This Chapter will function as a flexible caboose. Established when there were eighteen others with an introduction; as new Chapters have been developed, they have been placed ahead. Sections that appear here may be lifted for fuller development as new Chapters, or incorporated into other Chapters; while new sections may be added--a dynamic rather than static supplement.
One of the most confused areas in public discourse involves the concept of conspiracy. On the one hand, there has been a tendency in the West generally, at least since the time of Cicero, to apply the term as a negative, directed at a persistent and effective foe. On the other, there is a tendency to deride as paranoid, those who tend to focus on the conspiratorial aspects of strategy, conflict, or action. In this regard, some common sense definitions and distinctions may be helpful.
A moment's common sense reflection will demonstrate to anyone, active in the battle of ideas or the pursuit of political advantage, that there are in fact political conspiracies--both in the form of short-term plots to immediate purpose, and in long-term many faceted intrigues. Often, whether we think something a conspiracy as opposed to a concerted, carefully thought out, approach to a long term goal, depends upon which side we are on. Thus, Hillary Clinton could, with a serious demeanor, denounce a "vast right-wing conspiracy" against her husband, in the wide-spread condemnation of his behavior in the Paula Jones matter. But she would never have used the term to refer to the Clintons' own pursuit of collectivist egalitarian goals via Fabian tactics, which each apparently adopted after brief indulgences in more forthright student radicalism.
In point of fact, that widespread condemnation was far more spontaneous than conspiratorial. (It would have been better for Conservatives had their been a bit more conspiracy--or at least more forethought in the method of attack, which invited an effective counterattack on the basis of a claimed prudery and hypocrisy.) Whereas, the Clintons' pursuit of power, dependent upon the help of skilled and influential allies, definitely involved secret planning and long term design--far more consistent with the concept under discussion. But then, one could say exactly the same thing about many long term plans to promote values on the Right. The term itself has more negative connotations than perhaps it should. For whether you call private plans "conspiracy" or "concerted action" can never be so important, to objective evaluation, as either the ultimate purpose of the intrigue, or the means by which it is pursued.
The best known political conspiracies of all time, were probably those hatched by factions of World Communism. Much of the modern notoriety for the term flows from a persistent use of means outside the law, and outside traditional Western morality, by the Bolshevik Communists who took over Russia under the leadership of Lenin, and who sought to use that base to build a Communist world order.
It was with respect to this effort to promote a Communist World, that the suggestion was made that it was somehow paranoid to even worry about conspiracy. It was in the resulting controversy over the extent to which Americans should fear a Communist conspiracy, that the Left coined the term, still used in now more general contexts, of "McCarthyism." The term refers to the Senator from Wisconsin, a tough ex-Marine, who repeatedly called for a thorough investigation of alleged Communist infiltration into our Government in the 1950s.
While we will not join the chorus heaping abuse on the long deceased Senator, he was not always precise in his allegations nor completely accurate in documentation. His principal vice was that of the broad brush, lumping "fellow travellers" and dupes with those actually participating in a foreign conspiracy. This broadbrush attack invited and certainly drew anguished cries of "guilt by association" and "witchhunt," terms gradually subsumed by Leftist repetition into the connotation now imparted to the term "McCarthyism." But to put the matter into perspective, some other facts must be considered:
a. The Left always damns by association. It is one of their standard tactics. (See Chapter 13, for examples.)
b. Joe McCarthy, although sincerely anti-Communist, was no Conservative or rightwing spokesmen. There were at least 20 Senators--with a probably equal number from each party--who had clearly more Conservative voting records.
c. The Fellow Travellers, whom Joe supposedly smeared, were people who had the same communistic mindset discussed in Chapter 16 under the Gordon Allport sub-heading. If they ran with Communists without realizing the full conspiratorial aspect of Bolshevism, it was not because they did not understand the collectivist egalitarian mindset.
These were not innocent lambs! They had embraced an attack upon private property, upon the retention of the fruits of the legitimate aspirations and labor of countless generations. If not deliberate conspirators, they were kindred spirits to the most evil movement in modern times. That most were not under actual party discipline is a significant point; but it is not the major point.
