June 4, 2015

Why there is a whole lot more to success than making the grade

Posted in Irish Independent · 66 comments ·
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Today let’s talk about the Leaving Cert (and its ugly little brother, the Junior Cert). Let’s look at the sort of minds that are rewarded by the system and the sort of minds that are punished by it. Given that the Leaving Cert is the closest thing we Irish have to compulsory national service, it’s an experience that we all have a view on.

In the past few weeks, listening to all the talk about the perils of “groupthink” in Ireland, I couldn’t help feeling that the Leaving Cert has a significant role in this.

The Banking Inquiry, for example, is full of the very people who upheld groupthink suggesting that the problem in Ireland was the very groupthink that they were propagating in the first place!

You couldn’t make this stuff up.

But if groupthink was the problem and these guys – the head of the Central Bank, the accountants and the regulator – were its chief proselytizers, where did it come from?

I believe it starts early in the education system and has, as its graduation day, the Leaving Cert.

When I think back to my Leaving Cert time in school, I remember there were fellas whose mammies stood behind them with a mallet when they were filling in their CAO forms to make sure they ticked law, accountancy or medicine. The holy of holies of this type of Irish mammy was to have her son in the professions.

This was what she had strived for all these years and “success” would be made concrete by the son’s entry into university and from then on the conveyor belt towards professional respectability and full membership of the middle classes.

Most of these lads were decent enough characters and went on to become partners in law firms, doctors, senior managers in the banks or department bosses in the big accountancy firms.

They were never risk takers or particularly adventurous. They knew that the system rewarded obedience and conformity and both these attributes lead to class respectability.

Today these types of fellas form a central phalanx of Ireland’s professional class. They have become the “insiders” in Ireland. They have grinded away, kissing ass when necessary and are now rewarded for their good behaviour by an equity partnership and a board directorship or three.

This endemic conventionalism as the guarantor of professional success is a crucial component of the Irish class system. The Leaving Cert can also be viewed as the annual perpetuation of the class system, particularly the professional classes.

At the Banking Inquiry, the exclusively male coterie of apologists – all of whom, I’d wager, got stellar Leaving Cert results – claimed they fell victim to “groupthinking”. Groupthink was therefore portrayed as an alien ailment that afflicted them, rather than being a creed which they enforced, sneering at anyone who had the audacity to think differently.

But maybe you can’t blame them? They were simply doing what they had done since they were in school. They were conforming to conventional wisdom.

The public scorecard of such intellectual conformity, which breeds conventional wisdom, is the Irish points system.

The Leaving Cert and the Junior Cert both reward a certain type of intelligence and punish another type. The conventional type of academic intelligence that is rewarded by the narrow-gauge exam structure, which is nothing more than a giant memory test and rewards the organized, structured brain that can make lists and systemically regurgitate the information in a systematic way.

I am not so sure that life – with all its ups and downs – is so generous or in awe of the systematic brain. As I get older, it seems to me that one of the central characteristics that distinguish people from one another is durability. This is an inner resourcefulness, which may or may not be heightened by encountering failure in school at a young age.

The child who can deal with failure at an early age might create strategies to circumvent conventional failure and develops these coping strategies earlier than the academically astute child.

The child that is used to academic failure from early on turns into the adult who accepts that they might not always be right. The children who are always told they are very clever in school tend to develop into the adults who never doubt themselves or their positions. This is how positions become entrenched and are so hard to shift.

Because of the nature of our education system, there are hundreds of thousands of brilliant Irish people walking around today who believe that they are stupid. How many exceptional people do you know who will say to you “I hated school”?

They hated it because it hated them.

Worse still, there are many people walking around Ireland who believe they are very clever when in fact they are very stupid.

These are the guys who ran the place over the past 15 years. Because the conventional man promotes people like himself, it’s not surprising that the system propagates itself at the top.

The system also fosters a type of conventional, linear intelligence. This is the type of mind that cultivates a ‘single-answer’ narrowness. We all know that there is rarely a single answer to anything.

At best, we could teach children to question, to realize the need to be flexible.

But our education system teaches them that they will be rewarded if they don’t question, if they learn one or two answers and if they are not flexible, but conformist. In a changing world, this is entirely inappropriate.

The odd thing about the new economy that we find ourselves in is the fact that the “job for life’ is gone. It’s a new journey. Resilience and resourcefulness are two valuable traits. How to recover from a setback, how to deal with failure and how to figure out what’s coming next are the questions that need answers.

In short, the most important aspect of everyone’s career these days is to know if you have a coping strategy.

I’m not too sure the Leaving Cert makes any effort to prepare our teenagers for this journey.


  1. Dorothy Jones

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-shaped_skills
    Spot on David! The LC does nothing to help develop ‘real’ skills to deal with life. It creates ‘T-shaped’ personalities. A depressing process for a lot of teenagers who don’t see its relevance.

    • eamonnodwyer

      David, excellent article that highlights the
      Inherent flaws in our educational system.
      Judging a young persons worth on how well they can memorise “answers” to questions is absurd. I know of many people who have “achieved” high points in the Leaving Cert that would not be able to survive in any situation that requires quick and incisive decision making. A good memory does not equate to high intelligence.

  2. Quote: ‘ The Banking Inquiry , for example , is full of the very people who upheld groupthink suggesting that the problem in Ireland was very groupthink that they were propagating in the first place ‘.

    If there is one thing that education does it robs you of that simplification ( quoted from Pro Richardson Oxford re: terrorist) .she maintains that terrorist have an over simplified view on issues .

    If this logic is followed then those that were in the Inquiry and claiming ailments that afflicted them are ‘terrorists’ .We should seek an opinion from Pro Richardson on this .

    These professional classes are paid exorbitant salaries and with their responsibilities and professional ethics are expected to exercise their duties with the appropriate responsibilities . their implied acceptance of the rewards demands from them a sterling standard of conduct .Failure in their accountability should determine their respective punishment both financially and by detention by the State otherwise the citizens and PAC committee c/o the Oireachtas are provisional and official sympathisers to the cult of the bankers greed .

    Revenue have been given extraordinary powers of attachment , seizure etc of ordinary citizens monies and assets and income . The Dept of Finance should now make new provisions to apply same to the cult of ‘groupthinkers’ terrorists.

  3. Pat Flannery

    David, I can’t believe I am doing this but this morning I am throwing myself at your feet. You have just written the best piece I have yet seen on what ails Ireland – it’s education system. It creates a ruling elite that worships the petty gods of obedience and conformity.

    Irish economists and politicians have been treating the symptoms not the disease. You are the first economist with enough insight to correctly diagnose the underlying disease. Unfortunately the cure will require the slaying of one big dragon – the Catholic Church. Good luck with that.

  4. George Mombiot writing on a similar topic:

    “How a corporate cult captures and destroys our best graduates”

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/03/city-corporates-destroy-best-minds

  5. polomora

    It gets even worse.

    The PISA international system of ranking second level education education is based on the effectiveness of rote learning. This is the reason why East Asian countries that foster a Confusian-based conformity to society such as South Korea or Japan score highly on these rankings. Globalised groupthink wont create the next Google or Facebook.

    • cooldude

      This is absolutely correct Polomora. This system of rote learning is really just a regurgitation of facts on a particular day. There is no room in this system for critical thinking or any sort of questioning of the facts that have to be regurgitated. This system is international and leads to the creation of citizens who are unable to think critically or analyze events. They simply swallow what they are fed by the media as gospel and anyone who questions or contradicts the “groupthink” is regarded as a maverick or much worse.

      This education system is also deliberately designed to use only right brain activity and to totally restrict any left side or creative thought process. It completely fails to allow us to achieve our full potential and is deliberately designed this way. Have a look around at the state of the planet and you can see the results of this miss education everywhere. It does turn out good little corporate slaves who will willingly do whatever it takes to get more money and never question the system though which is what it was designed to do.

      What is taught as economics in our system is also totally flawed and is just an excuse system for our corrupt banking system and cenralized control of our lives. Perhaps this could be the topic of a future article on our system of money and banking and whether it benefits our society or not. A bit of critical thinking required perhaps?

      • “What is taught as economics in our system is also totally flawed and is just an excuse system for our corrupt banking system and cenralized control of our lives. Perhaps this could be the topic of a future article on our system of money and banking and whether it benefits our society or not. A bit of critical thinking required perhaps?”

        Ditto Cooldude. Time for the trained economist to break free of the educational shackles.

