Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Logic and the Left

Tony asks speculates that the left and the right approach problems differently. I think he may be correct in this. One example is the Palestinian issue which he talks over. Those on the right - like Tony and I - seem to always be battling a huge wall of indignant emotion, especially in Ireland, if we sympathise with and argue for the continued existence of Israel, and this even without going into the "extremist" territory of tentatively venturing the hypothesese that the voiding of the Oslo accords, killings of active terrorists and election of Ariel Sharon were, perhaps, just maybe, for the sake of argument, perhaps politically logical and morally justified.

The differences between our mindsets and that of, for example, the standard Irish Times narrative seem to fall into a few broad fallacies.

First, I think most people make the assumption that because the Palestians appear weaker, they must have justice on their side, a dangerous conclusion. Regardless of their military inferiority when facing the Israelis without the backing of the Arab militaries, they seem to have a preference for massacre and terrorism, with only the first Intifada being a partial exception. Unlike either say the Poles under Soviet rule or even the IRA, they've never seemed to draw back from direct and targeted violence against women, children and non-combatants in attacking athletes, schools, family homes and so on.

Second, regardless of whether Israel is right or wrong, it's more useful to us than the Palestinians have ever been. A modern society, albeit one troubled by ethnic division and political polarisation, even one that's perhaps Enlightenment civilisation's country cousin, is more likely to be a friend than an enemy. As we observed, there was nobody dancing in the streets of Tel Aviv on 9/11. Whatever the shape of any future Palestine, it will be highly unlikely to serve as the stage for the preening leftists like Caoimhe Butterly.

Third, all outsiders, and the BBC and other British reporters in particular, always bring the assumption that the disagreements and conflict are the result of someone being unreasonable. But what if compromises are not reciprocated, inviting only more demands? If the hurt pride or the ambition is too great for compromise, but leads on only to sustained demands, what can be done? If Gaza is on the table, but Jaffa and Jerusalem are the prizes, who would offer compromise? To borrow from Jabotinsky's The Iron Wall, the philosophical cornerstone of the Revisionist Zionism of the Likud:
All this does not mean that any kind of agreement is impossible, only a voluntary agreement is impossible. As long as there is a spark of hope that they can get rid of us, they will not sell these hopes, not for any kind of sweet words or tasty morsels, because they are not a rabble but a nation, perhaps somewhat tattered, but still living. A living people makes such enormous concessions on such fateful questions only when there is no hope left. Only when not a single breach is visible in the iron wall, only then do extreme groups lose their sway, and influence transfers to moderate groups. Only then would these moderate groups come to us with proposals for mutual concessions. And only then will moderates offer suggestions for compromise on practical questions like a guarantee against expulsion, or equality and national autonomy.