Myths About Esperanto And Esperantists

In online language learning communities, if you decide to learn a new language, you’re bound to get support and praise. However, there is one exception to this. If you declare you want to learn German, Russian or Uzbek etc you will receive encouragement and if someone doesn’t like those languages, they’ll keep their opinion to themselves. However, this rule doesn’t apply to Esperanto. If someone doesn’t like Esperanto, they’ll definitely let you know, in fact they’ll even tell you that Esperantists are such rude people that they brought the hostility on themselves.

I’ve never seen a Reddit comment section about Esperanto that didn’t involve Esperantists having to defend themselves and justify their actions. Continue reading “Myths About Esperanto And Esperantists”

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Multiculturalism Is Unavoidable

Now and again you see complaints about multiculturalism and articles that claim: “Multiculturalism has failed”. But this doesn’t really make sense because multiculturalism can’t fail, it’s unavoidable. Every country in the world is (and almost always was) multicultural and a monocultural society is practically impossible. Every part of our society contains influences from other cultures. Continue reading “Multiculturalism Is Unavoidable”

Cultural Appropriation, Plastic Paddies and Irish-Americans – Who does culture belong to?

The first time I ever heard of Cultural Appropriation, I thought it was a ridiculous notion. How can it be wrong to copy another culture? What’s wrong with taking inspiration and emulating other nations? The idea that some cultures belonged to only one people seemed incredibly regressive, narrow-minded and almost racist. If some music and fashion belongs only to black people and white people can’t use it, then does that mean that there are some fashions and music that only belong to white people? Continue reading “Cultural Appropriation, Plastic Paddies and Irish-Americans – Who does culture belong to?”

What Does It Mean To Be Irish?

Since I’ve moved abroad, I’ve been thinking about what it means to be Irish. In Ireland this isn’t too relevant of a question because almost everyone is Irish, but I’m currently living in a town where I am the only Irish person. I’ve always been proud to call myself Irish, but lately I’ve been wondering what does this mean? What makes Irish people different from others, such as the English and Americans? What is special about being Irish? Continue reading “What Does It Mean To Be Irish?”

How Many Catholics Are There In Ireland?

Now this question probably seems a bit pointless for a blog. Can’t you just Google the answer and be done? According to the 2011 Census, 3,861,335 people or 84% of the population of the Republic described themselves as Catholics. This figure is often used to describe Ireland as a Catholic country and to defend the role of religion in Irish society, ranging from Church control of the vast majority of schools, whether abortion should be kept illegal or the religious references in the Constitution (if you don’t know, the opening line is: “In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred”). But if Irish people are overwhelming Catholic, then it seems obvious that Ireland would have a strong Catholic ethos. Continue reading “How Many Catholics Are There In Ireland?”

A Week In Esperanto Land

An Irishman, a Pole, a Russian and a Frenchman are all in a room. What language do they speak? This isn’t a riddle or a joke but what happened to me last week. You see I’m just back from spending eight days in the town of Nitra in Slovakia where I participated in the Somera Esperanto Studado (Summer Esperanto Study). So what is Esperanto like in practice? What is the Esperanto community like, what do Esperantists do when they meet and how does Esperanto function as a language? Continue reading “A Week In Esperanto Land”

The Flaw Of The Invisible Hand

Introductions to economics usually start with gushing tales about the magic of the free market. It is usually stated that the free market allows everyone to get the best quality goods at the cheapest prices. The magical invisible hand guides everyone to the best place without any unnecessary government intervention. Below is a link to a video typical of the kind. (I’ll ignore for the moment that it completely misrepresents what Adam Smith said). Its short and simple, but it is a simple argument. This is the typical free market argument with its claim that left alone it will bring the best world for everyone.

Continue reading “The Flaw Of The Invisible Hand”