Chapter FivePrinciple and Compromise

Principle without compromise is empty. Compromise without principle is blind.

Stephen B. Smith, “A Lincoln for Our Time”

If you're a man of principle, compromise is a bit of a dirty word.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney, “In the Darkness of Dick Cheney”

One of the most misleading lines we hear in conflict is, “I can't compromise on a matter of principle.” Or as Thomas Jefferson is reputed to have said, “In matters of style, swim with the current. In matters of principle, stand like a rock.” Although a nice sentiment, this is an unrealistic and often self-defeating guide to action. One cannot be truly principled without sometimes compromising in very significant ways. Moreover, the value of principles ...

Get The Conflict Paradox now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.