Posts Tagged ‘Compromise’

Why “Compromise” Has Become a Dirty Word

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Compromise or Capitulation?

Barbara Bush complained on Monday that “compromise” had become a “dirty word.”  If that’s true, it is only as a result of how it has been abused by liberal to moderate Republicans, the media, and the liberal establishment that dominates the country.   Mrs. Bush is part of that establishment, so quite naturally, she is unable to see this the way the conservative base of the party does, and since she’s one who considers herself smarter than the rest of we ignorant rubes, it is now probably high time that somebody explained the problem with “compromise,” not as it is defined in the dictionary, but as it has come to be understood by most grass-roots conservatives who recoil at the word.

A real “compromise” is the result of a process by which both parties to an exchange get some part of what they wanted in exchange for having yielded a little.  A compromise is an exchange, if you will, trading value for value as in commerce, but it extends to many intangibles.  That’s what compromise is supposed to be, but these last two decades and a bit more, that’s not what compromise has been in the United States.  Instead, compromise has come to mean something else entirely, and if you ask conservatives, they will now tell you that it is approximately this: Republicans (particularly of the Establishment class) surrendering on principle to the left, gaining nothing, and getting nothing but a promise of “getting along” that never materializes, but always winds up in another kick in the teeth.

If Mrs. Bush doesn’t understand this, it’s because in her insular view of the world, she doesn’t see the kicks in the teeth, and the principles at  stake are not hers.  It’s a relatively easy matter to yield principles belonging to somebody else, and the Bush family has a long history of doing just that.  They make a pretense at being conservative, but there’s little substance behind the claim, and if truth is told, more often than not, they’re  at the root of many of the sell-outs conservatives have suffered over the last two-and-one-half decades.  Even before the breaking of the “Read my lips” pledge of George H.W. Bush, the elder Bush administration had begun to back-track from the idea that his was a third Reagan term, which had been the basis for his election.

Of course, after the famous sell-out, the elder Bush went on to defeat, and his son George W. Bush, elected narrowly in 2000, did much the same while in office.  He worked together with Ted Kennedy in a “spirit of bi-partisanship” under a supposed “new tone”(of compromise, a.k.a: surrender) to enact the No Child Left Behind program, along with the Medicare Prescription Drugs fiasco, and of course all of the bail-outs and TARP.  The younger Bush famously offered that he had to set aide capitalism to save it.  This last was the final straw for many conservatives, because rather than letting the market work as it should, Bush intervened in order to save big banking interests and GM, but none of this translated into “saving capitalism.” Each of these had been surrenders disguised as compromise, and everybody in the conservative movement knew it.

It’s difficult to win a political debate when members of your own party are undercutting your efforts.  This was the case with all of these issues.  When the elder Bush raised taxes, including a stupendously destructive “luxury tax,” Democrats both chortled in contempt at the breaking of his pledge, while simultaneously urging him to break it more thoroughly.  When George the younger went along with Democrats on education and prescription drugs, both times the Democrats hammered him for “not doing enough” while simultaneously waving the “compromise” in the face of conservatives.  So yes, Mrs. Bush, “compromise” has become a dirty word among conservatives, and the men in your life are the cause.

Just as conservatives don’t want another false conservative getting the nomination, because it defames “conservatism” by the association, conservatives are in no mood for surrenders and sell-outs of their principles that will be disguised as “compromise.”  Every conservative in the country worth his or her salt knows that what the Bush clan offers as “compromise” or “conservatism” are not.   That may cause Mrs. Bush some consternation, but conservatives don’t need or want her advice, and while she may get her way in this primary, that doesn’t mean real conservatives will have compromised.   This one won’t. Let’s hope that as Super Tuesday gets under way, more conservatives will take this stance.

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Surrender By Another Name Smells No Sweeter

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

The Art of "Compromise"

I had been enjoying a conversation with friends, and I made a remark about the notion of “false compromise.”  One friend asked me what constitutes a false compromise, and I thought you would be as interested as she in my answer.  We’re told that the “art of compromise” is the necessary glue of politics, and that it is only in compromise that we may resolve our various differences, but I contend that there are issues and situations in which no compromise is possible, because there is no shared basis in principles and values by which to derive anything that may be rightly termed “compromise.”  A false compromise occurs when one is so desperate for a deal that one is willing to surrender the entire meaning of the deal to have it.  This has applications outside of politics, but it is in this field where it is most frequently practiced.  Conservatives are being offered another compromise in their presidential nominee, but it’s become clear that no real compromise is in the offing, and what is desired is really surrender.

