The morality of government

The right to bear arms

The morality of war


Who owns land?


The right to independence

American independence

Basque independence

Northern Ireland

Countries by population

The free market


Crime and punishment

The health industry


Northern Ireland

As in the Basque Country, in my opinion all sides of the Northern Irish question have put themselves in the wrong.

The British government put itself in the wrong by drawing the border too far south and refusing to correct it. As far as I know, a majority of people in the southern part of Northern Ireland have never wanted to be part of Northern Ireland and shouldn't have been included in it against their will.

The Northern Irish Republicans put themselves in the wrong by claiming the whole of Northern Ireland for the Republic — and by using violence and murder in support of that claim. The idea that one group of people has a God-given right to a patch of land, regardless of the wishes of the people living on it, is dangerous nonsense and deserves no respect. Anyone born in a region is a native of that region and should have rights equal to any other native — including the right of self-determination.

The Northern Irish anti-Republicans put themselves in the wrong by being consistently unpleasant and provocative to the Republicans. Although their attitude is to some extent understandable, given the Republicans' stated objective of taking over their country by force, their behaviour is excessive and counter-productive. There is by now such a well-established cycle of hostility and violence in Northern Ireland that it's hard to say which side behaves worse.

Both sides of the conflict have a way out if they choose to use it. Those who yearn to live in the Republic of Ireland have only to move home across the border, and they will find themselves living in peace in the Republic. Similarly, those who regard themselves as British “loyalists” have only to move home across the water, and they will find themselves living in peace in Britain. I suppose that over the years many people with a low tolerance for hostility and violence have chosen these sensible options.

(Compare this with the plight of the Israelis and the Palestinians, who have nowhere to go that they can call their own except the land that both groups claim. The Israelis are particularly isolated, in that no other country shares their language or their religion.)

Historically, Britain was responsible for the existence of a Protestant enclave in the north of Catholic Ireland. However, in Britain Protestants and Catholics live in peace with each other. The fact that Northern Irish Protestants and Catholics have chosen to live by violence is their own responsibility — for decades the British government has been doing its best to dissuade them. Although I'm not religious myself, I suspect that Jesus Christ would be horrified by the Northern Irish thugs (Protestant and Catholic) who claim to worship him.

The partition of Ireland took place in 1920 — before most people living today were born. The British people of today can reasonably feel themselves to be innocent bystanders to a conflict not of their making; and I think they are increasingly wondering why Britain continues to waste time, money, and lives trying to prevent the Northern Irish from murdering each other. If it goes on like this, sooner or later the British government will declare unilateral independence from Northern Ireland, and the British people will say, “Goodbye and good riddance.”