OMT One Man's Trash...from Norman Leahy

Thursday, November 17, 2005 :::

Pragmatism, Kamikazes and Principles

A very worthwhile discussion has developed in the Virginia blog world over principles. On one hand, we have the Jaded JD's meditation on principle v. pragmatism. It's worth reading in its entirety because my learned opponent makes a number of salient points regarding the pitfalls of unbending devotion to principle. That is not to say one should not have -- nor strongly advocate -- principles. Hardly. Without them, we are little more than a cluster of back-stabbing Machiavells. Principles can still advance, and may actually achieve greater success, if we are able to compromise from time to time. Not always, certainly. Relentless appeasement only emboldens the other side to demand even greater concessions. And I believe the last election showed, as will the upcoming GA session, what happens when principles are needlessly compromised for the sake of doing something...anything.

In that vein, we have Shaun Kenney, who makes a spirited defense of principle against those who dismiss them out of hand. Unlike Shaun, I tend to embrace the derision (sticks and stones...) If calling people names is the best someone can offer as a counter to your ideas (and that includes conservatives who toss around the word "Liberal" like it was a curse), then it shows the other side has run out of ideas...and really needs the nanny to put them in time out.

Shaun also offers this thoughtful comparison of pragmatism and principle. There is much to consider in this post.

And I firmly believe that.

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 11/17/2005 5 comments


"You know what the fellow said: In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they also produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love -- they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock." -- Orson Welles, The Third Man

"The graveyards are full of indespensable men" -- Charles de Gaulle

"Oh, so Mother Nature needs a favor? Well maybe she should have thought of that when she was besetting us with droughts and floods and poison monkeys. Nature started the fight for survival and now she wants to quit because she's losing. Well I say, hard cheese!" -- Montgomery Burns

"Don't pretend that you know me...cause I don't even know myself" -- The Who

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