The Ghosts of Belfast

The Ghosts of Belfast, by Stuart Neville, is a descent into revenge hades. Gerry Fegan, a former IRA killer literally sees ghosts of his victims. It is the appearance of these ghosts that slowly drives him to confront his past and do something about it. Slow by slow, Fegan seeks out those who gave him orders or facilited death. It is this path that forms the spine of the story. Along the way, Fegan meets Marie and her daughter Ellen, who are also trapped in the cycle of revenge exacted by the various factions in Northern Ireland’s troubles. Marie has her own hidden past, but she’s living up to it, going straight in her own way, defying the prejudices of the past by living boldly in the present. Then there is Campbell, the British Government undercover agent pursuing Fegan, another character with more baggage than can fit on the plane. These three and more are on a collision course with misery that unfolds as paybacks become ever more costly.

There is a level of brutality in The Ghosts of Belfast that may be appropriate to the subject matter. At the same time, I hoped for a bit more sophistication such as a protagonist trying to clear his conscience using more than a gun and his heart on a sleeve. The relationship between Fegan and Marie showed great promise at the beginning but never gained traction through the story to a level that would have made it more than a damsel in distress plot point. What Neville does best is to expose the double-triple crosses of the guerilla life and the consequences these shabby alliances create. He portrays the thugs for what they are: less than intelligent men bent on using their fists for no good reason at all. So it is that in this portrayal of a Northern Ireland subculture nobody wins, everyone pays, and corruption rules the day. This book will best be enjoyed by those who like a slow-burn slug fest complete with brawls, trick shots, and death defying duality.

Published in: on April 23, 2011 at 11:34 am  Leave a Comment  
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Another Step…

The United States Government controls several of the largest banks in the country, two automotive companies, and will soon initiate a coordinated seizure of the medical establishment. By the end of 2009, an estimated 40% of the American economy will be under the aegis of the Federal Government. Each of these steps is on a path that F. A. Hayek termed “The Road To Serfdom.” I recommend the interested person read the book by the same title. It is astonishing how accurate Hayek’s analysis was and equally disturbing it remains as a predictor of the results of today’s actions by Congress and the President.

The average reader of this blog may not care, or the same reader may think that central planning of automotive production, banking, and healthcare are an improvement over the current system. History teaches otherwise. And as for the people who deem themselves brilliant enough to exercise such control over individuals, I quote Adam Smith,

“The Statesman who should attempt to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals, would not only load himself with a most unnecessary attention, but assume an authority which could safely be trusted to no council and senate whatever, and which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of a man who had folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it.”

In other words, the current occupier of  the White House and too many members of the Legislative Branch, not to mention the Judiciary, seem to believe they can not only organize, but dictate, the manner in which an entire nation is to function down to the smallest detail. Folly and presumption are archaic terms in today’s vernacular, so allow me to be more bold. Anyone who thinks he can better administrate the activities across the spectrum of economics and social development of more than 300 million souls is a damn fool. Fools don’t bother me much as I avoid them as is practical. However, when they have the ability to tap my wallet at will, put me in jail, and force me to labor on another’s behalf, well, then I become more animated.

So to the damn fools who may read this blog (as opposed to those decent, honest, and hearty souls), let me remind you of events that took place some 235 0dd years ago. Our dear Mr. Franklin stood before the King’s Privy Council and received a dressing down like none before. You see, like the King and his Council, today’s authoritarians (that is you damn fools) in the White House and Congress feel that their unfettered power will rule for eternity. And again, remember that Mr. Franklin departed England for America where freedom as was never known before was born. Now, freedom must be born again, and there are those agitated individuals who are willing to deliver it. Those willing to rely on themselves rather than place their burdens upon another are beginning to do more than complain.

While you damn fools take another step toward tyranny and cultural suicide, there are those who will not hold hands with you on the road to ruin. They will pave their own way. After all, they don’t need you to show them how to do it. But you need them to finance yours. And in the end, the tyrant, the damn fool, doesn’t know there’s a light to turn on let alone where to find the switch. So let the last damn fool turn the lights out on this folly before it becomes the death of a nation.

Published in: on June 16, 2009 at 9:11 pm  Comments (2)  
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