      • coldblow

        Cooldude

        Is that the same ‘critical thinking’ you apply to your internet sources, for example Chris Spivey? So much better than mere rote learning and regurgitation of facts. As David says (and I sometimes borrow it), you couldn’t make it up!

        • cooldude

          Exactly correct coldblow. Chris Spivey is an excellent example of an investigative journalist who doesn’t just swallow the stuff we are fed by the lamestream media without delving into the FACTS regarding each particular story. His expose of the Woolwich hoax in which a certain Lee Rigby was supposed to have been murdered is one of his better pieces and to me proves conclusively that this murder was a false flag operation organized by the cadets and he backs this allegation up with loads of evidence.

          Before you dismiss this as nonsense maybe you should actually look at the evidence he has presented in this excellent piece and then make an informed judgement on the matter. People who are still capable of thinking critically are well able to do this and then make their own decisions.
          In my view the “official” story is a load of cobblers. Have a look and make up your own mind

          http://chrisspivey.org/connecting-the-woolwich-dots/#more-23641

          • coldblow

            I looked at it but it is all over the place. He cannot present an argument. It is free of profanities unlike the last article you linked to (perhaps he was having a bad day) but that is all that can be said for it.

            He reminds me of this Harry Enfield character (it’s quite funny despite being politically correct):

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETqncRvQHWk

  6. michaelcoughlan

    Hi David,

    Its NOT the leaving cert Dathi.

    Do you want to know what it is?

    https://youtu.be/zE7PKRjrid4

    Substitute the mord Corporatocracy for Matrix!

    Michael.

  7. chinaexpat

    Hi David,

    Interesting article. I think this is not just limited to Ireland and is relatively common across the globe. China is following the same path that you describe except instead of mammy’s and daddy’s choosing a university course they start choosing what and where their kids study from primary school onwards. University degrees are almost exclusively chosen by parents.

    It’s amazing that parents here seem to think their kids can only succeed by being the brightest in their class particularly given that many of them have succeeded with little or no education. Lately, one of my wife’s colleagues in Shanghai quit her job because her kid got into a ‘very good’ primary school that gives a lot of homework so she decided that she needed to focus her attention solely on the kid’s academic performance. This is a common phenomenon. The school costs approximately 30,000 euro a year! This is a significant investment given average graduate salaries in the city are 500-600 euro per month.

    Parents here are obsessed with education and assume that if they pay more for their kids education and their kids do well at school they will automatically be successful in life. This obsession with academic performance (a lot of which is based on rote learning) has led to Shanghai being ranked number 1 in the world in the PISA secondary education ranking. However, many of the students are spoiled and have no experience of failure and are led to believe that if they have perform well academically they will automatically get a job with a very high salary.

    Many of the thirtysomethings here have not received such a ‘good’ education and grew up in much more difficult times. However, I feel that this is part of what has made them so driven to succeed.

  8. Mike Lucey

    Couldn’t agree more with what DMcW says except for one point.

    “But maybe you can’t blame them? They were simply doing what they had done since they were in school. They were conforming to conventional wisdom.”

    If he had inserted the words ‘so called’ before ‘conventional wisdom’ that would make sense to me. At one point in history so called conventional wisdom was telling us that the World was flat and that the Sun revolved around the Earth.

    Maybe by definition the word dogma would have been better suited?

    “Dogma is a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true. It serves as part of the primary basis of an ideology or belief system, and it cannot be changed or discarded without affecting the very system’s paradigm, or the ideology itself.”

    Secondary school students might be better served if the school could pin point their strengths early and guide them along a course that builds on their individual strengths. Everybody has different intelligence strengths and its only a small group with strengths in a particular area that slide along the system comfortably and end up is the ‘protected’ professions.

    Something like, ’7 Types of Intelligence: Discover Yours!’
    https://www.examtime.com/blog/types-of-intelligence/ should be introduced to let a student know where they should be concentrating.

    A pet peeve of mine was how the Irish language was taught in the 60s by the CBS schools in particular. Both the primary and secondary CBS school I attended was an ‘all Irish School’. The only subject not taught through Irish was English! I can see the reasoning behind the idea but I now feel that the Christian Brothers would have achieved their aim, resurrection of the Irish language, if they had broadened the scope to include Irish music and Irish dance!

    Both Irish music and dance has achieved world recognition and status without any help that I can see from the Irish educational system. On the other hand how many people around the world even know that there is an Irish language?

    • coldblow

      Mike

      I don’t believe broadening the Irish language to music and dance would have made any difference. I remember when Riverdance was first broadcast in the Eurovision I was in a pub in Omeath in Louth, near Newry. I think this village used to be Irish speaking until not all that long ago. I was waiting to be served and the telly was up behind the counter. Nobody was paying a blind bit of notice and you couldn’t hear yourself think anyway with all the chatter. This was men doing much of the talking and it was worse even than the Bayview in Waterville. The next thing, or the next day, it was the biggest sensation since the last one (whatever that was as it’s now long forgotten). A year or two later and I am being told about people heading up on coaches to Dublin to watch it, from West Clare, from Mullagh and those parts, spending big money, yet they couldn’t be bothered to watch the locals. That is real Irish conformism for you, not what David thinks it is, and we had a fine example of it two weeks ago. It’s an extravert thing and if you are yourself an extravert (most people are on blogs) then you won’t know what I’m on about.

      If anyone is interested this, in my opinion, is the best you can find on YouTube:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIDWFZtOsUc

      Would it be Doolin? The man doing the tasty batter is the small lad who is out of shot near the beginning during the swing – while the others are swinging he’s stepping it out. He has a quiet, confident gimp on him. It’s a Caledonian but the Norwegian commentator calls it an eight-hand reel, which is fine by me. I used to do a nice advance and retire myself in my old Merchant days (God be with them!) and the Caledonian is your only man. The only trouble was nobody else wanted to dance it.

      • Mike Lucey

        Coldblow, I enjoyed the video of the Caledonian set. It could well be Doolin but also many locations in Clare.

        Quite a few of my school mates where into trad music and a few of them became quite big names in the industry. For the most part they generally hated school as they disliked the concentration on the 3 Rs.

        I imagine these guys would have shone bright much sooner had their talents been identified at school and encouraged These guys if allowed would have made doing the ‘Irish stuff’ very trendy and most important of all, great craic for all. Its always much easier to learn while enjoying oneself.

        My parents returned from England with my brother and I in 1960. I was put into an ‘all Irish’ school at the age of 10 with about four words of Irish. I was most fortunate to have Tony McMahon as a teacher. He often brought in his accordion and through his playing and story telling nurtured a grá for the ceol agus rinca. See Tony in action here, https://youtu.be/P26i_g_RjE4

        His random musical episodes did not go down to well with some of the more traditional teachers but it went down well with all the students. I picked up the Irish language quite quickly with Tony as the teacher and I still have a grá for the language. Sin a bhfuil.

        • coldblow

          He is a fine player and he teamed up well with Noel Hill on the concertina, though I remember the box player who used to play in Slattery’s on Capel St on a Monday night once dismissing him as a Joe Cooley copycat.

          People often used to look for my sympathy because they had to learn Irish (or Gaelic as I like to call it, when I remember, to get a reaction). I’d have loved to have done it myself. My son went to a scoil lán-Ghaeilge and shared his classmates’ fashionable dismissive attitude to the language. I always tell him that when he gets more confidence in his own judgement he will see how stupid this is.

          Set dancing (I haven’t done it for a few years now, since moving to Kerry) is a strange sub-culture, full of chiefs and with hardly any Indians. As for traditional musicians many of them give the unfortunate impression that they are doing you a big favour by letting you listen to them. Sean nós singing is another thing again. I love some of it myself but I couldn’t sit through a whole evening of it as at the Oireachtas.

    • coldblow

      Just to add that Seamus Tansey (listen to him playing the copper plate) used to tell of the days you’d be chased out of Sligo town if you picked up a fiddle snd apparently in Mulligan’s in Dublin even Liam Clancy was told to button it when he started singing!

  9. [...] “Today let’s talk about the Leaving Cert (and its ugly little brother, the Junior Cert). Let’s look at the sort of minds that are rewarded by the system and the sort of minds that are punished by it. Given that the Leaving Cert is the closest thing we Irish have to compulsory national service, it’s an experience that we all have a view on …” (more) [...]

  10. coldblow

    David

    I agree with bits of this (the professions are a menace in some ways), and I can of course see where you are coming from, but overall I think you are completely wrong.

