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Why are the continentals liberal compared to Ireland/UK?

  • 30-01-2022 7:04pm
    Registered Users Posts: 30

    I was reading an article on euthanasia in the Netherlands for an alcoholic man and another woman who had depression/autism in Belgium. Meanwhile such bills are struggling to get passed through in the UK and Ireland.

    When it comes to drug policy, incarceration, housing, healthcare etc.. our neighbours seem to be far ahead of us. Why is this?



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,178 ✭✭✭Stanford

    They haven't experienced years of the Church meddling in political matters

  • Registered Users Posts: 28,805 ✭✭✭✭Wanderer78

    theyre not really all that far ahead of us, if at all, most countries are still struggling with complex social problems such as you mentioned, we sometimes think the grass is greener, when in reality, theres virtually little or no difference....

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,239 ✭✭✭✭Danzy

    Dutch society would be class ridden in a way that a parody of South Dublin rugby schools would not be.

    It's also cold towards people, especially the elderly that is often frightening and hard to imagine.

    They seem to be more concerned about not meddling than any concern for welfare of people. That coldness is surprising.

    Their education system is bizarre and locks the university, higher paying jobs and good schools out of most, in a way that even English grammar schools did not.

    They take the concept of the good front room to an extreme level. The neighbours not seeing elsewhere.

    Don't imagine that these societies are always what you imagine them to be. Lived experience there shows the issue is more complex.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,066 ✭✭✭✭Geuze

    I take it as a positive thing that we don't allow the deliberate killing of alcoholics and autistic people.

  • Registered Users Posts: 28,805 ✭✭✭✭Wanderer78

    to a degree, i can understand why such people may opt for this outcome, but we certainly need to make sure we do everything we can to help and support them, in order to prevent such a decision

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  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 22,293 CMod ✭✭✭✭Pawwed Rig

    The Netherlands and Scandinavia are uber liberal. Ireland is a bit more moderate but not by much.

    I am not sure where the continentals start and end but Ireland would be one of the most liberal places in the EU.

  • Registered Users Posts: 26,056 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus

    I struggle to see endorsing suicide as an appropriate or acceptable response to autism, alcoholism or depression as a progressive stance. If the OP's thesis is that countries on the mainland are ahead of us on "drug policy, incarceration, housing, healthcare etc.", they have picked a pretty bizarre example to support it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 68,317 ✭✭✭✭seamus

    Ultimately the argument is that where someone is suffering intolerably and that suffering has no prospect of being relieved, then the humane thing to do is to let them choose to die.

    And that this is as true for psychological suffering as it is for physical suffering. Society broadly supports the idea of "mercy" for someone suffering - think about the movie trope where a soldier shoots someone who is fatally injured and suffering.

    The complexity comes down to drawing the line between what can be relieved or cured and what can't. There are some who have difficulty seeing beyond "hope" when it comes to psychological suffering, believing that there is nobody who is beyond help; either now or in a decade.

    There are others who quite rightly point out that the resources to adequately support suffering people are lacking. And that enabling people to end their own lives is providing an easy "shortcut" where the same individual could enjoy more quality time if the support was there.

    The Dutch laws seem to very adequately balance personal rights and self-determination against the need to safeguard society from abuse of the system.

  • Registered Users Posts: 33,014 ✭✭✭✭Princess Consuela Bananahammock

    The Dutch euthanasia law would be a bit of an extremre example, while Ireland has become a bit more socially liberal in the last decade or so.

    In answer to your quetion, though - we both grew up with conservative moral overlords that our governments kowtowed down to assuming that it was what the people wanted. Ireland had the Catholic Church and Brtian had the Victorian royal family. At least, in terms of social liberalism.

    Economic liberalism is more confined to Scandinavia, and mostly because the people seem to be happier that way. If you brought in their tax system and wages here, there's be uproar. Even if it was proven that the extra cash would go to benefit society and infrastructure.

