Compromise and the Law of the Excluded Middle

CoyoteHelpby Deana Chadwell2/4/16
So much of political talk in the last couple of decades has been about “working across the aisle, “ to “get things done.” These discussions have been filled with a sentimental, kumbaya longing, “Can’t we all just get along?” This recent Iowa caucus vote has brought us to the stark realization that concession and reconciliation is not at all what conservative voters want. Why? Because conservatives are logical people and the only compromise the left wants flies in the face of the third law of logic.

Logic isn’t a high priority in liberal circles, though progressives like the word, they either don’t know the rules of the reasoning game or they feel justified in breaking them.

Let’s do a quick review:

Rule 1—The Law of Identity – a thing is what it is and is not something else. It is not what it is not. This seems obvious until you start looking at some leftist equations: financing ISIS = fighting ISIS; snow storms = global warming; voter ID = voter suppression.  Obviously someone didn’t get the memo.

Rule 2 – The Law of Non-Contradiction – something can’t be both true and not true at the same time. Example: “There is no such thing as absolute truth.” That’s wrong on so many levels, but according to the statement nothing can be true, so that very statement is also untrue. Which, of course, gets us back to the first law – according to that, truth has to mean truth. Enough. I can feel my gray matter circling the drain.

Rule 3 – The Law of the Excluded Middle – something is either true or not true – there is no middle ground. This is unfortunate because it’s comfy in that misty middle. No decisions have to be made, no ground defended, no friendships lost. Even sadder is the truth that the fuzzy middle is a Wile E. Coyote position which leaves a person frantically treading air until gravity finally wins. And it always wins.

What holy happy mediums are seeing the ground rush up at them these days? Let’s look:

  1. Religious neutrality – either we believe, and practice what we believe, or not. The left wants us to skulk around silently communing with our God, but never using God’s mandates as a guide to make our private and public decisions, never applying, never following God’s command to “go tell it on the mountain.” Our public schools are to be neutral on the issue of religious belief, but there is no neutral; a person either believes in God or he doesn’t. Even an agnostic is not in the middle – does he believe? A “not yet” is still a negative. He doesn’t.And what about Christ? Can we just agree to disagree (a senseless thought if there ever was one) and say that He was a good man, maybe even a prophet (whatever they think that means)? No. That won’t work. He claimed to be the Son of God. He claimed to be deity. He claimed to be King of the Jews. That is why both the Jews and the Romans conspired to kill him. So either He was the King of Kings, or he was a crazy crook; either way He wasn’t just a nice guy. There’s no comfortable middle ground there.
  2. Amnesty – Is sneaking across the border illegal or not? Sort of isn’t an answer. Some folk like to divide illegal immigrants into two camps: those who have committed crimes, and those who haven’t, as if breaking the immigration law is acceptable. Which brings us back to the first law – illegal is illegal, is it not? Or the second law – can an act be both illegal and legal at the same time? Not if we’re being logical. Illegals are in the criminal camp because they’re illegal.
  3. Gun control – do we have that right to own guns, or don’t we? Since the early days of our country individual states have tried to find a middle ground on the 2nd Amendment. In fact many of the earliest efforts to control gun ownership were in the South where people grew concerned about what would happen if their slaves acquired guns.  Should this be an absolute? I’ll admit that it might be odd for one’s neighbor to own a tank and collect mortar rounds, but that’s just it – who would? These human rights we speak of are God-given, correct? Then can man, should man abrogate that right? Either the right to arm oneself exists or it doesn’t. There’s no refuge lane.
  4. Islamic immigration. Well, is Islam good or bad? It can’t be both and there is no middle ground. Does the Qur’an promote violent aggressive proselytizing? Yes. When they say “Death to America!” are they saying it in a good way? Is there a centrist position between that statement and the American Constitution? Is there a point of compromise? From looking at the Iran deal recently hammered out by the intrepid John Kerry, I’d say no, not really.

