The City/Country Divide

‘Take me away from the city, and leave me to where I can be on my own’ – Opening line, ‘Summer in Dublin’ – Bagatelle

Across the world, people regularly speak about a city/country or urban/rural divide.  This is often spoke about in Ireland with much jovial and fun filled banter about the ‘Jackeens’ up in Dublin and the ‘culchies’ or ‘boggers’ down the country.  There are many stereotypes thrown at one group to another but often the differences we speak about are exaggerated rather than grounded in reality. (Go to any Gaelic football or hurling match and you will see how banter between the counties is all part of a good day out and this exaggeration is all part of the craic). However, in saying the above, it must be noted that there are differences in attitudes between those living in city and rural areas. These differences were clearly shown in the different levels of support for the last three Referenda in Ireland.

The last three Referenda in Ireland have shown a clear division between city areas and rural areas. For example, in the homosexual ‘marriage’ Referendum, the five areas that reported the highest support for this homosexual ‘marriage’ were all in the Dublin region. The five areas that were least in support of this unnatural ‘union’ were all rural areas, i.e. Roscommon-South Leitrim, Donegal South West, Cavan/Monaghan, Mayo and Donegal North East.  In the abortion Referenda, the five areas that had the highest support for abortion were all in the Dublin region. The five areas that were least in support of this atrocity were all rural areas, i.e. Donegal, Cavan-Monaghan, Mayo, Roscommon-Galway and Offaly.  Again in the most recent blasphemy Referendum, the five areas most in support of removing the Second Commandment from Irish law were in all in the Dublin region while the five areas least in support of it were rural areas, i.e. Donegal, Roscommon-Galway, Sligo-Leitrim, Cavan-Monaghan and Mayo.  So what is causing this city/rural divide?  Why is it that city dwellers are so much more likely to support legislation that promotes immorality and destroys natural laws? While not getting into the historical reasons for this division, this blog takes a brief look at some of the psychological/social reasons why this is the case.

Don’t forget the bog’:

Before I explore these questions, I must admit that I was once a city dweller who believed that he was hip and ‘progressive’ in his attitudes, beliefs and behaviours. I supported feminist causes, supported homosexual ‘rights’ and I was disgusted to see pro-life protestors outside of hospitals that provided a service that I believed women needed.  During this period, I would be a frequent customer of ‘hip’ coffee joints and trendy bars.  At one stage, in the space of about one month, I went to the theatre twice and the opera once.  I used to like telling people about how cultured and progressive I was and how backward they were if they didn’t agree with me. Some people were more impressed than others with my attitude. I told my father, who is from a farming background in rural Ireland, about these trips to the theatre and opera. I clearly remember him looking at me with some disdain and then saying, ‘Now, don’t forget the bog’. I did not quite understand what he meant and I was too proud to really give it much thought at the time but the phrase stuck with me. Now that I have thankfully seen through many of the errors of my ways, I believe that I finally understand what he meant.  At a psychological level, ‘forgetting the bog’ is what is causing much of the craziness we are seeing in the voting patterns across Ireland, especially in our cities.

So, what does it mean ‘don’t forget the bog’?  It means ‘don’t forget your roots’ and ‘don’t be getting carried away with yourself’ or ‘don’t be getting notions of yourself’ as we say in Ireland, i.e. thinking you or your generation are more enlightened than anyone who has ever come before you.  This forgetting of one’s roots and getting carried away with yourself is one of the main reasons we see the disparity in voting patterns between city and rural constituencies. In the city, one is exposed to all sorts of distractions and temptations.  This can stop people from thinking clearly as their intellect and will are weakened and darkened by the temptations they give into. Their minds often have no time to analyse things in a deep and consistent manner. There is a constant stirring up of the passions in the cities, whether it be through advertising or other messages or images that are designed to entice our sensual appetites. This makes it hard to see things clearly as Fr Ripperger notes in his book, ‘Introduction to the Science of Mental Health’, Passions affect the intellect’s ability to judge the truth of the matter due to loss of tranquility of mind which is necessary to judge truth.’  For those who wish to think deeper about moral issues (or at least look like they are doing so), they are often attracted to the arts world where shows, plays or movies are packed full of subtle and not so subtle ‘progressive’ messages.  For example, I remember going to a play, ‘The Risen People’ at the Abbey Theatre, which, on reflection, was a form of Marxist propaganda. After this play, the transgender activist, Panti Bliss, was given an opportunity to spread his message of transgender ‘acceptance’.  He received a standing ovation at the time. I was one of the first up to applaud him as, at that stage, I was truly beginning to forget the bog. 

