by Timothy Lane 5/22/15
There was a nice article by Scott Klusendorf on TownHall which pointed out the harm that can be done when seeking the perfect, ultimate solution to a problem prevents a partial solution that can actually be attained.
Most of the article deals with an unnamed Arab state in which there was an effort to ban the female slave trade for native-born girls. The main supporters would have preferred a total ban, but this was a lesser step that was attainable, and would have stopped most of the slave trade in that nation. But it was blocked because a few sympathizers thought it didn’t go far enough. So, in the meantime, thousands of native girls will continue to be sold into slavery. Purity has a price, and in this case it’s paid by thousands of girls.
Klusendorf then discusses a debate on abortion between two pro-life activists. One was a purist, the other was willing to make incremental changes that are at least feasible. (Outright bans on abortion won’t be approved by SCOTUS for quite some time to come, after all, and are much harder to pass than small changes.) The pragmatist pointed out that incremental changes are saving lives today, and asked the purist if those lives should be sacrificed to ideological purity. He never answered — which was an answer in itself.
Although Klusendorf didn’t use the phrase, what he demonstrates is an example of how conservatives can sometimes use the Overton Window to improve conditions instead of making them worse (as liberals and other state-worshippers routinely do). We’re talking here about compromises in which one accepts half a loaf now, knowing that a whole loaf is not currently attainable. But getting the half makes it more feasible to get the whole one later.
Liberals are well aware of this concept, as they show in their gun prohibitionist efforts. Conservatives presumably have some idea of the concept, at least defensively, which is why they’re increasingly reluctant to accept any gun restrictions at all. But they need to start using the concept offensively as well, to roll back the corruptions and degeneracies wrought by modern liberalism.
The link to the article, for anyone who wants to read it, is: When Perfection Kills
Timothy Lane writes from Louisville, Kentucky and publishes the FOSFAX fanzine.
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