So does this mean that compromise is never possible? No. It means that conciliation on matters of principle cannot be an option. We all agree that immigration laws are necessary, but we can compromise on the number of people we allow in, on the attributes we’ll find acceptable for entrance, on the issues of sponsorship, welfare access, etc. What we can’t do is refuse to enforce a law that has been duly legislated. The law is the law, or it’s not, and if it’s not then we can’t call it a law (see Rules 1 and 2).

Now look at the current presidential election. Where does the Law of the Excluded Middle apply here? The excluded middle has been the Republican election strategy ever since Reagan – some brain-eating virus wormed its way into (by way of Ivy League academia, no doubt) the GOP election groupies and morphed into a dementia that demands that our candidates and our positions must try to stay afloat out there above no-man’s land; that there is no way to amass enough votes unless we join our deluded counterparts, give a nod to Marx, embrace (pun intended) gay rights, and hate the rich.[pullquote]We find leaders who want to equivocate on rock solid principle completely disturbing. After seven years of Obama we find the unicorn-petting intolerable.[/pullquote]

It is no wonder that this hasn’t worked. America is made up of very sensible people; we know in our heart-of-hearts that right is right, that what works, works and what doesn’t won’t. We find leaders who want to equivocate on rock solid principle completely disturbing. After seven years of Obama we find the unicorn-petting intolerable. We will have sensible, rational, logical governance.

In Iowa this week the middle ground folk of the GOP grappled one last time for a shot at the White House, but Iowans were having none of it. They excluded the middle and went instead (over 60% of them) for the three most clear-voiced and insistent about righting the left-hand turns this country has taken. The clearest voice of all, Ted Cruz, came out on top, proving that Iowa knows its logic, knows that up isn’t down; knows that evil isn’t good, no matter how it’s dressed up; and knows that big government is not freedom and prosperity and never, never will be.


Deana Chadwell blogs at ASingleWindow.com and is a writing and speech professor at Pacific Bible College in Southern Oregon.
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Deana Chadwell

About Deana Chadwell

I have spent my life teaching young people how to read and write and appreciate the wonder of words. I have worked with high school students and currently teach writing at Pacific Bible College in southern Oregon. I have spent more than forty years studying the Bible, theology, and apologetics and that finds its way into my writing whether I'm blogging about my experiences or my opinions. I have two and a half moldering novels, stacks of essays, hundreds of poems, some which have won state and national prizes. All that writing -- and more keeps popping up -- needs a home with a big plate glass window; it needs air; it needs a conversation. I am also an artist who works with cloth, yarn, beads, gourds, polymer clay, paint, and photography. And I make soap.
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28 Responses to Compromise and the Law of the Excluded Middle

  1. Tom Riehl Tom Riehl says:

    I was going to write some fulsome praise for yet another fine essay grounded in truth and logic, but the unicorn-petting image has damaged me, perhaps irrevocably.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    One article I saw today raised the point that compromise and deal-making were very reasonable back when the two parties weren’t all that different and overlapped in their views. Today, there’s virtually no overlap and a great gulf between the parties. This makes deal-making and compromise much less useful. After all, what’s the compromise between good and evil?

    As for Islam, I would say that there are 2 forms regarding jihadism. Some look to the peaceful suggestions (they do exist) and ignore the violent ones. Others do the reverse. Both can claim to be the legitimate form of Islam. Until we can reliably tell one from the other, we should let none in.

    • Tom Riehl Tom Riehl says:

      Which then begs the question of evolving from one form to the other. Nuke it from orbit; it’s the only way to be sure.

  3. SkepticalCynic SkepticalCynic says:

    In regards to your “A law is a law”, if any law isn’t a law doesn’t that mean that all laws aren’t laws? If you define law, doesn’t that definition apply to all laws or is that creating a middle ground upon which we are levitating?

