Politics is really the art of compromise.Â One of the reasons we have a Bill of Rights to begin with is because the founders meant to put certain rights outside of the political process so they would not, ideally, be subject to the vagaries and horse trading that’s inherent in the political process.Â At least that’s how it’s supposed to work.Â Over time pretty much everything is subject to the political process.Â But the point is that you can’t succeed in politics with absolutes.Â Here’s what the great leftist organizer had to say about it:
Compromise is another word that carries shades of weakness, vascillation, betrayal of ideas, surrender of moral principles.Â In the old culture, when virginity was a virtue, one referred to a woman’s being “compromised.”Â The word is generally regarded as ethically unsavory and ugly.
But to the organizer, compromise is a key and beautiful word.Â It is always present in the pragmatics of operation.Â It is making the deal, getting that vital breather, usually the victory.Â If you start with nothing, demand 100 per cent, then compromise for 30 per cent, you’re 30 per cent ahead.
A free and open society is an on-going conflict, interrupted periodically by compromises — which then become the start for the continuation of coflict, compromise, and on ad infinitum.Â Control of power is based on compromise in our Congress and among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.Â A society devoid of compromise is totalitarian.Â If I had to define a free and open society in one word, the word would be “compromise.”
That’s why it’s hard for me to take groups that claim “no compromise” seriously, because the system just doesn’t work that way.Â The objective is to keep moving in the right direction.Â There will, of course, be setbacks and obstacles along the way — it’ll take a long time to reach the eventual goal.Â But if activists stay focused on the ends, there’s no reason we shouldn’t get there.Â It certainly worked well for Alinsky’s cause, and for the gun controllers.Â How much of their agenda was asking for 100% and getting 30% again, and again, and again?Â Â Even GCA ’68 was a compromise.Â They wanted total central registration in anticipation of eventual confiscation.Â They got distributed and incomplete registration in the form of 4473.Â But GCA ’68 motivated gun owners, and despite a major setback in the early 90s, we’ve generally been moving in the right direction after most of a century of moving in the wrong direction.Â Whether we get to our eventual goals or not remains to be seen.Â Alinsky certainly never did.Â But the struggle continues, and probably will for my lifetime.