What is compromise? Is it a co-promise? Is it a promise to cooperate? Is it a commonly agreed upon promise? The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 3rd. Edition, indicates that compromise is a settlement of differences by concession; or combining the qualities of different things. Within the context of government and governing, I submit, that compromise is more about what is given up, rather than what is gained, that everyone loses, while only a limited few realize some degree of benefit; and, that compromise is the first act of corruption. How can this be?
Compromise, when all is said and done, can only occur between two people. Yes, more may be involved in the negotiations, but in the end the ultimate agreement is usually struck between two individuals that have enough power to enforce it. Conversely, two well-founded, well-developed ideas or plans cannot be compromised if either is to accomplish its purpose. For example, presidential hopefuls, Republican John McCain and Democrat, Hillary Clinton, are currently clamoring for a suspension of the federal tax on gasoline throughout the summer season; Senator Barrack OBama opposes the idea. He is against it for two basic reasons; it would not significantly effect the price of gasoline for average citizens, and the loss of revenue diminishes what can be allocated for infrastructure maintenance and repair.
I am not advocating for Mr. Obama, but he is right. If and when this issues comes before congress, some sort of compromise will be reached, and regardless of the final terms, average citizens will lose far more than we will gain, while a limited number of politicians and corporations will reap the greatest benefit. Think about it! Consider the compromises that have been reached about funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, for S-CHP (State Children's Health Program) funding, and for the so-called "economic stimulus" package passed earlier this year. Each of these actions by our government were passed, some have been vetoed by President Bush, but all are the product of compromise.
One may argue that, had it not been for compromise, nothing would have gotten done. That may be true, however, it does not make it right, honest or effective. Because of compromise thousands of soldiers and civilians have continued to die, children and entire families are being denied health care- some of them will die as a result, and as many as two million citizens still face foreclosure, economic ruin and homelessness.
Reader's can argue until they are blue in the face about the need for compromise in legislation and government, but the the evidence of its harmful consequences throughout the course of our nation's history is undeniable and overwhelming. The growth and maturity of the United States; its industrialization, our inestimable wealth and nuclear domination of the planet is the product of compromise. By the same token, our increasing and immediate dysfunction, deterioration and decline are also the result of compromise. Compromise has made the United States of America what it is, and what it is not. Now, the question is, "How can government function without compromise?"
There must be a process. A process that makes all citizens the primary objective and beneficiaries, that will bring about the best results and effects for everyone. Humanistic Equalism: Philosophy for Ethical Government contains such a process. It is a Three-question Test process. When considering final passage of any policy, legislation, or action lawmakers must ask and answer three questions:
- Will this action or function cause ruinous harm to the dignity, value, happiness and progress of citizens' lives?
- Will this action or function secure, without exception, absolutely equal privileges, status and rights of every citizen?
- Will this action or function require and guarantee without exception, equitable, impartial application and enforcement to every citizen?
The answer to the first question must be No; questions two and three must be answered in the affirmative. If the response to any of the questions is qualified in any manner, is unclear or ambiguous, the action or function must be rejected as it is and debate resumed until it complies with the rules of the process. The objective of the three questions is to eliminate self-interest, special interest, greed and compromise; this would all but do away with the opportunity for acts of corruption and collusion. I will discuss this in greater detail at a later time. For now I ask only that readers think about it and consider the possibilities such a process could produce.
Throughout the coming days, weeks and months pay attention and make note of when you read, hear or see something about compromises, deals or agreements reached by congress or the president. When you do look into it, see who is gaining and who is losing. I will bet all the money I could make for the remainder of my life that in all instances average working people, common citizens, will always be the biggest losers and that politicians and the wealthy will always gain the most benefit.
I will communicate with you again on 4 May 2008, until then please be safe, let me know what you think and give Peace a chance.
James Tinsley, B.A.