    My attitude is such that if we can allow the president, attorney general of the U.S and law enforcement to pick and choose which laws they want and which laws they want to disregard then I want to have the same privilege. I mean one of my daughters has been arrested for DWI and is in deep doodoo. She could really use this personal discretionary part of picking and choosing right now. Seems it just doesn’t work for the peasants, huh? And as we say here in the South, “that ain’t no news a’tall.”

  4. David Ray says:

    Rule #2 leads me to believe Deana would getta big kick outta Ann’s book “Denomic”. She lists a plethora of liberal doctrinare contradictions, and they are hilarious.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      This is one of Ann Coulter’s great strengths, using search engines to contrast what liberals say now and what they said in the past when a different principle was more convenient. This is all very Orwellian, of course (though as I recall her point in Demonic was liberalism in terms of mob psychology). “Oceania is at war with Eurasia. Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia.” 1984 is a cautionary tale for normal people, but liberals use it as their guidebook.

    • I haven’t read that one yet — guess I had better get a move on and add it to my stack. I’ve developed quite a taste for sarcasm in the last 20 years. 🙂

      • Anniel says:

        Deanna, I have been concerned about logical fallacies for some time and don’t see any teaching of logical thinking in schools at any level.

        I have thought a lot about Ted Cruz and supported him in ways. But when his campaign sent out the first “shaming letter” in Iowa I was stunned. And his campaign adviser admitted they were the ones who sent it. Apparently the adviser did the same things in local elections in Alaska and Michigan and Cruz did it “because it works.” i never got one here or I would have blown my cork.
        Apparently they did the same letter in N.H., too. The Secretary of State in Iowa put out a hugely critical disclaimer about the letter.
        The matter seems to have died a quiet death, but I am totally revolted by Cruz over it.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          As far as I can tell, this seemed to be very similar to an approach used by other campaigns (Obama did it in 2012, which isn’t much of an endorsement morally, but it did play a major role in his victory). Cruz’s version apparently was a hard sell version of it. There were anecdotal reports of Cruz supporters switching away because of it, though obviously it couldn’t have been very many. I hope they don’t do more of them.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          This article show the mailer piece in question. It’s basically a piece of junk mail posing as something more official. I put it in the same league as the “You may have already won a million dollars” junk mail.

          I don’t think it’s anything to get too hot and bothered about.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            Of course, I am pretty cynical as regards politics, but the information in the letter is public knowledge. Only registered Republicans received it and they are, presumably, interested in the outcome of the Iowa Caucus.

            I don’t believe anyone could seriously believe this was some sort of official letter grading one’s voting record as there is no, and has never been, such a thing.

            As to people knowing whether or not I take the time to vote, I couldn’t care less.

            I suspect the Iowa Sec. of State only got bothered about this as he was coordinating with the ethanol Governor and lobby since Cruz would kill the ethanol subsidies.

            I wonder, did Obama’s similar letter in 2008 get the same treatment?

            I think your analogy as regards junk mail, pretty much nails it. Another document headed for the round file.

          • Anniel says:

            Brad, I used to sort of be a Glenn Beck fan until he went down to give teddy bears and soccer balls to the flood of illegal immigrant “children” coming over the border, and Ted Cruz went with him. Even someone as untutored as I could see the further hell many of those children faced. I read recently the figure of about 2,000 or more who have been sold into sexual slavery. And here we are now with illegal immigrants squirting out our ears.

            I think Cruz gave one of the finest presidential running for president speeches I have heard and wrote about at ST. But lately I listen to him and don’t see the same man I admired.

            One woman called Rush and tried to talk about the “Heinrich Himmler letter” sent out by Cruz, but Rush interrupted and cut her off completely. I, personally, view that letter as a symptom of the political distortions and lies we face. Junk mail? I suppose, but then it makes the point that politics may all be junk, and the junk yard dogs may maul you if you get caught up in their game.

