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.