Everything you say can and will be used against you.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

A Response to Megan Nolan's: "I Didn’t Hate the English—Until Now"

Re: Megan Nolan, Op-Ed, ‘I Didn’t Hate the English—Until Now,’ The New York Times, Oct. 19, 2018, Section A, page 35 <https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/18/opinion/england-ireland-border-brexit.html>.

Re: Megan Nolan, ‘English ignorance about Ireland just isn’t funny anymore,’ The Irish Times (Oct. 29, 2018, 06:30 AM) <https://tinyurl.com/y8eeb58v>.

Ms Nolan wrote: “But there was an idea not so long ago, even among many Irish, that it was time to move on. We were all going to be European together forever, after all, and we ought to at least try to smooth over our differences.”

Ms Nolan’s position is difficult to understand. In 1975, the British voted to join the EEC (now the EU). They intended to join a free trade area. They joined as a matter of self-interest: their self-interest. The British did not join the EEC to benefit Ireland, and they did not join to injure Ireland. More importantly, they did not promise to make their membership in the EEC irrevocable. Likewise, Ireland had its own political processes, and it jointed the EEC at about the same time for its own reasons. If Ms Nolan felt she and other Irish had justifiable grievances against the British, it is difficult to see why the UK’s joining a trade association! should assuage those differences; it is equally difficult to see why the UK’s leaving that trade association should resurrect any strong feelings of animus that have been long quiescent.

It seems to me that this is the reality of what Ms Nolan meant: [1] I do not want to be Irish; [2] I do not want to be Irish and European; and most importantly, [3] I want to be European and I insist that you be European right along with me. We all ought to give up our local identities in favour of the new supra-national Brussels-based politically-constructed identity. By leaving the EU, the British have forced me to rethink who I am and what my identity is, and I would rather not think about that at all. Why? Because it hurts.

Now, I do not doubt that the post-Brexit psychological harm Ms Nolan is experiencing is real—to her—and perhaps to many others too. But the same can be said for the psychological harm any woman and any man experiences in any country at any time in history where the “injured” person’s favoured party or politician fails to hold or take power. (Just think about how hurt Hillary Rodham Clinton’s supporters felt after the 2016 presidential election in the United States.) The proper response to a person’s claiming the mantle of such an “injury” is not to give them the platform of The Irish Times or The New York Times, but to help the wounded individual find a friend or mentor, clergyperson or psychologist.


Seth Barrett Tillman, A Response to Megan Nolans: I Didn’t Hate the English—Until Now, New Reform Club (Nov. 4, 2018, 10:58 AM), https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2018/11/a-response-to-megan-nolans-i-didnt-hate.html

1 comment:

Tom Van Dyke said...


After independence, a native ascendancy assumed the political, cultural, economic, and administrative roles of the colonizer. The colonial mentality continued. The Irish mind, though ostensibly freed, repressed those aspects of its culture it had been taught to despise. “Tearing away” from the colonist’s values never occurred. The colonial period is generally treated as a minor prang between an ass-cart and an English Land Rover at a shorted-out traffic light, both parties shaking hands and undertaking to do their own repairs. There is a complete unwillingness to acknowledge that the last 850 years may have imposed a psychic burden on the present.

If you look at the nature of Irish life, politics, economics, and culture today, you may begin to see a pattern: the rush, having achieved freedom, to enter another dependency by ­joining what is now the European Union; the disdain that exists in Ireland for our native music and language; the almost hysterical attempts to portray Ireland as the most liberal country in the world ever; the pride taken in the totalitarian empires of Facebook and Google cynically dodging taxes by taking Dublin as their European headquarters; the fake inter­nationalism that overrides Irish nationhood to serve the interests of globe-trotting elites.

All these are symptoms of the condition diagnosed by Fanon: dependency, mimicry, self-hatred, the loud and constant assertion of modern values masking the inability to stand against the world. Some 850 years after the Norman invasion, we continue to insist that we are not barbarous, that we are human. But still we wish, deep in our souls, to be accepted as the equals of our former masters, because only this will render us “civilized.”