    The conformism which Ireland suffers from (and in a more pronounced way than our European neighbours) is psychological and is linked to the extraversion of half the population (as everywhere in the world). I am convinced you support progressive education because it is a plank in the overall progressive platform or world view which first caricatures and then dismantles the past, a doomed utopian project. The leaving cert isn’t great but proposed improvements, such as continual assessment, will make it much worse. In its breadth it is much better than A levels.

    As I said recently, the conformist nature of Irish society was deliciously showcased in the recent referendum, supported by all political parties, newspapers (apart from the Catholic press) and broadcasters. (It’s closest parallel in England would have been the death of Princess Diana.) I am convinced that the main driver is extraversion (which I have looked at using terms of my own invention: extravert cliche, extravert rhetoric and extravert enforcement (or, if necessary, intolerance)).

    I have done a bit of reading about this recently, just to see if anyone else has arrived at the same conclusions (they haven’t) and, while people have an idea of what is involved, none of them really gets it (for example, many think Woody Allen and Al Gore are introverts, and Gandhi and Einstein). I have ordered Susan Cain’s recent-ish Quiet: The Power of Introverts (French edition) out of interest, but I don’t expect any important insights and I think it will miss the point. I think she will point out that education favours extroverts in a variety of obvious ways. I wonder if she has twigged that all the rules and regulations that make school such a dull place are to keep our risk takers in check, the lads messing at the back of the class, and everyone else has to put up with it. I doubt it, but if she thinks about it she should.

    I have decided to write a book about it and since this site has given me so many ideas to fill it (unwittingly I must add) perhaps you might put in a good word for me if I can’t find a publisher. I could give you a slice of the profits if it ever comes to that (as if). It should lead to either bricks through my window or being totally ignored, and the latter is the most likely. Peter Hitchens is the most insightful critic of conventional thinking, and its first cousin received opinion, in England and he can’t get a publisher these days (his recent travel book, Short Breaks in Mordor could only appear as an ‘e book’). Seriously, if I am right (and I am pretty sure by now I am) it turns everything upside down – and I’m *not* a utopian revolutionary. Indeed I had started writing it in Irish as I wanted to control its impact but it was taking too long, didn’t read well (the first and only page I completed, that is) and a readership of fifteen wouldn’t justify the time and effort.

  11. Grzegorz Kolodziej

    I do not fully agree with those who say that PISA rankings in Asian countries are high because their societies are taught conformism and cannot think critically. While the conformistic hypothesis may be true, in my opinion it is mixing up the cause and effect.

    First of all, the Asian countries did not always score well in those ratings and not all Asian countries do (for example, Thailand’s scores are atrocious in all areas).

    Furthermore, it just happens that those Asian countries which top the rankings happen to be the countries where free market reforms had been introduced.

    True, conformism may be useful in memorazation techniques, but it does not help when it comes to teaching high level maths (there is no coincidence that in Soviet Union those who were very smart, critical and able to think independently went to study either maths or physics or play chess – in Poland it was bridge – where competition and debate was possible).

    The second thing is that a country which scores well in all areas is Finland and it is hard to accuse Finns of being conformistic (same goes for even better scoring Switzerland and Liechtenstein: incidentally very free market countries).

    Another point I would like to make is that there is myth that results in education are correlated with the amount of money spent. This is not the case – Poland outscores the US in all areas (so much so that the UK is not trying to emulate the Polish model) and teachers salaries are far from being high in Poland, in fact they had been well below the average for a long time (I do not know what is the situation now). I have actually done some research on that last year and I think that the fact that unproportionally high amount of money (80%) in Ireland is spent on teachers salaries – compared to other OECD countries – may be responsible for Ireland’s decline in PISA ratings (except for reading, Ireland with its long tradition of storytelling outscores clams from Poland :-) in reading which in turn outscores Germany and France – even though these two countries are by far the two biggest beneficients of subsidies from the EU on education and research! – in fact I could write an article on how Germany and Frane manipulate the EU grants system so that almost no money goes to peripheral countries on R&D, but it does not seem to help them – France results are very poor).

    Last but no least, do not look only at PISA rankings when you talk about conformity. Look also at innovations and you will see that Asia becomes a centre of innovation too. In fact, most of the US development in IT was even historically thanks to immigrants for the US does not seem to be able to reproduce their own class of intellectual elite – even though they have the best universities (the Ivory League)! – and have to import their scientists from all over the world (the only domestic culture they came up with was the suing culture and Hollywood). Asian students score highly in Olympiads (I am not talking about sports) and here creativity is needed.

    Now, this was my voice in defence of PISA rankings. What’s against?

    Well, while I would not dismiss PISA rankings as such, I would be very suspicious of the education industrial complex that constantly demands more money and created a 1 trillion dollars debt bubble in the US.

    But first I have to start with a little bit of history.

    Initially the universities (in France and Italy, where it all started in Middle Ages) were actually some kind of trade unions for the smart. Until 19th century universities had 5 departments: preliminary studies, teology, law, medicine and philosophy (.

    Then England invented recruting their rulling elite from the universities and this model was exported to the US. This was because the East India Company had been cheated by their captains and administration in far away India. The English found out that in China the recrutation of bureaucrats is based on exams. So they came up with an experiment: you get a well paid job in East India Company if you could recite a poem on a given topic in old Greek (if only Poland or Ireland had that system of recruitment of the elite :-( I would not have to listen to ‘busts getting bustier and booms getting boomier’ – my only consolation is that Herr Martin Schulz’s IQ seems to be even lower – he failed his leaving cert).

    But how was old Greek related to capitalism?

    The English thought that if you can spend 10-15 years learning Greek you must be a disciplined worker and the chances are you won’t steal from your employer.

    How wrong they had been! Yes, those nerds were disciplined, but universities developed a sense of group solidarity among them, a little like when one Dublin Bus driver puts the ‘Out-Of-Service-I-Feel-Lazy’ sign, the other two drivers would do the same and then they would go eating; as a result you have 145 every 40 minutes at some times instead of every 10 minutes as they promise and you cannot get in because it is full).

    In short time all India specialists were the graduates of Cambridge or Oxford, because they offered programs you needed to pass the exam. This was enhanced by the development of freemasonary (which is so strong in England that they even ignored the court order during Tony Blair regime), which, I have to admit, is based on better principles than the Grand Orient which produced one Polish Foreign Minister (Mr. Bronislaw Geremek, who wrote a book on prostitutes in Middle Ages France and died in a car accident driving a car while being given a blow job by a prostitute – no, I am not making this up and do not ask me how is that possible – the head of the prostitute was on the knees of the unzipped professor).

    What’s the conclusion?

    Well, as I learned too late for my own good, rather than studying Hayek and Kurt Goedel, you should drink alcohol with the wise-boys.

    No, I am joking, do study if it’s anything useful, otherwise our civilisation will collapse (if it won’t collapse before from boat immigration from Africa – while I do not think genuine asylum seekers from war zones should have doors closed all over the world, how do we know there are no terrorists among those people to be planted in Europe as so called sleepers and trained for the night of the long knives?). Although it may collapse anyway thanks to superstitions like genderism. This is what prof. Catherine Jacquet from Gender Studies offers you at the University of Illinois:

    “As part of my Transgender history course this semester, I have invited two professional drag queens to come to my class. They will each perform one song and we will then have a Q&A discussion about drag performance and culture today”.

    That shite will be tought using the donation of $10m given in 1993 by a Polish immigrant Mr. Henja specifically to teach Polish history and literature.

    BTW, is the Irish government trying to dumb people down on purpose by refusing to recognize chess a sport (Ireland is an exception in the EU in this respect)?

    For instance, Smith J. P., Cage B. N. (Smith and Cage, “The effects of chess instruction on the mathematics achievement of southern, rural, black secondary students”. Res. Sch. 7, 19–26) determined that “the treatment group composed of 11 females and 10 males scored significantly higher in mathematics achievement and non-verbal cognitive ability than the control group composed of 10 females and 10 males after controlling for differences among pretest scores.” while in his 1995 study titled “Chess in Education: Research Summary”, Dr. Robert Ferguson had established that chess is instrumental in the enhancement of a child’s critical thinking and good judgment skills. Ferguson’s subjects, who were seventh to ninth graders, yielded a 17% improvement in the results.

