Never Compromise With Radicals on Their Initiatives

News: Commentary
by David Gordon  •  •  February 12, 2021   

Compromise is the slow road to defeat

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Excerpt from Chapter 6, "Never Compromise With Radicals on Their Initiatives," Rules for Retrogrades: Forty Tactics to Defeat the Radical Left, Timothy J. Gordon, David R. Gordon, TAN Books, 2020 (used with permission).

Never compromise with radicals on their initiatives. Radicals work to implement the progressive agenda in increments. (We can thus call their method "incrementalism.")

A primer on taking back the culture

There are a couple reasons for this. Were radicals to impose their disordered worldview all at once, it would prove so unnatural and dystopian that it would forever shatter the common man's perception of progressivism as a viable political philosophy.

Since many of the ideas of radicals are so far out of the mainstream of Western convention, to avoid backlash, their ideas must be introduced slowly and methodically so as to gradually acclimate people to the brave new world, desensitizing them to its bitterness.

Moreover, to hoodwink opposing political parties and to circumvent political resistance, radicals must advance their ideas slowly, till such time as they achieve a critical mass, a tipping point at which their perverse ideas have taken root in the hearts and minds of the voting populace.

Only then can their endgame, their true vision, be revealed, insulated from the hazard of political consequence. Because incrementalism is at the nucleus of radicals' blueprint for capturing the culture, and because radicals are, at this point, the active principle driving cultural change, compromising on disputed issues invariably works in their favor.

Consider, for instance, a debate on raising taxes. Let's imagine that a radical lawmaker floats the idea of a 90% federal income tax rate for top wage earners in order to ameliorate a budget deficit.

Imagine, too, that one of the radical lawmaker's "moderate" confreres retorts that a 90% income tax is unreasonable and proposes a "mere" 50% income tax. After some haggling, perhaps the lawmakers decide to compromise and agree on a 70% income tax rate for top earners.

When radicals make inroads through compromise, they use their forward momentum to springboard themselves to further conquests.

Suppose now that, in ensuing years, irresponsible government spending yields yet another deficit. The same radical lawmaker, as is his habit, will again propose raising taxes in an effort to cure the deficit. Again, he will float the 90% income tax number. Again, the radical's "moderate" confrere will balk at the 90% figure, but wanting to be "reasonable" and address the looming deficit, the moderate will this time propose splitting the difference and bringing the income tax rate up to a more palatable 80% rate. Should this cycle of punctuated creep be allowed to continue over time, the radical will eventually taste the 90% rate he had been clamoring for all along.


While he could not have succeeded in having his demands met at first, by working in increments, by appearing reasonable and settling for a series of upward-ascending compromises, the radical has ultimately prevailed. A series of compromises inevitably leads to the active party achieving total victory, since with each successive compromise, the end goal is brought that much nearer. It should also be noted that radicals habitually use ground gained in previous victories as launching points for future attacks.

When radicals make inroads through compromise, they use their forward momentum to springboard themselves to further conquests. Consider the issue of women clergy. Radicals can't simply demand that women immediately assume roles as high ranking prelates in the Church — they'd be laughed out of town; such a change would be too drastic an overhaul, too severe a breach with timeless tradition to merit serious consideration. And radicals know this all too well. So they take a more cunning tack to achieve their goal: They complain that women are "underrepresented in the Church" and that, in order to fully make use of women's "surplus talents," they "need more access to even modest positions of leadership and responsibility." 

Radicals rely on incrementalism, and incrementalism thrives on a system of compromise.

As such, radicals may propose that women should have access to lower clerical positions — to the diaconate, perhaps. And if in an ill-conceived attempt to sate feminist lust for power, the Church were to try to accommodate such demands and indulge radical women by appointing them deaconesses, it would be only a matter of time before radicals pointed to the deaconesses that had achieved a certain amount of renown or stature and pointedly inquire, "Why, since these women have fulfilled their lower clerical duties with such distinction and aplomb, should they be prohibited from acquiring the office of priestess?" 

Pressing their advantage, they would put the Church on the spot by asking the very questions whose unseemly answers were the impetus for its initial capitulation.

In pressing their advantage in this way, radicals would continue to gain ground at an exponentially increasing pace. If this pattern were allowed to continue unabated, given the passage of enough time, eventually women would attain the papacy. Radicals rely on incrementalism, and incrementalism thrives on a system of compromise.

Hence, the retrograde must never compromise with the radical on a disputed issue; he must steadfastly refuse to give ground, gnashing his teeth before budging an inch. In this way, we can blunt the advance of radicalism, and begin to make our own headway in the culture wars.

David Gordon holds university degrees in political science, law and theology. He is co-author of Rules for Retrogrades: Forty Tactics to Defeat the Radical Left. Gordon is an associate copy editor at Church Militant and a co-host of the Resistance Podcast with Joe Gallagher. 
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