Every country is an Organised Hypocrisy to some degree. Countries have aspirations and stated principles, which more often than not, contrast with a grim reality - - at least in democracies today, there is an opportunity for some rebalancing.
Thomas Jefferson, America's third president and a cruel slave master, who had penned the line in the 1776 Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal..." fathered at least six children with his slave Sally Hemings but he regarded them as sub-human, while Karl Marx a German philosopher, who had seen the grim existence for workers in Germany and Britain in the first century of the industrial revolution, would not have expected to become the god of brutal dictatorships that crushed the human spirit in the twentieth century.
The revelation that 796 babies died in a facility run by a religious order in Tuam, County Galway over 36 years, is shocking even after the litany of stories of abuse in recent decades.
Two sectarian states had developed in Ireland from the 1920's and in the South, behind the veneer of "republican principles," conservative elites held power and brooked little opposition.
In the Irish Times in 2009, the late journalist Mary Raftery wrote on Mr Justice Seán Ryan's report on decades of child abuse in Ireland: "It's is quite simply a devastating report. It is a monument to the shameful nature of Irish society throughout most of the decades of the 20th century, and arguably even today."
In the 1980s when my wife and I adopted the first of our two children from the Philippines, a woman from Tuam told us that a neighbour of hers who had adopted a child years before, was on the way out of mass from the cathedral on a Sunday morning when another woman asked her: "How could you leave a stranger's child into your house?"
Ireland was very conservative then and it remains generally conservative today but while the Catholic Church allowed itself become part of the colonial establishment in the nineteenth century, why in the early decades of the State were the revolutionaries who had used violence to force the timetable on Home Rule, so spineless when they achieved power?
A Civil War was fought for what in reality?
According to Dáil Éireann records, in the ten years to 1946, the industrial school system, which was the focus of the Ryan Report, held an annual average of more than 6,000 children - - 90% of whom were in custody because their families were "destitute."
Both Deputy James Dillon and Deputy Alfie Byrne, a former Lord Mayor of Dublin, sought to have a provision for a medical and psychological examination of children before their committal to the industrial and reformatory school system.
When positive examples of the way children were provided for in Glasgow and a number of American cities were referred to, Thomas Derrig, De Valera’s minister of education, found the comparison objectionable and said: "It is really painful to hear the case made here that there is some psychological disease or other in the City of Dublin, just because clinics have been established in Chicago or Detroit, or some other city. Where is the comparison between conditions in the Catholic City of Dublin and in the City of Chicago? There is no comparison."
In the industrial schools, as they are entirely private institutions, run by the managers, I cannot interfere; it is entirely a domestic question.
I do not know whether that is the position or not - - that teachers who get married have to resign."
Education and health was effectively privatised in the new state and following the defeat of Éamon de Valera's Fianna Fáil in 1948, Dr Noel Browne, the young minister for health in the new government, proposed an urgent anti-tuberculosis programme and his other focus was on reducing child mortality by introducing free ante-and post- natal care for mothers and extending free health treatment for all children under 16 without a means test. However, the medical profession feared that their incomes would be threatened while conservative Catholic members of the Cabinet were believed to be influenced by the bishops who feared the scheme would lead to family planning and contraception.
The Catholic bishops however did not take a public position on the issue but the divided coalition government collapsed in 1951.
In 1973, the year of joining the then European Economic Community, the Irish Supreme Court ruled that the law prohibiting the importation of contraceptives for personal use, as unconstitutional. It took the politicians another 20 years to properly reform it - starting with the requirement of a doctor's prescription to buy condoms in a pharmacy to a taoiseach (prime minister) voting against his own government's Bill on the issue.
An organised hypocrisy
On March 17, 1845, Benjamin Disraeli, a future British prime minister, opposed his own party leadership and declared: "A Conservative government is an organised hypocrisy" - - a criticism of Prime Minister Robert Peel's abandonment of the protectionist policies on which his government had been elected.
Disraeli also opposed the Maynooth Bill, which provided for an increase in government's financial assistance to the Irish seminary. During a speech in 1844, he had said that Ireland had a starving population, an alien church, and the weakest executive in the world.
England, he said, was the cause of misery in Ireland.
Disraeli had come some distance from a decade before when he prompted a torrent of invective from Daniel O'Connell, Ireland's greatest parliamentarian: "I can find no harsher epithets in the English language by which to convey the utter abhorrence which I entertain for such a reptile. He is just fit now, after being twice discarded by the people, to become a Conservative. He possesses all the necessary requisites of perfidy, selfishness, depravity, want of principle, etc., which would qualify him for the change. His name shows that he is of Jewish origin.
Also in 1845, his government introduced the Irish Colleges Bill, which provided for the establishment of non-denominational universities in Belfast, Cork and Galway.
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