    Chess has also proven to be highly effective in protecting the elderly from neuro-degenerative conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

    And you, dear readers, can make a real difference by putting pressure on you local TDs:

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chess-make-it-a-sport-in-Ireland-go-hoifigi%C3%BAl/136920029679563

    • coldblow

      Grzegorz

      I’d have loved the chance of studying Ancient Greek. My old scout master, a second generation Irish builder in London, a former teddy boy with the name Paddy, once looked for sympathy from us because he had had to study it, along with Latin. Of course, he would have been one of the lads at the back of the class. Given a choice between it and, say, gender studies there is no contest.

      My son is pleased because he can now dump woodwork, along with art and technical drawing (I wonder if our politicians all did TD). He showed me something he’d made and I was surprised at how good it was, but he said the teacher did all that and he just put the holes in, badly. He got 75% and at parents evening the teacher said he was a very nice boy. He didn’t want to choose it as an option for 2nd year though, did he? I make it then that 75% equals zero. Of course the argument could also be made that he should be concentrating on the things he is weak in, like sawing in a straight line.

      We even had some of that progressive rubbish in my time at an English grammar school. Physics was the Nuffield Project and centred on ticker-tape trolleys, ripple tanks and circuit boards. Thisi was supposed to encourage curiosity. Not in my case. Before my O level mock exams I got hold of an excellent traditional textbook (a present from a friend of mine who was expelled from another Catholic grammar and joined my brother in the other place) and ended up hammering everyone else, including the maths nerds.

      I think people here may be confusing conformity with order. At university in my day it was de rigueur to ape the 68-ers and wear jeans. That’s every bit as conformist as doing your homework and refraining from throwing chairs through the classroom window (as happened once in my brother’s school). There was one student we used to call Six Billion Dollar Man. He’d be at the head of every demonstration.

      I disagree about independent thinkers choosing maths and science. I’d say history.

      I think memory counts for little. There are those who try to memorize stuff but that’s harder than studying (the problem being that the study is too difficult for many so they have no choice). You would have a very good idea of the final mark after reading only the first two lines of an exam answer. It’s quite simple: if you know about a subject then you can write about it intelligently. The argument about reliance memory is a good example of extravert cliche.

      I agree with you about the correlation between money and educational results.

      I used to read Der Spiegel in the local library in the early to mid 80s and they always criticized Lech Walesa. Why would that be? I have a soft spot for Poland because my family for several years used to forgo buying Christmas presents and donated the money instead to Solidarity. That was such a load off my shoulders! You say the Germans are starting to kick up about their eastern border. I was wondering when they’d get round to that.

      • Grzegorz Kolodziej

        I used to read Der Spiegel too :-) – in fact I kept the special edition of Der Spiegel with their famous interview with Marin Heidegger! I have to say, as for a weekly they are quite ambitious. Currently I find them articles a bit too long (sometimes you get the impression that the point is lost in all those ruminations).

        As to Lech Walesa, his status has declined a lot in Poland since it had turned out that he was an informer of the communist secret service in the 70s and noone really knows when did that cooperation end, if ever (in fact there was a lecture last month of one two historians who found out about it in Polish House in Dublin).

        There was more: remember when Ronald Reagan decided to spend $10m on Solidarnosc via Congress? Well, very little of that money found its way among ordinary members who had been thrown out of work (remember: in socialism there was no dole and there was no begging allowed, once you were banned from looking for work that was it, you had to rely on your family or die from hunger).
        Now we know that the commis planted their guy in the main office of Solidarnosc in Brussels who was responsible for distribution of that money.

        Actually the only help that normal people could get in Poland coming from the West at that time was via church (food, clothing): that’s why the authorities were so mad about the Church.

        And people like Adam Michnik could get quite substantial funding via Trotskyite movements in the West (Trotskyite had turned very anti-Soviet in the 80s). Then they made sure that when the deal was done with the commis at the Round Table, noone who was not left wing could participate in the government and that the higher echelon of the commis – including their informants – could retain their privileges (such as pensions 10 times higher than my mum’s).

        I would have to come back on the question of the revision of the Western borders some other time – it’s quite a topic. Germany has very wise and far-seeing politicians who make sure that they never talk about it in English media or mainstream media. But on the radio or political meetings: yes.

        Bear in mind, in German constitution Germany is still withing Hitler’s pre-WWII borders and Germany do not want to recognize Poles as ethnic minority based on the law from 1940 (they recognize Gypsies). And they did not want to sign a peace treaty with Poland (they signed other treaties, but not that one)!!!

        • joe sod

          interesting insights. Some of the bravest and most despised people were priests and religious during the communist times, they refused to bend to communist conformism and ideology. We should remember this in Ireland also. The church can and has acted as a bullwark against extremism and totalitarionism. We have seen how quickly a benign and popular state can transform into an ugly monster.

      • Grzegorz Kolodziej

        I have decided to update my comments on Germans kicking up about their eastern borders in his someone might thing that I am taking my information from some rumours or tabloids or that I represent some Polish anti-German bias (I do not, I had a German girlfriend and a few German friends – one of them was actually a nice girl whose grandfather was in Waffen SS, so this is an interesting case of reconciliation from a Polish guy whose grandfather was in command of the 5th Lodz region of one of the Polish anti-German underground organisations during WWII).

        I think some of it maybe it would be beneficial to the Irish readers as you would never ever hear any of it from RTE, BBC or CNN:

        When Margaret Thatcher was still the Prime Minister of Great Britain, she said she would veto Germany’s reunification unless Germany sings a peace treaty with Poland. Chancellor Kohl was ready to prolong the occupation of Germany rather than sign the Peace Treaty. Eventually Germany confirmed a Border Treaty from 1970 (signed by Willy Brant and Wladyslaw Gomulka), still refusing to sign the Peace Treaty – and Polish government did not put any pressure.

        On 12 September 1990 the 2 + 4 Treaty signed in Moscow ended the occupation of Germany and the legislation was supported by Treaty of Good Neighbourhood and Cooperation.

        The latter treaty had two statements attached, one by German Minister Genscher (who actually was a Nazi during WWII, but let’s not be petty) and the second one by a Polish Minister Skubiszewski (who had a dark history with communist secret service and the German secret service – BND – used files their inherited from Stasi to blackmail the Polish Foreign Minister which was officially announced by the main advisor of the Polish Prime Minister, Krzysztof Wyszkowski and Minister Skubiszewski did not sue Mr. Wyszkowski or even denied that) which under gen. Kiszczak cooperated with Stasi in the 80s.

        Both statements stipulated that the treaty does not deal with claims to German property on Polish western lands.

        In 1995 German Minister Kinkel wrote a letter to Radio Koeln. In that letter he writes that German government treats the annexations of German western lands by Poland as unlawful (for those who are not versed in history this was supposed to be a compensation for Poland losing 20pc of its territory in the East from where the Soviets took all infrastructure and sent many Poles living in those areas to slave work in uranium mines in the Soviet Union).

        In 2000 Bundestag voted to confirm Minister Kinkel’s letter and held that the current status of Germans who lost their property in Poland is unlawful and should be amended.

        In 2006 Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski met with Chancellor Angela Merkel and proposed that Poland will sign a treaty with Germany whereby Poland will resign from any compensations from WWII in exchange for Germany resigning from property claims within Polish western lands (Germany did not pay any compensation to Poland as they did not pay it to Greece – they only paid compensation to Jews and the state of Israel which was of course the right thing to do, but this was done despite the fact that there were far more Polish citizens killed in Poland during WWII than Israeli citizens – i.e., initially Auschwitz was a German concentration camp purely for Poles, with Jewish transports coming down much later).

        Angela Merkel said that the German government cannot sign such treaty because it would have to compensate German citizens for lands lost in western Poland.

        As to Greek and Latin, I was subjected to both of them and I have to say that no wonder the English chose ancient Greek as a benchmark for their East Company for it is difficult as hell. After a year of a very intense (150 new words every fortnight) Latin course I was able to read philosophical texts in Latin while after a year of a Greek course (albeit less intense) I was able to recite some poems perhaps, but definitely not read or write something in Greek. And that’s without actually trying to speak it – ancient Greek accent seem to be all over the place :-)!

        As to history, you have to bear in mind that I was talking about the Eastern curtain! You could definitely NOT have an independent mind as a historian in the Soviet Union and you could have that in Poland at top universities, but you could not publish most of it.

        It was different in the West, but even there the Polish-English historian Adam Zamoyski said he was the only non-Marxist student of history class in Oxford in the 70s!

        I should have added that another independent area to pursue in socialism was music (except for Soviet Union) – Poland was by far the most free country of the Eastern bloc when it came to avant-garde, jazz or rock’n'roll (i.e., the Stones played in Poland in the 60s once).