If we were to have a dispute over a property boundary, we might arrive at a compromise.  A compromise would offer us each something of value in exchange for what we’ve given up.  This would be the case if the boundary had been known approximately, but there was some minor dispute over the precise definition of the line. Each party might give up a little in favor of getting a little in the bargain.  That would constitute a true compromise, where both parties had something at stake, but both gained, each to his relative satisfaction.

Now imagine there is really no controversy over the boundary in dispute.  Let us assume it is a well-marked and long-established boundary that is well documented in the proper legal venues.  Let us assume that one party confronts the other over the boundary simply because he wants another foot, or another inch added to the breadth of his property.  There is nothing to be gained by the other party in entering into negotiations, and he would be better to let stand the legally established boundary without tampering.  When the aggressive party decides to pursue the matter, the defensive party will clearly need to stand in defense, and this will impose a cost. Often times, the first party, the aggressor, is on a fishing expedition to see what he might net, and sometimes the defensive party will relent just to make the matter go away.  This is not a compromise, even though it is often mislabeled as such. It is a false compromise which is merely a disguised version of something else: “Surrender.”

I say it is disguised because it is presented in various ways as compromise, in part so that the surrendering party can save face, but also in part because it pays a propaganda victory to the aggressor.  Due to this dual-dishonesty, it is worse even than mere surrender, because in that case,  at least nobody is permitted any pretense about what has actually happened.  False compromise is always illusory, and the fruits it is alleged to have borne inevitably evaporate in the grim realization of the truth by the surrendering party.

This is effectively the scenario by which the moderate and progressive Republicans have systematically delivered us to the more rabid statists of the left.  The left wants more property seized from your personal wealth?  The squishy moderates propose that you give them a little, this time.  And the next. And again. And once more.  In fact, they will have you slice off your property an inch at a time until you have no property at all.  In order to disguise their surrender, they call it “compromise,” but there is no actual compromise in it, because never do we get anything of equal or greater value for it.  No, to the contrary, what we receive is another bashing over the heads and a further demand for yet another [false] compromise.

This has been the march of the left, and the “moderate” Republicans for all my life, and then some.  It is therefore small wonder that fewer are inclined to accept such “compromise.”  At the current rate of compromise, within the span of a decade, I will be bound in chains and worked from dawn ’til dusk, and then some, to maintain some others in comfort while I am compelled in the name of “compromise” to live as a beast of burden.

It is for this reason that so many conservatives and Tea Party folk are unwilling to consider compromise in 2012.  They look back over the span of the last century, and all they see are the great surrenders disguised as compromise, and they are sickened by it.  Some in the party’s establishment are insistent on giving us yet another compromised candidate, who will be little better than the guy now accosting us from the Oval Office, but who they promise we will be able to steer and push and prod to the right.  If I accept this, I must however ask who it is that is being steered, and to whose advantage? Is that what I am to accept as the leader of the Republican party?  Somebody I must steer to the right lest he go off and support the false compromises we have seen spreading ruin and misery across the span of the last century?

No. I will not accept a false compromise like this again.  We’ve heard it all before, and it always ends in the same disaster.  We give up more to the aggressors, who never give up a thing, least of all their aggression, and it is on this basis that I reject the squishy moderates as worse than the open leftists.  That’s right, I said it.  They’re worse because they hope to maintain power while giving away the whole shooting match while convincing us it’s the only way to survive.  No.  No, it’s not, and I will accept no more of their surrenders dressed up as compromise.  I’m not moving that fence one more inch, and if somebody is so bold as to further breach that boundary, let them.  I’ll be waiting, but it won’t be to surrender.

 

Establishment Hack Colin Powell Criticizes Tea Party

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Generally Wrong

Sunday, in an interview by Christiane Amanpour on ABC’s This Week, Colin Powell was led into answering questions by Amanpour, and these were the sort of puff questions that suggest the interviewer knew the interviewee’s answer, and was merely a propaganda attack on the Tea Party.  Powell has always been a DC insider since being a National Security Adviser in the Reagan Administration, and his elevation to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was seen by many as a cynical bit of affirmative action by George H.W. Bush.  In his service as Secretary of State under George W. Bush, Powell repeatedly demonstrated his elitist tendencies but also his commitment to the progressive movement.  His endorsement of Barack Obama in the eleventh hour of the 2008 campaign season was simply the straw that broke the camel’s back in terms of his relationship with conservatives.  This statement suggests the antipathy runs both ways:

“They compromised — the Founding Fathers compromised on slavery. They had to in order to create a country. They compromised on the composition of the Senate, of the House, of the Supreme Court, of a president — what are the president’s powers? Can you imagine more difficult compromises today?”

