THE VIRTUE OF COMPROMISE

  • Yuval Eylon The Open University of Israel.

Abstract

Compromise is the virtue of political agents. This picture of the political
is as common and familiar: politics is a realm where the reasonable, the
compromising politicians get things done and the unreasonable and
uncompromising are doomed to fringes. Thus, it is always right and reasonable
make good compromises. The paper argues that under certain conditions, it is
better and more effective to have non-compromising politicians. For example, think
of a political party that every election moves towards the political center to
maximize its chances of winning, but loses the elections at the cost of having the
political center move further away from its original positions. If the process repeats
itself, then a series of compromise would be disastrous, much as the considerations
of the self-torturer are disastrous. Thus, there are systematic ways in which the
reasonable compromises of a virtuous politician are sometimes (ultimately)
unreasonable. Political virtue is all too often self-defeating, and therefore a curse
in disguise.

Published
2019-05-03