John P McCarthy, Professor Emeritus of History, Fordham University,
"In an attempt to minimise the role of parliamentary nationalists, Prof Ferriter makes much of the fact that many of them were returned unopposed to parliament in the 1910 election in which universal franchise had not been extended. But in the celebrated 1918 election with a greatly enlarged franchise, when Sinn Féin replaced the parliamentary nationalists as the dominant political force in Ireland, many of the victors were also returned unopposed and the lack of opposition was in no small part a consequence of intimidation.
Perhaps a clearer picture of the wishes of the Irish people was the polling in June 1922 for the third Dáil when, even in spite of an abortive attempt to control the outcome with a proportionate distribution of places to the rival factions of the incumbent Sinn Féiners, the cause of the peace settlement, that is, the Treaty, showed decisively Ireland’s adherence since to constitutionalism, even if some followed a “slightly constitutional” path. It should bear out Mr Bruton’s celebration of Redmond as a more authentic example of the Irish political disposition than the “minority of a minority” that staged the 1916 uprising.”
Delivering the Thomas Davis lecture in 1966, Professor FX Martin of UCD said:
"Many have wrestled with the problem of formulating a justification for the Easter Rising, but they have not found it an easy task… The traditional conditions required for lawful revolt seem at first sight, and even at second, to be absent in 1916. Firstly, the government must be a tyranny, that is without a legitimate title to rule the country. And there are four further conditions – the impossibility of removing the tyranny except by armed force, a proportion between the evil caused and that to be removed by the revolt, serious probability of success, and finally the approval of the community as a whole.”
"We could have sat for three years rather than three days and nights (in 1998) if we had insisted on resolving the issue of decommissioning of IRA weapons there and then. The unionists and the republicans just weren’t ready to reach an agreement on it. Instead we had to reach for language that could be interpreted in different ways by the two sides.
We felt that we had to address the ambiguity or lose the agreement, so Tony Blair made a speech in Belfast in which he demanded that Sinn Féin choose between the Armalite and the ballot box. We were nervous about the response but Adams called me a few days later and said, to our relief, it was a good speech. To my surprise he asked me if I would draft his response.”
To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker. It is just as criminal to rob a man of his right to speak and hear as it would be to rob him of his money… And there, let it rest for ever.Frederick Douglass
The head of Russia’s Constitutional Court, Valery Zorkin, wrote an article in the Rossiyskaya Gazeta in which he praised serfdom. He said:
"Even with all of its shortcomings, serfdom was exactly the main staple holding the inner unity of the nation. It was no accident that the peasants, according to historians, told their former masters after the reforms: ‘We were yours, and you — ours."
More in the Business insider here: http://www.businessinsider.com/valery-zorkin-pro-serfdom-2014-9
The Times reported:
"Valery Zorkin’s article in Rossiskaya Gazeta, the official government newspaper, has been met with horror, disbelief and gallows humour by the country’s embattled liberals.
Mr Zorkin is the ultimate arbiter of human rights in Russia. In recent months his court has upheld controversial laws banning “homosexual propaganda” and stigmatising NGOs that receive some overseas funding as “foreign agents”, a term widely understood to imply that they are spies.
But his regret at the granting of unprecedented individual freedoms to 23 million Russians a century and a half ago is still surprising. Ministers and officials in President Putin’s Russia frequently venerate the achievements of the Soviet Union but questioning the “Emancipation of the Serfs” previously looked like a retrograde step too far.
Since the time of Peter the Great serfs had been classified as the property of their lords. A landowner’s wealth was typically measured in the number of “souls” he possessed and incidents of harrowing brutality were common.
Masters had the right to discipline errant serfs and even send them to labour camps in Siberia. For many mid-19th century serfs, conditions were little better than for the African slaves who were becoming the focus of the abolitionist movement in the United States at the time.
Mr Zorkin accepts that Tsar Alexander II was responding to an urgent need for reform. However he goes on to write that “even with all its shortcomings serfdom was precisely the main staple binding the inner unity of the nation. It was no accident that the peasants, according to historians, told their former masters after the reforms: “We were yours, and you — ours.””
His argument strongly implies that Russians are ill-suited to Western style individualism, that stability matters more than opportunity and that present day politics should reflect this, as it increasingly does.
Historians agree that the reforms of 1861 were bungled. The structure of serfdom had underpinned the whole of Russian society, providing bonded labour for the great country estates and filling the lower ranks of the army. It was fiercely defended by the gentry themselves and in trying to placate them the Tsar badly botched his reforms.
Disastrously, serfs were forced to buy their own land back from their owners, at prices set by the government. Millions could not afford to pay so were locked into punitive 49-year government loans that reduced rather than improved their living standards.
Mr Zorkin appears to object, however, to the idea not the execution of the reforms. As President Putin often does, he argues that the Russians are a special case. Freedoms that shook Europe on the long path “from feudalism to market capitalism” proved too much for an utterly unprepared Russian public.
The abolition of serfdom sundered the “inner connection between the elite and the masses” and hastened the emergence of dangerous revolutionary impulses, he contends. For the peasants themselves the reforms were “extremely shocking” and led to “chaos”, from which sprang economic and cultural progress but also disorder.
A generation later, he writes, the great reforming prime minister Pyotr Stolypin destroyed the peasants’ familiar and distinctive system of collective justice in exchange for “individual freedom … which almost none of them knew how to live with.”
The Soviet Union was flawed but its greatest successes were enabled by the collectivism still rooted in the consciousness of the Russian masses, he suggests. That was then swept away by President Yeltsin in the 1990s, to be replaced by “belligerent and selfish individualism.” His readers do not need reminding who subsequently stabilised Russia: President Putin.
Tanya Lokshina, the Russia programme director for Human Rights Watch, said last night: “For an individual in his position to be saying that slavery is a good thing is definitely not acceptable. The Kremlin really should have reined him in. When people first started discussing it I literally thought it was a joke. But it’s not.”
A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?Robert Browning, Andrea del Sarto, (here: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/173001)
He wrote in the Times:
"The man next to me on the tram coming out of Old Trafford, Manchester, had a very clear opinion about Wayne Rooney’s sending off. It was a definite red card. He didn’t have any view about the Labour conference that had just taken place in his city. He hadn’t really noticed it. He told me that he was a Liberal Democrat voter.
And then he asked whether I thought Scotland would leave the UK. I told him I didn’t think so and that the matter had been settled for a generation. He looked at me, puzzled. I thought they were about to vote, he said. And then I realised. He’d missed the acres of newsprint and hours of broadcasts. Perhaps because his head had been buried in the sports apps on his tablet? But he really did have no idea that Scotland had rejected separation. I told him the news. That’s good, he said, I’m glad they’re staying.
My footballing companion may be at the extreme end of the political-unawareness spectrum but not that extreme. He votes in general elections after all; 35 to 40 per cent of the population don’t even bother to do that. People lead busy lives and football is a lot more interesting to many people than the defection of some previously unknown Tory MP.”
Nationalism is an ugly force, accentuating and exaggerating minor differences, creating and exploiting perceived grievances.Stewart Fergus (here: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/sep/10/why-scotland-should-vote-no)
"Division that had been apparent since as early as 1917… that Sinn Fein movement had represented in 1917 and 1918 was itself a compromise… when you consider within its ranks you had those who were OK with a monarchy"