Friday, September 17, 2021

Back to School

Not much time for blogging recently, as term has begun again in UCD and it's all systems go (to use one of my favourite clichés).

Once again I'm reminded of how lucky I am to work in a university library. Not only was it a safe job during the pandemic, when so many other people were losing theirs', but it fits my temper exceedingly well.

I love how self-contained a university is; a little society in itself. I always feel a frisson when I pass the gates with the three flags flying outside; the tricolour, the UCD flag, and the E.U. flag. (Although I'm an Irish nationalist I dislike the tricolour aesthetically, and conversely I like the E.U. flag aesthetically despite my Euroscepticism.)

A few days ago I wrote an article for the Burkean (an online journal run by students) entitled: "The Long Defeat: A Further Defence of Conservatism". You can read it here. It's part of an ongoing debate I've been having in the virtual pages of the Burkean. It originally began with my article In Defence of Conservatism, which appeared last November. In December, an article by one Donnachadh O'Neill. "Rebuking Conservatism", appeared as a counter-blast. Then, to my considerable surprise, my article was mentioned several times in an article that appeared nine months later, "Does Conservatism Pave the Way for Progressivism?", by Paul Gregory.

Both replies were quite stinging-- according to Mr. Gregory, my article "highlights the mental decay of a mind infected with the pernicious, debilitating, mind-virus of conservatism"!

I don't mind one little bit, though. I love this kind of back-and-forth. I love writing about writing, speech about speech. I love analysis and interpretation and exegesis and criticism and even, God help us, dialogue.

I suspect some of my readers might agree more with Mr. O'Neill and Mr. Gregory than with me. That's OK.

Finally, I've been watching (or half-listening to) BBC coverage of the 1970 General Election, which somebody uploaded to YouTube. Being both an anglophile and a lover of the seventies, it's fascinating to me. There's many, many points of interest, not least of which is a Labour candidate (Albert Roberts) who was an outspoken admirer of Franco!


  1. Maybe he didn't take to the reference to your horror story; assumedly he knows what a horror story the French Revolution was. I can remember years ago the Dominican friar editor of ALIVE paper commenting after reading an columnist in a secular daily, who claimed that his publication messed up her head every month,but that she felt one happy spark from the mention of St Philomena in a recent edition(apparently due to memories of a friend of this name), ironically the very devotion some clergy would frown upon. He claimed feeling more energized than ever that heads like hers were being to messed up.

    It's a bit hard quite get this Burkean writer's point. Obviously the whole theme of conservatism is big and a bit hard to sum up.

    1. Yes, it's an enormous subject and I feel I am trying to swat a swarm of gnat in answering (and anticipating) all the objections!

      I once heard a story, from one of my colleagues in the library, that when one of our librarians received a donated copy of Alive! in the post, she threw it on the floor and jumped up and down on it in rage. I am sure Fr. McKevitt would smile at that...