Wednesday, November 10, 2004

What I think of compromise.

No obvious reason for this post, it's just something I felt like writing about. For years, I've been really irked by folks who try to defend a typically stupid point of view by suggesting that, you know, if I really wanted to be fair and reasonable and open-minded, I should be prepared to "compromise". Meet them halfway, as it were, be a nice guy, be a sport. And bullshit like that.

The best example I have is when fundamentalist Christians (a.k.a. "morons") press for the inclusion of creation science or intelligent design in the public school system. When they run into the inevitable protests, they like to come off as the voices of reason, suggesting that it would be only fair to present both sides, to let students hear other alternatives. To compromise. All that time, I wished I had a snappy, devastating comeback, and a while back, I think I came up with one.

The next time someone suggests I should compromise on something as idiotic as, say, creation science, I'm just going to ask him to take out his wallet. Puzzled look, almost certainly. I'll ask him to remove all of the money, and count it. And after he does, I'll ask him to give all of it to me.

Needless to say, I don't expect to get it. I'll get an argument, why should he give me his money? He earned it, it's his, what makes me think I have any right to it? OK, I suggest, that's fair. In that case (you guessed it), let's compromise. Just give me half. That's fair, it's equal, I'm being open-minded in sharing, no? I'm compromising, damn it. What more can he ask for?

Of course, he'll still complain that that's ridiculous, that I don't deserve any of his money. Exactly. The notion of compromise in this situation is absurd, simply because my opponent has no obligation to accommodate me in any way. In short, there are situations where compromise is just foolish since one of the parties happens to be 100% in the right, and compromise just isn't warranted, even a little bit.

And that's the point you have to get across. One wonders how many people will be smart enough to appreciate it.

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