David Madore's WebLog: Gratuitous Literary Fragment #38 (compromise)

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Gratuitous Literary Fragment #38 (compromise)

“I'm not sure you could have called me an ‘idealist’, but I certainly upheld some rather strong principles which I had faith in. I was not always of the greatest intellectual honesty in defending them, but I followed my instinct and my sense of morals, and I believed—with the most touching naïveté—that sincerity made up for everything. Well, times have changed… or rather, I have changed. I do not think anyone could meddle with politics and maintain the righteousness of my youthful self, but maturity probably had more to do with the loss of it than anything. I am not saying—mind you—that I have done or said anything I should be ashamed of. At least, not anything that would be ‘morally wrong’ in an objective sense. But I have had to learn the meaning of ‘compromise’. ‘Concession’. ‘Tact’. The adventurous youth craves not for such virtues as pragmatism and diplomacy: my elder self has come to respect and use them. I have become…” Quentin fumbled for a word. “…mellow. Lenient. Reasonable.” There was unveiled disgust in his voice.

He paused. Then in a sadder voice, he added: “On occasion, I can hear the former Quentin speak to me. And in those times, not all the certainty that I have done the right and sensible thing as best as I could judge can erase the sentiment that I have betrayed those values by which I swore.”

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