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Post 0

Thursday, July 18 - 12:27pmSanction this postReply
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Loved your story, Ed. The story teller rules the future.

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I put "fair" in quotation marks because the word is used on Egalitaria as a synonym for "equal"
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If two siblings went out to pick apples and if one of them picked more apples than the other -- then they would even out their baskets so that each sibling gets exactly the same amount of apples.
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Every good argument should begin with a definition of terms.

Or...

Whaddya mean?

Or...

Say what you mean and mean what you say.

Though, the terms often define themselves as the argument goes on. But, by then, mutual understanding is mutually dead.

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Then one day, an unexpected drought came ...
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This sentence reminds me of well...me. I always enjoy throwing a monkeywrench into the machinery.

I will sometimes kick towering structures just to see if they will hold up.

At other times, I'm more subtle. I'll gradually add pressure just to see how much a particular subject can take before it bursts.




Post 1

Thursday, July 18 - 7:39pmSanction this postReply
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Kyle,

Thanks for the kudos. Regarding throwing the wrench in the engine or kicking the tower, I am reminded of your Puppy Parable. I'll have more to say about this story, later.

Ed




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Post 2

Friday, July 19 - 5:44pmSanction this postReply
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Continued ...

The drought killed a third of all people on Egalitaria, left a third of them alive, but with few or no apples, and left the last third of them basically untouched. People were rioting in the streets. A third of the former population was starving (half of the surviving population). Mothers were crying over lost children. There was utter chaos. Towns were burning. Two schools of thought formed, or were forged, out of the fire of burning cities and the mounds of dead children:

1) that the people at the top need to pay their fair share (relieving the physical suffering of the others) -- i.e., that original premises were right, and that the drought was merely just an isolated case of 'bad things happening to good people'
2) that the notion that 'people need to pay their fair share' is wrong -- and at least indirectly led to the vast suffering and scarcity that now plagued Egalitaria

The leader of Egalitaria called for a press conference ...




Post 3

Sunday, July 21 - 8:27pmSanction this postReply
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Leader of Egalitaria
Thank you all for coming. I am anxious to take your questions on the current crisis. [points to a reporter]

Reporter
After recovering from a drought which no one was allowed to prepare for (because that would have meant unequal apples for some of us), citizens have been murmuring and even outright complaining about your concept of "anti-property." Will you please address their concerns?

Leader of Egalitaria
First of all, I want to extend my heartfelt sympathies for all of the families and loved ones that were lost in that terrible, terrible drought. As the leader of Egalitaria, my heart goes out to the 'victims.' I was elected to be leader of Egalitaria based on my campaign promises of being fair, and that is why I came up with the concept of anti-property -- where one person's foolhardy losses of value are offset or balanced by an enforced loss, or destruction, of the property of others. If the value of property or wealth boils down to whether it is spread around or not, then that is the only way to be fair. I am merely following through on my campaign promises. You wanted 'fair' -- and now you are getting it; good and hard. Next question.

Reporter
Some of the citizens have started questioning the use of the term 'fairness' in the political realm -- saying that it is never defined well or in advance, and that is a wellspring for executive corruption and for the illegitimate, unilateral exercise of personal spite. They say that you can merely declare something unfair, and then mobilize the heavy hand of government in order to exercise your personal will, masqueraded as "the public interest" or "the national interest." What do you have to say to those concerned citizens?

Leader of Egalitaria
Next question.

[reporters can't believe it; look around at each other in surprise]

Reporter
There have been discussions, few and far between, about the possible morality of capitalism -- i.e., of letting people plan for and save up for personal projects, or for a comfortable future. It is realized that in order to accomplish this, there would necessarily be an inequality of apples, because some people would have bigger projects than others, or would be expecting more future costs than others. Would you please speak to that issue?

Leader of Egalitaria
Next question.

[long silence; this time the reporters don't even look around at each other, but rather look down with a combination of disbelief and disgust]

Reporter
Would you be willing to allow people the freedom to alter their behavior and their associations so as to maximize apples for themselves and their families, without being held back by the uncertainty that you might come by one day and declare that they haven't paid their fair share -- effectively destroying their worked-hard-for dreams and aspirations?

Leader of Egalitaria
No. Next question.

[reporters get up and walk out]

Leader of Egalitaria
But where are you all going? We haven't dealt with the current famine yet. Don't you all want to hear about my high-minded solution to the current social problems of inequality?

[reporters don't turn around, but keep walking out]

Leader of Egalitaria [early; next day; from bed]
Servants! Where are you?

