grew up in rather amusing.

And on democracy: Ireland has 4 million people. The EU has 500 million. How democratic is it for such a small group to be able to exert veto power? Can we get over the fetish of the nation state?

And, Jay, I said what I said because you are so out of sync with the tone and content of the Irish bishops' rhetoric. They are the competent authority here.

I also recall you once saying something to the effect that when we want Europe's opinion, we will ask for it (I think on gun control). That sentiment can work both ways.

At 6/15/2008 5:16 PM, Blogger Donald R. McClarey said...

"How democratic is it for such a small group to be able to exert veto power? Can we get over the fetish of the nation state?"

You don't have an ounce of patriotism in your soul Tony so you do not understand people who do. A majority of the Irish clearly wish to rule themselves and do not wish to cede that task to the EU. Sorry Tony, the EU as a socialist empire is probably going to remain a power hungry bureaucrat's dream:

At 6/15/2008 5:38 PM, Blogger Darwin said...

I don't see how supporting the Irish people's rejection of the people is "Americanist" when it is, apparently, the opinion of 53% of the Irish people. (Except, of course, the MM would like to hold comments on this blog in even greater contempt than he holds 53% of Irishmen.) And is it really appropriate to call the majority of the populace the lunatic fringe?

Nor is it clear to me why rejecting greater EU power is analogous to dissolving the US into states. The EU is made up of nations which are currently independent and sovereign. If those nations want to stay that way (and see greater EU centralization as a problem) what's wrong with that?

For myself, I cannot see why anyone other than one with an unwavering devotion to technocratic administration would have any interest in turning the EU from what it currently is into something that more resembles a federal state. Of course, for those who are unwavering technocrats...

At 6/15/2008 5:43 PM, Blogger Donald R. McClarey said...

"And on democracy: Ireland has 4 million people. The EU has 500 million."

Well Tony, I am sure you will then back up or down popular votes on the Lisbon treaty by each of the sovereign nations of the EU, as Euro-skeptics in each of these nations have been calling for?

At 6/15/2008 6:04 PM, Blogger Darwin said...

Actually, now I think about it, maybe I'm selling MM short. There is, after all, a precedent for a Catholic pan-European supra-state.

All we need to do is find a Hapsburg somewhere, conduct some state marriages, and then conquer the rest of Europe. I believe we even have some good prayer intentions for the Holy Roman Emperor to be re-introduced into the universal Roman rite.

Of course, these operations usually seem to result in ethnic cleansing in northern Europe, war between England and the continent, and wars against Islam -- but who can make an omelette without breaking a few eggs? Certainly, returning to an empire run via war and state marriage would get rid of all these embarrassing little exercises in democracy.

I presume you're on board for all this, MM? This, after all, the true European tradition. And then perhaps the New Holy Roman Empire could really challenge "Americanist hegemony". I'm all for. We could use an interesting change in world politics.

At 6/15/2008 6:17 PM, Anonymous crankycon said...

The people in Ireland do not think like you

And yet we stupid Americans seem to actually be closer in thinking to the Irish than an Irishman himself. Kinda funny.

But when your ultimate devotion is to a potential one world state rather than one's country, it kind of makes sense. After all, who are these miserable little pissants who actually stayed behind in their own country to dictate to their enlightened betters in Europe?

At 6/15/2008 7:49 PM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

"None of you here is Irish. You are all 120 percent American, and heavily influenced by Americanism."

Maybe I'll give my cousins in Ennis a call and see if my opinion matches theirs. I'll bet it does. If so, I'll be sure and chastise those Sons of Erin for their "Americanism".

At 6/15/2008 8:28 PM, Blogger Morning's Minion said...

First, nobody is addressing the fact that you are diverging from the Irish bishops. Donald's view of the EU as socialist empire speaks only to his ideological American prejudices. Read the pastoral letter.

Second, you seem to have no idea why people voted no. It does not have much to do with nationalist feeling (though I'm sure that's what motivated Sinn Fein-- but these ex-terrorist bastards a distinct minority). It failed because- as a largely procedural treaty-- people did not understand it. It failed because Fianna Fail did a horrible job campaigning, ignoring the "no" crowd, and assuming they would carry the day wiothout bothering to explain the treaty. Nobody likes being taken for granted. It faile because-- even though the bishops said they should not do this-- people used this as a referendum on the Cowen government at a time of economic uncertainty. It failed because the scaremongers basically told lies--taxes would increase, abortion would be forced on Ireland (again, the bishops said this was BS), and Ireland would lose its neutrality and be forced into NATO or some European army (I'm sure you understand how important the last point is in Ireland). And it failed because some people, regretably, don't like the influx of foreigners coming into Ireland. Oh-- and we still need to find out the American connection-- the unknown businesman with the American accent with ties to the US defense industry- nobody knows what was going here, or why-- but this guy was well funded.

So, there you have it. NOte that the "no" campaigners all made clear they were pro-EU.

At 6/15/2008 8:32 PM, Blogger Morning's Minion said...


One of my heroes is Pope Benedict XV, for his strident attempts to end the great war, and his foresight with the failures of Versailles. Benedict was quite favorable to the Hapsburg empire. I am basically neutral on that one-- I am not wedded to the democratic nation state (which has become an idol), but nor I am a monarchist in the spirit of some of my Vox Nova colleagues.