        • coldblow

          You might find this article which refers to Walesa interesting:

          http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2011/11/

          You are right that most people are unaware of how the Polish borders shifted in such a way in the 20th century that by the end of WW2 the country seemed to have physically moved something like 150 miles west.

          That is interesting about the Pole at Oxford in the 70s who was the only one doing history who wasn’t a Marxist. A fellow student sharing the house at the end of the 70s (he was a third year when I was in my first) once expressed his annoyance that people were sometimes casually dismissing Marxism. The three rocks on which modern intellectual life was founded were, in my opinion, Marx, Freud and Darwin. The first two have now been discredited and I think it is only a matter of time before opinion shifts against Darwin. Though you wouldn’t know it the way Darwinism is de rigueur in polite company. It’s hard to imagine it nowadays, but just like the Soviet Union you got the idea that Marxism was here to stay for ever and ever. I sometimes found myself privileged to listen to conversations among savants who knew all about Marxist doctrine (or who at least liked to give that impression). And then suddenly, just like those two severe winters we experienced a few years ago, you woke up in the morning and it had all gone. Where are those experts now? This is a very interesting area of study but of course it is neglected because the narcissists have already moved onto the next fashionable cause.

          I’m off on holiday now (Portugal) for the next week or so.

          • joe sod

            “The three rocks on which modern intellectual life was founded were, in my opinion, Marx, Freud and Darwin.”

            what aBout Einstein, surely Einstein was the greatest mind of the last 300years. He transformed our understanding of the natural world at a much deeper level than anyone else

          • Grzegorz Kolodziej

            Many thanks for the link.

            I from my side can say that I know a guy who was involved with anti-Thatcher strikes with Mr. Scargill.

            They all thought that Solidarnosc movement is a CIA propaganda and that all strikers in Poland are CIA stooges. When asked how long did he go to Poland for in 1980/81 he said that he did not go to Poland, but he had good information from people from Poland and that he was printing leaflets informing strikers in the UK that Solidarnosc movement was not real and that they should vote against supporting it (of course all of that info was from the commis – it just shows you how stupid those people are).

            Now this guy is trying to organise a Trotskyite movement in Ireland.

            BTW, deeply religious people had the highest survival rate in Auschwitz

        • joe sod

          “they only paid compensation to Jews and the state of Israel which was of course the right thing to do, but this was done despite the fact that there were far more Polish citizens killed in Poland during WWII than Israeli citizens ”

          I appreciate your knowledge of events and details of polish history however I have trouble with the above quote. Technically it may be true but the fact is that the state of Israel did not exist in WW2 but Poland did exist. Therefore alot of the people killed in the concentration camps were polish citizens but also jewish in other words polish jews. Only the jewish survivors of the concentration camps went on to form the state of Israel. Therefore of course it is the case that there were far more polish citizens than future citizens of the state of Israel but only because of the horrific attrocities committed. The fact is 6 million jews were killed, no obfuscation can take away from that fact.

          • Grzegorz Kolodziej

            Joe,

            Thanks for your compliments. You come across as an honest and serious person and I think that you deserve an honest and serious answer.

            I am not sure if this is the right place for historical discussions, but in a way I am glad that you brought up that topic for I often come across the lack of knowledge in the English-speaking West regarding WWII (before I will come to a more serious staff, I would like to support my statement about the English-speaking West by saying that Ireland is not the only English speaking country where I lived).

            Please receive the information I am sharing with you not as a rebuttal, but like it was coming from a friend.

            The number of people killed in WWII should not be something that people should make bids about: for I think that every Jewish, Polish or whatever nationality’s life lost in concentration camp was an irrevocable loss, particularly in a country which always had been the most tolerant in Europe towards Jews (so much so that the representatives of the French Enlightenment, who were mostly anti-Semites, hated Poland for being Paradisus Iudeorum – The Jewish Paradise – as they called it in their Great Encyclopaedia).

            Jews, who in Middle Ages and particularly after the Reformation had been persecuted all over Europe, in Poland were lavished with tax exemptions and legal protection – sometimes they refused to pay any tax and this was tolerated from 13th century almost until the end of the first Polish Republic – and had their own courts of law where Polish kings did not interfere.

            When you talk about Polish Jews killed in German concentration camps in Poland you probably fall victim to a misconception typical of the English speaking world – which is not your fault – and do not realise that these camps were not designed specifically for Jews and initially – that is for the first 2 years of their existence – there was no Polish Jews in them (later on most of the camp prisoners were Polish Jews).

            When Poland was invaded, Polish Jews had been forced by the Germans to stay in overcrowded ghettos where they had been treated very brutally by the Germans and by the corrupt Jewish police (the Germans did not want to stay in ghettos so they mainly used Jewish collaborators) and segregated from the Poles (who nonetheless had been smuggling some food for the Jews, risking their lives), but until the Final Solution, Polish Jews were not sent to concentration camps (actually the Holocaust survivors had been initially treated very suspiciously in Israel for the very same reason of suspected collaboration – so much so that when Israel was fighting for its territory, they sent some of the survivors to a certain death marching through a minefield in the battle of Latrun), but at that time it was not widely known about the amount of the Jews who did not collaborate with the Nazis and who survived because they had been rescued by ordinary Polish families and partly by Catholic Church in Poland, which was hiding them in the abbeys under false identities).

            Take Auschwitz as an example, which opened its gates in June 1940 to exterminate Poles – these were people randomly arrested on the streets for absolutely no reason, packed to lorries and sent to concentration camps. First Jews did not start to arrive in Auschwitz until the middle of 1942, although when they started arriving they started arriving in big numbers and were immediately directed to Birkenau (Brzezinka in Polish) where they had to face terrible fate – most of them ended up in gas chambers (initially Auschwitz did not have any gas chambers, all gas chambers were in Birkenau which is nearby and when you take a tour of Auschwitz in Poland, Birkenau is a part of the same tour; only at the end of 1944 the Germans decided to divide Auschwitz between Auschwitz 1 and 2 – with separate gas chambers for Poles and for Jews – in order to increase the extermination rate).

            Who were those Jews who were transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau from 1942 onwards? These were mostly Polish Jews and some Jews from Western Europe, primarily from Germany, Holland and France (as a curious fact: Germans had also built a small luxury concentration camp with theatres and chess clubs for the Jews in Czech Republic in order to fool the Red Cross inspectors). Apart from that Auschwitz was a destination for the Gypsies and homosexuals from all over Europe (I think homosexuality was just a pretext for the Germans they wanted to get rid of because Hitler tolerated homosexuals in the higher echelon of the Nazi hierarchy). Finally, there were some genuine German criminal prisoners in Auschwitz too, but very, very few – they preferred to send them to Dachau.

            Put it that way: if you were in Auschwitz in 1940, there was almost 100pc chance you were a Pole (if you were a Polish priest or university lecturer, your chance of getting to Auschwitz dramatically increased; same if you were an orphan child). In 1942 it would have been fifty-fifty, though your chances of survival as a Jew in Birkenau were much slimmer as a Jew than as a Pole in Auschwitz (primarily purpose for Polish prisoners was to die from exhaustion and slave labour after a couple of months– work was hard and they were only given 300 grams of bread a day, some margarine and marmalade and sometimes 2 slices of meat – while for Jewish prisoners Germans intended to kill most of them in gas chamber immediately – only the strongest Jews were allowed to work). By that time Germans had pretty much already killed whatever Poles they intended to kill and they started closing ghettos (where mortality was high), so it was mostly Jewish prisoners from ghettos they started killing in gas chambers and in 1944 they built Auschwitz 2 for the Jews.

            I have to say that France’s attitude towards France towards Jews during WWII was arguably even worse than Germans attitude (Germans were systematically brainwashed while French behaviour during WWII was just cowardly): while Poland was the only country where there was death penalty for helping Jews, the French police in the Vichy government, based on information from the ordinary citizens who voluntarily, without being threatened in any shape of form, passed it on to the French police, arrested their Jews and sent them to Poland on trains for a certain death (if you ever watched Tarantino’s “Inglorious Bastards” you would remember a scene in which Christopher Waltz comes to take the Jews from the French family which is hiding them and he drinks a glass of milk with his French host – if that scene was staged in Poland, the Polish host would have been immediately shot, all his family would have been immediately shot and the whole village would have been burned to the ground: i.e., when the Germans came to my grandmother’s village to look for my grandfather’s brother who had been hiding in the forest, they said that they would burn the whole village if they find someone in the village hiding him in his or her house and I am only typing these words because their specially trained dogs had found my grandpa’ brother in the forest and torn him to pieces, so the Germans did not establish any link between the village and the Polish underground).

