Thursday, January 10, 2013

The cult of compromise

It seems one of the chief complaints against the Tea Party constituency is that they are too 'ideologically rigid,' and unwilling to compromise:
In the coming year, the returning [Tea Party] members [of Congress] will have to decide whether they want to continue practicing a politics of purity, advocating strong and unyielding positions, or accept that governance generally requires a good deal of compromise.
Governance may involve seeking common ground on occasion, but this doesn't mean that everything must be on the table, all the time.  The reality is that 'compromise' and 'bipartisanship,' as defined by the pro-Statist crowd, really equates to "keep giving me bits of what I want until I have all of it."  It's incrementalism under another name.

Which is why I find it tragically amusing that the word 'compromise' is also used to connote destruction, as in "the system was compromised, and collapsed."

Even more amusing is the attempt, by some, to imply that many who stand firm on certain principles are somehow unreasonable, uncaring, or worse.  This was evident in the frustration over the "fiscal cliff" debate, when it became clear there were at least a few in the House and Senate not willing to simply paper over the real issues yet again.  Such holdouts were vilified, as though they were the ones imperiling the country, and not the mounting damage of generations of profligate debt and spending.  All the same, such rhetorical pressure has been used effectively for years to nudge people from their principles.  Nobody likes to be called nasty names, right?

To remain free, we must know what hills we are willing to die on

And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family?

Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?... 

The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If...if...We didn't love freedom enough." 

                                               - Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn 
Without something for which they are willing to fight, nobody is truly free.  It's been said a prime function of conservatism is to 'stand athwart history, yelling "stop!'" What is your red line?  What stop sign would others, including government, have to run in order for you to say "this is unacceptible, and I will do all in my power to oppose it"? 

More than ever we need people with courage of their convictions, who can say "Here I stand;  I can do no other.  God help me."  Otherwise, what little sliver remains of our nation's foundational principles will continue to be consumed by the termites of compromise, until the whole structure IS compromised, and fails.

(HT: Instapundit and Vox)

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