Ever since President Reagan proposed that America develop a viable defense against foreign missile attack, "Liberals" have been on the attack. They have used ridicule to suggest that the idea is impractical, too expensive or too paranoid. But they have seldom deigned to calmly debate. We would suggest that what is really involved in this attack reflects the same Dean Rusk/Robert Strange McNamara mindset, which led the Kennedy/Johnson Administration to adopt the policy of seeking a "Cold War" stalemate, under the umbrella of "mutually assured destruction" (see discussion in Chapter 18, under "Iraq Seizes Kuwait").
Rusk and McNamara, respectively Secretaries of State and of Defense, initiated the no-win policy. They did not seek to win the "Cold War." Rusk even ridiculed the idea, comparing it with the attitude of fans in a stadium watching a football game. Many Americans died unnecessarily, because the Viet Nam War was waged under this unconscionable policy! Many more were crippled for life. Instead, of seeking to destroy Communism, Rusk proposed that America promote her own egalitarian revolution throughout the world to compete with the Communist version! (To understand just how far Left was Rusk's proposed revolution, review Chapter 18, on Katanga, Biafra, Rhodesia and South Africa.)
We would suggest that the opposition to what the organized Left ridiculed as Star Wars during Reagan's term, and which they continue to attack today under the younger Bush, stems not from any more complicated cause than a desire to get back to the Dean Rusk/McNamara policy, which they used so effectively to keep America involved in international Leftwing causes. Whether consciously or sub-consciously, they do not want Americans to ever feel truly safe, because then we might take a moment to rediscover our roots, and opt out of a foreign policy that pursues a Leftwing world agenda. Otherwise their opposition to the quest for safety makes no sense. Whatever the cost, what could possibly have a higher priority than protecting the skies over America?
In this regard, we would refer also to Chapter Six. Although on the subject of naval rather than space preparedness, it involves the same concepts, and makes the points that need to be stressed.
The America, to which we refer, is not our continental homeland, nor her rooted people. We intend the song, which, not so very long ago, was second only to the Star Spangled Banner, as the most widely sung anthem at patriotic gatherings of Americans:
Considering the broad attack, waged upon the very concept of a nationality based upon a "land where my fathers died," or on one based upon reverence for "our fathers' God," or on an emphasis on being a "native" rather than a sojourner; one is inclined to wonder whether that beautiful hymn is suffering loss of exposure because of the warped Fabian views explored in Chapter 16 under Gordon Allport, who treated loyalty to family, race or nation as "prejudice"; or under Norman Cousins, who advocated the ostrich like approach to the qualities for which any people might be willing to die.
We do not suggest a conspiracy to withdraw the anthem. Rather we suspect the cumulative result of interaction among those brainwashed by the likes of Montagu, Allport and Cousins. Such would be embarrassed to have a stirring celebration of ancestral America on a program, lest it offend someone not so well rooted, not so traditionally directed. People of that ilk have even gone on record, questioning the spontaneous revival of God Bless America--actually written by a loyal immigrant--as a follow-up to the Star Spangled Banner at athletic events since September 11th, 2001, lest it offend an Atheist.
The best way to counter this retreat from heritage is with patriotic rallies, steeped in the values, symbols and words of the Fathers. (And, in addition to singing America, along with the Star Spangled Banner, Yankee Doodle, Dixie, as well as God Bless America
and Remember Pearl Harbor, from World War II days, it would be well to make a note to sing the last verse of the Star Spangled Banner--the triumphal one--in addition to the first. It appears with the Declaration Of Independence, at the link below.)
The concept of Federal involvement in education (as in many other fields of local interest, such as the provision of civilian medical services) outside the District of Columbia or Federal reservations, is fatally flawed. As noted early in this Handbook, such involvement is wholly outside the Constitutional structure. Education may be a legitimate object for State action, but nothing in the U. S. Constitution would even imply a Federal role.
