Justin Barrett Hates Democracy If You don’t believe me, believe him:
|A screenshot from Justin Barrett’s personal Twitter.|
Barrett’s language indicates anti-democratic, anti-pluralist tendencies:
Who is Barrett referring to when he says “ancestors”? Daniel O’Connell certainly fought for Ireland’s right to be counted in a representative democracy as he rallied the Irish people for Catholic emancipation. O’Connell fought for “civil rights, elections, a country run by peaceful parliamentary democracy rather than the gun.” Justin Barrett is attempting to shape the reality of history for his own ends. But O’Connell is a towering figure in Irish history, as he literally towers over the main thoroughfare on the north side of the Liffey.
Does O’Connell not count because he didn’t die for this cause? Are the only important Irish patriots the ones who employed violence? If so, this is a very telling aspect of Barrett’s outlook on politics. He is trying to impose his own version of reality on you.
Also problematic and anti-democratic is Barrett’s use of the pronoun “us.” He opposes democratic pluralism and immigration, so the “us” in his rhetoric refers to people he identifies as ethnically Irish, and who also support him. This is the volkish view of the nation. Excluding the majority of the people of Ireland from his definition of “us” is the type of radical populism that opposes traditional democratic politics that rely on political parties as their foundation. Indeed, for Barrett, parties do not matter–only his followers matter. For that reason, I refer to him as Ceannaire Barrett on Twitter.
And yet Barrett and the National Party, as well as O’Doherty’s Anti-Corruption Ireland and the Irish Freedom Party, are all contesting elections. Given his views on democracy, what does Barrett intend to do were his party to win an electoral majority? Given his fascist-type nationalism and his overt rebuke of democracy as a betrayal of the Irish Volk, as well as his opposition to traditional institutions such as political parties and a loyal opposition (you can hear that rhetoric in his speeches), we have a pretty darned good idea.
Mussolini also hated democracy. He thought democracy made states weak–which is part of why fascists fetishized the fit male body and national “virility.” In the words of Il Duce: “We have buried the putrid corpse of liberty!”
That is what the National Party and Gemma O’Doherty/ACI want: to subvert the will of the people, because the people of Ireland are not “the Irish people,” as Barrett explicitly stated in one of his speeches. The majority of Irish people oppose their agenda. They oppose racism. They oppose a reactionary Leave It to Beaver trip back to the 1950s. They voted for abortion rights and same-sex marriage. They support membership in the European Union.
Barrett, O’Doherty and their ilk cannot handle this reality and so they try to blame “fake news” or manipulation by Google for the current state of affairs, rather than acknowledging what the democratic institutions of Ireland have created through the will of the people. Barrett’s Volk supports his vision of Ireland: Catholic, ethnically Irish (whatever that means), and authoritarian.
Take the threat of Ceannaire Barrett seriously; do not laugh at him as ridiculous. He knows what he’s doing.
Laura Weinstein blogs @ Irish Maven. Follow her on Twitter @Irish_Dr_Laura.