Tuesday, June 29, 2004[posted by jaed at 2:19 PM]
Brian Tieman at Peeve Farm has a long, thoughtful piece on the prerequisites for compromise - and why it's fruitless to keep calling for negotiations if one side is not willing to compromise - and also discusses why, politically, we sometimes have so much trouble accepting that compromise isn't going to work when the prerequisite isn't there.
It should be obvious—it really should—that negotiations between one party who's willing to make concessions, and another party who isn't willing, will fail. But we seem unable to look this problem in the face. Those of us who think all problems can be solved by negotiations and compromises continue to demand that both parties sit down and hammer out an agreement; those of us who accept that at least one of the sides is driven by absolutism recognize the futility of yammering around a table and repeating over and over the same immovable demands, and take the decidedly less satisfying road that leads toward military conflict, long and broad social change obviating the problem, or other less feel-good solutions. Yet it's hard to argue that the less feel-good solutions have been less successful throughout history than the solutions that involve waving signs with rainbows on them.