Is 'No Compromise' an End in Itself?

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The
increasing popularity and continued fund-raising success of presidential
candidate Ron Paul has a lot more people considering the previously
unthinkable: voting for the best candidate, rather than the "lesser
of evils".

At
the same time, though, this rising maverick is raising others on
his coattails. More people are looking at other political outsiders
and long shots, like Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel, and wondering
if their outside-the-box ideas might be worth a look as well.

"Ron
Paul is great," I’ve heard. "He doesn’t compromise his
principles by pandering to special interests and voters." This
is certainly true. "But I also like Dennis Kucinich,"
some of the same people will say, "He stands up for what he
believes in and doesn’t compromise either."

I
can agree that Kucinich deserves some respect. Any politician that
can weather Washington politics and not lose his focus is truly
a unique individual. And his opposition to the Drug War, Patriot
Act and the Iraq War are certainly admirable — but there my love
for him ends. It’s like basketball: I can hate the sport but still
think Michael Jordan is a respectable athlete.

So
called "top tier" candidates like Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani,
Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards give one the impression
that they will say just about anything to get elected. That
this is the norm in American politics means both good and bad when,
from time to time, we have the opportunity to choose a candidate
that speaks his mind and stands on principle.

The
good side is that a principled candidate will stand out like a sore
thumb.

The
bad side is that we can mistake having principles for having the
right principles. My fear is that not compromising is becoming
an end in itself. Is it too much to ask that we look at what it
is these men refuse to compromise about, as an indication of their
qualification to serve in the White House?

Dennis
Kucinich might very well bring the troops home from the Middle East,
but then again, he’d probably re-deploy them to Darfur or some other
Third World hot spot, embroiling us in yet another civil conflict,
putting our troops in harm’s way, and further draining our treasury.
("Why not," I can hear his supporters say. "Isn’t
foreign intervention a good thing — when it’s for a worthy cause?"
No doubt they’ll also tell me how it would likewise help our "standing"
in the "world community.")

Dennis
Kucinich wants to keep the United States in the UN (albeit a "reformed"
UN); he wants to "work with the world community" by forcing
the ridiculous Kyoto Treaty on the American people; he’ll "launch
a ‘Global Green Deal’"; he’ll boost foreign aid, further plundering
US taxpayers to pay for other countries’ mistakes; he boasts of
his "Yes" vote on the Cuba travel ban, restricting the
freedom of Americans to travel and do business where they wish;
wants to impose socialized medicine, restricting if not ending Americans’
ability to provide healthcare for themselves; he’ll "fight
poverty worldwide" — which will be as effective as the domestic
War on Poverty; he supports "stricter sentencing" for
Thought Crimes, er, "Hate Crimes"; because government-run
"education" has been such a success, he wants to expand
it — he even opposes moderate attempts at reform like vouchers;
he supports more federal gun control, boasting of his "F"
rating by the NRA; and finally, he wants to establish a Department
of Peace — what could more guaranty war than making peace a government
program?

The
list of his ambitions goes on and on.

It
may be considered in poor taste to say so, but Dennis Kucinich is
a Socialist. A principled, consistent Socialist, granted. But a
Socialist nonetheless. There seems to be very little he feels government
can’t accomplish — given enough power and other peoples’ money.
Which makes his consistency a "foolish consistency," what
Emerson called the "hobgoblin of little minds."

Now
compare him to Ron Paul, who consistently stands up for the
Constitution, a document designed to maintain peaceful existence
through the rule of law and by limiting the power of government
to reign over peoples’ lives. The Framers of that document understood
the importance of upholding individual rights — at the expense of
government power. Dennis Kucinich consistently wants to expand
government power — at the expense of individual rights.

One
man wants you to be free; the other wants to re-define freedom as
subservience. Is the difference between what these two men stand
for just a matter of opinion?

Joseph
Stalin stood up for what he believed in. Adolph Hitler stood up
for what he believed in. Benito Mussolini stood up for what he believed
in. Pol Pot stood up for what he believed in. Franklin Roosevelt
stood up for what he believed in. George W. Bush stands up for what
he believes in. Just because someone consistently says what they
mean, and means what they say, doesn’t mean they’re worthy of our
vote. (Note to the hyper-sensitive: I am not comparing Dennis
Kucinich to any murderous dictator.)

Principles
are best described as general truths, reached via rational, logical
thought, upheld with conviction and employed to reach and maintain
long-term goals. If we have learned anything from the last one hundred
years, it is that there is nothing rational or logical about granting
more power to government, and anyone who hopes to retain the ability
to make and realize long-term goals by expanding the power of some
to rule over others is demonstrating a dangerous ignorance of history
and human nature. Chanting "No Compromise" while marching
us to oblivion is no substitute for having something worth fighting
for.

November
12, 2007

Scott
McPherson [send him mail]
is a policy advisor at the Future of Freedom
Foundation
.

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