Friday, March 8, 2013

the real social contract

A desert tribe finds an oasis. One tribesman says, "we need to manage the water supply properly," takes out a gun, and proceeds to confiscate it, promising that he'll distribute it wisely. He puts a fence around it and puts a tap on it. There's now a single point of access, which he controls. The water is distributed.*

A dissenter takes his share, but says "I object."

"You contradict yourself!," cries the bossman. "You complain, and yet you take the water."

The dissenter replies, "I did not agree to the original theft. It was you who created this choice between submission and death."

*unevenly, of course, but that's a secondary issue here

It's true that the above example of dissent is that in a pretty mild form and that there are other, better options, like open rebellion or finding another way to get water. But as long as I'm wearing factory-made clothing, I'm taking the water and in many cases, I'd be stupid not to. And it would be irresponsible not to speak against the original theft in the meantime.

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