            Unlike France, Poland did not capitulate so therefore it faced the worst kind of Nazi occupation in Europe, yet Poland is a country with the largest national contingent of the Israeli Righteous Among Nations medals (Israeli award for rescuing Jews during WWII – try to ask the arrogant French politicians what percentage of Jews the French had rescued during their holiday-like occupation of France).

            Furthermore, the tragic Jewish Uprising in Warsaw’s ghetto inspired Poles to start their much-bigger scale Warsaw Rising a year later, where 200.000 people lost their lives (in one action Polish underground liberated a small concentration camp with Jewish prisoners).

            You said that most victims were Polish Jews who were counted as Poles. I do not want to make that distinction because to me every Jew with a Polish passport is a Pole and in my opinion to say that they are not Polish because they are Jews would be racist – unless they did not want to be Polish citizens. Yes, of course if someone’s ethnicity or religion is Jewish you could argue perhaps that they are Jewish more than they are Polish because in orthodox Judaism and in Israel you can only be of that religion if you are a Jew biologically while in Catholicism a baptised Jew is as good as a baptised non-Jew, but Poles before WWII or after WWII did not treat the assimilated Jews as non-nationals and assimilated Polish Jews did not consider themselves Jewish, but Polish – take the pianist Arthur Rubinstein as an example who, when he noticed there was no Polish flag in UNESCO, played the Polish national anthem and forced the US President to stand up or famous chess player Samuel Tartakower who chose to play under Polish flag even when Poland did no longer exist (Poles treated the non-assimilated Jews differently, but this was because the ghetto Jews did not want to assimilate and at some stage their courts started imposing death penalties on Jews who converted to Catholicism and married a Pole – some of their orthodox people voluntarily remained in ghettos until WWII, but liberalised their views on those who left Jewish ghettos because most Jews started to assimilate). It’s like my friend who is Polish, came here 15 years ago and has three kids – all of them were born in Poland, but they left Poland aged 4, 6 and 8. They all speak Polish (only the oldest fluently), but English is their first language (two of them have decent Irish and one of them speaks fluent Chinese) and the whole family celebrates Christmas Eve the Polish way and St. Patrick’s Day the Irish way. So in my opinion they are all Irish with a Polish ethnicity background (nationality? A tricky question and I do not know the answer…) on the same lines as Polish Jews were all Polish with a Jewish background.

            However, the Germans did make that distinction between Polish Jews and Poles and since they had a habit of logging the number of Polish Jews as opposed to Poles, we have precise numbers of Jews and non-Jews who died in Poland (thanks to IBM, which built computers for the Nazis and profited from concentration camps when Germany invaded Poland – here is a curious fact: Fanta was a drink created from slave labour in concentration camps and featured on Nazi propaganda films while Standard Oil – Exxonmobil and Chevron – supplied fuel for the Nazis even after the US entered WWII refuelling German submarines with secret tankers under Panamian registry so they could not be tracked by Britain).

            Only now we can talk about the actual numbers.
            Let’s deal with your statement that most people killed in Poland during WWII were Polish Jews counted as Poles. Actually, the opposite is true – most victims were Poles who Israelis and American Jews count (along with Polish Jews) as Jews.

            Poland lost 6,028,000 in WWII in German occupation zone. This includes 2,900,000 Polish Jews and over 3,100,000 Poles. However, this does not include Polish losses in the Soviet occupation zone – the part of Poland annexed by Soviet Union in agreement with Hitler – where these loses had been almost exclusively non-Jewish Poles due to Stalin’s resentment of the Poles, which was based on 1920 Bolshevik invasion which they had lost. The number of Poles killed in Soviet concentration camps is difficult to estimate because the Soviets were not as good at counting as the Germans (and Soviet killing was even more random then German), but most estimates talk about 1,500,000 (again, this does not include the number of Poles killed in Soviet Union before WWII; included in that number are Polish civilians killed by the Ukrainian followers of the Nazi supporter Bandera, who was responsible for killing 200,000 Poles independently of the Soviets and who is constantly honoured by the current Ukrainian government – therefore I am not particularly chuffed about Poland’s and the West’s unconditional support for the Ukraine – the West should tell the Ukrainian government that will send them arms to defend themselves from the Russians but first they have to get rid of the Nazi ministers in their government (which is a scene of the US v Germany struggle as to who will have their stooges in the Ukrainian government, rather like German stooges in the Polish government); on the other hand only the most radical Ukrainian paramilitary groups who happen to be Nazi supporters want to die for the independent Ukraine and it’s better for Ireland to have an independent Ukraine – the reality is not always morally black and white, Joe, sometimes it is grey and I do not want pretend I am a smart ass and I know what the Polish or Irish governments should do in such situations because I am only human; all I know that Poles, who had recently received 200,000 Ukrainians and fed them, treated them in hospitals, trained them, armed them and sent them back to Ukraine without any complain and at a huge cost to a Polish taxpayer, that those Poles are more and more sceptical about sending arms to a government whose ministers wear emblems of the Bandera guy who killed 200,000 Polish civilians and whose SS-Ukraine was the most cruel formation of WWII, while at the same time Polish farmers took the biggest hit from the anti-Russian sanctions: because the Russian farmers compensated that trading with the Chinese and Polish farmers cannot do that because of the EU trade restrictions with China).

            So all in all you have 2,900,000 Polish Jews killed in Poland by the Germans and approximately 4,600,000 non-Jewish Poles killed by Germans, Soviets and pro-Nazi Ukrainians. Out of that number 1,860,000
            Polish Jews were killed in concentration camps in Poland – this does not include the non-Polish Jews killed in German concentration camps in Poland, but still, even taken together it would have been less Western and Polish-Jews killed in concentration camps than Poles. Out of all people killed in German concentration camps in Poland, Germany have been avoiding paying compensation to Polish victims of their concentration camps, having only paid money to Jewish victims (and until recently this was money paid exclusively to Jews living in Western Europe, Israel and the US – not to Jews from Eastern Europe). Out of enormous amounts of money paid by Germany to Jewish victims of German concentration camps in Poland, very little of it was actually paid to Jewish survivals of the Holocaust: most of it ended up in pockets of the Jewish World Congress, some of it – a minority – was then paid to real (Jewish only) victims (this is obviously not Germany’s fault) and Israel has been refusing to pay any money whatsoever from Israeli taxpayers to Israeli Holocaust survivals – Netanyahu sacked a minister who tried (I emphasize once again, Germany paid enormous amounts of money to Western survivals of the Holocaust, including those who ended up living in Israel, and to the state of Israel – that money was used by Israel to build their nuclear arsenal; I know a Polish Jew who lives in Israel and hence I follow their press much closer than an average media outlet such as, say, BBC).

            The problem is that the Soviets count Poles killed in zones annexed by them as Soviets and the Jews (by Jews I do not mean all the Jews, but Israel and the Jewish World Congress) count all people killed in Poland during WWII as Jews (for compensation purposes) – hence your misinterpreted number of 6,000,000 Jews (for further reading, I can refer you to an article from 29 January 1986 written by professor Israel Shahak and published in the New York Review of the Books where he exposes lies spread by Lanzmann in his mendacious documentary “Shoah”). All in all I would like to reiterate my claim from my previous comment: more Poles died during WWII than Jews and yet all German war reparations went to Israel and none to Poland.

            Put it this way: out of each 1,000 Poles, 220 died during WWII (in comparison, 116 Soviets died out of a 1,000 – including Poles, 15 French, 8 Brits and 2.9 Americans). Another statistic: Germans killed 39pc of all Polish hospital staff (I am not talking about accidental deaths – when Poland was attacked by Luftwaffe, hospitals were one of their first targets), 33pc of all teachers (i.e., Germans invited all Jagiellonian University professors to a dinner in order to discuss the future of the university and sent all of them to Auschwitz), 30pc professors and 28pc of all priests.

            But my previous comment was actually not about the number of Poles killed versus the number of Polish Jews killed. Having established that there had been more Poles killed in WWII than Polish Jews, the only way I can comment on it is: so what? Does it make the suffering of the Polish Jews in concentration camps less severe? Of course not!

