Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pre-emptive Surrender


"Let's see now. It's agreed that we'd prefer to maintain certain standards but if we do so we might get sued or accused of insensitivity or picketed so it's clear that we need to take another approach."

"What's that?"

"We'll announce some new standards - ones that we can say have been blessed by our attorneys - and those standards will reduce the risk of conflict.

"In other words, we'll cave in."

"No, not cave in. You see, if we fought and then settled, you could call that 'caving in,' although I think it may simply be accepting reality. No, what we are doing is not a surrender on their terms, but a series of policy adjustments on our terms."

"But you said that we are adopting this approach instead of seeking to maintain standards. That sounds like a surrender to me."

"You're missing the point. The point is that unless we are willing to fight it out and spend money on lawyers and go through some pretty unpleasant stuff, we will eventually be forced to accept their demands. Rather than do that, I am proposing that we make our demands a version of their demands. That way, we win, at least from the standpoint of perception."

"And you believe that perception is reality, right?

"Oh yes. Absolutely. That's what really matters. Others can debate about substance. I'll take perception any day."

"And while you're crowing about perception, the standards will in fact have been shattered."

"I wouldn't put it that way, but you may if you wish. I don't want to argue about it."

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