To compromise or not to comprise, that’s the quesionby Mark B. Evans on Nov. 08, 2012, under Uncategorized
A pox on compromise
By Emil Franzi,
Southern Arizona News-Examiner
The biggest cliché we hear from most political candidates and office holders is that we can only move ahead and resolve problems through compromise where each side gives in to the other. This is, after any degree of reflection, a fundamentally absurd premise. It is based on the ludicrous assumption that no one is actually correct about anything.
What passes for compromise is not coming together for a solution to a problem but the sacrifice of an issue you don’t care much about for a gain over another issue you do. Think about how it works in your own life. That’s how it works in politics too.
Obviously, it works best for those with few genuine convictions or for that matter genuine answers, and worst for those who actually have knowledge about real issues and a concrete agenda to address them.
We all know the nation is heavily in debt – 16 trillion dollars and rising. Compromise is what got it here. Compromise with a Democrat Governor by a handful of GOP legislators during her six years in office is what put Arizona on the road to insolvency, yet most of old media and too many in the business community not only commend those accommodations but yearn for their return.
Almost every political faction or ideology wants to spend somebody else’s money on something. The first stage of compromise is to trade support for each other’s spending desires. That’s obvious. But what about the budget hawks who believe that overall spending must decrease? The only way they can compromise is to vote for SOME of what those with a bigger spending agenda want and give them only a piece of it. This time. Next time the spenders will be back with the rest and get another piece of it. And there will be others with new ways to raid the treasury for what are always well named causes. They will have to be compromised too.
To quote the late Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen, a million here, a million there and pretty soon you’re talking about real money. That Dirksen was talking in mere millions just 50 years ago where billions are now common indicates just how much compromising has occurred since then.
You can’t put most Chevy parts on a Ford. You have to pick which kind of car you want and stick with it. The same thing applies to economics. You can believe in Keynes or Hayek, Marx or Friedman but they hardly mix well. What compromise gives us is something more closely resembling Benito Mussolini. Not the best way to manage the economy particularly if you don’t think it actually requires that much management, or that some things are unmanageable.
Beyond the economic issues are the social or value issues. How do you compromise something like the right to self-defense? If I have one, why am I precluded from exercising it via strict controls on what weapons I may possess? The Brits and other Europeans have gradually compromised that right away by following weapons control to its logical conclusion, that an individual right is secondary to the “greater good”. In England, there no longer IS a right to self defense.
Try abortion. You either believe that human life begins at conception or you don’t. If it’s don’t, then when? Compromise here is basically impossible.
The founding document of this nation is The Declaration if Independence. It hardly projects compromise. It states a clear objective. The Constitution that followed it is supposedly a monument to compromise but it’s really a document that leaves most powers with the states and the people. It contains a long list of restrictions placed upon the government it created that have been – love to use the term this way – “compromised” over the years, particularly by the new schools of jurisprudence based on how to imagine the constitution grants powers it doesn’t possess.
But the biggest failing of compromise is its simple inability to give resolution to an issue. It exemplifies that other favorite cliché about kicking cans down the road. That much-touted moment in American history that gave us the famed Compromise of 1850 led us the Civil War of 1861. That war resolved the biggest issue in the republic by abolishing slavery. That time there was no compromise.
We call them the greatest generation but they had an advantage we don’t. They were given a difficult but simple task – crush Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. They didn’t compromise it, they accomplished it. Had the hollow men who ran most of the western democracies not cravenly sought compromise with the evil of Nazism, resolution might have come earlier.
We babble now over the concept of “conflict resolution.” Conflicts are finally resolved by people who act like Churchill, Patton, Sherman and Scipio Africanus.
A pox on compromise.
Compromise is the American way of government
By Mark B. Evans
Compromise created this nation. The Constitution we all revere and all point to when insisting we’re the ones who are right is a monument to compromise.
The bicameral Congress is a compromise. Some Founding Fathers wanted only a House of Representatives, but small, less populated states feared being overrun by the big states and insisted on a second house of the Legislature, one in which each state was represented equally – a Senate where tiny Rhode Island had as great of a voice as massive Virginia.
If you don’t like the way our government works, the way it requires compromise to get anything done, then blame James Madison, he’s the architect of the checks and balances system.
He’s the one who convinced his fellow Founders that a government in which the minority was empowered to vex the majority was as a government that by its very nature avoided tyranny.
Mr. Franzi’s argument disparaging compromise is actually an argument for totalitarianism, that only majorities should rule and that those members of the majority must defend their virtuous ideology at all costs.
That’s not America. It’s some other country in which ideologues rule the day. Kazakhstan, perhaps.
By Mr. Franzi’s argument, compromise is akin to capitulation. Not so. There is virtue in compromise. We learn that as children. The selfish brats at the daycare who gather up as many toys as they can and then defend them from all comers are the kids we all learn to despise, to pity and to avoid.
It’s always better to share and to get along with others, even the kids you don’t really like. Who would you rather have befriended as a child? The kid who let you play with his Transformers so you both could have fun, or the kid who sulked in the corner, playing alone with his GI Joe, killing imaginary enemies all by himself?
Our nation is in fiscal peril. The foul sequestration bill that imposes $1 trillion in spending cuts – half to defense, half to social spending – and the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts loom on the horizon.
Conservatives refuse to yield on the defense spending cuts, liberals on the social spending. Liberals want a tax increase on the wealthy, conservatives want no tax increase on anyone.
Both sides are dug in and insist on the virtue of their position. To compromise is to be weak, it’s a betrayal of yourself and your core beliefs. A line must be drawn somewhere, right?
Since neither side gained an advantage in the recent election we now have a choice, compromise or destroy the economy.
Compromise is not capitulation. It is possible to give a little on taxation and still be a conservative and to cut a little spending and still be a liberal.
Why even the greatest conservative of modern times, the saintly Ronald Reagan, compromised. Ronald Reagan was no fan of taxes, in fact he orchestrated the greatest tax cut and reform in our history. But he and the Congress spent more than they took in and the national debt and the budget deficit exploded after the tax cut.
To try to get a handle on it, he worked with Republicans and Democrats to pass a number of small tax increases to stem the red ink.
It didn’t work, nevertheless Reagan was a compromiser. Are we to now look poorly on Reagan? Should he be drummed out of the ranks of conservatives? Should Grover Norquist paste over Reagan’s picture hanging in all those Republican Congressional offices with a copy of his anti-tax pledge?
We’ve seen what one-party rule can do. When President Bush II had both houses of Congress on his side, he pushed through the second biggest tax cut in our history. Then war came. Did he then accede to the folly of cutting income by a $1 trillion while also spending $1 trillion on the war? Nope. Why, to have given in on tax cut orthodoxy would be akin to a virgin becoming a whore. Compromise? A pox on compromise.
When President Obama had both houses of Congress at his back, he pushed through a ridiculous and likely ruinous health care bill. It passed without a single Republican vote. Obama was a virtuous, uncompromising Democrat.
But perhaps if Bush had compromised on tax cuts and Obama on healthcare we wouldn’t be speeding toward economic ruination.
It wasn’t compromise that got us into this mess, it was the lack of it.
Compromise is the American way. Our country requires it.