This book explores the issue of a collective representation of Ireland after the sudden death of the 'Celtic Tiger' and introduces the aesthetic idea that runs throughout. The focus is on the idea articulated by W. B. Yeats in his famous poem 'The Second Coming'. The book also explores the symbolic order and imaginative structure, the meanings and values associated with house and home, the haunted houses of Ireland's 'ghost estates' and the fiscal and moral foundations of the collective household. It examines the sophisticated financial instruments derived from mortgage-backed securities that were a lynchpin of global financialization and the epicentre of the crash, the question of the fiscal and moral foundations of the collective household of Europe. A story about fundamental values and principles of fairness and justice is discussed, in particular, the contemporary conflict that reiterates the ancient Irish mythic story of the Tain. The book suggests correspondences between Plato's Republic and the Irish republic in the deformations and devolution of democracy into tyranny. It traces a red thread from the predicament of the ancient Athenians to contemporary Ireland in terms of the need to govern pleonexia, appetites without limits. The political and economic policies and practices of Irish development, the designation of Ireland's 'tax free zones', are also discussed. Finally, the ideal type of person who has been emerging under the auspices of the neoliberal revolution is imagined.
Plato's Republic can be read as a treatise on the social pathologies of contemporary civilization in general and the contemporary state of the Irish republic in particular. In the diseased city questions of justice and the good society are undermined by the recurrence of pleonexia. Republic is Plato's political science, political economy, political psychology and political anthropology. Always latent, pleonexia emerges and becomes de-contained when laws are weakened and virtues cannot be formed. Pleonexia is amplified and intensified in the wake of crises. Pleonexic greed is therefore most decidedly not 'good', as neoliberalism proclaims it to be, but a social pathology of civilization, pathogenic to social and bodies politic, and with a corresponding idea-typical pleonexic subject. A system built predominantly upon unrestrained greed, anger, envy and pride will not, by definition, be virtuous, but degenerative, unstable and ultimately self-destructive, if not put down by its victims first.
, 1984 ), 2: 1447a.
Plato, The Collected Dialogues, including
the Letters , ed. E. Hamilton and H. Cairns (Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1961 [ 1989 ]),
Plato, Republic , Book X, 602b
See, for example, the importance of education for the formation of the governing class of Plato's Republic (especially Book 3), as well as Aristotle's notion that true happiness ( eudaimonia ) consists in contemplation of ‘things noble and divine’ ( Nicomachean Ethics 10.7; 1177a).
‘Tout leur consolation n’estoit que de ouyr lire quelque page dudict livre’, François Rabelais
The Complete Works of Aristotle, ed. J. Barnes, 2 vols (Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1984), 2, p. 2316 (1447a).
Plato, The Collected Dialogues, including the Letters, eds E. Hamilton and H. Cairns
(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1961 ), p. 821 (596e).
Plato, Republic, X, p. 827 (602b).
In a much-discussed passage, Austin writes: ‘Language’, spoken on stage, used in a poem
or soliloquy, ‘is in special ways – intelligibly – used not seriously, but in ways parasitic upon
its normal use – ways which fall under the doctrine of the etiolations of
page always mendacious. The reader is called upon to assume a critical posture, embrace the conviction that one cannot naively abandon oneself to the story – since that innocence, as the parable of the child proves (from pure and uncontaminated genius to guilty victim of his own monstrous self-consciousness), is not one of this world. Even though it is commonsensical to claim that a genuine correspondence between fiction and facts is not possible, Wallace seems to be taking this statement as his point of departure (which dates back at least to Plato's Republic
8 Walter Burkert, Ancient Mystery Cults (Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press, 1987), p. 87.
9 Ibid., p. 114.
10 Plato, Republic, trans. Robin Waterfield (Oxford and New York: Oxford
University Press, 1993), 592b, p. 343.
11 William Wordsworth, Wordsworth’s Poetry and Prose, ed. Nicholas
Halmi (New York: Norton, 2014), ‘Tintern Abbey’, p. 66.
12 William Wordsworth, The Prelude: 1799, 1805, 1850, eds Jonathan
Wordsworth, M. H. Abrams and Stephen Gill (New York and London:
Norton, 1979). References to this are given in the text, citing the date
extends this to ask
whether the issue of education as such ‘will help us at all in our main
enquiry into the origin of justice and injustice’.1
Although one might not begin with a consideration of the University,
then, this early thought-experiment suggests that some form of education would be envisaged fairly early as a necessity and even as an
absolute priority for the making of a good society. Before thinking
about your design and framework for the good society, you would
presumably want to have some knowledge or even foreknowledge
Plato, Republic, trans
(Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 1987), p. 32; J. P.
Maguire, ‘Plato’s Theory of Natural Law’, 10
Yale Classical Studies (1947), p. 151; John Wild,
Plato’s Modern Enemies and the Theory of Natural
Law (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1953), pp. 62,
(Oxford, 1962), p. xviii, and G. B. Johnson, ed., ‘Poems by William Camden’,
Studies in Philology, 62 (1975), pp. 90–1, 94–5, 102–3. In Britain, Camden lauded ‘the
glorious starre’, ‘the lovely ioy of all the learned sort’, ‘a sample of ancient vertues’
(William Camden, Britain [London, 1610], p. 329).
15 ‘Satis est, non esse mendacem’ (Cicero, De Oratore, II. xii. 51).
16 Geoffrey Shepherd, ed., Sir Philip Sidney, An Apology for Poetry, or, The Defence of Poesy
(London, 1965), pp. 107–14.
17 Plato, Republic, II, III; Aristotle, Poetics, IX.
18 Sidney, Apology, pp. 110