One of Ireland's most controversial and thought-provoking public intellectuals and independent thinkers has begun a series of unique talks in Roscommon at the beautiful Castlecoote House. The venue is the home of the annual Percy French Festival and as part of the Sprint lectures series will host a set of three lectures by Kevin Myers, marking his return to the public square after a nearly two-year absence.
This absence began in August 2017, when The Sunday Times sacked Myers for making allegedly anti-semitic remarks in his column. The Taoiseach and Tanaiste denounced him, and the actions of The Sunday Times were welcomed jubilantly across the Irish media. But the Irish Jewish community stood by him and welcomed him to speak at a number of events, and Myers was not black-balled by them.
What was going on?
The real victim here was not Kevin Myers but free speech and, crucially, Ireland's marketplace of ideas. For over 30 years, Myers had been an outspoken opponent of the tenets and applications of political correctness; his enemies merely chose to exploit what he admits was a poor column to destroy him completely. As a result, our national political and cultural discourse has been curtailed at a time when the foundation of liberal society, freedom of expression, is under threat not only in Ireland, but throughout the West.
The new lecture series, entitled “No Right to be Right, No Right to be Wrong: The Fictions of Freedom in the 21st Century,” presents a rare opportunity to hear Myers, 71, speak to matters of vital concern, in a time marked by rapid, unprecedented social, and cultural change for the Irish nation.
"As Irish society swiftly conforms with the ruthless norms of worldwide secularity," writes Myers about these talks, "this country has imported the full range of political viruses that have made reasonable debate everywhere almost impossible... This is the new dictatorship, and because it is outwardly 'consensual,' and endlessly mutating like a virus, it has proved almost impossible to either define or combat."
The lectures will run on three separate Tuesday evenings and began on Tuesday, March 26th with a talk entitled: The Dictatorship of the Timid. The next event will take place on Tuesday, April 16th with a talk entitled: Endgame for Feminism, and the final of three talks will take place on Tuesday, May 14th with a talk entitled Secularism and Equality: Ruin's Twin Sirens.
Each talk begins at 7:30pm and will be followed by questions and answers. Tickets are 15 euro per evening.
More details can be found at www.castlecootehouse.com .
Bridge Street, Strokestown, Co Roscommon
T: 071 96 33694 / 071 96 33779
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