Tuesday, November 10, 2009


One of the students that I coach wrote the following essay after taking her US History I exam. She chose the subject of compromise and what she had to say both convicted and motivated me. Many of us have been deceived into viewing compromise as an only option, possibly even a beneficial one, especially in politics. But this essay was a powerful reminder that compromise is not a solution, only a postponement of making a final decision. I hope that in future, I will keep in mind the vitally important truths communicated here.

Compromise: Permanent Solution or Impossibility?
by Elizabeth Sampayan

Our nation is currently faced with many evils. From the growing acceptance of homosexuality to the rampant slaughter of the unborn, the fight against evil lies at the root of many controversies in America. However, in an attempt to put an end to these controversies, many unbelievers, and sadly even some believers, are calling for compromising good and evil. A brief look at history denies the effectiveness of this approach. One of the darkest hours in our nation’s history, the struggle over slavery, demonstrates that when the epic struggle between good and evil lies at the root of a problem, compromise is impossible and only delays the inevitable climax.

From the writing of the Constitution to the Kansas-Nebraska Act, our forefathers made several attempts at coming to a lasting solution to slavery through compromises, but they all ultimately failed. At the Constitutional Convention, the delegates compromised by promising the slave trade could not be banned until 1808, but slaves would not count as a whole person for representation purposes in the House. But, this failed to bring any permanent settlement. In 1820, the issue once more arose and once more politicians attempted to settle the question of slavery with a compromise. The Missouri Compromise attempted to resolve the matter with the 3630’ line. This also failed to last longer than a generation. The Kansas-Nebraska Act and Douglas’s advocacy of Popular Sovereignty were last desperate attempts at compromise. But, they succeeded even less than the previous compromises. Each of these “solutions” failed to permanently resolve the dispute. They only delayed the crisis that would ultimately come.

There is a reason for the failures of these compromises. The real struggle over slavery lay not in the issue of slavery itself; but rather in a much deeper struggle between two incompatible forces—Good and Evil. Just as white can not be mixed with black and remain white, so it is with Good and Evil. Good cannot remain good if it has been tainted with Evil in a compromise. Because slavery is wrong, there was no meeting place between its supporters and opponents. Contrary to popular belief, they could not compromise, or even peacefully coexist. As the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 6:14; “for what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (NIV). Good and Evil are at war with each other and always will be until Evil is ended by Christ’s return.

Ultimately, the only option that provided a lasting solution to the issue of slavery in America was a battle and a decisive victor. Despite decades of attempts at compromise, the dispute over slavery was not resolved until the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln recognized this in his famous speech at in Springfield Illinois when he said, “that agitation [over slavery] has not ceased but has constantly augmented. In my opinion, it will not cease until a crisis has been reached and passed” (Schweikart and Allen 288). He realized because of their incompatibility, a permanent resolution between Good and the evil of slavery could only come after a battle in which one was defeated. There were no other options.

As we continue to battle the evil in today’s society, we need to remember the history of the conflict over slavery. As our forefathers discovered, compromise with evil will not bring about a lasting resolution. We can learn from the past that compromise will only delay the climax that must ultimately occur. Instead, we must continue fight for what is right, no matter how attractive a compromise appears. The battle may appear difficult and futile at times, but ultimately there will be no resolution until Good triumphs over Evil.


  1. I disagree... I think the problem with this argument lies on the fact that it promotes the representative method of governance at the heart of the republic of the United States of America. In a representative republic, necessarily the government must reflect the will of the people. Only in a monarchial type of government can the leaders truly promote the good of the people from their position of authority and care. In a perfect government, (ie. a Constitutional Monarchy) the Sovereign would lead the people by example, ensuring the legislature did not pass laws that were inappropriate, and additionally using the Royal Family to promote the good of the people throughout the nation. Additionally, though the creation of honors and/or nobility, the Sovereign would be able to draw allies in the fight for good. As an added benefit, the stuctured social system would promote propriety and restraint in society. (And no, I'm not promoting absolutism... which is tyranny. I'm speaking of a balanced approach between a people's parliament, government, and their Sovereign)

    As long as anyone promotes a republican, or worse, democratic government, we must expect people to be sinful and not desire restraint. This is the end of nations that do not choose to be lead to better and greater things.

    You can think of this as libertarian aristocratic populism... as I think this is the best metaphor for the philosophy. Just an idea that I was thinking about... not sure if all the particulars would work as I think, but worth a thought.

  2. Hey Justin... so I'm finally getting back to answer this. :)

    The biggest point I wanted to make is to say that no matter what form of government we have, democratic, republican, "libertarian aristocratic populism," ;) or anything in between, "we must expect people to be sinful and not desire restraint." It is part of human nature that such will occur.

    It is also true that some forms of government better at restraining the worst forms of human nature.

    However, my main point in posting this essay was to emphasize that as long as the people in office do not seek God above all else, any and all forms of government will continue to be corrupt. And it is our duty as Christians to refrain from compromising as we choose to put people in power.