Then none was for a party;
Then all were for the state;
Then the great man helped the poor,
And the poor man loved the great:
Then lands were fairly portioned;
Then spoils were fairly sold:
The Romans were like brothers
In the brave days of old.
Now Roman is to Roman More hateful than a foe
And the Tribunes beard the high,
And the Fathers grind the low.
As we wax hot in faction,
In battle we wax cold:
Wherefore men fight not as they fought
In the brave days of old.
Horatio - Macaulay
The sentiments and the narrative here are of course universal ones-- the virtues, unity and military strength of a nation becoming corrupted by factionalism. The more the factions within a nation hate each other, the more eager they are to battle one another than the enemy.
A nation busy fighting itself cannot defeat the enemy. The surest way to victory is to create fifth columns, to divide a nation against itself and set itself to internal bickering. Israel fell both times because it was divided, because factions and kingdoms quarreled against each other, unable and unwilling to unite-- even against a common enemy. The most dreadful reason for that is that they hated each other more than they did the enemy.
When George Washington delivered his farewell address warning against factionalism, it was because he had already bitterly experienced the assaults conducted against him by former allies like Thomas Jefferson's faction and Thomas Paine. That factionalism crippled the United States going into the War of 1812, resulting in a near defeat. It escalated and eventually served to worsen and eventually contribute to the Civil War.
Factionalism helped delay US entry into WW2. It caused the American defeat in Vietnam. It gave us eight years of the Clinton Presidency which viewed conservatives, not Islamic terrorists as the real threat. Clinton's Democratic successors continued and continue to think that way after 9/11. To liberals the gravest threat that requires their immediate response did not come from Osama Bin Laden-- but from George W. Bush. Despite occasional outward gestures, that has not changed and has instead only grown more so.
The Democratic party had become so mired in factionalism that it was incapable of recognizing any threat that did not originate from the Rush Limbaugh show. That deliberate blindness cost the lives of thousands and yet nothing would be learned from that. If Liberals had invested a fraction of the effort into fighting terrorism that they invested in fighting the Republicans-- the cultural war at least would have been won. Instead they have done everything possible to undermine the War on Terror from spreading lies to smearing troops and serving as the PR corps for the terrorists.
In Israel the Labor socialists had repeatedly treated Zionists and Nationalists as the real enemy. During the resistance against British rule, their top figures including deceased former Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek, collaborated with the British authorities in informing and even kidnapping and torturing Irgun and Lehi members. During the start of the War of Independence, Ben Gurion ordered future Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin to open fire on the Altalena, a ship carrying a large cargo of arms along with future Prime Minister Menachem Begin-- because he had refused to comply with the socialist leadership's orders to hand over all arms on the ship-- rather than divide them.
It was the same old story when Rabin as Prime Minister now-- signed a deal with Yasir Arafat under the aegis of the Clinton Administration-- that set up Palestinian terrorist controlled territories within Israel's borders and treated the settlers with contempt-- even as his police brutally crushed protest rallies.
After Rabin's death, the campaign of hatred aimed at conservatives in Israel really took off. Offices belonging to the Likud were smashed and the media did its best to try and paint Netanyahu as being responsible for the assassination. Leah Rabin announced that she would rather that her children marry Arabs than settlers.
Even as the terrorism grew worse, Labor socialist Prime Ministers from Rabin to Peres to Barak continued a campaign of hate against the settlers, as if they-- rather than the terrorists these very same governments had invited into the country-- were to blame. That attitude reached its culmination under Sharon and Olmert with the forcible expulsion of thousands of Jews from their home so as to expand the territory of the terrorist Hamas state-- which employed the rubble of those destroyed homes as launching pads for the next wave of rockets pounding Israeli towns and villages.
As police brutality against the settlers escalated, the foreign funded peace activists-- who included Olmert's own wife and daughter and son-- engaged in increasingly violent provocations and protests. And the very same government which papered over the worst crimes of the police when it came to settler rallies, immediately shifted into condemnation when soldiers defended themselves against foreign pro-terrorist activists.
All the energy directed into internal warfare is energy directed away from national defense. The better the factions within a nation get at fighting each other, the less energy they have for fighting the enemy. "As we wax hot in faction, In battle we wax cold: Wherefore men fight not as they fought In the brave days of old." An army is not merely a tool, it is an assembly of citizens ready and willing to give their lives for a nation. When a nation's government and cultural elites send the message that fighting the enemy isn't worth dying for and is immoral in any case-- that army's morale drops until it becomes increasingly useless. Its generals become political generals just waiting to retire, write their books and perhaps go into politics.
Taxes increase as the factions maneuver and work to raise money for their campaigns against each other and to pay off the various sectors of the population whose support they wish to buy, e.g. unions, senior citizens, bureaucrats, minorities. Jobs vanish but this is of little concern to the factions which prefer a dependent citizenry over an active and prosperous one.
Immigration expands greatly as one or more of the factions see the new pool of prospective citizens as an appealing new gullible base for their voting pool. Thus Israel's secular governments have imported massive amounts of non-Jewish Russians to balance out the growth of the religious population and ignored assaults and anti-semitic attacks against religious Jews and finally destroyed the homes and economic and family lives of thousands of religious Jews-- with plans to destroy tens of thousands more.
In the United States the push to legalize illegal Mexican immigrants is building to a crescendo as many Democrats and Republicans believe that they have the potential to boost the voting base of one side or the other. The distortion of rhetoric has allowed the media to recreate the issue in terms of civil rights and hatred of immigrants-- rather than in common sense legality and illegality.
In Europe, socialists increasingly rely on a Muslim voting public and pander to it using populist Anti-American and Anti-Israel rhetoric, while opposing Anti-Terrorist measures in their own countries.
Factionalism ultimately destroys and disintegrates a country in the face of an enemy invasion. Islamic terrorists know this quite well, which is why they pander to the left, reciting material from Michael Moore films and forming ties with left wing college professors and intellectuals-- as they successfully exploit our domestic fifth column.
In Israel millions from the EU help to fund organizations like Peace Now dedicated to the dismantling of the State of Israel by undermining its national defense and expelling tens to hundreds of thousands of Jews from their homes. In the United States millions more pour into the coffers of organizations like MoveOn from overseas funders like George Soros. Factionalism makes a country an easy target for the enemy.
A house divided against itself cannot stand. The potential to unite a nation exists by cutting the divisive elements out of the picture and appealing directly to the people. That requires a leadership with great integrity and incorruptibility that can transcend politics and deal fairly with all sectors of society and transcend corporate allegiances and old geographical alliances for a new way. The alternative becomes the inevitable battle Lincoln was forced to confront. Yet Lincoln's America only had to fight an internal enemy. Had the Republic been forced to fight both an internal and external enemy at the same time-- it would not have survived.
A house divided against itself cannot stand up to the enemy. It must either unite or be destroyed.