    Everything I don't like is either woke or fascist - possibly both - pick one.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,543 ✭✭✭20silkcut

    Scandinavian countries have a long history of the collective society being more important than any individual. Probably influenced by the need for co- operation in the harsh environment. In many ways it is a very noble trait but some argue that it contributes to a darker side and may explain high suicide rates in those countries.

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  • Posts: 533 ✭✭✭ [Deleted User]

    “The continentals” which ones? I’ve lived in France and they’re often more liberal in Ireland on a lot of issues, especially compared to rural areas.

    I’m not saying France is deeply conservative, but it’s not the Netherlands. It’s liberal on some topics, it can be very stuffy on others and has significant right wing politics.

    Same applies in Germany and it’s on different topics and regional. For example the foot dragging on same sex marriage, including by Merkel.

    I think you specifically mean the Benelux, and at that only part of it and often on specific topics too. There are issues in NL where views are surprisingly not very liberal.

    If you go to eastern parts of the EU things get a very conservative, and the same in parts of Southern Europe, albeit slightly differently.

    I wouldn’t rate 2020s Ireland as conservative on very many issues. It has a legacy of conservative / religiously driven top down conservatism but that isn’t exactly unusual - we were just later, but faster in some ways, in shaking it off.

    I also don’t really think you could describe modern Britain as socially conservative - not by a long shot. It’s been pretty progressive since the big social changes in the 60s, with slide backs, mostly under Thatcher in the 80s, notably on LGBT issues, but even the majority of the U.K. Conservatives in the 2020s aren’t that bad on the personal freedoms type liberal issues. The Tories are fiscally conservative, don’t like social spending, fond of sink or swim economics and increasingly returning to being heavily nationalist and jingoistic, but they’re currently not very conservative on most social issues. They have a few nutters who are, but they’re not mainstream Tories and there wouldn’t appear to be much public support for very conservative social policies. The triggers for voting for the Conservative Party are a lot more Brexity.

    The only obviously extreme social conservatives driven by religiosity in the U.K. political spectrum I can see these days are the DUP.

    Post edited by [Deleted User] on

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,385 ✭✭✭✭road_high

    Irish people are conservative- they just can’t help it. Seen it vividly throughout the “pandemic”- a huge cohort just couldn’t mind their own business And help but stick their noses into everyone else’s

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 22,293 CMod ✭✭✭✭Pawwed Rig

    How does that equate with conservatism?

    We had a openly gay half Indian Taoiseach and voted to allow gay people to marry.

    How does this equate with conservatism?

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,385 ✭✭✭✭road_high

    Conservative = abundance of caution. Unable to allow people individual autonomy and control. Ireland is still overwhelmingly paternalistic. Very much a feature of a small country really

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 22,293 CMod ✭✭✭✭Pawwed Rig

    So how is sticking your nose into other peoples business and throwing out centuries of religious doctrine an 'abundance of caution'.

    We have high levels of individual autonomy and control. Do you remember the abortion referendum?

    We have consistently chosen a liberal standpoint since way back in the 90s. Even our most 'conservative' political party has largely abandoned the right and is very much centrist if not slightly left

  • Registered Users Posts: 33,014 ✭✭✭✭Princess Consuela Bananahammock

    Conservative doesn't mean not being overly cautions - it means reluctant to change and maintaining traditional approaches.

    Conservatives like to see laws that protect social norms, and don't like to see laws that protect economic norms. With liberals it tends to be the other way around.

    Post edited by Princess Consuela Bananahammock on

    Everything I don't like is either woke or fascist - possibly both - pick one.

  • Registered Users Posts: 26,056 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus

    You're overlooking the obvious question; if somebody is suffering shouldn't we ask ourselves why they are suffering before we hand them a gun and a single bullet?

    If somebody was extremely unhappy about being gay, is the proper reaction to sanction their suicide, or to challenge the homophobia that is the cause of their unhappiness? Right, for "homosexuality" substitute "autism" in that question, and then you will begin to understand why I am appalled at the suggestion that sanctioning assisted suicide for autistic people is in any way progressive.

