Pragmatism, Kamikazes and Principles
Thursday, November 17, 2005 :::
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