I am constantly amazed by those who endorse the nonsensical notion that there is no such thing as irreconcilable difference. Even more amazing is their unjustified attitude of moral superiority, when a more apt posture would be one of moral indifference. (from here)
When somebody insists upon having things their own way and another person vehemently objects, those people either have to find a compromise or one of them has to give way. When neither party can agree upon any such resolution, we consider their differences irreconcilable.
Irreconcilable differences are the province of our legal system. When we are unwilling to settle our differences without the aid of lawyers, we turn to the courts. In “civil” disputes, we sue. In “uncivil” disputes, policemen investigate, make arrests, and book suspect(s). Prosecutors then seek convictions, and judges sentence the “guilty” — all because someone would not accept the fact they could not have things their own way.
Differing Perspectives On Irreconcilable Differences
When a man burgles your house, he knows that burglary is illegal. His resolution to that problem is to avoid getting caught. Your resolution is to call the police. A judge brings “peace” to this conflict by using force. He sentences the burglar to jail time.
Similarly, political entities have irreconcilable differences. Israelis have one view of the Middle East conflict and Palestinians have another. Unless, both parties can agree upon a resolution acceptable to the other party, military force provides the only viable means of resolving the conflict.
Civil war occurs when a culture war within a society escalates to the point of violence — when verbally sparring, frustrated participants can no longer agree to disagree. About 150 years ago, our Civil War became uncivil. Because the North and the South had different views of and on slavery — irreconcilable views – they fought over slavery.
Today we argue over the purpose of government. Conservatives fear the overreaching power government, the same government Liberals see as the solution for many social ills. Will that difference in world views escalate into violence? We can pray it will not, and we can work to reconcile our differences. Nonetheless, just as the issue of slavery involved moral imperatives, so does today’s culture war.
A Failure To Communicate
We live in the midst of a culture war. That is, we do not all uniformly share the same world view. We have differing understandings both of how things do work and of how things should work. Hence, when Conservatives and Liberals discuss politics and religion, our discussions often involve four-letter words. Because we see the world and our problems so differently, we cannot agree what to do. That is, we have irreconcilable differences.
Consider the root difference between Conservatives and Liberals.
- Conservatives believe we have inherent rights given to us by our Creator. Conservatives believe government exists to protect God-given rights.
- Liberals believe we enact laws to define the rights we want. Liberals believe government exists to give us rights granted by Law.
Thus, when Conservatives and Liberals talk about rights, we use the same word to mean different things. Hence, we talk pass each other, and that is only one example.
Since Conservatives and Liberals too often do not use the same words to mean the same things, we often fail to communicate. Hence, we cannot resolve our differences.
Can Conservatives and Liberals surmount this communications problem? Yes, of course we can. Unfortunately, merely communicating does not guarantee resolution. So long as the root difference remains, then the reason for the conflict remains. So long as neither side of a dispute wants to compromise or give way, their differences — our differences — must remain irreconcilable.