            Thus my point (in my previous comment) was totally different: the point is that Germany got away with paying any compensation to Poland (and also to Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Greece et cetera – practically to everyone apart from Israel, some Western Jews and the US). At the same time Germany does not want recognise Poles as ethnic minority based on the (not amended) anti-Polish Nazi-law from 1940 signed by Herman Goering, does not want to sign a peace treaty with Poland, support their claims to a pre-WWII German property in western Poland, controls the governing Civic Platform and their Stasi intelligence had a free hand in Poland since the marshal law. Also, the amount of money they pay to the EU as a percent of their income is fourth lowest and they suck most of the jobs out of peripheral countries while claiming that we are not grateful enough for their dominance in Europe which means 5pc unemployment for Germany, Austria and Holland, a little bit more for France and 15 to 25pc for the peripheries (this follows from the German plan of Mitteleuropa whereby there would be no heavy industry or army in satellite countries and the only industry would be a light industry supporting German industry and services – now, go and have a good look at Ireland today, the Irish army, what you drive and what you buy for your kids and you will see only two productive countries in the world: China and Germany – our future masters).

            Joe, read once again the last paragraph and ask yourself honestly: do you think I am paranoid or do I have some objective reasons to be apprehensive about German domination of the EU and their part in staging coup d’etat in Ukraine and forming there anti-Polish government which claims rights to east Polish territory, supported by their proxies from the Civic Platform in return for nothing? Just imagine how would you react if the Ulster Scots captured Co. Donegal, if Dundalk and Drogheda had local authorities who worship Cromwell, if Spaniards issued a statement that all property within 50 miles east of Galway belongs to Spain and you could not even choose politicians in Dublin who would try to stop all of that because the English intelligence would gather compromising information on each TD and the local elections would be rigged by them like there were in Poland.

            Poland, with their pro-German government, was a poster boy in the official German media for the last few years (in the less official media Germans concentrate on how to solve the question of the Polish western borders using the concept of Euro-regions and the Silesian autonomy movement in order to dilute Polish identity in those territories), a country which is developing and it is Europe friendly, bla, bla, bla. In August a new President will take his office. He announced harder line on German claims to western parts of Poland and set conditions on military Poland’s to Ukraine on how the Ukraine behaves towards its ethnic minorities (which would break the German plans to form an anti-Polish alliance with Ukraine supported by Polish corrupted government with help of Stasi files inherited by BND), in which statement he actually contradicted the leader of his Law and Justice party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who wants to support the US in the Ukraine and Israel everywhere unconditionally.

            And guess what, within 2-3 days after the Polish Presidential election the German media do a U-turn and speak critically about Poland while Adam Michnik – closely involved with the French freemasonic lodge Grand Orient (which is extremely left wing and has nothing to do with moderate and amiable chaps you can meet in the Irish lodge or even the far more influential English freemasons: no, Grand Orient’s vision is to take up where Trotsky has left) – gives an interview to an English newspaper in which he describes the result of the Polish election as the velvet road to dictatorship.

            You really think that’s accidental?

            P.S. If you want to know the truth about Americas silent approval of the Holocaust, read that link:

            http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/holocaust/filmmore/reference/primary/

            And at the weekend (I am typing these words on Sunday and I will post them tomorrow) you may watch a documentary on how did the information about Auschwitz and Birkenau leak to the Allies via Jan Karski (In can add that when Karski told Roosevelt about it, Roosevelt appeared to be bored and changed the subject to Polish horse racing and the leader of the IRA, Sean Russell, offered the Nazis to round up Dublin’s Jews and ship them to Auschwitz – Russell wanted also the Nazis to invade Ireland – so much for Sinn Fein and their claims they fought for Irish independence…).

            https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=History+Channel.+Heroes+of+War+%E2%80%93+Captain+-+Witold+Pilecki.

  12. A series of economic reports not found in the mainstream. Provided to you for educational purposes and your further understanding of how you are lied to and deceived each day.

    http://www.jsmineset.com/

  13. joe sod

    I think this article raises the issue of conformity in the irish education system and especially the leaving cert. The fact that many of the most successful irish people did not have high levels of education is very true. But is this the case internationally for example in Britain and Germany. For example look at the education levels of european leaders like David Cameron or Angela Merkel ,Cameron has a first class degree in philosophy and economics, Merkel has a PHD in Chemistry. But our politicians are teachers and solicitors, in other words conformists just like our civil service. High levels of education may not be so highly rewarded in the irish system but they are internationally. Would a chemist like Merkel or a philosophist like Cameron get to the top in the irish system, I doubt it. Ireland has an aversion to eliteism maybe because of our colonial past, therefore we dont like putting very smart people into decision making roles. We prefer the jovial gaa or rugby player with average education

    • joe sod

      Look at the difference between the debates in the house of commons and the dail. In the commons they try and outdo each other with their knowledge, smartness, intellectuism and wit. In the dail they must not appear too smart, knowledge only if it is of shady deals done by the opposition, wit only if it is a good joke or their grasp of the cupla focal. But is it not the case that the dail is actually a microcosm of the wider irish society. Afterall we elected them and would a David Cameron or Angela Merkel get elected in Ireland. In other words there is an anti intellectuism in Ireland which means that people that appear too smart are kept out of powerful positions , that is my point. I also think that the anti intellectuism is increasing afterall DeValera even though much reviled by modern irish opinion makers was an intellectual. We used to elect people with doctorates to the dail but not now.

  14. When and if one reads the prospectus for GLD one finds that there is actually no requirement for GLD to hold and store any physical gold at all. While there may be some physical bullion held by GLD it seems that most of it is making its way easward and being used to supply demand for physical. What is left is a proxy to buy gold if they feel like it. Thus much of the demand for gold did not result in gold being purchased. What was purchased is now being released to meet current demand and subdue the actual gold price of the physical.
    This eased the price on gold by reducing the demand. Those investing in GLD thinking that they were investing in an asset that would rise in price were duped by the custodian who did nothing but held the cash, and is adding to cash by selling what little bullion is left on account.

    In the meantime, the custodian of GLD, HSBC bank were the largest short of gold in the world and maybe still are. Your custodian not only did not buy gold with your money but actively drove the price down so your share price of GLD diminished. You have been conned and skinned if you invested in this form of paper gold, and essntially by your ‘trusted’ custodian.

    Just one reason to buy the real thing and hold in hand where you can reach it when you want it.

    None of this is taught anywhere except at Screw U and the school of hard knocks.

    • Moral of the story: forget about gold, you’re wasting your time.

      • That is whare you are possibly wrong Adan. Gold is a moral money that leads to honest open transactions. That it is why it is despised, rideculed and reviled by those without morals. It is hated by central bankers of the west.
        Only by removing gold as money can they continue with the current evil of fiat paper, digital, electronic money and corrupt the institutions of commerce and governance.

        Any money that can be issued at will by any group or person or state will lead to nothing but distortions in society that will destroy it. Gold stabilizes society as it cannot be endlessly replicated.

        I may be wasting my time trying to explain (but I am not alone) this to the corrupted but at least, following the theme of the essay, I am not in the herd, of the herd, of lemmins rushing headlong over the cliff.

        We shall see how this plays out when China et al. have absorbed all the avaliable gold.

        Incidentally, it is suggested by several writers I have seen that the volatility in the price of Bitcoin could be stabilised if it were backed by gold. Maybe that is what Bitgold is attemting to do although they have no connection, I am aware of, with Bitcoin. Only the use of the word Bit in the name.

  15. survivalist

    I would suppose that groupthink if itself was caused by the education system’s fostering of conformity, is far removed from being a cause of any significance of ‘the banking crisis’.

    It seems odd to persist in the view that there was a crisis. The outcomes of events and decisions made in finance and banking from 2007/8 onwards are not the result of chance or necessity but rather of design.

    The transfers of wealth into private hands and of debt into public hands, the surge in income inequality, the record corporate profits and the attacks on social services to mention a few are stock in trade methods and desired outcomes.

    Those at the ‘middle management level’ now subject to an enquiry into why they did their job in a manner that was to be expected is a circus event. These are institutional problems much more than they are flaws in individual character or education. The institutions are unaccountable, undemocratic, unelected and without the burden of a moral duty.

    But this sideshow is in truth a red herring and the system works perfectly for those at the top.

    In contemplating some changes to the education system which might be necessary even if only to go some way towards ensuring that something similar could not happen again we are really in danger of allowing the truly guilty off the hook.

    It is the essential nature of the corporations and institutions which are the root of the problem. Government can be at least to a degree accountable to the will of the people. People generally respond to the influence of their environment. Corporations are accountable to no one.

