The Case For Compromise

In an imperfect world, flawed people often need to compromise

Brian Tubbs
3 min readNov 8


Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

Our world is messy. It’s a world full of problems, challenges, and imperfections. And that includes imperfect people.

Other than the Garden of Eden described in Genesis, there never has existed a society that can claim to be a utopia. There’s never been a community that even came close to perfection.

Not once in recorded history.


Human beings are incapable of achieving perfection.

We can make progress. But we’ll never achieve perfection. Not on our own anyway.

Those who try for perfection often make things worse.

“Every form of extremism pursues an illusory perfection, so its temporary successes always lead to final disasters.” — John Gray

Indeed, when it comes to the most persistent crises and challenges in our world, there are typically no easy answers. There are often no solutions, only trade-offs.

These trade-offs require careful thought, patience, and a whole lot of wisdom. Sometimes, they require concessions and compromise.

Oh, but those are bad…bad…words today. It seems no one wants to compromise about anything!

That refusal to compromise will be our undoing.

When it comes to society, you can have a disorganized and chaotic mess or you can strive for a constructive, coherent community. If you choose the latter, you have two basic avenues to get there:

  • Power and force
  • Persuasion and consent

Or some combination of the two.

History hasn’t revealed other avenues.

The latter has been the aspiration (albeit imperfectly lived up to) of at least some nations, at some points in the history of Western civilization. It is, in fact, one of the defining attributes of the philosophical schools of thought which underline Western civilization.

Pursuing that avenue — persuasion and consent — requires some form of democracy (broadly and practically…