I’ve noticed that people often use the word “compromise” not in relation to a mutual concession or a trade, but to describe the betrayal of their principles, the surrender of their belief to the groundless claim of another.
A “compromise” in this instance could be a wife’s surrender to her husband’s irrational demands for social conformity or pretended religious observance. Or a writer creating books to please “the public”, against their own judgment and standards.
Let’s make a deal
A compromise, by definition, is an agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions. That means both parties in the compromise have some valid claims and some value to offer each other. And this means that each party must agree on some underlying principle (or fundamental truths) that are the foundation of their deal.
It is not possible to compromise on basic principles or fundamental issues. Can you compromise between such issues as life and death, or truth and falsehood?
It’s not a compromise when I betray my beliefs
Rather, I am giving into another’s irrational, personal desires and encouraging them to grow. I am signing myself up for a tortured life spent in progressive self-destruction.
Integrity is displayed through being loyal to your rational ideals, subjective whims don’t mean shit.
I don’t care if you feel like it
Just because you feel like asserting your desires on me does not mean that I have a moral primary to meet them. You are not entitled to assert your whims on people. Not every impulse you have has equal validity.
Do not ask me to “compromise” on what I know is true and good. There is a powerful difference between conceding on basic principles and bending to irrational flights-of-fancy.
photo credit: mar00ned