What 1700s Ireland Has to Teach Us about SB 277

shamrockWhat could 18th century Ireland have to do with SB 277, the new California law severely restricting personal belief exemptions to vaccines that threatens to keep many non-vaccinated or partially vaccinated children out of school? Ireland happens to have a very interesting and colorful history, which is often overlooked because it has been overshadowed by its neighbor and once occupier, Great Britain.

Europe was a place of war and kingdoms — in fact, warring kingdoms — with often barbaric behavior. Religion (mainly Catholic) was the backbone of every society, and to question it could get you imprisoned or hung, drawn, and quartered, depending upon whom you offended. Most of the wars involved religion and, depending on who won, resulted in many new ‘revolutionary’ religions. In the almost 150 years of the movement known as the Reformation, a tumultuous period of marked by a great deal of death and destruction, Protestantism was born, including the Lutheran, Calvinist, Huegenot, Presbyterian, Puritan, Reformist, Baptist, and Quaker sects.

hedge school2Ireland, however, remained staunchly Catholic, despite the barbaric Cromwellian War, which ravaged the Irish Catholic Church from 1649-53. Ireland managed to maintain its culture, traditions and identity in spite of being ruled by Great Britain for the better part of 800 years. Many attempts were made to thwart Ireland’s nationalistic pride. (In fact, there is a side of the history of Ireland and Great Britain that is still not fully resolved.) So how does this have any bearing on SB 277?

The Irish at the time spoke Gaelic, not English. They were scholars and poets, religious and traditionally devout. Religious leaders spoke Latin and Greek. Beginning in 1702, a series of Penal Laws were passed in Ireland by Great Britain aimed at extinguishing this rich Irish culture. One of the first laws stated, “Whereas it has been found by experience that tolerating at papists keeping schools or instructing youth in literature is one great reason of many of the natives continuing ignorant of the principles of the true religion, and strangers to the scriptures, and of their neglecting to conform themselves to the laws of this realm, and of their not using the English habit and language, no person of the popish religion shall publicly teach school or instruct youth, or in private houses teach youth, except only the children of the master or mistress of the private house, upon pain of twenty pounds, and prison for three months for every such offence. 7 Will III c.4 (1695)” [Editor’s note: don’t you love it when educational reformers sound like they themselves haven’t been educated?] As noted here, “The Punishment Laws passed by the Anglo-Irish parliament were so harmful to the Irish people that the Frenchman Montesquieu described them as “conceived by demons, written in blood, and registered in Hell.” Sound familiar? One commentator said that “It was not merely the persecution of a religion, it was an attempt to degrade and demoralize a whole nation.” Or, to put it mildly, a kind of religious apartheid.

SB 277 threatens a similar apartheid based upon the vaccine status of California’s children. Perhaps what transpired in Ireland could serve as inspiration for the future of California.

Facing a law that would abolish the teaching of religion, Irish language, and culture in schools, the Irish people chose to stand up for their rights and keep their kids out of the new British schools which were based on the the tenet of “wherein the Children of the Irish Natives should be instructed in the English Tongue and in the Fundamental Principles of the True Religion.” Catholics were not barred from these schools, but the curriculum had changed to one that ignored traditional Irish values, history, and culture. Shockingly, the Irish people refused to believe the English settlers were not trying to Anglicize them and decided to protest.

So how were Irish children educated? Local villages formed their own schools called Hedge Schools — sort of like outdoor homeschools. Travelling scholars, who were former schoolmasters and students, would go around Ireland educating the children in towns and villages so that the history and culture of Ireland would never be forgotten. Under the law, these schoolmasters were now criminals. Therefore, their instruction was done in secret; it took place in hedgerows, barns and abandoned cottages. Parents were equally criminalized for educating their children at home if they were Catholic.

hedge school1

Despite being incredibly risky for both the teacher and the pupil, for 120 years the Irish stuck to their principles — such was their passion for their beliefs. It was extremely brave, and some might say foolish, but it was the cherished belief of the parents of Ireland that their children be taught their heritage, and for that reason the danger was worth it to them. In 1829, the Papal Law was officially repealed, and the school system in Ireland was slowly rebuilt. It’s not to say that it was rebuilt as before, but at least it was free of oppression.

I don’t see the “vaccine debate” as being different from a religious debate. By their nature, it’s impossible to debate people’s personal religious beliefs — simply because they are beliefs that are personal. That’s why we have the First Amendment. In a similar way, it has become equally impossible to debate the merits and demerits of vaccination in a civil manner because of the collision of personal beliefs on both sides of the question.  Obviously, those who use personal belief exemptions are doing so based upon their personal beliefs, but the rationale for mandating vaccines is also hinged on personal beliefs, albeit scientific-sounding dogma about “herd immunity,” “resurging disease,” “debunked theories,” and vaccine reactions being rare, that have little basis in fact, logic, or science.

We live in a complex world and unless we build a wall around each state, that ever-elusive perfect “herd immunity” cannot be achieved. California already has high rates of vaccination, including measles vaccine, and we can see that their high rates of vaccination did protect them in the Disney outbreak, keeping rates of infection quite low, despite the high number of adults who either were never immune or are no longer, thereby invalidating that justification in the Pan/Allen bill. No panic. No spread of disease in schools. Not one school was shut down. No national emergency at all — except for media-propagated hysteria. Vaccinating the remaining tiny percentage of shoolchildren who have not been vaccinated already cannot prevent future outbreaks of measles as long as people are free to travel to places where measles is still endemic.  In spite of all that, heavily influenced by pharmaceutical company donations and political posturing (see Doctor Bob’s Daily for June 25th at 3:35 p.m.), SB 277 emerged and fast-tracked its way through the legislature to become law, and children whose parents wish to abstain or delay even one vaccine are being marginalized. They are being denied their basic rights as citizens afforded to them by the constitutions of California and the United States, based on their religious or personal beliefs. Religious segregation if you will.

