October 27, 2014

The Lundy Terror, Ctd

Modern unionism is a heterodoxy, not an orthodoxy. It is multi-, not mono-confessional. You can be a ruthless critic of a belief and still be an exponent of that belief. You can be a ruthless critic of unionism and still be a unionism. As the Orwell Method has shown, self-examination and self-interrogation of your beliefs strengthens the precepts and principles that form the basis of that belief.
Giving a point to nationalism, or heavily criticising unionism, does not make an opponent of unionionism. Solidarity is not lost by calling out prejudice.

The reformist government headed by Terence O' Neill from 1963-1969 engendered liberal unionism and sought to neuter tensions and reconcile two communities in Northern Ireland, sought to make Northern Ireland a functional and efficient entity within the UK. [Read my blog post on Terence O'Neill here.]

Yet he was destroyed by a hysterical fringe with the charge of "Lundy"! Reaching out to and accomodating Catholics is not being a Lundy or Lundyism. As the Secretary for Ireland’s Department of Finance, T.K Whitaker, wrote to the Taoiseach Sean Lemas on November 11 1968:
"The meetings between the Prime Ministers and other Ministers, North and South, have been directed towards fostering good-will and co-operation. They have expressly had no constitutional or political content. Neither side has in any way abandoned its political principles or ideals."
Giving a hand to the other side does not mean you’ve renounced your own side. As T.K. Whitaker made it very clear, and contradicting the insurgency fringe unionism of Paisley: "Mr. Terence O’ Neill and his Government remain Unionists." In fact, by opening themselves to and accomodating nationalists, unionists stood to strengthen unionism. T.K. Whitaker said:
"Their aim presumably is to reduce tensions between Nationalists (North and South) and Unionists and to make N.I. a thriving, efficient entity within the UK... We, for our part, remain dedioated to the ideal of a united Ireland. We need not torment ourselves by the thought that Mr. O'Neill's policy might succeed, that even Northern Nationalists would some day be seduced, by the elimination of discrimination and satisfaction of employment and housing needs, into becoming happy citizens of a NI within the UK."
O'Neillism sought to open the gates of opportunity and equality to Catholics freely and fully. This entente cordial of O'Neill, fatally skewered by reactionary Paisleyism, could have seduced many Catholics and disarmed republicans of their grievances.

The Paisleyism that violently upheld Protestant exceptionalism and exclusivity was utterly self-destructive. Yet unionist ideologues still cling to the orthodoxy. In the face of good facts, they oppose by instinct. People hold onto their tribal biases, totally unchecked, even when it is wrong and unfounded. We can call this the Backfire Effect or Identity-Protective Cognition. The antidote to this kind of unchecked groupthink and inviolable certainty is the Orwell Method and opposition as an ointment.
Yet those who seek to operate in the O'Neill manner of good mannered diplomacy will be sidelined. Hardline unionists will bully away the inconvenient truths and silence the disobedient observants. This is minoritarianism - a radical insurgency opposed to rationality, to political compromise, to participation in a parliamentary system that has a monopoly over the vast numbers of moderates. The liberal non-belligerent unionist is the heretic, apostate and infidel.
And unanimity is imposed by violence.
These sectarian biases are inherited and are shamelessly unexamined. Hardline unionists and loyalists don't seem to have any mechanism to question their own mechanisms. This is incredibly self-satisfied. This is extremely counterproductive to their own interests. And shame on those who deceive, manipulate and propagandise and those who encourage loyalism to believe in their exagerated sense of debilitation.
Knowing this, someone needs to save unionism and loyalism from the folly of its own doings. They are mortally devoid of doubt. Cork professor, JJ Lee, wrote of the necessity of unionism engaging in a process of self-examination to escape “from the paralyzing shackles of supremacist thinking.”
Today the man or woman who speaks against the bellicose flag protester is automatical swiped with the slur, "snob". This is like the Russian witch hunts that demonised the "rootless cosmopolitan". Greedy for uncritical praise and swift to punish the critic.

My previous posts on how loyalism weakens the union here and here. My previous posts on the authoritarianism of "Lundy!" can be read here and here and here and here and click the links to read about being called a "Lundy", "Guilty Prod" and "Rotten Prod".

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