Friday, March 30, 2012

RAW on Irish politics

Jesse Walker, hard at work in the stacks of the University of Michigan library as he toils on his upcoming book, The United States of Paranoia (see my interview with Mr. Walker) took time to share part of a letter with me that Robert Anton Wilson wrote to Don Werkheiser. The letter is dated Jan. 6, 1985, and was written in Dublin. The excerpt:

Irish politics: Garrett Fitzgerald is the current Taoiseach (pronounced tea-shuck, roughly). His policies are remarkably like those of Reagan and Thatcher. He has a Ph.D. in economics and is a monetarist. Charlie Haughey is the leader of the opposition. He wrote the law under which writers are exempt from income tax so, against my better judgement, I like him. He stood trial in 1970 for running guns for the I.R.A. but was acquitted; “everybody says” he was guilty as hell, but the jury was pro-I.R.A. in those days. He has tapes of the whales singing off the coast of his Kerry home, and other voices singing back at them; he claims the other voices are faeries. Neither Fitzgerald nor Haughey ever disagree with the Catholic hierarchy about anything, although they disagree about everything else. Dick Spring is the head of the Labour Party and does disagree with the Church, but guardedly (“We need to rethink the question,” etc.) The head of the Workers Party gets so little publicity that I have forgotten his name; he damns and blasts the Church openly, when he can get the press to listen. He is a Marxist, and former head of the I.R.A., although no longer friendly with them; they call him a “Stalinist stickie,” i.e. lost in the past. The head of the Sinn Fein (shin fayn) party is one Gerry Adams, who is widely believed (I might say universally believed) to be the head also of the I.R.A., although it is libelous to say so explicitly. There is actually a law against interviewing him on television (!) although he may paradoxically be interviewed in newspapers (!!). He says the Church sucks, capitalism sucks, all the other parties suck, and “armed struggle” is the only answer, although he denies that he is involved in it. There is also an Ecology Party and an Ecologist Party, but they get so little publicity that I have not discovered what vital ideological difference distinguishes them.

Whatever one thinks of all this, it is at least less monotonous and more entertaining than the two-party system in the U.S.

Werkheiser, by the way, is mentioned in this interview with Robert Anton Wilson.

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