“Don’t make the same mistakes as your relatives” my mother would imply when she would say things like “Oh your uncle Tommy Joe will never be dead, as long as you’re alive” or “you’re just like your aunt Elsie you know”. Poor old Tommy Joe and aunt Elsie would get some touch week in week out, all in the aid of perfecting my defective character by instilling within me the fear of God that I would turn out like them. Yet, all and all, to be honest about it, Tommy Joe wasn’t a bad fella. He was a type of lovable rogue who might never have told a word of truth but he told great stories and he would typically leave a smile on your face at the end of the night. Aunt Elsie might have been a wee bit eccentric and prone to a little insanity now and then but she was a strong, faithful woman who ensured her children, nieces and nephews knew how to move their way around a rosary. For all their faults there was so much to these people that could be considered good and worthy even of emulation.
My mother had many ways of keeping us “way’ans” (wee ones) in line but despite all her appeals to our ancestral troubles we all had the sense to see in our many forefathers and mothers the definition between defect and virtue. We did not grow up to reject our kin but instead sought to embrace the quantities of qualities we admired and respected such as strength, wit, tenacity, integrity and much more. In many cases, we embraced the good and avoided the bad. What form of mental illness would we children have been suffering from if we had operated in the opposite manner? What form of sociological illness does our world live under today to in fact be operating in that opposite manner?
Between the 11th and 18th centuries, there existed a most admirable system of life, which to this day stirs in Irish people a deep sense of pride. It originated and grew in Ireland before expanding across the sea to Scotland, the home of our Gaelic brothers and sisters and it cultivated some of the most respected names in our history like Bruce, Campbell, Armstrong, Cunningham or Hamilton. These names of the great Scottish clan system moved south across the Irish Sea and became integrated and accepted in Ireland also.
A clan was a noble community with a shared identity and descent from a common leader or chief. They had their own coat of arms and tartan design to distinguish them from their neighbors. They consisted of many families with multiple surnames, often unrelated, who lived in the territory of the clan chief. Because territories were small it was likely that everyone knew those who were members of their community. The rule of leadership would likely have been more personal compared to what we have today where people of Ireland have no choice but to obey unknown, distant and rigid faces of people who know them not and who make little effort to know them. Disputes were settled in the community and so decisions were made for the benefit of the local people rather than for the good of a governmental shadow hanging over their head.
Now, let me be clear. I am not advocating a full-scale return to the clan system because we know very well that it was a harsh and often dangerous time with many issues. However, I at least want it to be an option and at the very least I would like the opportunity to turn to it and adopt what was good from it rather than completely dismissing it altogether. Just because it is part of the past and is no longer operational, does not mean that it does not hold elements of value that could be utilized and found beneficial to our society today.
There is a disturbing trend in our world today to dismiss or outright reject the wisdom of the past. People call for practical solutions to our societal issues and desperately we attempt to discover that new system, that new ideology, which will transform our world, renew us and place us on the path to utopia. People look forward to the latest fad or idea. Evolutionists will talk about how society has evolved, taking all the good from the past and becoming something more solid, more moral and great. They tell us we have come from a darker, unenlightened period and, although we are not there yet, we are moving in the right direction. “Our ‘collective organism’ is improving,” they would announce. That is what we are led to believe. The problem is that a collective is not an organism. People are organisms. Collectives do not evolve, but are shaped by the individuals within them. And those in power tend to do the shaping to benefit themselves while the real organisms, the people they lead, suffer for their supposedly enlightened practical decision making.
The old political line that we must look to the future is a lie. The concept of “new politics” is a lie. It is merely a catchphrase to appeal to people who desperately want something, anything to change for their benefit. I am saying, instead of looking to the future, let us look to the past; you know, the past that people are so desperately afraid of, those past practices that are considered no more. Should we reject the whole system just because it did not last? Or would it not be logical and make more sense to look at what has worked in the past, the good elements of our many tried human systems: of the clan system, the Greek system, the Roman system and so on, to find what we could today add or change about our current failing system to make it better?
It almost seems like cowardice that we do not look back because we are so afraid of not living up to the great minds that have come before us or we are scared to death of being faced with the reality that humans have failed and therefore we modern humans could fail also. It is much easier to write an idealistic future in our heads (or manifestos) because it can be anything we want and as successful as we want because it has not yet happened. My friends, all this is fiction. It is a big fictional story sold by politicians and theorists who want you to buy their book or vote them back into power.
If I want to become a better person, I will look to my ancestors and discover what it is they have done which is good, noble, worthy and I will seek to emulate that good. I will be aware of those qualities, which are negative and I will seek to avoid them. But I will reject any notion that I must renounce them completely. In the same way we must, as a society, not be afraid to look back at our heritage to find out what worked for our people. If it worked we should seek to reintegrate those ideas and methods instead of rejecting them for some fictional future, which will, supposedly, lead us to a land of milk and honey. We all know it never will.
Be proud of your history and fight so that modern power mongers do not force us into their superficial future.
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