            And Cruz still hangs out with Glenn.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              I’m a Cruz guy. But as Mr. Kung would no doubt remind us, they’re all politicians. No one is as pure as the wind-driven snow. I’m not making an excuse for Cruz. I’m just saying that, well, having been involved in numerous campaign (no dirty tricks), a candidate couldn’t possibly keep tabs on all the the workers and volunteers do. And if Cruz approved this, then he is due some criticism. But let’s keep this in the context of what the Left is saying about this country and doing to this country.

              I don’t hang out with Glenn Beck anymore myself. But I think Cruz does because, first, Beck isn’t all bad and, two, he’s obviously useful to Cruz.

              I never warmed to Beck the way some did. And never did I think of him as a mere charlatan. But I did recognize that he was yet another man making a bundle of money off of the conservative movement. He rallied support for good causes and should be commended for that. And there’s no moral law against selling books and getting speaking fees.

              But if you think this country can be saved from the Left without anyone getting their hands dirty, then you don’t know politics. We need someone who will fight hard for this country and this Constitution. A little bending of propriety here and there is a drop in the bucket, at least to me.

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                Couldn’t agree more with you. This country is going down the tubes and the media and politicians divert our attention with picayune “scandals”. They make magicians look like amateurs when it comes to slight-of-hand. And we the audience continue to fall for the same old tricks.

                As I say, sometimes I can sympathize with the politicians. We are a flock of sheep just asking to be sheared.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              The basic point of Beck and others going to help the illegal immigrants at the border was nothing more than Christian charity for people who needed it. It was never intended as enabling them to stay here long term, but merely helping them while they were here. This seemed reasonable to me at the time, and I’m a very strong opponent of illegal immigration.

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                While I didn’t like the optics of the affair, I have to agree with your sentiments. And I am well known for my strong positions on illegal and legal immigration.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                Given Beck’s visibility, he was inherently making a political statement. And that inherent statement was “It is the job of tax-paying American’s to take care of third-worlders, even if they are breaking out laws.”

                I don’t know what kind of context Beck brought to this even. Perhaps he noted a need for a wall, for Mexico to reform itself, for people — rich or poor — to not break the law.

                But given the Beck is a roving media event, it was quite right for any American or Christian to be offended by yet another implicit message that it is the burden of hard-working, law-abiding, tax-paying Americans to take care of those who can’t get their own house in order.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                Well, there is a difference between voluntary charity, especially from those (like Beck) who can afford it, and tax-paid social programs of any sort. Beck was supporting the former, and I see nothing wrong with that as long as steps are taken (as Beck advocates) to discourage people from seeking to come here for that purpose.

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              One woman called Rush and tried to talk about the “Heinrich Himmler letter” sent out by Cruz, but Rush interrupted and cut her off completely

              Frankly, anyone who would draw a comparison between the Cruz letter and Heinrich Himmler is an ignorant scumbag.

              Heinrich Himmler was a major architect and facilitator of the Holocaust. He oversaw not only the Concentration Camps, but also the “Vernichtung Lager” literally “destruction camps” in which millions were exterminated.

              If it appears that I am a bit heated about this, it is because I am. The woman who spewed such stupid viscous poison must be an absolutely disgusting person of the lowest mental and moral order. And should be called out as such. I only wish Rush had done so.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          Annie,

          I am curious as to why you find this letter so damning. Could you let me know?

          • Anniel says:

            KFZ, see above. Plus, no one has the right to show my supposed “grade” to anyone at all. Maybe because I am getting old I relate to the plight of one elderly woman interviewed who cried because her neighbor’s would think she didn’t do her civic duty.

            Maybe it’s a good thing the mailer is now made public and more people will drop such things in the round can where they belong. But I don’t care who does it, that mailer is a metaphor for political idiocy everywhere.

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              Thanks for your reply Annie.

              Clearly we disagree as to someone’s “right” to show your voting “grade” to anyone. Since such information is in the public domain, it is there for all to see and use as they wish. My wife and I vote in pretty much every poll, be it for school district positions or presidential candidates. This is the reason my wife and I are constantly receiving phone calls, mailers and emails from various groups, candidates and party organizations soliciting us for contributions, opinions and other info. Politicians, having limited resources go to those who are most active in the political scene. They use the info most readily available to them.

