I am an absolutist and I’m also a gradualist.
I know what liberty is, and nothing else will do.
But, as long as something is moving in that direction, I think it’s sort of a good thing, even if it doesn’t go far enough, fast enough.
But that doesn’t mean I will ever take my eyes off the prize, or that I’m going to make excuses for the bits of slavery that are left. And I’m certainly never going to reject liberty as being “too extreme”, in order to make people who fear it more comfortable. They are cowards or equivocators and they need to be ashamed.
For example, I am glad “concealed carry permits” are so popular, and have encouraged more people to be armed, but I’m not going to pretend concealed carry permits are a good thing, being a complete violation of the right to own and to carry weaponry without asking anyone’s permission. “More armed people” is heading in the direction of liberty, but tying it to permits is unnecessary and harmful. So, will I advocate for more types of permits, or expanded permits? No. But will I scold people who have the permits? No.
I don’t believe in Utopia. But I do believe in “better than what is”, and that’s where I want to go. There will still be problems. There will still be bad guys and people throwing their support behind bad guys. Not me, though.
People who are natural gradualists don’t appreciate that I won’t pretend a tiny improvement is enough. They’ll never stop complaining that “the perfect is the enemy of the good” and settling for any tiny crumb– or even moves in the wrong direction that feel right to them. Gradual is better than nothing, except when it is actually nothing.