We select education as our metaphor for the analytic flaw involved, because it has been lately in the news; an unctuous spirit of bipartisanship in Washington, engaging in one of the favorite pastimes of politicians, flaunted self-congratulation. Federal aid to education illustrates a number of individual fallacies, all rooted perhaps in a more general fallacy flowing from verbal reasoning. While all must use words to communicate thoughts, where there are no accurate visual images of the dynamics of human interaction available; if those words do not reflect a clear understanding of how phenomena related to the subject actually interact, they have no positive value.
It is a mistake to over-emphasize the relationship between spending money and the quality of education. It is a greater mistake to seriously believe that all children are equally educable and in the same direction. It is also a mistake, of towering proportions, to believe that adding extra layers of collective involvement in education, over an extended period, can have any net benefit.
The quickest way to introduce some common sense into the subject, is simply to look at the profound grasp, which the Founding Fathers achieved on the liberal arts and humanities, with educations perhaps completed at one of the few universities, but which started at home and involved a largely self-directed quest for much of what followed. Or consider that before the educationalist money cult became so powerful, American school children were told about how a self-motivated Abraham Lincoln studied his books by firelight.
In New York, where Statewide Regency tests were adopted over a century ago, it was noted by 1960, that what had been the 50th percentile in 1900 was then the equivalent of the 90th percentile. (And, of course, there has been a further dramatic fall off since then.) Does that reflect the enormous increase in expenditures on public education during the 20th Century? Or does it clearly demonstrate something very different--such as a fall off in aptitudes, or a misdirection in the curriculum or in the method of instruction?
President Bush has a likable personality. He appears to be instinctively Conservative. But in his educational philosophy, as well as on many other issues, he has clearly "bought" the fallacy promoted by the Academic Left; one that suggests a more malleable mankind than in fact exists. In Chapters 5, 7 and 16, we deal with aspects of this absurdity in depth, in others more in passing. But the bottom line is that no matter how you define the goal--the particular educational pursuit--some child will always be "left behind." The pursuit of the educator should be to find the course best suited to educate the individual child to his or her best potential. Beyond that, any goal will be self-defeating. The pursuit of illusion is never wise.
Yet beyond that lack of either Constitutional authority or a common sense understanding of the educational process, involved in Federal Aid To Education, there is another clear error. There can be no net gain, if educational dollars are diverted to support another layer of Government, thrusting additional variables into already confused and over-layered institutions. The Federal Government has no independent source of either wisdom or money. It must rely on the same pool of potential personnel, the same people who fund local and State Educational programs. Diverting these resources into an extra layer of bureaucracy is pure waste. Even if one considered the Socialistic levelling--the diversion of funds from wealthier areas to poorer ones--acceptable, a net waste remains the most obvious result.
The negative effect of intrusive meddling, does not arise just in the cost of the bureaucrats involved. The additional layer of Government occasions a diversion of local talent from interaction with students, to the process of interacting with bureaucrats. The layering of meddlers occasions the need for interaction between layers. Soon enough, there is an enormous bureaucracy at every level, interacting with bureaucracies at other levels--the very dynamic observed in most school systems, when you compare the percentage of the payroll, which goes to Administration today, with the percentage that went to Administration at the end of World War II.
The President has great prestige. There is no harm to our system, or to education, if he continues to speak out on the failed methods that have not educated children across America; to help focus local attention on the problem; to encourage parents to insist on necessary change. But that change must come locally--initiated and effected by the people who must interact with the children involved. If those people are not responsible, they will not act responsibly. In education, as in every other field of endeavor, remote Government cannot bring out the best. It can only burden the efforts of those who could otherwise be more effective. Federal involvement can only divert attention from actual education--the interaction between teacher and student--into how to satisfy a distant mindset; not how to educate, but how to keep the Federal spigot open. The same principle, which makes the free economy work better than any planned one, is very much in play here.
