Every time I hear a politician or talking head yammer on about how “compromise” is an unalloyed good, I get a twitch in my left eye. Compromise is very often *not* a good thing. If I’m swimming in the ocean and a shark wants to eat me, what’s the compromise? That it just eats my leg? If I’m a Jew and the anti-Semite wants to kill me and my family, what’s the compromise… that they just take the female members?

No, sometimes one position is just wrong, and no compromise with them should be made. And very often, repeated compromise doesn’t end with each side with half, but with one side with nothing.

A good little tale via the LawDog Files:

Let’s say I have this cake. It is a very nice cake, with “GUN RIGHTS” written across the top in lovely floral icing. Along you come and say, “Give me that cake.”

I say, “No, it’s my cake.”

You say, “Let’s compromise. Give me half.” I respond by asking what I get out of this compromise, and you reply that I get to keep half of my cake.

Okay, we compromise. Let us call this compromise The National Firearms Act of 1934.

There I am with my half of the cake, and you walk back up and say, “Give me that cake.”

I say, “No, it’s my cake.”

You say, “Let’s compromise.” What do I get out of this compromise? Why, I get to keep half of what’s left of the cake I already own.

So, we have your compromise — let us call this one the Gun Control Act of 1968 — and I’m left holding what is now just a quarter of my cake.

And I’m sitting in the corner with my quarter piece of cake, and here you come again. You want my cake. Again.

This time you take several bites — we’ll call this compromise the Clinton Executive Orders — and I’m left with about a tenth of what has always been MY DAMN CAKE and you’ve got nine-tenths of it.

Then we compromised with the Lautenberg Act (nibble, nibble), the HUD/Smith and Wesson agreement (nibble, nibble), the Brady Law (NOM NOM NOM), the School Safety and Law Enforcement Improvement Act (sweet tap-dancing Freyja, my finger!)

I’m left holding crumbs of what was once a large and satisfying cake, and you’re standing there with most of MY CAKE, making anime eyes and whining about being “reasonable”, and wondering “why we won’t compromise”.

I’m done with being reasonable, and I’m done with compromise. Nothing about gun control in this country has ever been “reasonable” nor a genuine “compromise”.

  • Henry Quirk

    An excellent post (and example).

  • Anonymous

    Shirotsugh Lhadatt: Can’t you have some fun? I’d think that by now you and God could have worked out some kind of compromise.

    Riquinni Nonderaiko: Oh you think that, do you?

    Shirotsugh: Well, I mean, come on, be reasonable…

    Riquinni: What do you mean “be reasonable?” Compromise? It was your kind of “compromise” that ruined the world in the first place!

    Ôritsu uchûgun Oneamisu no tsubasa (Wings of Honneamise: The Royal Space Force) [Bandai 1987], Hiroyuki Yamaga [Dir.], translation by me

  • gormanao

    Gosh, you sound like a Palestinian. There is no word for compromise in Arabic.

    • Anonymous

      Wait. I use the word “compromise,” but then you say I sound like someone who does not have that word.

      Cognitive dissonance much?

      Here’s a simple test for you: someone breaks into your house. They want to murder you and your family and take your stuff. You, presumably, do not want to be murdered, do not want your family to be murdered, and want to keep your stuff. What’s your compromise?

  • LordJim

    Considering that compromise played a rather important part in the writing of the Constitution of the United States, I find the notion of an American scoffing at the notion of compromise rather amusing.

    • Anonymous

      Way to miss the point! Bravo!

      • LordJim

        Once again, I don’t understand.

        • Anonymous

          Perhaps you should take this opportunity to reflect on why it is that so much of the world confuses you so.

  • publiusr

    I remember an old Cold War US diplomat on TV, who summed up your statement above in a

    more compact form when remembering the stance of his Warsaw Pact counterpart:

    “What’s mine is mine, but what’s yours is negotiable.”

    Ironically, the NRA is actually rather centrist when compared, say, to Gun Owners of America.

    Now let’s take Roe v Wade. Not really in either the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, except as a cobbled together right of privacy (not a bad thing) I look at that as a type of castle doctrine or stand your ground. If a gun/homeowner finds an intruder, he is permitted to use deadly force–and not just to save his life but to prevent theft, since there is always a danger. A woman argues for the same castle doctrine.

    But note how there is never a reasonable compromise on abortion–no limitations, whereas something that spells out a no-infringement policy is open to same. Now if compromise is such a great idea, and we all want to save the children, someone might just ask who is responsible for the deaths of more children, NRA or NOW. As for me, I think we have enough to worry about without stepping all over each others castle doctrine determining what so and so does or doesn’t need. (even though there is often no accounting for taste)

    A Bushmaster is like a double action revolver–one round per pull, and the round is actually more responsible for some hunting than larger bolt action rifles with rounds that easily move beyond sight. Not my cup of tea either way myself, but if rapid prototyping ever gets along the way towards replicators with regards to drugs, RU-486 will be as common as 3D printed gun parts.
    A gunpowder eating bug is probably the only real gun control–and who knows what else it might eat–assuming that is really possible.

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