“Compromise is how this country was founded, and unless two people in disagreement with each other don’t find a way to reach out to one another and make compromises, you don’t get a consensus that allows you to move forward.”

“But the Tea Party point of view of no compromise whatsoever is not a point of view that will eventually produce a presidential candidate who will win.”

This is nonsense.  The founders compromised on the issue of slavery, and we are still dealing with the blow-back.  This nation engaged in its deadliest war because they compromised on that issue.  Abraham Lincoln did not compromise on the issue.  The founders may have compromised in formulating the structures of our government, but they did not compromise in whether we should have our own country, or Colin Powell would never have been Secretary of State, or Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the United States, since it wouldn’t exist.  This is the sort of half-witted, dishonest argument I have come to expect from Powell.  He’s an establishment hack who serves himself, and official Washington DC, but not the nation at large.

The other thing concealed by Powell’s attack on the Tea Party is the question: If the Tea Party is supposed to compromise, with whom is that compromise to be made?  It’s not surprising that Powell doesn’t indicate who that might be.  Compromises are made between entities.  If Tea Party is one entity, who is the other? This is typical Washington-speak, because if Powell was really interested in seeing the Tea Party compromise on an issue, he’d tell you which issues, and with whom.  Instead, he’s simply hurling insults.  Sadly, instead of providing something constructive, Powell simply laments the uncompromising nature of the Tea Party.

With whom has Powell compromised?  He’s not willing to compromise with anybody, having secured his lifestyle as part of the establishment.  He’s not willing to see the DC establishment give any ground to the American people.  I might have been willing to accept his arguments if he’d shown even the first indication of honesty in his arguments, but as is all too clear, Powell simply wanted to smear the Tea Party.  Amanpour was only too happy to give him the opportunity.  If, as Douglas MacAurthur reminds us, “old soldiers never die, they just fade away,” I think conservative Americans will be just as happy if Powell begins to fade sooner rather than later.  Until he learns to speak honestly on politics, he’s not performing a service for the American people, a thought that prompts me to wonder: Other than vanity, whose interests is he serving?

Why I Fight

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Time is Running Out

I won’t pretend to speak for other conservatives, or Tea Party folk.  I can only make crude assumptions about the things that motivate people based only on what I can observe.  People have a tendency to project their own motives onto others at times, and this is the reason I will reduce this discussion from a collective “We” to the singular “I.”  I can’t say with certainty why others fight, but I know my own goals and intentions, and I suppose it’s time I stated them clearly to all, lest there be any doubt.  I fight for this country and its future because when the lights go out, and the last keystroke has fallen, this has been the greatest nation on Earth, and for my sake, and the sake of my progeny, I would prefer to leave it as I found it, or better.

By the standards of today, I’m still a fairly young man, but in the days of our nation’s founding, I would be nearing death’s door, if I remained at all.  This is because in general terms, despite all the trials and tribulations I’ve sometimes thought I have endured, the truth is that I haven’t known hardship like past generations.  Both of my grandmothers lost their first child, and both of them lost siblings in childhood and early adulthood.  My paternal grandmother’s family had terrible losses to diseases now nearly eradicated.  Before her time, it was even worse, and it’s no wonder that 50 years ago, Jonas Salk was regarded as a hero, and everybody knew his name and his deeds. What’s frightening now is how few still know it.

The world my generation inherited was one of hope and newly found economic vigor.  Ronald Reagan was the president when I came of age, and I served the first seven years of adulthood in the Army he restored from years of neglect.  We faced the Soviet empire across a cold and dreary frontier between East and West, and with his leadership, the West seemed to have prevailed.  As with any victory, however, it soon became clear that our self-indulgence in its wake could not last, as ever another threat arose to confront us.  Still, the looming threat of a global nuclear holocaust seemed to subside, and the country marched on.

One of the things I began to see some years after my service was the tendency of our culture to move toward a licentious view of freedom bereft of any understanding of what that freedom must entail to be maintained.  A radical movement away from personal responsibility has characterized most of the last two generations of American culture.  In generations long gone, it was an operating assumption that in good years, you put things back for the inevitable bad years that always visit.  More recently, it’s been the habit of our politicians, and also our people, to borrow and spend, in good times and bad, without a thought to savings or preparedness for those inevitable bad times. When those bad times strike, we simply borrow and spend more. That approach is rapidly nearing the end of viability.