[no one comes; no one is even around to hear]

Leader of Egalitaria [looking around the palace now]
Maids! Where are you?

[no one answers; no one is even around to hear]

Leader of Egalitaria
What the hell is going on here? ...

Ed




Post 4

Thursday, July 25 - 6:46pmSanction this postReply
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The leader of Egalitaria, nervous and dumbfounded, went to the Decision Room. The Decision Room is where you rule Egalitaria from and in the center of the room is the Table of Expediency -- set up like a chess-board. The senators were sitting around the board, but they left the leader's chair open. The leader could see that they were ruling over Egalitaria without him and he thought he might have been ousted.

Leader of Egalitaria
Have I been ousted?

Senators
No, your chair is still here, but you may notice that the top of the back-rest was cut off, and now it stands no higher than our chairs.

Leader of Egalitaria
What does that mean?

Senators
You've been semi-impeached, though you still hold the highest political position in the land.

Leader of Egalitaria
Do you mean like when a Chairman of the Board is also a main shareholder in the company but the other board members -- when added together -- hold more total shares than him (e.g., say 51% of all shares), effectively able to trump his role as some kind of a tyrannical, unilateral decision maker?

Senators
Yes, that's exactly what we mean.

Leader of Egalitaria [examining the pieces of the chess board]
One of the pieces is missing, the one called "blatant rights violation." Where is it? We need that piece in order to rule over Egalitaria ...

Senators
That piece has been taken off of the Table of Expediency. We made an executive decision about that. It was taken off of the table.

Leader of Egalitaria
But how do you expect to have a social system without blatant rights violations?

Senators
We will inform you as we go. We have been working all night on fundamentally transforming our own political process. Let's examine policy case #1:

Jeb the fisherman, the only citizen of Egalitaria that goes into the water. Jeb has an idea for a project where he will farm the algae from the sea in order to make a compound that can be used to coat pages of textbooks, making them more smooth and much more durable. He wants to be able to accumulate enough apples to hire Dookie, who is willing to work for 2 apples an hour ...

Leader of Egalitaria
Wait a minute? I have several questions. First of all, what about us? What about our projects? Our projects supersede the personal, productive projects of private citizens. Our projects come first because they are so much more important than any ...

Senators
We have all agreed that it is "unfair" for any group or for any individual to have projects, no matter how grand and magnificent, which supersede the projects of others -- thereby allowing that group or individual to effectively shut down the creative productivity of others. When your project is deemed more important than that of others, it effectively demands that they work not for their own projects and their own future, but for the projects that were deemed important by the group or individual. An individual's time and energy is important, and it is not fair that individual has to spend it on someone else's project or goal.

Leader of Egalitaria
Do you mean that people are now free to engage in any kind of productive project that they feel like, without interference from us?

Senators
Yes. There is a flat user fee for services we provide the citizens but, after that, with regard to building up your personal hopes and dreams -- citizens are on their own power, and on their own unobstructed will, to do as they please by rearranging the material of the earth in order to build up wealth and prosperity for themselves, their families, friends, or even strangers (as they see fit).

Leader of Egalitaria
Well, what about this business of citizens working together, like Dookie and Jeb? Certainly we should not allow them to freely associate like that, effectively forming some kind of a corporation of like-minded productivity. We should be picking winners and losers. People should have to come to us for approval, before they should be allowed to consensually work together with each other for their own shared goals and creative endeavors. There should be central planning and control of economic activity.

Senators
No, for two reasons. After the drought, we will not accept anything that is guaranteed to take down future economic output -- and central planning and control is guaranteed to take down future economic output. All of our lives are at stake when you do that. The very survival of Egalitaria is at stake when you do that. It simply does not -- nor could it ever -- bring the greatest benefit to the greatest number of citizens. Also, as we discovered after looking at the issue, it's just wrong to force others to work for us -- or for what we want, or for what we need, or for what we "feel" is most needed by "the country."

Leader of Egalitaria
But this is no fun anymore. Before, I could control things. I was the big kahoonah. I was the MFIC. I could have as many apples as I wanted. I could throw apple parties and waste apples and nothing and no one could come in here and stop me.

Senators
Well, that's all changed now.

Leader of Egalitaria
Fine, then I quit!

Senators
Good riddance!

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The End




Post 5

Friday, July 26 - 8:11pmSanction this postReply
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Afterword: The senators of Egalitaria reassured the public that they would not be forced to expend both the time and the energy of their individual lives in service to the potentially-irrational hopes and dreams of strangers in general (or leaders, specifically). It was written into the constitution of Egalitaria.



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