    People within these organizations simply get replaced if they even accidently step out off line.

    Let us not forget that the very system we and many other nations established to manage situations designed to aid us “recover from a setback…deal with failure and how to figure out what’s coming next” is our welfare state system. It was of course one of the first structures in our society which was attacked by these institutions when it was needed most by the people.

    • Social sevices can not be afforded because of the debt.
      We are in debt because of the money system used and controlled by the central bankers who in turn are controled by the handful of financier families lead by the Rothschilds.

      All fiat currency is issued as a loan at interest and so the more the money supply expands the greater the debt. Interest rates are going negative because the economy is saturated with the debt and the ecomony bleeds to death because of the interest exacted.

      Usuary is a sin according to the ancients. Neither a lender nor a borrower be said the bible and Shakespeare. Seems we are yet to learn that lesson.

      I have maintained for 40 years that the one essential subject that is not covered in school is finance and money. The most important subject that influences us all. Economics is subject to the flavour of the day instead of looking at fundamentals that work. It is swayed by politics and philosophy.

      No wonder I spent the best part of my school life ignoring the teacher and reading books of my own choice under the desk. At aged ten I faied the IQ test of the part one of the 11 plus exam to stream kids to acedemia or the faiures to trades. I could not be bothered to answer a single question. Later on a second chance!!!! after 6 weeks study it was passed with ease. University was attened at age 28 as a mature student and I lasted 8 weeks after suffering the most purile atmosphere I had encountered to date.

      I made a living as an iternant labourer and bought a mansion in the best part of town on the strength of 13 jobs that year. Strong back and a weak head don’t you know in the tradition of the Irish navvy.

      Subsequent courses taken by mail when ever needed served me well in a profitable real estate career over 32 years.

      Anything I learned in school could be done in 3 years not 12 and the rest of the time used to hone skills at things I might have enjoyed.
      As it was it was a weaste of time and effort and I was bullied and strapped and caned as well.

      It is one of the reasons our kids were home schooled for 2 years. They advanced 3-4 grades in that time and worked only from 9 am to noon. It was a good time for them and for us the parents.

      • survivalist

        Hello Tony
        I think its important to mention that the social services can be afforded there just not wanted by those with the power to decide the issue.

        • Hello Survivalist

          The issue really is that there is no money because of the debt load.
          To rectify this requires a new monetary , money , system.
          Return to the past in a way. Without reform of the fiat money system there is no money for anything. Our standard of living has declined 55% since 1970 and the decline is speeding up not slowing.
          Every country in the world has an unpayable debt. Most states within nations ditto. Most municipalities ditto, more people than one might think ditto.
          When you are in debt the creditor comes calling sooner or later.

          Greece is the latest to be visited by the Troika.

          We are bankrupted quite literally. Can anybody see this yet or are we doomed to discuss anything but.

          Such a f…..ing waste of time just like the school system. Come to think of it. Because of the school system.

          David will not discuss it because he like all the conformists has been educated in a mantra and refuses to consider anything other than what was stuffed into his head to the exclusion of all else. He can’t handle the truth.(said Jack Nicolson)

          Adam is correct. I am wasting my time. I think I will go back to the garden and watch the veggies grow and then for a sail and let the world go to hell. What can I do about it. I look out and see a plain covered with ostridges, all with their head in the ground but all speaking out of the only orifice left open.

          Nobody want to discuss it at a party of gathering. God forbid we talk about religion of politics or money. Nobody knows what money is and yet we all use it. Like being given a car and allowed to drive without knowing how it works. Someone else will fix any problem.

          Well there are a few out there busy speading the message but even less listen.

  16. “”If this is what happens when government gets out of the way, then government should get out of the way more often. Humans everywhere, given freedom to make their own choices, will usually make good ones. We don’t need government to turn chaos into order. Most of the time it will happen anyway. This is but one small example. We would see many more if government were not so all-pervasive. “”

    - See more at: http://www.thedailybell.com/news-analysis/36336/Fishermen-Flout-Law-Save-Lives/?uuid=6F800609-5056-9627-3C5071902B060BF2#sthash.J0wTOV5F.dpuf

    • Here we go again.

      Your personal reflections and experiences are far more enlightening and wiser than this stuff.

      I look forward to those Tony – I just delete the gold stuff.

      • michaelcoughlan

        Hi Adam,

        Gold continues it’s slide through very strong support at 1180 to around 1171 currently. I feel it’s going to keep going down. The Chinese aren’t going to run the price against themselves.

        The euro has been declining against the renimbi and the renimbi is gold backed. Might be wiser to hold some renimbi if gold backed as part of a diversification strategy than putting all the eggs into one golden basket.

        Michael.

        • http://www.xe.com/currencycharts/?from=XAU&to=EUR&view=1Y

          One year chart of the gold price in Euros
          No slide showing there

          • 918E to 1051E over the last 12 months is 14% p.a year over year. It would have been better to get rid of the euros and kept the gold.

          • Just a miserly 4% for the CAD dollar.
            1370- 1457.

          • michaelcoughlan

            Hi,

            The trend in the chart is down since jan which means i would be better with euros since Jan. I didn’t put my post up to aggrivate you. The point I am making is that whilst gold has a VITAL part to play it is not a Panacea.

            Diversification is MOST important.

        • “So who is going to be lending physical gold into a marketplace in that kind of condition? They (Western central banks) are not doing it. So the inevitable bailout that’s going to leave unallocated gold holders completely cash-settled and on the sidelines as gold and silver prices gap up is coming.”

          http://kingworldnews.com/andrew-maguire-warns-western-central-banks-and-insider-bullion-banks-now-positioning-for-the-great-financial-reset/

          Over the last 15 years the shortage in physical gold supplied to the market by mining is 500- 1500 tonnes a year. That had to come from central bank vaults.

          Recently the shortfall has risen to 1500- 2500 tonnes a year. It is possible that of the 32,000 tonnes the westrn banks claimed to hold in 2000 has been reduced by at least 20,000 tonnes. T%hat is why western central banks are fighting to repatriate their gold because they have just realized they are hold a paper promise to pay and will receive settlement in worthless fiat toilet paper currency.

          If you own gold take delivery and act as your own bank or you will be too late and paper money is all you will get.

          • joe sod

            that ship has sailed, docked and unloaded maybe it will again. The question is will you be on it or will you be still alive to be on it. At the moment Us dollar is on uptrend but all other currencies are in downtrend and that is likely the trend to continue. Look at what happened in FIFA, a corrupt sports organisation not especially influential in the US. Yet the US authorities moved in, in Switzerland of all places and the house of cards came tumbling down. Switzerland the country most of all associated with gold and aloofness and secrecy is finding it has very little power and independance in the new world. Afterall this country kept its secret banks after WW2 but now is being forced to open its books

        • Thanks Michael, I have a short reply to this but will send it later, on the way out the door.

        • It is fine Michael. I do not offend unless personally attacked.Even then I am learning to absorb such things and not worry. Info from all quarters is for examination and there are various perspectives.

          A couple of years ago I was introduced to the 4 agreements with a fith now added.

          1. Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity.
          2. Do not take anything personally (the hardest for me)
          3. Do not make assumptions.
          4. Always do your best.
          5. Be skeptical, but learn to listen.

          Every so often I look at these statements to remind myself.

          Take care Michael.

  17. My first blog post in a year and a half but I had to write about this issue as I feel strongly about it:

    “The corruption and hypocrisy of John Delaney”

    https://adamabyss.wordpress.com/2015/06/06/the-corruption-and-hypocrisy-of-john-delaney/

    • joe sod

      actually John Delaney is the type of guy that usually doesn’t get to the top in Ireland. Soccer is not loved by the irish establishment and John Delaney especially is not loved by the establishment. But he has stayed there despite the sharks in the media and government circling underneath trying to take a bite. He is not the typical irish conformist

  18. http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/stay-out-of-harms-way-the-casino-is-fixing-to-blow/

    “Double, double toil and trouble;
    Fire burn and caldron bubble.
    Fillet of a fenny snake,
    In the caldron boil and bake;
    Eye of newt and toe of frog,
    Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
    Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting,
    Lizard’s leg and howlet’s wing,
    For a charm of powerful trouble,
    Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

    Double, double toil and trouble;
    Fire burn and caldron bubble.
    Cool it with a baboon’s blood,
    Then the charm is firm and good.”

    “Something wicked this way comes”

    The bond market bubble has a hick-up. Goodby pension funds and endowment funds.

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