The Shattered Mirror of Our Times

Many years ago the late Bernard Levin, the most gifted columnist of his generation, wrote an article for The Sunday Times entitled The Cracked Mirror of Our Times. In it he cited a number of social and cultural phenomena of the late twentieth century that for him represented all that was rotten in the British society in which he lived and – often – lamented. I am glad he has been spared witnessing the shattered mirror of the culture of our times today.

Even the most hardened cynic must have found his stomach turning as he listened to the Irish Foreign Minister proclaim his support for “true love” and marital commitment  in Dublin at the weekend. The Irish Labour Party leader, Eamon Gilmore, proclaimed these sanctimonious words in what was probably the most tacky and tasteless  and naked – almost literally – display of hedonism and sexual exhibitionism ever seen on the Irish capital’s streets. It had nothing whatsoever to do with true love, true friendship or any kind of permanent commitment.

Gilmore declared that it was time for Irish legislation to move in the direction of public opinion and legislate for gay “marriage”. This will not be easy because constitutional hurdles will have to be overcome by means of a popular referendum. At that point many feel that the politicians in parliament – who are fully subscribed, almost to a man, to the media’s gay agenda – will find that public opinion may be of hues other than those of the rainbow. It will be even less easy if the people  Mr. Gilmore is campaigning for continue to display themselves in  vulgar exhibitions of the type witnessed in Dublin’s Fair City at the weekend.

In Facebook comments on Gilmore’s statement,  Maria Conroy Byrne asks if there is “any political party that would disagree with him? As far as I can see, they all seem very similar at the moment. Is there any brave TD (member of the Irish parliament) who’s willing to put his head above the parapet and express a different opinion?” Brendan O’Regan’s view is simply that “they’re afraid to appear illiberal.” That fear stalks the political streets of Ireland today just as the rainbow exhibitionists did in Dublin’s O’Connell Street on Saturday.

As the gross display drew to a close on Saturday Gilmore said he congratulated the organisers. He said that the parade also had a political dimension.

“As leader of Labour, a Party for whom the politics of personal freedom is so central, I acknowledge that when it comes to promoting understanding and respect, progress has been made in recent years. However, there are some outstanding matters, and if we as a Party are serious about building a new progressive society, these are matters that we will have to resolve.

“I believe that in certain key areas, our laws are out of step with public opinion. I don’t believe for example, that it should ever be the role of the State to pass judgement on whom a person falls in love with, or whom they want to spend their life with.

“That is why the issue of same-sex marriage is to be included for consideration by the Constitutional Convention. I believe in gay marriage. The right of gay couples to marry is, quite simply, the civil rights issue of this generation, and, in my opinion, its time has come.”

If it has, and if that time has anything of the flavour of what Dublin witnessed on Saturday, then it is going to be a nasty and brutish time indeed. The bizzare and grotesque representatives of humanity who displayed themselves on the streets of the capital last week are the people who claim to be eligible for the nurture and upbringing of children. Good night.

(an earlier version of this post appeared on MercatorNet’s Conjugality blog this morning)

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