The United States was founded on the principle that people should be free to practice their religion based on their own beliefs. That principle is being tested right now in California. Constitutional rights must and will prevail, but only the will of the people will see it through. It is going to be a fight, maybe the fight of our lives. The lesson from Ireland is that it can be done — even if it takes 120 years. We don’t have 120 years; we have only a matter of months. But there was no social media in 18th century Ireland . . .

Governor Brown, get ready!

~ ShamROCK

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15 Responses to What 1700s Ireland Has to Teach Us about SB 277

  1. Hans Scholl says:

    Shamrock , if the parallel to the vaccine wars is Irish History then I’m extremely worried indeed . Ireland has been battered for 800+ years , wave after wave .
    Language lost and gone .
    Population decimated time after time (wars , starvation , malnutrition ,immigration).
    70% of public water fluoridated TODAY (the biggest lie in history)
    Island divided (although with the NWO doesn’t matter a jot)
    Economy decimated again (no accident I’d suggest)
    And vaccines per child , 1 or 2 greater than the UK (why ?)
    And an autistic population of 100,000 approx. or perhaps greater .
    Although the resistance is there in pockets (resistance to the NEW threats).

    sb277 is a criminal act indeed .

  2. Mary Aspinwall says:

    Very interesting parallels. I’m half Irish and lives there for ten years. One small point they don’t refer to their language as Gaelic – they say Irish. I was sternly corrected on that point a couple of times 🙂

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      I was strongly tempted to put that in when editing, having heard the same myself. I’m about three-quarters Irish. 😉

    • Shamrock says:

      Thanks Mary, I am Irish and I put the word Gaelic in there because I thought that perhaps the word “Irish” might seem unusual to American readers. But yes, I think I should have put the correct term. We would never say “Gaelic” in Ireland to refer to our language. Go raimh míle maith agat… (thank you).

  3. Kate Gowen says:

    Wouldn’t a homeschool curriculum on human physiology and biological functioning for gradeschool-aged children be a wonderful thing? The parents are having to learn these things the hard way, as it is– why not turn that expensive lemon into lemonade?

    And then it could be shared with the pig-ignorant media propagandists, first, and the rest of general public. Big medicine is the only beneficiary of our present national shameful ignorance.

    • D. Saul Weiner says:

      For sure, and there are other good reasons to opt out of the school system, especially the government schools. But some parents are not in a position to do this, unfortunately.

  4. D. Saul Weiner says:

    The promoters of public school in the U.S. also tried to “Americanize” the Catholic immigrants through that same route. Instead, we got the Catholic School movement.

    Government schools are not, as many believe, about making sure people have access to an education. They have always been in large measure about indoctrination.

    • Lisa K. says:

      This was my first thought too.

    • ShamROCK says:

      That’s a very true statement, thank you. However when America is supposed to be the land of the free and we see our rights taken away from us, then this indoctrination becomes all too evident and people begin to awaken. If a nation is happy to be indoctrinated (i.e. ignorance is bliss and life is pretty good) then there is no reason to forcibly use the educational system as such an obvious indoctrination tool against our wishes. So it’s the imbalance that causes the push and shove as we are seeing in CA today. But they have pushed us too far and now the masses are waking up. It seems to be backfiring but lots of work yet to do. I am praying for everyone who is in this fight that we will prevail (I’m still indoctrinated by my catholic education, see?). 🙂

    • MaryEllen says:

      Hubby is Native American (we say indian) not born on a res, but his great-grandfather and his sibling were taken to residential school to learn English, be Americanized and stripped of their cultural heritage, too. That attempt didn’t work either.

  5. Donald Monty says:

    There’s no law against home schooling.

    • ShamROCK says:

      This was not a direct comparison, just a reflection on history where we have seen education used as a bargaining tool in the past and where people have stood up for their rights.

  6. Cre8rix says:

    You make some apt observations and I’ve long found it interesting that those who purport belief in utter safety and effectiveness do seem to have a religious relationship with the idea, rather than firsthand research backing up an educated opinion. I am also reminded of Indian Schools, which sought to “educate” culture out of native peoples.

    We would also be wise to keep our eye on this bill introduced at the federal level, which threatens to de-fund those schools lacking 100% vaccination rates: https://www.congress.gov/114/bills/hr2232/BILLS-114hr2232ih.pdf

    This is underhanded on many levels: mandating without actually mandating (we all know schools can’t survive any additional budget cuts), in addition to forcing belief systems on those who want an education. The economic and equal rights ramifications are glaring. So far, the bill has only been introduced but it seems to have received little publicity to date and is alarming.

    • ShamROCK says:

      I don’t expect that Bill to gain traction due to its egregious nature although once the constitutionality of SB277 is tested in CA, it will set the precedent for future Bills. This is why Sb277 is so important. We have to fight it until there is no stone unturned, until all avenues are closed. If SB277 is not repealed, it spells disaster for the rest of the country and this federal Bill could be a possibility. It’s not over, I fear it is just beginning.

  7. NNF says:

    This sums it up!

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