This article is written in defense of our attendance at the Young America’s Foundation’s 41st National Conservative Student Conference in Washington D.C.
To have Irish conservatives slurred as inter alia, Nazis, Hitler Youth members and modern day Heinrich Himmlers by so many in the Irish public, press and political class calls into question Ireland’s status as a democratic and free country. Some have suggested we be put on government watch lists, while others have suggested that we are not truly Irish—solely by virtue of our political persuasion. Our attendance at the conference has been connected to the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio and our politics compared to those of humanity’s worst.
Admittedly, we attended this conference to listen to ‘fringe speakers’ like the Vice-President of the United States and four sitting United States Senators. Perhaps, we were really pushing it by listening to the dangerous ideas of free market capitalism, Free Speech, and conservative minded foreign policy. We should have had our heads screwed on correctly and attended the Democratic Socialists of America conference where clapping was frowned upon and “aggressive scents” were given trigger warnings.
Deputy Noel Rock, of the Irish Fine Gael Party has been commended for his former internship with Hillary Clinton and talks about it fondly to this day in interviews without national outrage over his connection to this American politician. Clearly, connection to American politics or politicians aren’t always enough to warrant a media breakdown.
Since the original hit piece by Hugh O’Connell, the Irish media doubled down in their upset. The Limerick Leader dubbed YAF alt-right and Ben Shapiro a leader of the alt-right movement. Una Mullally proclaimed in the Irish Times that this is merely Fine Gael exhibiting their true ‘far-right colours” :
“Those who deplore and fear the ascent of modern right-wing fundamentalism, particularly this strain of American proto-fascism, will despair at young Irish conservative political wannabes travelling to meet their American kin who are swimming in that soup…”
Then came Kathy Sheridan who headlined her article, “Killian Foley-Walsh should shut up and listen.”
Mr. Foley-Walsh is a Fine Gael student leader who attended the conference. You have to appreciate journalists with an agenda who get right to the point. Now, imagine if a conservative contributor in Ireland, such as David Quinn or John McGuirk, headlined an article called, “_____ should shut up and listen,” which targets a student who attended a liberal American conference. Few politicians or pundits would pass up the opportunity to push for their resignation and public shaming through the media. Yet, Kathy Sheridan’s article was met with no opposition from Irish media personalities or papers.
Why is tolerance a one way street in Ireland?
All it took was less than a dozen Irish students attending a conservative student conference in America to send Ireland’s media and its politicians into a public panic. What is it that they fear? Ireland fought for independence and freedom a little over 100 years ago, so how have we fallen so far from the culture of rebelling from controlling governments and homogeneous, oppressive culture?
YAF is not a fringe organization, a danger to society, nor a threat to global peace. It is a student conference with catered food, free wristbands and stickers—and some cool speakers. This was not quite the international dilemma that the Irish media made it to be.
Democracy is supposed to be a basket of many political viewpoints, backgrounds and ethnic identities. A nation’s foundation is rarely composed of purely liberal or conservative principles; a nation’s bedrock is patriotism from the left, right, and in between.
Rather than condemn that which they do not know, perhaps those who hate us should internalize the precepts of compassion for one’s brothers and sisters, love for all humanity, and tolerance for all (which is what YAF taught us over the course of the short conference).
Maybe writers at the Limerick Leader, Irish Times, and Irish Independent should send a delegation next year’s YAF conference for a lesson in inclusion and diversity of thought. We would be happy to carpool to the airport together.
Editor’s Note: If you’d like to learn more about our Guest Authors, please see their Twitter pages: @DDubhda, @SaraJEpstein, @BryanOS, @TatiaineANicC17, and @GLKavanagh.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.