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators Posts: 9,988 Mod ✭✭✭✭Jim2007

    Your definition of liberal is seen by many here in Switzerland as anything but, it is a shocking indifference to the plight of our fellow citizens and an embarrassment that we care so little the we are comfortable to let them die.

    Fun many to the teenagers here see Ireland as the liberal place - gay marriage, divorce, abortion, dramatic fall in church going…

  • Registered Users Posts: 68,317 ✭✭✭✭seamus

    You're skipping a few steps there. More details on that specific case here; She wasn't granted the right to die because she was autistic. She just happened to be autistic. She was granted the right to die because 3 doctors agreed she was experiencing intolerable and permanent suffering.

    It's overall not that simplistic. We should absolutely ask them why they are suffering and what we can do to alleviate that. But we must also accept that we cannot alleviate all suffering.

    To use your homophobia example, if a gay man in 1960s Ireland expressed that he couldn't see any way out and wanted to die, what would you do? Tell him to hang on four decades because things are going to get better?

    While some forms of suffering may indeed have external, "fixable" causes, you may still be asking someone to hang on in there while society or technology catches up. There are forms of depression that as it stands are incurable. End-of-life illnesses which cannot be "managed" into a gentle, painless descent to death. Psychological maladies that cannot be medicated away.

    We have to accept that the ability to choose a dignified death when and where the individual wants, may sometimes be the only humane course of treatment.

    Think about a gay man in Iran. He has two choices; a life of misery in a marriage to a woman, or flee and leave everything and everyone that he has ever known behind; including his own faith. Depending on the individual, death may be preferable to either option.

    Absolutely every avenue should be explored. Alternatives bottomed-out. But at the end of the day it remains a deeply personal choice. Just because you or I may consider a solution to be better than death; doesn't mean that someone else would. And therefore they should not be forced to stay alive just because there's an option that someone else thinks is better.

  • Registered Users Posts: 26,056 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus

    Nobody is forced to stay alive. Suicide is not illegal. The point about assisted suicide is that society sanctions and co-operates in the death. Ask yourself what message assisting in the killing of gay or autistic people sends to the gay and autistic communities, and then try and persuade me that this is a progressive measure.

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  • Posts: 533 ✭✭✭ [Deleted User]

    That would equate to socially oriented, altruistic, community centric and somewhat collectivist and willing to pull together during a crisis. That isn't anything to do with conservatism. Some of the most conservative places in the world have been the places that made an absolute dog's dinner of handling COVID and were incapable of adapting anything and seemed to engage in endless conspiracy theories because they couldn't flexibly handle any kind of temporary change and seemed to engage in massive toys thrown out of pram type responses because something wasn't exactly how it always was...

  • Registered Users Posts: 26,056 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus

    Yup. I think with the response to the Covid pandemic the division has not been between liberals and conservatives but between individualists and communitarians. There's some overlap, but there are not the same groups.

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 25,263 Mod ✭✭✭✭Podge_irl

    Quite a lot of people who do not possess sufficient mobility to enact any self-inflicted suicide are indeed forced to stay alive.

  • Registered Users Posts: 68,317 ✭✭✭✭seamus

    Well, let's park to one side the people who are too ill or disabled to be capable of taking their own life.

    Without getting into that specific debate, saying "Suicide is not illegal, society just shouldn't help you do it", sounds very much like the same rationale we had with abortion; "Anyone who wants and abortion can go get one, but we shouldn't do it for them".

    What it does is ultimately push suicide into back alleys. It's a dirty, seedy, shameful act which society wants no part in.

    Which then obviously comes with it all that baggage. People and families who would otherwise appreciate the opportunity to say goodbye at a time of their choosing and in a peaceful, dignified manner, cannot. They are forced by necessity to die alone, using risky, often painful and distressing (and sometime brutally ineffective) methods, and without the ability to tell their loved ones what they're doing and why they're doing it.

