Why Liberals Love Compromise
Cheered on by the media, the left demands that politicians in Washington and everyone else "compromise" for the good of the Republic. But compromise is the problem, not the solution.
Since the 1960s, the political game has been set up as an inevitable march toward liberal utopia. Gender equality, homosexual liberation, equal economic outcomes, world peace, and universal health insurance (unless Grandma is too old). If only the left got us lower cable bills, we might really be interested. Much of this leftist push has been achieved outside the electoral process through PC thought on university campuses, media saturation, and head-scratching Supreme Court decisions like Roe v. Wade.
But to get to leftist Oz, the political conflict must be framed on a straight line between the status quo and the liberal utopian destination. Of course, the status quo is not conservatism, but somewhere between center-right and center-left, depending on the cultural energy at the moment. This is where the incessant chorus of "compromise" comes in handy, usually after a liberal defeat at the ballot box, as in the 2010 elections. Since the "big win" is off the table now, they will settle for incremental leftist progress. Accommodating chaps, these liberals. Having given up short-term on "hope and change," our liberal friends pound the table demanding that we go half-way with them. For the left, half an enchilada is better than none. They know that the game is rigged so they can be patient in expectation of ultimate triumph.
Here is why the "compromise" game is bad news for conservatives. Do you remember line drawings in high school math class? If you do, you will remember that if one point on the line is "where we are now" and another point is liberal utopia, any point between them will move you toward liberalism, not away from it. Set up a new half-way point between a new status quo and liberal utopia and you move even closer. Get the idea? The game is a "heads I win, tails you lose" schoolyard setup.
By playing it at all, America never becomes more conservative, government never becomes smaller, schools never become more accountable to parents' wishes, spending is never cut, and on and on. By playing their game we conservatives do nothing less than assure our ultimate defeat. We have played it too long, and it is time to stop. Game-change awaits.
Have you ever asked yourself why is it that very few public officials in Washington, D.C. ever become more conservative? We even have a term for "liberalizing" a government official. We call it "growing" in office. Why is it that no Supreme Court justice ever reads the Constitution and becomes more conservative? One could argue that Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas have maintained their conservatism. But David Souter, Sandra Day O'Connor, John Paul Stevens, and Anthony Kennedy, all nominated by Republican presidents, have disappointed. Rockefeller Republicans painted themselves into irrelevance in the 1960s and '70s before Ronald Reagan had a better idea. But for every Ronald Reagan and Rick Perry who used to be a Democrat, there are hundreds of RINOs who cannot resist what liberals have told them, namely that leftism is inevitable. "Lie down, think of England" (Utopia's homeland), and get used to it, they are told. The liberal drift is also not confined to Washington, D.C. In Florida, former governor Charlie Crist mostly touted conservatism during the Bush years but got soft in the head under Obama and is now an 800-number personal injury attorney, no doubt soon to vote Democrat.
Part of the reason liberalism has appeared so inevitable is that "compromise" has replaced "reform" as the game that is played. What I say is this: stop playing their game and start playing ours. Conservative reform is what America needs. Their game has bankrupted the country, ruined our schools, hamstrung our economy, and confused our foreign policy. Their game failed in the '70s and is failing again now. We conservatives cannot win until we change it at every level of government, local, state and federal.
Fortunately, we now have media outlets that can communicate the reform agenda. Instead of an inevitable liberalism, we must move the opposite way on the line, toward conservatism advocated as reform. The question must become not how much compromise is needed or how politicians can be reelected. Rather, it must be how fast we can move to smaller government; parent-controlled education; moral, constitutional values; freer enterprise; and a robust defense of American values.
Fortunately, we have some powerful winds at our back that can change the game. Washington is utterly broken, our politicians have no answers, and the electorate is motivated and fresh with better, freer ideas, based in America's founding ethos. Ronald Reagan said it best: "If not us, who? If not now, when?" But it begins with refusing to play their game and starting to play the winning game, namely ours.
Jay Haug is a freelance writer living in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida and looking for his next gig. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.