I will say this: the modern EU is a direct resulty of the great Christian humanist tradition of Erasmus and Thomas More. It was their dream, and it was given birth by a tri of great Catholic thinkers- Adenauer, Schuman, and De Gespari-- in line with core principles of Catholic social teaching like solidarity and subsidiarity. In other words, whatever you think of it today, the birth of the EU owes far more to Catholicism than the birth of the US-- which is a direct outcome of Protestant Enlightenment thinking.

At 6/15/2008 8:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


There is nothing Catholic about the EU, and you know it. You are just trying to justify your hatred for America. You are a Leftist Fruit-loop who has no concept of Democracy freedom or Human Rights. Respect the views of the real Irish and the real Europeans and stop hiding behind Leftist EU non-sense. You are a disgrace to your country and you talk mostly about non-sense.


At 6/15/2008 9:43 PM, Blogger Donald R. McClarey said...

"Donald's view of the EU as socialist empire speaks only to his ideological American prejudices."

Actually Tony it speaks to my ability to read. The EU, as it has developed, is government of the eurocrats, by the eurocrats and for the eurocrats.

What I am saying of course has been said over and over again by Euro-skeptics throughout the would-be domain of the EU.

The Irish vote will allow the Euro-skeptics to press for popular votes in other countries. Of course this will be fought tooth and claw by the proponents of the EU. The last thing they want is for the people of each country to vote yes or no.

At 6/15/2008 9:55 PM, Anonymous crankycon said...

the birth of the EU owes far more to Catholicism than the birth of the US-- which is a direct outcome of Protestant Enlightenment thinking.

Tony, I say this with all due respect - your understanding of American history is much worse than the rest of the commenters' understanding of European politics. If you are going to lecture people about their ignorance, than making comments like the above is probably not the best approach.

At 6/15/2008 10:04 PM, Anonymous crankycon said...

Sorry, I realize I owe you (MM) more than a simple "you're wrong" on what you said about the respective creations of the EU and America, but it's kind of late and I don't want to get into an in depth discussion of the topic. Needless to say I think you overrate the influence of the so-called Protestant Enlightenment. Obviously the early Americans were themselves not Catholics, but and they were influenced by non-Catholic European writers. But the English Enlightenment figures were certainly more "Catholic" in thought than their French counterparts. I think if you learn a little bit more about the creation of the American republic, you might be less keen towards your reflexive "it's all Calvinism" retort.

I am not as knowledgeable about the political theory behind the EU, but it seems that on face value you might be overrating the supposed Catholic influence. Simply noting that some of the key figures behind the creation of the EU happened to be Catholic hardly signifies that it itself is a Catholic creation.

At 6/15/2008 10:06 PM, Blogger Darwin said...


Despite my somewhat mocking tone, I don't have anything particularly against the Hapsburgs. Indeed, if Franz Ferdinand or Charles I had had much to say about the matter, perhaps the disaster of the Great War would never have happened.

My point was rather that if we wanted to have a European supra-national structure, there is indeed a Catholic way to do that which has historical roots, and the EU is most definitely not it.

Now, I do share with you a desire to see Europe remain peaceful, and to see it resolve differences between regions or nations via diplomacy rather than the wars to which it has been all too prone in its long history. However, I'm not entirely clear why we need to see the EU as the answer to that need.

Instead, the EU, to the extent that I've studied the issue (which I won't pretend is nearly as deeply as some have) seems to spring mainly from the desire to a) centralize European political and economic power enough to provide a counter-weight to the US, and b) provide a venue for those who imagine that a centralized technocratic regime is the best way to assure this-that-and-the-other-thing to attempt to satisfy their desire.

Not being deeply enthusiastic for either of these goals, I see not reason to be enthusiastic for the EU.

At 6/15/2008 10:47 PM, Blogger Morning's Minion said...


Point taken. And I admit that my knowledge of early American history could be better. But I share with conservative thinkers like Elizabeth Anscombe a healthy suspicion of Enlightenment-era values, which basically replaced the law of God with a social contact based on the freedom of each individual (and modern-daty left and right are in the same boat here). I see much of that in the founding of the USA and its penchant for individualism-- now, I admit that this lacks nuance, and my comparison with the founding of Europe was meant more as a retort to the anti-EU crowd than as any kind of definitive assessment!

At 6/16/2008 6:46 AM, Anonymous crankycon said...


I would just say, as I've said countless times in other forums, that the "Enlightenment" wasn't just one thing. It incorporated radically different viewpoints, and the Enlightenment philosophers that the Americans read, who were mainly British, were much less hostile to religion than their French counterparts. They were certainly individualistic from a certain perspective, so I'll grant you that, but they also understand the importance of concepts like virtue and the need for religion in civil society.

At 6/16/2008 6:53 AM, Blogger Donald R. McClarey said...

Hmmm, looks like the Eurocrats are facing a Czech as well as an Irish rebellion:

"Czech president Vaclav Klaus, who is supported by the country's largest political party, called the Irish referendum vote a "victory of freedom and reason" and said "ratification cannot continue".

His view was echoed in the Czech senate."

At 6/16/2008 7:24 AM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

"Czech president Vaclav Klaus, who is supported by the country's largest political party, called the Irish referendum vote a "victory of freedom and reason" and said "ratification cannot continue".

You can find "Americanists" in the strangest places.


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