Peace be with you

Compromise is most commonly defined as the “settlement of a dispute by concessions on both or all sides.” I would like to dissect this definition and show how it is really a misleading definition. Compromising should really be defined as “give and take,” and the taking is always done by the power side, while the giving is always comes from the disenfranchised side. The act of reaching a compromise is called “Bargaining,” which is defined as “a mutual agreement between persons.” If your rich, powerful, or have the authority then you will receive the “bargain” in compromising, but if you are poor, and disenfranchised you always “give.”

To understand compromise think of a scale numbered 1 through 10. One side (side a) has the scale; the other side (side b) wants the scale. After side b engages side a in bargaining a compromise is reached and side a now has less than 10, and side b now has a scale of its own. Suppose side a now has 9 and side b ended up with 1. This can go on as long as side a has anything left for side b to take. This is the “give and take” nature of compromise. Don’t be fool by those crafty bargainers who want you to believe compromise and cooperation are one in the same.

I want to start with the term Settlement, which means “the act of putting things in order, making them permanent.” So when we compromise we put things (i.e. disputes) in order – set them “right.” But whose order are we talking about? Obviously if there are “concessions on both sides” then the order is not what either person wanted. Upon closer inspection we will realize that one person ends up moving further away from what they already had, while the other person moves closer towards what they only wanted.

When we talk about the Dispute leading to the compromise we often fail to take into consideration of how the dispute originated. The treaties “bargained” with the Original Americans are an easy example to see how the “lords” thieving the land led to the dispute which created the compromise. The give and take in this example is give up your land and the US Government won’t genocide you – anymore.

Every authoritarian institution from Law Enforcement to the Welfare Department creates “disputes” the second they enter your lives. Once these blood suckers get you in their sights a compromise is the best you can ever hope for. In many incidents, like cops for example, just having these institutions makes people compromise. Have you every changed your plans because you saw or heard of cops being in the way; maybe took a different route home or left an event? Reacting to paranoia is a compromise so subliminal that it is often not viewed as a compromise at all.

Not only was the treaties forced on the Original Americans a coerced compromise, but the US Government has never lived up to their concessions for “as long as the grasses will grow and the rivers flow,” like they promised. If in compromise there are “mutual concessions” then that implies that the parts of the whole add up to more then the whole. If I have an apple and you bargain with me until I give you my apple for a coin, and you call that a concession, it meant you expected to get my apple for free. I want an apple, you want an apple, I got an apple, and you don’t. Any concession simply means the apple (the whole) is given from me to you in the compromise. You didn’t end with another apple; you ended up with my apple.

Probably the most disconcerting thing about the definition of compromise is the concept of both sides making concessions. One side wants and the other side has. There is no both sides making concessions. Like my Grand Pa used to say “want in one hand and shit in the other and see which one comes out fullest.” The wanter (the authority) always gains, even if it is only part of what they wanted. Unless the concessioner has a want greater then what is being compromised then a bad bargain is always outcome.

We hear the term compromised used in all sort of socio-political circumstances. “The peaceful pot smoker and the DA reached a compromise in the peaceful pot smoker’s case today” sounds better then “the peaceful pot smoker in exchange for not rotting in a prison, agreed to take probation, piss in a cup on demand, allow searches on whims, waive rights to a jury trial next time a “dispute” is created, pay shit loads of money, and admit that a harmless pass time is criminal.” Laws, policies, and institutions only function seems to be to create “disputes” that over time create compromises, that are then used as the new base line to create more “dispute.” When threats are used to coerce compromises, soon the threats are forgotten and only the compromise is left.

When it comes to the truth the compromise can be viewed as a lie.  It doesn’t matter how much truth is left after the compromise, because even the slightest lie creates a contaminated truth. This is where I have trouble with the term “mental illness.” Nobody has ever been able to prove that any “mental illness” is an actual illness. A compromise was reached that pseudo-scientists would use the term as merely an indicator of certain behaviors. Here it is three quarters of a century later and most people are convinced that “mental illness” is a “disease.” To date not one single piece of empirical evidence points to “mental illness” being a disease. Though they have a whole bunch of theories, conjecture, and anecdotal stories, not one blood test, post mortem, or any other physical test has shown a disease exists. It is a classic example of where the truth was “compromised” into a lie.

Perhaps my biggest concern is for what is called “compromising one’s morals.” Jesus said: “know them by their fruits.” A bad tree will always put forth bad fruit. If you tell me you live by the moral teachings of Jesus, and at the same time support a suppressive oppression of the homeless, then you have a compromise in your morals. The fruit is not good. Often compromising your morals seem like they can’t be helped, but really it is just easier to compromise then to do what you know is right. I find that people who choose to “pick their battles” never end up battling. It seems easy for the person who compromises their moral view of greed to also compromise their moral view of treating others as they would have others treat them.

Again do not confuse cooperation with compromise. Cooperation is also known as mutual benefit. I cooperate with you when it benefits me. If you do the same then we will cooperate on anything that is in both of our best interests. If you are trying to gain and I am sure to lose, then why should I cooperate? Altruistic people tend to make sure that not only they are benefiting from the cooperation, but that you are too. When Altruism replaces greed as the desired nobility of life then cooperation will replace compromise as the social bargain.

The worst compromise in my opinion is the compromise made on my behalf.  Deals, treaties, pacts, and agreements are entered upon that I neither agreed to, nor can conscientiously support.  These deals ruin the environment, peoples, and our sense of social and economic justice.  Once the compromise is reached it becomes the new ground zero to start working on the next compromise.  This means without the power the people always start in a deficit situation.  Another way of looking at compromise from the poor persons perspective is we’ve been “nickel and dimed to death.”

love eternal


One Response to “Compromise”

  1. Fig Says:


    Yes, indeed.

    My view: Don’t do anybody any favors.
    This especially applies to ALL govern”mental” and
    “non-profit (basically a tax classification)”

    This August post is very, very good.
    Hopefully, people read it. Then again,
    maybe if there was a “podcast” audio of this
    particular post, it would be even better.

    Today is Sunday, Aug. 24, 2008.
    tomorrow is Monday, Aug. 25, 2008.


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