Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable – the art of the next best.
Otto von Bismarck
Compromise. That’s what Bismarck refers to in his quote. Compromise makes life possible. Without compromise there is only intransigent, rancorous bickering. Kind of like the U.S. Congress these days.
For some, a compromise, in the sense of an agreement or a settlement reached through mutual concession, is tantamount to admitting defeat. If not all, then nothing for all. Better to blow the whole thing up than to give an inch.
But why? Why do some feel that any concession, no matter how insignificant, will compromise them, in the sense of being weakened by accepting anything less than everything? That if they give up any at all, they have given it all up?
Perhaps some have conflated integrity and intransigence. That never compromising, never offering the slightest concession, will be viewed as integrity. One who never compromises is somehow more principled and honest.
But integrity and compromise are not antonyms. They are not mutually exclusive. Those who are principled and honest should, and often do, compromise. Life as a social being demands compromise.
I think those who view a compromise as compromising are themselves compromised.