At this moment, when many Conservatives appear afraid to evoke the wrath of the militantly "politically correct," few will still challenge the validity of the Fourteenth Amendment. Yet it remains the source of most of the intrusions by the Federal Courts into the traditional prerogatives of State and local Government; remains discordant to the original Constitutional design; and remains never validly ratified. A century after the claimed ratification, Conservatives were still openly discussing the point. Consider examples, and the soundness of the argument:
In a 1966 book, Of Men, And Not Of Law (Devin Adair, New York), heartily endorsed at the time by the two most prominent former Conservative Presidents of the American Bar Association, and quoted by us also in Chapter 3, Lyman A. Garber wrote:
During this period [Reconstruction] the legislation we know as the 14th Amendment was proposed. Its sections were so crammed with provisions lending themselves to any desired construction, and so hostile to the nation's federal nature, that it could only have been given serious consideration in the intemperate political atmosphere of those days.... Ranged in its favor were the vengeful forces of the Reconstruction. They pushed the measure through Congress and then drove ruthlessly to wrest approval from the states. Felix Morley [Freedom and Federalism] says:
"The procedure was almost too preposterous for Secretary of State Seward, who on July 20, 1868, issued a very tentative proclamation of ratification. This pointed out that the legislatures of Ohio and New Jersey had, on sober second thought, repudiated their earlier ratifications, and that in Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, Louisiana, South Carolina and Alabama... alleged ratifications had been given by 'newly constituted and new established bodies avowing themselves to be, and acting as legislatures." (p. 145.)
On the following page, Garber quotes Dr. Harry Elmer Barnes, A Survey of Western Civilization, p. 874: "The Fourteenth Amendment ...in connection with the power of the Supreme Court to declare Federal laws unconstitutional, provided the most ingenious instrument in all human history for social and economic exploitation in the name of freedom and liberty."
David Lawrence, for many years editor and publisher of the most respected American weekly news magazine of the day, U.S. News & World Report, repeatedly emphasized the invalidity of the Amendment. He published an editorial on September 27, 1957, "The Worst Scandal In Our History," detailing, step by step, the events acknowledged by all historians, from which there was no other fair conclusion but that the Amendment failed the ratification process. He described the record as "a disgrace to free government and a 'government of law.'" Lawrence reprinted the editorial in the January 26, 1970 issue. His August 12, 1963 editorial, "Undoing A Fraud," was to the same effect.
There had been one irregularity after another, in the process by which the so-called Amendment had been rammed down America's throat. In briefest summary, these included a contrived hysteria, with intimidation, extortion and fraud. When the Southern States at first rejected it, Congress with no Constitutional authority, disenfranchised much of the Southern leadership, and empowered an Army of occupation to create new voter rolls for the purpose of electing more servile Legislators. While this travesty was in progress, yet not completed, the people in Ohio and New Jersey tossed out the Legislatures that had ratified the Amendment, and promptly rescinded ratification. When the Reconstructionist Congress finally forced Secretary Seward to certify this tainted ratification, Oregon cited the illegality of the procedure and rescinded an earlier ratification, describing what had been done in the Southern States as "usurpations, unconstitutional, revolutionary and void."
On August 24, 1964, the same magazine published an article by Robert N. Wilkin, a retired Federal Judge, who had also served on the Supreme Court of Ohio, entitled "A Noted Jurist Says, 'Repeal The Fourteenth Amendment.'" It further developed the argument for getting rid of the "Amendment." Demonstrating an obvious disharmony between the Amendment and both the conception and spirit of the original Constitution, Judge Wilkin detailed the use that the Federal Courts had made of it in intruding Federal authority into such inherently local fields as school prayer, integration of the races, State Legislative apportionment and obscenity, and observed (p. 73):
Consideration of the problems raised by these questions impels the inevitable conclusion that they involve personal, local, social and State conditions which are different at different times and places. A just solution therefore cannot be made by a decree or command issued out of the national capital. Specific questions require specific answers. The effort for over-all control is prompted by the arrogance of ignorance, is unjust and, in the end, futile. ...
A cursory analysis of the specific problems reveals the error of federal intervention. It is impossible to separate religion and public action. Religion is an inherent condition of human life....
There may be a community where secularism is so strong and religious bigotry so rife that it would be inexpedient to try to establish any form of prayer or other religious exercise for public schools. In such a community, public authorities should not favor any religious ceremony. On the other hand, there are many communities where religious feeling is so strong and religious tolerance so general that some form of religious exercise could be established without any substantial dissent.
