In the lexicon of politics, “ideologue” and “pragmatic” are two words used often to describe how negotiable a politician and his positions are. In the public’s eye, a “pragmatic” is viewed positively while an “ideologue” carries negative connotations, which explains why real “ideologues” employ that very same appellation to describe their opponents. However, it’s really about the art of no compromise that wins almost exclusively.
Many government offices, trusted organizations, and diplomatic careers around the world rest upon the notion of employing “compromise” to achieve results. Since they compromise, they are viewed positively by the public-at-large and accepted widely as “pragmatic”.
Societies today have to balance between difficult issues on both sides of the spectrum: War for one’s interests or peace for everyone’s interests, integration or segregation, big wealth-distributive government or an invisible but omnipresent one, political correctness or Darwinism, cripple the able or enable the crippled.
The public, unfortunately, believes such issues highlight the necessity to be “pragmatic” and to compromise; the truth is that compromise is synonymous with failure no matter which side you sit on.
President Jimmy Carter compromised by dealing with Ayatollah Khomeini. PM Chamberlain compromised by attempting to strike a peace with Hitler in return for absorbing the Sudetenland. President George H. W. Bush compromised on “Read My Lips: No New Taxes”. President George W. Bush compromised on defending Iraq from the terror of Syria and Iran. President Obama continued compromising with Syria and Iran through a hopeless diplomatic dialogue. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia compromised on relations with Assad. The United Nations is one big compromise house and that is why it fails at every turn.
President Ronald Reagan did not compromise on the Soviet Union nor did he compromise on his “supply” side economics. PM Margaret Thatcher did not compromise on lowering taxes during a depression. Pelosi and Reid are not compromising on their agenda. PM Netanyahu is not compromising on Jerusalem and on settling lands. Hezbollah is not compromising on the use of violence. Assad is not compromising on the use of terror and occupation of Lebanon. Ahmadinejad is not compromising on Iran’s nuclear weapons. Russia is not compromising on anything.
It does not matter whether you sit to the left of an issue or to its right, if you compromise, you lose. So the real pragmatics are those who capitalize on the art of “No Compromise” to win their arguments; hijacking the word “pragmatic” is reflective of the fear compromisers have to be discovered for their failures.