    Like you say - suicide is not illegal, people will do it anyway. So why force them to do it in such a brutal and inhumane way, why force their families to feel ashamed, to feel unsupported, to feel unloved? So that society can say, "Well, so long as we don't have to do anything about it."

    I'm not going to address your remark about killing gay and autistic people. I've already given you the article to read to understand why nobody has been killed for being autistic.

    I know you're not an idiot, so I can only assume that you're being deliberately obtuse and refusing to discuss this on the basis of the facts, probably because it makes you more comfortable to leave the box closed.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,655 ✭✭✭I see sheep

    Liberal parties in Europe do better because people still have a memory of facism - Germany (and by extension the countries the Nazis invaded), Italy, Spain and the army running the country like Greece or a conservative one party state like Portugal.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,586 ✭✭✭uptherebels

    What is the reward for pointless suffering? You would rather force someone to suffer till they die rather than let them choose their own dignified end, yet don't seem to have an issue with some killing themselves in other ways. Cause hey nobody is forced to stay alive🙄

    Assisted killing of a gay or autistic person who make their own decision doesn't send any message to the gay or Autistic communities. Unless you think these people are being forced to because they are gay/autistic. Which is a very odd arguement to try and make.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,177 ✭✭✭Ubbquittious

    Plenty of that in Netherlands, you need a permit for everything, building regulations far more restrictive than here, can't change the front door without a permit. They are still not out of lockdown I was told recently. Very cautious about everything but you can smoke weed and shag who you like & commit suicide apparently. They are also big on the carbon footprint and trying to stop people from driving. They even proposed a system whereby electric bikes with a top speed of 25km/h could be further slowed down at certain times by some remotely operated Orwellian system

  • Registered Users Posts: 33,867 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato

    We inherited a lot of Victorian / pseudo-Puritan type legislation from Britain, then added our own unique flavour of repression on top.

    Divorce, contraception, women working - all legal in 1922 but within ten years of independence, banned. There was plenty of censorship provided for in British law but we then ramped it up another few levels.

    All courtesy of our desperate attempt to define ourselves as a nation by being "not English" and therefore not Protestant so therefore we had to be as Catholic as we could possibly be.

    Ireland once had the largest seminary in the world (Maynooth) and the largest proportion of vocations per capita in the world (although how many of those were people desperate to escape rural poverty, homophobia etc. is a good question).

    "The Best Catholics In The World" by Derek Scally is a very good read.

    As for our ban on euthanasia / assisted suicide, Seamus made some excellent points. The current law says to the disabled they have no agency and their opinion and their suffering does not matter. It says to those suffering terminal illness that they must suffer in order to make other, healthy people who have no idea what they're going through feel righteous about themselves. It makes me want to puke.

    Oh and we still have very conservative attitudes towards alcohol and socialising - "night" clubs here close when in most European countries they'd be only starting to open. The second most expensive alcohol in the EU and that was before minimum pricing. Our licensing laws are a joke and leave many tourists here rightly bewildered. Once the pubs get going properly again, will we finally realise that forcing people to drink up by an arbitrary time and then chucking them all out on the street at the same time chasing a limited supply of food, taxis etc. is a really really stupid idea?

    Life ain't always empty.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,177 ✭✭✭Ubbquittious

    The licensing here is crazy. I was chatting with some fellas in de Carribbean where every hamlet has a few shoddy and rather informal pubs about how the number of pubs in Ireland has been declining for years by law and you need to spend 80,000+ on a license to sell a few beers they could hardly believe it.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 13,278 ✭✭✭✭kowloon

    I don't like when the people who argue that euthanasia is immoral and that we should help people live are also the people who don't like their taxes going to healthcare and anything else resembling help.

    If I was going to die miserably if left to decline naturally I'd want a humane out when my quality of life had become poor enough to merit it. Some people take matters into their own hands before they have to solely because they're afraid they might not have the capability later on. We treat our pets better than that.