In any event, therefore, the problem should be solved in the local community, and national controversy and strife would be avoided. The Judge went on to discuss the errors in some of the other condemned Fourteenth Amendment based judicial intrusions, and summarized:
Those who champion the Court's usurpation by interpretation argue that such power is necessary in order to effect needed reforms. ...that such power is absolutely required when reform is needed and other government agencies fail to act. ... Such political sophistry was emphatically rejected by the Founding Fathers. Washington said, "The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism."
With the declining quality of the electorate, observed in other Chapters, and clearly demonstrated by the farce surrounding the recount in the 2000 Presidential election in Florida--where it was actually urged that people, too stupid or senile to follow simple ballot instructions, had a grievance if their votes were not counted as intended--a change or adjustment in political strategy was certainly called for. (See Chapter 10 and Politics 2001--Lessons 2000.) Conservatives need to face the immorality in trusting their children's future to a process, where decisions will swing upon the votes of those who act, not only out of base motives in response to the appeals of demagogues, but without meaningful comprehension of either the political process or the unique American slant on that process.
The general drift throughout the 20th Century was adverse to our purposes. Is there a practical way to improve prospects for the 21st? Surely, any effective approach must address the real problems. To the extent that they flow from a less qualified electorate, the answer is obvious. While the formula could vary, there is much to recommend what we will call, "the 72/70 approach." Briefly, the strategy would be to seek to identify the mental level that roughly separates the more intelligent 70% of the electorate from the rest. The appeal, then, would be directed to those who fall above that line. Put the other way, we would decline to compete, via unconscionable special appeals, to those who fall within the lower 30% of the population.
(This does not mean that we write anyone off. There will be some who--even though, as in the past, our opponents offer to buy their votes with various programs--will still vote Conservative because of patriotic or other selfless reasons. It only means that we will not try to compete against the politics of bribery or by appeals to jealousy and greed.)
In appealing to the upper 70%, the target would be to obtain 72% of this vote--certainly not unreasonable, if you consider that we will now be appealing not only to legitimate self-interest, but also to ego, in acknowledging that our appeal is to those with brains, character and understanding. (The 72 of 70 does not have to be specifically discussed, just that the appeal is to those with intelligence and character.) Part of the appeal to such more exclusive group ought, frankly, to be on the basis that we need their help to begin to reestablish standards for determining proper qualifications to vote!
Of course, the Left will shout every slogan that dominated 20th Century politics. But once the Right stops apologizing for believing in standards, the whole thrust of the debate will change; and so will a wider public perception of underlying issues. The popular acceptance of the idea of "one man, one vote," is based upon two things: First, since almost no one has challenged the idea in over a generation, it has been acceded to by default. Secondly, when it was challenged, the debate usually turned on questions of how to, and who would, determine the qualifications of others. Again the required approach suggests itself.
The important, immediate objective, is to get the intelligent voter thinking in terms of the problem. That helps the Conservative and hurts the demagogue appealing to the mob. In this interest, we can defer immediate implementation of the required reform, until such time as we can design a truly fair method of administration. In the era when these issues were "thinkable," it was always the question of fair administration that caused the most concern. That is a legitimate concern that must be dealt with. But just stirring the debate begins the process of creating a sense of common interest among the intelligent. Just stirring the debate, and persisting in it with reasoned arguments, which expose the many wasteful and unpopular programs of the 20th Century, aimed at buying the votes of those without much understanding, could tend to rally the support we need to regain control of our political destiny.
Not every issue that stirs passion, is one where there is a clear Conservative position. This does not mean that individual Conservatives may not vigorously debate on one side or another. But it is important that we not confuse potentially divisive issues with those essential to the maintenance of a way of life. And it is important that we not let the former become "litmus tests" for our willingness to work with others on those issues, which do go to the preservation of our heritage. We need to keep in mind that unlike the great monolithic movements of the Left, Communism and National Socialism, we do not all "think" alike. It is in our nature to differ among ourselves on many points.
