Why not compromise?

Sarah Fitz-Claridge

“Why not compromise?”

Sometimes people use the word “compromise” when they mean something everyone would agree is a genuine solution. But usually, the word “compromise” means something else – something that is not a real solution at all.

A genuine solution is not a compromise. In a compromise, each person gives up something such that everyone involves suffers ‘equally’. A genuine solution, on the other hand, is one which everyone involved prefers, including preferring it to their own antecedent preference. No one is suffering, ‘equally’ or otherwise.

Compromise assumes that there are inherent conflicts of interests that are not non-coercively resolvable, and that the way to proceed is to dole out the suffering ‘fairly’. That is simply a mistake. It fails to take into account the fact that we are human beings with brilliant minds who are not limited to choosing between evils: we can create brand new ideas that were not there at the start of the interaction – ideas that spark joy in all involved. Problems are soluble! A solution is usually something no one had thought of at the outset. It is something new and better that is a “YES!” for everyone involved, not a miserable everyone-suffering-‘fairly’ compromise.

See also The Shining Eyes Test.

Sarah Fitz-Claridge, Taking Children Seriously FAQ: ‘Why not compromise?’, https://www.takingchildrenseriously.com/why-not-compromise