Environments can make sin repulsive or attractive to us, for our surroundings affect us all.  But we can choose the environment we wish and can ruthlessly reject the one that leads to trouble. – Fulton Sheen

The modern city is a place which is noisy, busy, distracting, full of temptations and packed full of toxic messages promoting unnatural behavior. In this environment, it is more difficult to see the truth of things clearly.  Some people manage to keep focused on the truth but, voting patterns show that many more people in the cities, compared to those in the countryside, have lost touch with reality.  Across Ireland, but especially in the cities, there are clever ploys to distort reality and pull people’s minds in nefarious directions. People, especially young people, are exposed to much error and to many lies that are often dressed up as ‘progressive’, ‘tolerant’ and ‘compassionate’.  One’s passions are stirred, one’s will is weakened and one’s intellect is disturbed by the confused messages and images it is exposed to.  If exposed to this environment for a long enough time, memories of a different way of seeing the world can fade into the background and one may eventually start thinking that homosexual ‘marriage’, abortion and insulting God are ‘progressive’ and ‘rights’ that people need.  People in rural areas do get exposed to toxic images and messages, especially through the media and advertisements, but it is not on the same scale or at the same frequency as people in the city. It is easier to ‘not forget the bog’ in the countryside and store images and memories of a healthier and more sane society.  All of the above contributes to the heightened madness we are seeing in the cities.  As city dweller’s intellects become more darkened and confused, as false and immoral ways of viewing the world and human behavior become the social norm, and as city dweller’s wills become weaker, these patterns only increase and the toxic ideas, attitudes and behaviours only spread further. However, we still have a choice…

So I’m leaving on Wednesday morning,   trying to find a place where I can hear, the wind and the birds and the sea on the rocks, and where open roads always are near’ – Start of second verse, ‘Summer In Dublin’ – Bagatelle

So if you are someone who is living in the city and your mind is confused or you feel bewildered and are leaning towards ‘progressive’ ideas, I highly recommend that you take a break from the city and connect with the countryside and your roots once more.  Detox your mind from the toxic messages you are receiving daily.  Take time out to analyse whether the way you are thinking is grounded in the truth.  Stop thinking that people in rural Ireland are ‘behind the times’ and are only following what their forefathers believed.  Those in rural Ireland are closer to the truth than you realise. City folk have more to learn from ‘boggers’ and ‘culchies’ than any lessons they can provide us boggers. Rather than seeing country people as mindless followers, it might be worth checking if the ‘progressive’ thoughts that you maintain are really the truth or just a product of the environment you find yourself in.  Countryside breaks may help to give you a brief return to sanity. These breaks can give you a glimpse of what peace of mind is really like but they won’t solve all your problems. It makes me think of the show on BBC called ‘Escape to the Country’.  It sells commercial dreams of getting away from the city madness.  This appeals to people as many people are looking to escape and experience freedom. In general, it is good advice to try to escape toxic environments but this show never addresses the fundamental problem of the toxic ideas that may have built up in people’s minds due to the influence of modern city living.  One must also overcome one’s darkened and false way of seeing the world if one is to truly escape. Changing one’s environment is a start; changing one’s mind, heart and behavior, so they conform with the truth and reality, is the solution.