Thursday, August 21, 2008

Secular sermon

I often find that the most interesting discussions of the whole notion of liberty arise when the there are conflicting understandings of what liberties are. Northern Ireland's various parades, for example. And moreso when you get onto the less clear-cut issues of Northern Ireland FC, GAA identities, or the status of Northern Ireland's official flag.

It's much more interesting than the whole 'is the Union flag a BNP symbol' question that came up all of those years ago when Morrissey waved one about in Finsbury Park.

Brian Walker is really worth a read here on this subject:
"Max Weber’s definition of the State applies: it is the monopoly provider of legitimate force. In fact, we are getting there (probably) but have not yet arrived, in terms of consent and in fact on the ground. This will be a remarkable achievement ( and it will be accomplished, I believe). It will serve as a rare example of the political class leading opinion."

... and...
"... what NI needs is .... a sense of common purpose, a developing sense of a shared future. In falling turn-outs at elections and in Life and Times surveys there are some signs that some of the public are wearying of the old disputes.While taking care to protect new-found and long overdue rights and freedoms, we should surely do all we can to encourage this trend."

But do read the whole thing.

3 comments:

Shuggy said...

In political philosophy, the state is notoriously difficult to define. I liked Weber's and never quite understood why it wasn't more widely accepted. Must have missed a few lectures. The version you repeat here requires qualification though: the state doesn't claim a monopoly in the use of force - see the US of A. Rather it claims the right - and is accepted as such - to define what is and isn't a legitimate use of force. Where this isn't accepted, it makes the point by using overwhelming violence - see Waco, Texas for example.

a rare example of the political class leading opinion

Does he say why he thinks this 'rare'? I'm not sure it is.

It's much more interesting than the whole 'is the Union flag a BNP symbol' question

This too I've never understood. The BNP and other fascist fuckwits adopt the union flag so people back off and say, ok you have it then. They don't get to have it, Rangers fans don't get to have it. What the fuck is that all about?

Paulie said...

"Does he say why he thinks this 'rare'? I'm not sure it is."

Rare in Northern Ireland. We're back to that badly written post I had a while ago about protestantism and democracy. In NI, the tail wags the dog somewhat, or, probably closer to the truth, the political class are drawn from different people who act in different ways, for different reasons, responding to different public demands.

Or something like that. He means Northern Ireland. And I'm too shagged out to think about this more now and I'm away for a week now so that will have to do you.

Oh, he says it's getting better though....

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