When I was growing up, people around me — public school teachers, national and local political leaders, the broadcast and print media, other useless busybodies — were very enthusiastic about the idea of compromise.
Compromise, they always said was the one indispensable, absolutely magical key to living and working within that best of all possible political worlds, a democracy. If everybody takes a stance and won’t budge, if nobody is willing to give at least an inch (if not a mile), why, then nothing will ever get done! This overlooks the obvious fact that there are circumstances, almost all of which involve government, in which nothing ever should get done. And, of course, it overlooks the fact that the United States is not a democracy, it is a Constitutional Republic.
I think I was in the fourth grade when I began to notice a number of things about this compromise bonnet-bee that made it clear that it was something less than the great notion its proponents always said it was.
The first was that, since neither side can reasonably expect to get what it really wants, the best that anyone can ever hope for from a properly constructed compromise is that both sides will wind up equally dissatisfied. This is not, I submit, an acceptable way to run civilization. It is a recipe to guarantee the perpetuation of bitter conflict.
The second thing that I noticed, thanks to the left-wing politicians who are usually the principal advocates of compromise, is that it always seemed to be the other guy who should compromise, who should submit to unsavory, sometimes unconstitutional, “common sense” legislation. You may have also observed that the only time the left ever gives a rodent’s rear about the Bill of Rights is when the right is in power.
The third thing that I noticed was that having badgered and brow-beaten the opposition into accepting so-called “common sense” legislation, they are now expected to “compromise” on every piece of left-wing legislation that came up for a vote. What’s mine is mine goes the saying and what’s yours is negotiable! Which is exactly how we ended up in the mess we’re in today.
Some thinkers suggest that, in a more general sense, that to one degree or another, we are all guilty of helping tyranny advance simply by being willing to make deals with it. Perhaps they are right. We do live in a world where fantasy rules and every time we cave to that fantasy, we add another nail in our coffin.
When Congress passed the U.S. Patriot Act, which for all intents and purposes, called out the Bill of Rights, hardly anyone noticed or complained. Before the Patriot Act, it was warrantless wiretapping, no-knock raids, RICO, and legalized black bag jobs of the kind the Watergate burglars went to jail for. Now they can simply enter and search your home and never even tell you about it.
In a matter of less than twenty years, our campuses, the media, and our business have been taken over by a kind of social disease – “political correctness” in which it’s no longer acceptable to call a thing by its true name, to want to know who actually started a fight, to judge individuals by their abilities or virtues instead of the color of their skin.
There are, in fact, two kinds of compromise – trivial and moral. A trivial compromise concerns issues unrelated to questions of good and evil. “What shall we have on our pizza?” “What movie shall see tonight?” and “Where shall we take our next vacation?” There’s nothing bad with trivial compromise. It’s how marriages and friendships manage to last.
It is the moral compromise that damages this country, that destroys our freedom, that impowers the left. It is the moral compromise, between good and evil, that we must take a stand against.
A final thought. There are some subjects that are so fundamental and important that they can never be subject to voting, to the passage of legislation, or to the latest whims or fads of judges. That’s why the Founding Fathers (some of them, anyway) insisted upon a Bill of Rights, so that some individual rights could be sacrosanct, set above politics: freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom from search and seizure, freedom from drumhead and kangaroo courts, freedom of religion, freedom to assemble, and notably, freedom to own and carry weapons.
Obviously, it didn’t work out that way. And the reason it didn’t was compromise. If we want any of it back, what we have to give up is compromise. We need a Constitutional amendment that will put teeth in the Bill of Rights, severely punishing anybody who attempts to violate, eliminate, or get around it. And there can be no compromise about that.