Most of these non-Left/Right issues fall into one of two broad categories: How should a Political Society deal with potentially harmful activities, where the most likely "victim," if any, is the actor himself? How should one view an issue, either domestic or foreign, where the sectarian religious adherence or orientation of one's fellow citizens may have a major influence on their perception or opinions?
Views certainly differ on whether, or to what extent, a State should legalize gambling. Or, if already legal, to what extent it should be restricted or regulated. Conservatives of a libertarian bent will be more sympathetic to the absence of any regulation, than those who favor a greater use of the State Police Powers. But Americans have always gambled. And American States have put some restrictions on the public aspect of that activity for a very long time. Obviously, State interaction with the human propensity to gamble involves a balancing of considerations. But it is not a Conservative/"Liberal" issue.
It is somewhat different with addictive and harmful drugs. Many Conservatives have been deeply involved in trying to combat an increased dependency upon the part of far too many Americans. Few, if any of a Conservative bent, would suggest that drug dependency is a good thing--or even legitimate recreation or good medicine. But that does not mean that we can all, or even a substantial plurality, agree on just what should be done to deal with the problem of such dependency.
The war on drugs has put Conservatives in the middle of a battle which pits our desire to protect Society from a corrupting medium, not natural to our culture--as opposed to alcoholic beverages which are--against our deep commitment to a maximum degree of individual freedom and personal responsibility for one's conduct. A complicated side issue is the practice of some Doctors to prescribe mood improving medications to elderly patients, who may not fully understand what is being done for or to them. Is this abuse of a body that should be interdicted by the State, or something that should be allowed under the umbrella of a privileged private relationship? Different Conservatives will resolve these conflicts in different ways.
The most obvious religious issue may be illustrated by the contrived flap, over Republican Presidential candidates appearing at Bob Jones University, during the year 2000 South Carolina Primary campaign. While Bob Jones University is a center of general Conservative sentiment--the reason Conservative candidates have appeared there for decades, and hopefully will continue to appear there for decades to come--it is also a center for rather stridently sectarian Protestant theology. It was this latter commitment, which was seized by the Leftwing media in an effort to fragment the American Right on the basis of doctrinal differences in theology; differences which, in no wise, altered the very real community of interest that we shared on political and other social questions.
It is those theological views at Bob Jones, which are outside a Left/Right dichotomy. And exactly the same point must be made as to any Conservative Catholic, Mormon, Jewish or other Protestant institution, which promotes a theology that clearly rejects that of other Conservatives. Obviously, the only approach that makes sense here, is to work together on all issues on which we can agree; but to echo Voltaire, so far as defending our rights to strongly disagree, as individual conscience dictates, on all questions of personal Faith, based upon the perceived imperatives of each dispensation.
We must not confuse what pertains to understanding God, with the affairs of State; never get so embroiled in theological issues, that we allow the Left to impose a Socialist, secular collectivist humanism over all of us. In the coalition of Cavalier and Puritan at America's birth, we have a model we can follow.
There are many ethnic and religious conflicts in other lands. Generally Americans give them a wide berth. But there are two conflicts, with very similar factors, where American feelings often run high--yet divide more clearly on religious or ethnic lines than along any Conservative/ "Liberal" axis.
The eerie parallels between the seemingly endless Protestant/Catholic (Orange/Green) conflict in Ulster (northernmost Kingdom of ancient Ireland), and the continuous Israeli/Palestinian conflict in the Biblical land of Canaan, have been over-looked by most commentators. Yet it is impossible to understand either tragedy without recognizing the striking similarities: In each case the result of a not completely thought out British experiment, with tragic implications for those now involved in an apparently almost insoluble conflict.
In Ulster, in the days of the First Elizabeth, a Sixteenth Century conflict between Protestant and Catholic took a nasty turn, and shortly after the accession of James I, in 1603, the British expelled the bulk of the Catholic landowners. While they allowed lower class Catholics to remain, as a permanent under-class, the confiscated estates of the Catholic leaders were distributed to Protestant settlers from Great Britain, many of families from Scotland, who had gone thither from Ireland over a thousand years before. These settlers put their roots down and developed an agrarian society, similar to that established in the British American colonies within a handful of years thereafter, and evidently prospered.