Our current generation of young adults have seldom known a really bad time or a hardship, except for those relatively rare young people who still line up to serve our nation’s security interests around the globe.  I’m afraid we’ve arrived in a time when they’re about to see some exceedingly terrible times, and it’s not likely to improve.  We’ve allowed too many of them to be woefully unprepared. Sheltered as we’ve largely kept them, they’re not ready for much of what’s ahead.  We did it out of love, in an effort to protect them, as our parents sought to protect us, but the world is getting too ugly for that, and we won’t be able to maintain this bubble in which we’ve spared them some harsh realities, for very much longer.

The reason I fight is because I’m not done yet.  I’m not finished living, and I’m not finished being free to live as I choose.  I’m also not willing to surrender my daughter’s future to a darker age.  The problem has been that we like to delude ourselves into a belief that it’s all going to come out fine, and in the end, the hero will defeat the villain.  History is full of far too many victorious villains who succeeded because nobody thought to stop them until it was far too late.

If you’re serious about fighting the villain(s,) you’ll need to make a few drastic concessions to reality no matter how painful they may seem in the shorter run.  After decades of watching so-called compromise that has amounted to nothing but a progressive surrender, I am no longer inclined to die the death of a thousand cuts.  I will not compromise. I will not accept a candidate who does not adhere to the basic principles on which this country had been founded, or who has shown a tendency to dump the principles when political expediency has provided a path of lesser political resistance.  Those years are long behind me now, and I will not return to them.

I hold these truths to be self-evident, along with the others so many now mouth with growing indifference: The only path to prosperity for me, my progeny, or my countrymen lies on the path of free-market capitalism.  No Utopia is possible on Earth, and no amount of government spending can manufacture it.  All government can do is destroy liberty for the illusion of Utopia. People die. People become ill. People starve. People go without clothing, housing, cellphones, cars, and televisions. It’s not possible to provide the unlimited wishes of the globe, and I reject the notion that we should try, because at each step along that path, we must destroy real people, individuals, with their own motivations, goals, and aspirations in pursuit of an illusory paradise that can never be.

The United States of America became the leading nation not through national controls or federal mandates, but through the freedom of a people unleashed from the bonds of servitude. Those chains are slowly being affixed to our shackles again.  If we are to cast off this encroaching bondage, we will have need of new leaders.  Those now in place are too comfortable with the chains they’ve attached at our ankles, and soon they will not mind if we are also gagged.

I am serving warning to the GOP by this posting, and it’s simple and meant to be taken literally: If you nominate another phony, I will not support him.  If you nominate another RINO who pays lip service to reform, but never really intends any based on their past performance, I will walk away.  It’s the quickest way to guarantee the re-election of Barack Obama, in my view.  I will not speak for all my conservative friends, but I am disgusted with the latest offerings of more tired, professional politicians.  If this is the alleged ‘conservatism’ this party now offers, what possible reason can you offer me for supporting it?  You’re not offering a course upon which to save the nation, but merely a way to delay the inevitable a bit longer.

If Obama represents a national cyanide capsule, poisoning the nation with nearly instant lethality, what is offered with Perry or Romney is just a slow-acting poison like arsenic that kills through a less sudden but no less lethal accumulation of toxicity.   I will not be a party to that kind of fraud.  If Obama is likened to throwing the frog into the already boiling pot, impelling you to leap out, then Perry and Romney and any others like them serve as the slowly heated pot in which the frog never notices he’s being boiled until he’s been overwhelmed by the heat.  I’m not willing to croak by either method.

I fight because I know we can sustain neither course any longer.  I know that both roads being offered are really a single path to the same scorching cauldron for our nation.  I would ask my countrymen to pursue another course, and that is the road of actual capitalism, and away from the grasp of statism, whether it’s a sudden calamity heaped upon our country in the form of Obama, or the slowly widening calamity of those who would countenance the same ends, albeit more slowly.

You don’t want death panels? Too bad. You now will have them, and no tepid semi-statist will reverse them. No purveyor of campaign-season bluster will turn them away once safely ensconced in office.  There is no safe dose of statism outside the rigorously restricted limitations originally ordained and established by our Constitution.  That’s why I fight.  I fight because I know it, and I will no longer yield the argument to those who whisper the sweet nothings of compromise in my ear. I know they’re literally nothing.  No meaning.  No substance.  Nothing.  The rest of you will do what you will do, and if you’re stampeded and herded and chased into the chutes, don’t be the least bit surprised if you notice my absence.  I’ve tried to show you.  Just as it is long past the time for all the children of the current generation to see life outside their bubble, so it will be for you also.

Nobody will survive by faking reality for long, whether an individual, a family, a congregation or a whole people.  The time for choosing is nigh.  Choose well.  Good luck.

Mark