Invented Peoples

Apparently former House Speaker and current President candidate Newt Gingrich, made an offensive statement that Palestinians are an invented people.

Remember, there was no Palestine as a state — (it was) part of the Ottoman Empire. I think we have an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs and historically part of the Arab community and they had the chance to go many places.

His point is that Palestine as a state was created in the aftermath of the First World War by the British and French carving up the remains of the Ottoman Empire. Modern Iraq, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia mostly exist today where the British Arab Mandates established them. Lebanon and Syria were the French Mandates though more highly re-arranged. If Mr. Gingrich questions the legitimacy of the former state of Palestine, why not Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Syria? Also, maybe he forgot Israel as a state was created in the aftermath of the Second World War also by the British? The creation was just as artificial or invented, if you will.

Americans, as we in the United States call ourselves, are also an invented people. If Palestinians should give up their claim on the land because Israelis have a stronger historical claim despite modern treaties, then it seems to me as President Newt Gingrich should push through Congress giving up United States territory to Native American tribes who claim those lands despite modern treaties. (Yes, I know this is a Straw Man.)

There is one other thing. The Palestine Mandate established protections specifically for the Jewish people to give them a home. So it is not like Palestine was created in opposition to Jewish interests. Further, Muslims, Christians, and Jews alike were all called Palestinians. The same as Muslims, Christians, and Jews alike are called Israelis. The modern anger stems from expansionist policies by force of arms.

Mr. Gingrich had another point that it is difficult to negotiate when being attacked. The United States government would have a hard time being nice to Mexico if rockets were lobbed at our cities. The example would be more accurate to say the rockets were lobbed at our cities in response to U.S. bombs dropped and tanks invading.

These are complicated issues for which simple analogies are apt to offend someone.

Tea Party = Demosthenes?

Ender Wiggin’s sister, Valentine plays the role of fictional Demosthenes online in several of the books by Orson Scott Card. She would play the role of an extremist to whip up the gullible Americans, while her power hungry psychopath brother Peter played the role of Locke would be the moderate.

In reading Ender in Exile, a speculative train of thoughts hit me. Successful politicians at the highest levels in this country are those who can take the center. Gingrich’s playing chicken with the government budget felt too extremist and solidified Clinton’s re-election. Gore and Kerry played too closely to the liberal base on Social Security, environment, and foreign relations ceding the center to Bush. McCain left the center to whip up the conservative base to give Obama the moderate position.

What would happen if a political party created a pseudo party to attack it and the real opponents from an extreme position, like the fictional Demosthenes? If the real party were distracted by the pseudo party, then the real party members appear more moderate and could take the center.

The fragments from page 31 in EiE which sparked this:

Demothenes was eloquent, but he always pushed a little too hard. Enough to energize the opposition, both inside and outside America. Discrediting his own side with every argument…. True believers in a cause often behaved in self-defeating ways because they expected others to see the rightness of their cause if they just sated it clearly enough.

Again, this was a speculative train of thought not based on any reality what-so-ever. I doubt any real political party has the acumen to pull this off in reality.