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Sometimes the achievement of long-term goals requires certain short-term sacrifices. It's only natural, especially in a political context—and, well, it's almost all politics eventually anyway. We might do a favor. We might form an alliance. We might come to an understanding. We might hold our tongue. We might play a part or wear a mask—just this once, or one last time.
In the course of bearing these aberrations of personality, how are we to prevent real transformation? How do we know those miniscule bargains haven't accrued an interest, haven't swollen into a Faustian controlling stake? Who is to say that we aren't slowly becoming the costume we put on? Maybe we're really changing. Worse still, perhaps we're growing.
Ostensibly, our task is to defend against the barbarians at the gates. But how do we defend ourselves against ourselves—especially when it's all for a good cause?