Ideology and Compromise: Mutually Exclusive Concepts

The debt ceiling issue in Washington is shining a glaring spotlight on the behavior and philosophies of Congress and the President. Unfortunately, none of what we can see in that bright light is good for America. My thesis here is that ideology and compromise are mutually exclusive…or at least, they SHOULD be mutually exclusive. If you will compromise your ideology, it’s not an ideology.

President Obama has been begging for compromise with Republicans for two weeks now. And whatever shape that eventually takes, the Republicans will give him the compromise he seeks.

First, let’s define terms:

“Ideology”: a set of ideas that constitutes one’s goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology can be thought of as a way of looking at things (a worldview). (courtesy Wikipedia)

“Ideologue”: An adherent of an ideology, especially one who is uncompromising and dogmatic. (The Google Dictionary)

Individual with strong philosophical leanings. Generally unwilling to budge to compromise or work with others with differing views. (

Let me offer an example of ideologues on both sides of an issue – Abortion. Those individuals on both sides of the abortion issue are characteristically unwilling to compromise their positions. One side holds to the sanctity of unborn human life, and one side does not. One side fights to protect unborn human life, and the other side fights to eliminate unborn human life at the whim of the mother. As you have seen over the last 40 years, both sides are dogmatic. The “anti-abortion” ideologues march against abortion, and harass abortion clinics and their employees. The “anti-abortion” ideologues even occasionally have members that will murder a doctor that performs abortions. The “pro-abortion” side does not employ such tactics, yet are as strident in their beliefs as their foes. But for the most part, there is no middle ground upon which both sides can agree. It’s life or death.

Another example would be Christianity. Many Christians would choose death over the renunciation of their faith. That dedication to Christ gets lots of people murdered around the world even today. That’s an ideology.

This article is not about the abortion issue or religion, but these examples are given simply to show that strong ideology is still possible…just apparently not in Washington.

Patrick Henry said, “I know not what course others may take. As for me, give me liberty or give me death.” That’s strict adherence to an ideology. Imagine Henry saying, “We can work with King George. If we just give in on this point and that point, we colonies can continue as British citizens. These taxes and regulations aren’t so bad that we have to revolt.”

There is a big difference between Republicans, Democrats and ideologues. The former is simply a political party affiliation. Ideology is not one’s chosen party…it is one’s core beliefs. Even “Conservative” and “Liberal” are not ideologies, since they are nearly impossible to define and share too many ideas in common. Dare anyone say that politicians that are willing to compromise truly have core beliefs? What would the issues be that, for the politician, are not subject to compromise?

Can you imagine the Republicans refusing to compromise on a balanced budget, even if their refusal to budge pushed the Federal government into default? Can you imagine the Republican leadership coming before the cameras and microphones of the world and saying, “There will be no new higher debt ceiling. There will be NO COMPROMISE by Republicans. There will be either a balanced budget or Washington shuts down until the Democrats and the President agree.”

Shouldn’t one core belief for both sides be to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States?” Words to that effect are in their oath of office. That would at least demonstrate that the politicians had honesty and lawfulness as a core belief. But we know that is not the case.

With the definitions I’ve proffered, I submit to you that there are very few true ideologues in Washington. DC is filled with Quisling pragmatists, compromisers and traitors.

Are you familiar with the term “Quisling?” It is named after the Norwegian Vidkun Quisling, who assisted Nazi Germany as it conquered his own country so that he could rule the collaborationist Norwegian government himself. The name even sounds oily and slithery. Being described as “Quisling” is to be accused of the worst kind of treason and selling out for personal gain.

What better term than “Quisling” describes politicians?

Dear God…give us some ideologues as we leave the United States of America through secession. The very act of secession is an act of no compromise. Only ideologues will promote secession, and the ideologues will eventually win.

Secession is the hope for mankind. Who will be first?

DumpDC. Six Letters That Can Change History.

© Copyright 2011, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

4 Responses to Ideology and Compromise: Mutually Exclusive Concepts

  1. JHLundin says:

    Thanks Russ, it does seem that today’s representatives are ‘papering’ themselves into a corner with pledges of one sort or another. Most, in order to ‘prove’ themselves to their constituencies make it look like any deviation from their ideology is failure. Well, there is news… when you have 435 representatives in the Legislative branch and a handful in the Executive branch, there will be no ‘winning’ ideology… The best any new movement (read: the Tea Party) can hope is to move the entire process a few degrees to the left or right (or up or down…or in or out… as the case may me). My suggestions in my blog are to ‘motivate’ those people we have to come to the center (please understand that my ideology is *not* in the center)…

    I am reminded of a test (and I apologize that I cannot remember who actually did the work) of teenaged pairs of girls in Los Angeles and Mexico City. Their task was a game similar to chinese checkers where if they were able move to either the right or left border, one or the other received a prize. They had to move options: either move to proceed right or left, or block the other’s move and remain in the middle (nobody getting any prizes). The girls from Mexico City figured out that if they worked together, each could get prizes. The girls from Los Angeles just blocked each other in the middle of the board… and neither received any prizes…

    I see our current budget conflict as this simple game writ large. I see the solution as one of pain, not just of standoff…

    One of the better reads recently was a book called: The Genius of America which suggests that our form of government accounts for selfish, belligerent, ideologues over time. The one dimension that our constitution does not cover is time. There is no deadline other than the SecTreas or FedChair telling us that we run out on August 2… Well, the negotiators are holding out (fiddling while Rome burns).

    Have a look at my suggestions and let me know what you think, J

  2. Hey You says:

    Secession will happen. It’s just going to take time and it’s not going to be all fun and games.

  3. David Snyder says:

    Boehner & McConnell ended up compromising,as expected.They might as well have both been holding royal flushes in a straight poker game & folded.

  4. JHLundin says:

    …where ideology meets reality…

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