Category Archive 'Radical Social Change'

05 Apr 2009

Don’t Give Them an Inch

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Robert Stacy McCain, in the American Spectator, urges all-out resistance to Gay Marriage arguing (correctly) that any surrender to the left’s demands for egalitarian social change only leads to the next demand. He’s perfectly right, too.

Back in the 1970s, William F. Buckley Jr. was invited to debate feminist author Germaine Greer at the Oxford Union, but found that he and Greer were unable to agree on the wording of the resolution to be debated. After a long exchange of trans-Atlantic telegrams, Buckley in exasperation cabled his final proposal: “Resolved: Give ’em an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

In that simple phrase, Buckley summed up a basic truth about the conservative instinct. Over and over, we find ourselves fighting what is essentially a defensive battle against the forces of organized radicalism who insist that “social justice” requires that we grant their latest demand.

We know, however, that their latest demand is never their last demand. Grant the radicals everything they demand today, and tomorrow they will return with new demands that they insist are urgently necessary to satisfy the requirements of social justice.

When they refer to themselves as “progressives,” radicals express their own basic truth: Their method of operation is always to move steadily forward, seeking a progressive series of victories, each new gain exploited to lay the groundwork for the next advance, as the opposition progressively yields terrain. Such is the remorseless aggression of radicalism that conservatives forever find themselves contemplating the latest “progressive” demand and asking, “Is this a hill worth dying on?”

My own instinct is always to answer, “Hell, yes.” Nothing succeeds like success and nothing fails like failure. Ergo, to defeat the radicals in their latest crusade (whatever the crusade may be) is to demoralize and weaken their side, and to embolden and encourage our side. Even to fight and lose is better than conceding without a fight because, after all, give ’em an inch and they’ll take a mile.

Read the whole thing.


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