Last Monday night I went to sleep in the Republic of Ireland; on Tuesday morning I woke up in the Democratic People’s Republic of Ireland.
On Tuesday writer and columnist Kevin Myers appeared on Ireland’s most popular morning radio programme atoning for his speech crimes. He dutifully rattled off what were no doubt carefully prepared soundbites, soundbites the official censors approved of.
Most will remember the tragic case of the US student Otto Warmbier, put on show trial in North Korea for stealing a sign, then subsequently beaten to within an inch of his life, an inch that was lost a few weeks later. Standing before the party apparatchiks he denounced himself and his behaviour praising the fairness of the DPRK’s judicial system.
Of course, Ireland is a more civilised place. If you promptly denounce yourself you can get away with merely a metaphorical beating in the media and online. In a penitential declaration that would make most confession-going Catholics blush, he stated “I am the author of that article, I am the author of my own misfortunes, I am the master of my soul,” adding “I must answer for what I have done.”
What had he done?
Exactly what was written, exactly what these speech crimes were remains unknown to but a few antiquated types who still receive their news in paper form, and a handful of early bird Times subscribers who caught the article before it was taken down. Having scoured the internet the column is nowhere to be found but for a few obscure blogs. Much like articles chucked down the memory hole by Winston Smith, it will never be seen again; for all intents and purposes it never existed. Challenging orthodoxy cannot and will not be tolerated.
Cherry-picked snippets remain in the thousands of articles written by the scribbling classes eager to attack and destroy their colleague. Any person familiar with Myers’s work knows that context and a full reading of the piece are needed before judgement is passed. Many years ago in an article written for the Irish Independent (which has also disappeared down the memory hole but was saved for posterity on the same blog as above) he stated that he was a Holocaust denier, going on to say that, “…six million Jews were not murdered by the Third Reich.” He then went on to criticise the very use of the term Holocaust.
Now given these sentences, extensively quoted in the press, you would rightly think he was a thoroughly repugnant historical revisionist in the same league as David Irving. Yet if the article was read in full it would be apparent nothing could be further from the truth.
The article was written regarding a story that emerged at the time about an excommunicated Holocaust-denying Catholic Bishop Richard Williamson. Myers, making a tongue-in-cheek point about accuracy and free speech (ironically), made the pedantic point that he was almost certain exactly 6,000,000 Jews were not murdered in the Holocaust and that it could have easily been 5,999,999 or 6,000,001. In this way, he stated he was a Holocaust denier as he disputed the official number of 6,000,000 and could arguably be thrown into prison in many European countries as a result.
He criticised the mass murder being called a Holocaust because Holocaust directly translated refers to burning and, making another pedantic point, he asserted this is not strictly accurate because hundreds of thousands of Jews were shot and buried. Was this an ill-advised method of making his point? Perhaps. However he did not deny the deaths of millions of Jews in a Fascist attempt to wipe out European Jewry. In fact, he explicitly stated that millions of Jews were murdered.
Why else would the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland come to his defence, stating that calling him, “either an anti-Semite or a Holocaust denier is an absolute distortion of the facts.” Myers is also known to be one of the few defenders of Israel in the Irish press, which is more than can be said for the majority of the commentators that lambasted him. Note their names and read their opinions the next time Israel is forced to act on a renewed Hamas offensive. See what Philo-Semites they are then.
The stereotype used by Myers depicting Jews as industrious and able to drive a hard bargain was no more racist than Max Weber’s, “the Protestant work ethic and the spirit of capitalism”, which convincingly argued why Protestant countries historically tended to fare better economically than Catholic ones.
In the Channel 4 documentary, “things we won’t say about race that are true”, presented by Trevor Phillips (former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission) it was clearly stated that Jewish people fared better financially than other groups. This does not imply that there is some great scheming Jewish cabal controlling the media and business, no more than Weber’s book suggested that Protestants secretly ruled the world. The few crackpots who believe this are denounced by all sides; they are genuinely anti-Semitic.
If the mob had made any attempt to understand Myers’s point they would have seen he was arguing for women in the workplace to be more forceful when negotiating. It is a well-documented business fact that women tend to undervalue themselves while men tend to overvalue themselves. His other points about men working harder, (working longer would perhaps be more accurate), taking fewer sick days and not getting pregnant can all be shown to be empirically true, along with a whole host of other arguments familiar to veterans of the pay gap wars.
But, of course, to understand the article was never the aim of the chattering classes. The rush to virtue-signal and to be seen to be the first to denounce was more important. They clearly knew they were misrepresenting him. To ruin one of the few columnists who challenges their, “smelly little orthodoxies” as Orwell put it, was the goal.
It was a sad week for free speech and the free press on both sides of the Irish Sea this week. The nose around the neck of liberty just got a little bit tighter.
(Image: Guiseppe Milo)