Tuesday, December 2, 2014

                               Compromise is a Universal Law of the Universe - Not a dirty word!

Anyone who was paying attention in their High School science classes probably remembers one of Newton's Laws which states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.The same can be said for legislation. Every law designed to produce a positive benefit also produces a corresponding negative side effect. For example, if we spend tax money to help the needy there will be able bodied "dead beats" who take advantage of that program by applying for assistance- instead of getting a job and taking responsibility for their own welfare. Does that mean we simply ignore the needs of those who require assistance, or do we accept the fact that a certain lazy percentage of the population will 'scam' the system for their own benefit?

That's basically what compromise is all about and it's why our politicians on the Left and Right can seldom agree on anything. Neither side is willing to recognize and accept the side effects of enacting legislation which is designed to benefit of a particular group of citizens (or non-citizens as the case may be) while having a negative effect on another group of citizens. 

For example, a law requiring coal burning power plants to reduce their emissions helps the environment and cleans up the air that we breath while placing a financial burden on the owners of the power plant. That same law may reduce the number of coal burning power plants and cause unemployment. Yet at the same time it will reduce the number of workers who may die of lung cancer and it may help people who lose their jobs mining coal find new jobs fabricating solar panels.

Compromise isn't about giving up one's principals and it's not about winning or losing. It's about recognition of one of the basic laws of the Universe. If we going to make progress we have to accept the fact that there is a side effect to every social, moral, financial, and legal recourse that we legislate. The result is not "stalemate" but rather getting the maximum benefit with the minimum side effect.

When an Architect designs a skyscraper, or an Engineer designs an airplane, he or she searches for the most affordable materials with the greatest strength and flexibility and the least weight. Every step of the design is a compromise- an attempt to get the greatest benefit with the least side effect - whether that side effect is cost, durability, safety, availability or adaptability. The ability to learn to use compromise in a constructive manner is what's allowed our species to achieve so much. We must instruct our politicians to take a less rigid approach to problem solving. Recognizing that there are no perfect solutions entirely free of side effects- but there also will be no progress if they continue to cling to their "win at all costs" approach to legislating.

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