If two people are in disagreement on a moral proposition, let us take it as given that neither is entirely correct/moral, one is more correct/moral than the other.
The ideal position, then, is not in the center, closer to the less moral position. It’s further out.
Now obviously this is a simplification, and what is an “ideal” and what represents a corruption of that ideal, requires an undergirding principal
For example, let us say that we believe it’s self-evident that all people are equal under the law
Total equality would be an ideal
If all accept equality as an ideal, and then have an argument between:
1) a proposition that creates less equality;
2) one that creates more equality;
then the midpoint is further away from equality than the 2nd proposition
That’s IF all accept equality as an ideal
But the truth of the matter is not everyone holds equality as an ideal. In fact there was at least one time in our nations past when people held equality’s worst corruption—slavery—as an ideal, with such fervor that they murdered thousands of their fellow citizens over it.
Not even so very arguably, I’d say.
Before we compromise, it’s wise to determine if those with whom we’d compromise are moving toward the same ideal as we are, or toward a much different ideal—perhaps even its opposite.
If the latter is true, we are compromising not on tactics but on our principles
We should compromise with those heading in the same direction as ourselves, and toward the same ideal, not to arrive at some middle position between a better and a worse proposition but to move forward toward a better one.
And with those who hold some worse or even opposite ideal, we shouldn’t compromise, but push toward our best ideals with as much energy as we can.
We may arrive at some middle point short of our goal—but because opposition held us back, not because we moved toward opposition.
And that middle point will be far closer to our ideal if we strive for the ideal then if we don’t.
As for convincing your opponents of the rightness of your ideals over theirs, I say:
You don’t convince people to go in your direction by going in their direction.
Good practical application question.
My ideal as a world with no guns. I support a total ban on the sale and manufacture of guns.
My stance on guns is that sweeping gun control legislation is the compromise position, in alignment with that ideal.
If people on the pro gun side want to consider that compromise, that’s great.
If not, I’m happy to work toward a total ban on the sale and manufacture of guns.
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