              I don’t wish to seem hard, but I cannot understand how anyone could get upset by such mailers because they are worried about what their neighbors might think about them. Hell, the fact that a person is on the voting register shows that they take their civic duty more seriously than most.

              But I agree with you that the mailer is not the brightest idea to come down the pike. Still, as Brad noted, they are all f*@king politicians and they or their lackeys would probably not be where they are because of their high moral values.

              To expect anything else, is in my opinion, chasing a chimera. We must put everything in context and go from there. There are no, and never have been, perfect candidates. Being human, they will always disappoint. But we need also to look at ourselves, as most of the things people do to get elected are tried and true formulas which have been used on the public for a long time. Everyone hates negative advertising, but it seems to work. I wonder why?

              • Anniel says:

                I suppose even Reagan had to get his hands dirty from time to time. Hard to believe though.

                Do I think we can get a “perfect” candidate? Nope. But how I long for a modicum of truth and thought for the fate of the country. If Cruz is the party’s candidate, then I will vote for him and hope he’s who he claims to be.

                There is one other thing I think about. Every time I hear about Hillary being in the pay of Goldman Sachs, I also think about Heidi Cruz being on leave from her job at Goldman Sachs and Cruz “inadvertently” having forgotten to have reported two unsecured loans from them.

                That’s what I mean when I say to some extent I’ve lost faith in what he says.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                Actually, Cruz did report the loans from Goldman Sachs, but didn’t report them on every document he was supposed to. It’s very easy to slip up on the details of government paperwork.

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                Annie,

                As you will see from Tim’s comments, Cruz is not crook hiding info that the media has made him out to be. That is why getting to the bottom of things is so important when trying to figure out who to support.

                As to his wife working for Goldman Sachs, I can tell you Goldman Sachs doesn’t need her to influence the government. They and the rest of the financial industry have enormous power to sway our legislators and bureaucrats. Paulson and Rubin are just two of the more well know ex-Goldman chairmen who have gone on to running the Treasury. There has been a frequent exchange of personnel between Goldman and the Government for many years.

                Theoretically, Trump should not be susceptible to the siren song of Goldman, but I am pretty sure he must have good contacts there as well as at the other large NYC financial institutions. So who knows if he would cooperate with them or not. I think he probably would as every president/administration has.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                I think in regards to the supposed transgressions of the Cruz campaign, we have to keep in mind that the media is a filter. Let’s not get rope-a-doped. If the media simply gave a balanced view of things, the main story each and every day would be how the Democrat Party is ruining America and how the Republican Party is making big bucks going along with it.

                Be very very suspicious when minor things like this are blown out of proportion.

  5. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Well, there is a difference between voluntary charity, especially from those (like Beck) who can afford it, and tax-paid social programs of any sort. Beck was supporting the former, and I see nothing wrong with that as long as steps are taken (as Beck advocates) to discourage people from seeking to come here for that purpose.

    Like I said, Timothy, It thought it was a political statement by Beck, not a Christian one. Are there not many Americans who are suffering who deserve Glenn Beck’s posturing help?

    Beck is a very emotional person. It’s hard for me not to see him as just another case of someone narcissistically feeding their do-gooderism instead of actually keeping an eye on doing good.

    Want to help Mexicans and other third-worlders? Hold a telethon articulating the kinds of cultural values and political principles needed in order for a society to prosper. But simply giving out “free stuff” under the guise of Jesus doesn’t do it for me.

  6. Interesting discussion and I’d like to add one thought: after these last 7 years we’re all longing for a good man in the Oval Office, but we do need to remember that there aren’t any perfect men, and certainly not in politics. We have to figure out who will do the best job, the most honest job and vote for that person and then remember that he won’t do everything right.

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