FREUD OR FRAUD? WHAT MOTIVATES PEOPLE? by Donal Kennedy


One Saturday afternoon in the mid 1960s as I was  ironing some shirts I turned on a transistor radio to a local (London) radio station and thought I heard the ravings of a lunatic being read in a calm voice. The subject was, ostensibly, the late President Woodrow Wilson, and his motivation in presenting his Fourteen Points for the establishment and maintenance of peace throughout the world in the wake of its greatest ever bloodletting in the recent (1914-1919) war.

Apparently the fact of the War had no bearing on the President’s Fourteen Points. They all arose of unresolved conflicts in his head arising from his feelings about ha mother he loved

and a father he feared. At the end of the broadcast the ravings were attributed to Sigmund Freud. I learned recently that they had only come to light shortly before they were broadcast

over fifty years after Wilson’s death and nearly thirty after that of Freud. Otherwise, I’d bet, Freud would have gone to Funny Farm near Vienna in 1920 and never got to Hampstead

 .

About thirty five  years ago I reviewed, in The Irish Democrat a book by Owen Dudley Edwards which appeared to lean too heavily on Dr Freud to explain THE PHENOMENON OF DEV, the statesman who dominated Irish politics from the last two years of Woodrow Wilson’s Presidency to the penultimate year of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s – and then did two Seven Year Laps of Honour, as Ireland’s Head of State. Eamon De Valera and the people he led saved Ireland from Conscription by her British enemies in the First (and Second) World War,, most of Ireland from the Second War, amongst many more creditable achievements denied by their detractors. Apparently because Dev’s impoverished widowed mother took her son back to Ireland to the care of her family and returned to America. Perhaps Dev’s mother should have a monument in Dublin to dwarf those of O’Connell and Wellington and a National Holiday established in her honour?

Revisionist theorists, such as Roy Foster, would have us believe that the 1916 Insurgents had character disorders that broke out in irrational and bloody fury in time of universal harmony at Easter 1916.

De Valera was a happily married man with a job and children when he took part in the 1916 Rising’ He remained happily married until his wife predeceased him over fifty years later.The couple’s many children appear to have been well adjusted emotionally, socially and in their careers. I would recommend his son’s memoir as a starting point for any study of his character.

. In 1912 James Connolly helped found the Irish Labour Party, he intended that it competed for seats in a Home Rule Parliament. Connolly had been roughed up in Cobh (or Queenstown, as it was then known)  by heroes of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, whose leader Joe Devlin, was a Redmondite MP. Connolly was alone when attacked by those heroes and had no record of violence. He had written a pamphlet, “Labour, Nationality and Religion”  defending Socialism and Socialists from attacks made on them from the Pulpit by a Jesuit Priest. In polite society Connolly’s polite but trenchant argument should have been answered by the Jesuit or his admirers in a more urbane manner.

 Patrick Pearse, whose main interests were the Irish Language, and Education where his principles were humane and liberal, supported Home Rule, and stood on a platform with John Redmond in 1912. But  Pearse  warned, that if England tricked Ireland over Home Rule Ireland should  answer with the sword.

After 1916, W.B. Yeats asked  “But what if England keeps faith?” 

Some Effing Hope!      And no Effing Charity!   Not from that quarter until Hell freezes over!

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