The major wrong was to the Catholic leadership who, as with President Clinton's treatment of General Cedras in Haiti, were expelled from their estates and driven from their native land. Yet the present conflict has taken on a life of its own, with less and less focus on what happened four centuries ago. In addition to the religious conflict, there is the matter of ethnic focus. The Orangemen look back to the island of Great Britain, loyal adherents to the British Monarchy. The Catholic minority identify with Eire, the Irish Republic, which includes the other three ancient Kingdoms, plus three Counties of Ulster not resettled, which were split off at the time the British Government recognized Irish independence.
Yet in addition to these divisions, there is the one of class. The Catholic minority has remained in many respects an economic underclass. And while this is primarily the result of the expulsion of its natural leadership, the situation has been well exploited by Socialist politicians; with a result that not all of the hatred in the present stew can be traced to either ethnic or religious animosity. There is also this matter of economic class, and hence the Marxist leaning of one branch of the IRA.
Eighty-seven years ago, at the time British led Arab forces liberated Arab lands from Turkish rule in World War I, Lord Balfour offered a plan--at least a policy--to allow Jewish resettlement in the ancient Holy Land, from which they had been driven by the Romans over eighteen hundred years before. While this idea was probably not based upon much consultation with the Palestinians, the total population of the region was only a small fraction of what it is today, and the Jewish settlers that moved thither in the late teens, twenties and thirties, seemed willing to make a place for themselves by reclaiming arid land that had been unused for centuries. Coexistence, even cooperation between peoples, seemed possible.
However, with the Nazi massacre of European Jews, what had been a steady but relatively manageable migration, during the original decades, took on a whole new aspect. To the developing Israeli settler Society, there was a sudden urgency to provide a safe haven for the surviving European Jews, many of whom desperately wanted to get out of Europe at the end of World War II. To the native Palestinian population, this presented a threat of being overwhelmed in their own land. To the major world powers, sympathetic to the Jewish ordeal immediately past, it served to justify the division of Palestine into separate Israeli and Palestinian homelands.
To the Arab neighbors, this partition was seen as both ethnic insult and threat to coreligionists in Palestine. Thus, when Israel was declared an independent State in 1948, the nations of the Arab League declared war and marched upon it, expecting to destroy the new nation at birth. However, the Settlers fought back so effectively that they routed most of the Arab armies. Only Jordan's British trained, single division sized, Arab Legion held its own. Thus, when a truce was arranged, the Israelis ended up with a substantially larger portion of Palestine than that allotted in partition, with the Bedouins of Jordan holding most of the rest. In the turmoil, many Palestinians had been driven from their homes, creating a second analogy to the situation in Ulster.
What has happened since, reflects both the high birth rate of Palestinians and the perception of Israelis that survival means they must take a very tough tack. While many of the more affluent, natural leaders, have emigrated to permanent settlement elsewhere; the poorer Palestinians have remained in refugee camps, putting in place the final analogy to Ulster, by becoming an ongoing underclass in an area at least still economically linked to that of the Israelis. And in one aspect, at least, there is an aggravating factor that exceeds any in Ulster.
While a small percentage of Irish Americans may be involved in the Ulster conflict, via donations to one side or the other, the Irish Republic has not given anything like the support to Ulster Catholics, that some Moslem countries have given to the Palestinians, or which some Western countries have given to the Israelis. One even reads comments in some internet discussions, which suggest that some enthusiasts would like to escalate the impasse in the Holy Land into the prophesied Battle of Armageddon; reducing both Israelis and Palestinians to mere pawns in an effort to vindicate prophesy.
We will not suggest that it is too complicated. Our point is that these, at least partially religious based conflicts, are clearly outside a Right/Left, Conservative/"Liberal" dichotomy. However strong one's feelings, whether partisan or sorrowfully reflecting on the ongoing human tragedies, they do not provide a Conservative "litmus test." They involve issues on which many among us will respectfully disagree. We must all learn to live with that.