” The ‘morality of compromise’ sounds contradictory. Compromise is usually a sign of weakness, or an admission of defeat. Strong men don’t compromise, it is said, and principles should never be compromised.” -Andrew Carnegie
Slouching Towards Ennui
December 14, 2010 by Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere
“Compromise used to mean that half a loaf was better than no bread. Among modern statesmen it really seems to mean that half a loaf; is better than a whole loaf.” - G. K. Chesterton
“Compromise, n. Such an adjustment of conflicting interests as gives each adversary the satisfaction of thinking he has got what he ought not to have, and is deprived of nothing except what was justly his due.” – Ambrose Bierce
“Compromise: An agreement between two men to do what both agree is wrong.” - Lord Edward Cecil
I started my morning on Monday with a quick perusal of Facebook, and my friend Beth had linked Jim Geraghty’s piece on the pointlessness of the “No Labels” movement that is trying to gain momentum in politics. Geraghty pointed out that in their rush to portray themselves as a “tolerant” alternative, they have unwittingly displayed their rank intolerance.
I made a quick remark about how the media is eager to portray standing for nothing as being courageous.
I said it because it is one of the many lies that are being perpetrated to society today.
Others have looked at the movement and asked the inevitable “Why?”, as it is largely indistinguishable from the other failure masquerading as the savior to “moderates” everywhere, The Coffee Party. My friend and co-blogger Nice Deb has done a fine job laying the two side-by-side and revealing that one is ecru, and the other eggshell…each distinct to those who rally to their banners perhaps, but to anyone paying attention, they are simply flying the flag of surrender. Think of people who might understand what is at stake, but are willing to relent to the idea that compromise will offer real solutions to address the problems that threaten to swallow our country, our culture, and ideals. It’s a Rodney King approach to politics that underestimates the committment to fundamental change on the left and stubborn belief that following the failed welfare states of the world will also make us a failed welfare state, and squander the world’s last best hope on the right. Neither side wants to put the their weapons down, and considering the stakes, neither side should.
I remember a quote I once read that stated (and I’m paraphrasing here) that the hottest parts of Hell are reserved for those who remain on the fence. Moderation is never a good thing in politics because it leads to compromise. The Framers compromised when it came to slavery; and as a result, roughly eighty years later, the question had to be resolved. A nation was torn asunder, and a great bloody butchers bill had to be paid to settle the matter. The Missouri Compromise again slapped a band-aid over a festering wound, and put off a terrible reckoning for another day. The Compromise of 1850 again looked the terrible question in the eye, and again blinked. These compromises were not the result of brilliant statesmanship, they were the failure of principle. And that is what the modern moderate wants to embrace. “Can’t we all just get along?” isn’t an answer.
We are currently faced with an identity crisis as a nation, and we need to decide if we are going to remain true to our roots, as a nation that recognized and enshrined the individual liberties granted to all of us by our Creator, which permits self-determination and the freedom for each individual to choose their own path, or if we will instead surrender every decision to an all-intrusive state that regards each person as an interchangeable part in a machine in which no cog is greater than the least of its parts, except for the ruling class, which being more equal than the equal parts, with enjoy privilege and exception from the onerous intrusions into our light fixtures, our furnaces, our refrigerators, our cars, our toilets, and even our thoughts and personal relationships. There can be no compromise with that kind of philosophy for anyone who believes themselves heirs to the Founders and the Framers. Such a worldview is incompatible with freedom, but not above pretending it is what it opposes, nor is it opposed to pretending that is not what it is, and that is where the true danger lies.
We don’t have to like labels. They can be messy. They can be imprecise. They can be insulting. They can be hurtful. But we cannot pretend that they have no meaning. They are our basis for understanding the world. We might change the labels we use to define ourselves, and others, but in so doing, we acknowledge they have meaning not only for ourselves, but for others. That is why they have the appeal that causes groups and ideas to mislead with them. One need only look to the names used by PACs and 527 groups, especially those funded by shadowy billionaires who topple currencies and regimes because it gives them a hobby. It is why politicians use them, even if they have no intention of fulfilling the roles that those labels evoke in the minds of their constituents. It is why we are always striving for a better definition.
I am BlackisWhite, and I am a conservative. No member of any party should take my vote for granted, and no adversary should find comfort in labeling me with a party label. I didn’t come to lose the finest inheritance any person could receive, and I sure as Hell did not come to compromise. I know that there is no more “middle”, so you better decide where you stand.