Tuesday, April 9, 2013

"Political Ideology" vs. "Cooperation and Compromise"

This letter appeared recently in the NJ Star-Ledger:

Come together 
As a teenager still forming a political ideology, I find nothing more confounding than the Republican Party’s reluctance for bipartisan collaboration. Cooperation and compromise are just as important as freedom and “ideological purity.” 
Democrats and Republicans can agree our American political system has its faults, but the best thing we can do is stop drawing our proverbial lines in the sand, and stop dividing ourselves with labels. 
We all have our opinions, but similar to the world we live in, politics should not be so black and white. This delineation of political allegiances is what gave us the two-party system that independents and moderates seem to grapple with. Republicans aren’t the “bad guys” that some liberals make them out to be. Neither are they the party they once were. 
The polarizing issues of late have forced America to divide — “divide and conquer,” as the saying goes. No wonder some people think our country is falling apart at the seams. Maybe the key to success is good old cooperation, even if it does seem like a dirty word to the Republican purists. 
Sydelle Barreto, Fairfield

I left these words of advice for this young person: 

Sydelle,  "Cooperation and compromise are just as important as freedom and 'ideological purity'" is simply not true.

Would you cooperate with your friends if they wanted to pull off a string of robberies? Would you compromise and agree to rob only 2 stores instead of 4?

"Forming a political ideology" means adopting certain political principles, which are in effect moral principles since politics deals with how individuals should interact in a social context. If you adopt the principle that freedom--the inalienable right of the individual to live by his own judgment so long as he doesn't violate the rights of others by force or fraud--would it then be "just as important" to "cooperate and compromise" with those who want to take our freedom away from us? If you did, you would be betraying your own principles. Would that be right? Is that the action of a person of integrity?

The fundamental battle in America today is between freedom and tyranny. There is no compromise between the two. America today is a swirling, unstable mix. Politics is messy, but virtually every piece of legislation fundamentally either moves us one way or the other. Either America moves toward freedom, or continues on the road toward tyranny. Whichever side you are on, it is immoral to accept legislation that moves the opposite way. Never compromise your moral principles. Never cooperate with your enemies. You either have core political beliefs, or you mindlessly cooperate and compromise on anything and everything, but you can't have both.

Related Reading:

America's Core: Liberty or Compromise?

The Virtue of Extremism


Ellie said...

As Sydelle's best friend, I can tell you that she would never try to compromise on whether or not our apparently criminally-motivated group of friends should rob 4 stores together. That would be crazy, irresponsible, and not at all in her nature. She'd go for 5.

Michael A. LaFerrara said...

That's an analogy (albeit not an exact one), not to be taken literally.

The question is: Does compromise trump principle?