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The following is an example of an extreme allegorical situation. In that it is an extreme, it serves only as an example scenario to examine a moral premise under more contrasting circumstances.

Imagine you are taken captive by a group of thugs. You are with someone you truly care about deeply and someone who is just a good friend. One of the more sadistic of the thugs tells his comrades to hold you at gun point and to shoot any of you if you ‘try anything funny’.
He somehow managed to figure out that you were closer to one of the people you were with than you were to the other, so he grabs the person you care deeply about and holds his gun to their head. He then reaches down to his belt with his other hand and pulls his knife out of it’s sheath and throws it to your feet. Then he commands you to slit your good friend’s throat or he is going to shoot the person you care deeply about in the head.

What made me bring this up was a combination of a number of people around me arguing in favor of pragmatic decisions combined with a quote I had on my facebook some time back:

“I have learned that I have it in me to be a prick to people who earn that treatment and deserve it, but I do not have it in me to do the ‘wrong’ thing regardless of what someone else does.”

I left the above scenario intentionally unqualified for the most part, but assuming you are well overpowered and doing anything other than what you are told is going to end up in at least the person you care about being shot in the head, and resisting or trying to fight back may well result in all of you ending up dead.

Do you pick up the knife and cut the throat of your friend?  What about if it was someone you didn’t even know well? Would that (or should it even?) make a difference in your decision?

Sometimes using an ‘extreme’ scenario puts things in better focus by drawing the contrasts more vividly between moral rights, moral wrongs, causes and effects. Let’s examine some of the things that are either specified, apparent or implied by this scenario.

  1. Regardless what you do or don’t do, you are being commanded to take a given course of action by someone who is a sadistic thug
  2. This thug wants you to kill someone, something you (should) know is morally wrong
  3. The thug is counting on you to follow his orders because he is holding something you care about ‘more’ hostage to get you to do harm to something you care less about, presumably for his own amusement.

The other thing that made me think of posting this scenario was a quote someone posted today from John Galt’s radio broadcast from the Ayn Rand book, Atlas Shrugged:

“Now that you know the truth about your world, stop supporting your own destroyers. The evil of the world is made possible by nothing but the sanction you give it. Withdraw your sanction. Withdraw your support. Do not try to live on your enemies’ terms or to win at a game where they’re setting the rules. Do not seek the favor of those who enslaved you…theirs is a system of white blackmail devised to bleed you not by means of your sins but by means of your love for existence.” – John Galt [from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged]

The point of this analogy is to point out a very extreme case of pragmatism. The reality of the situation is that when you deal in evil or attempt to deal with the irrational, you have no reasonable expectation of a result. If you cut the throat of your friend, not only have you committed a moral wrong, but you only have a passing assurance that no further harm will come to you or the person you care about. All you have done is ‘buy a little time’ while demonstrating that under extreme enough of circumstances, you will do what you are asked to do so long as the stakes are high enough for you to not be willing to accept a potential alternative.

I’m sure most of you can guess as to the other reason I am posting this example. Some of you may think this example is too extreme to be relevant. I admit it is extreme, but only for the sake of pointing out the factors involved in more vivid detail. If a thug holds those you care about at the point of a gun, it is the thug that will bring them to harm one way or another, whether you willingly go along with their insane demands or not.

It is the thug that takes away your choice in such a situation. It is the thug that puts you at risk. It is the thug that poses the threat to the life of the one you love. It always was and it always will be — until you pick up the knife! The question is whether you become evil along with them for the sake of expedience. The question is whether you end up with blood on your hands.

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In the aftermath of the Catholic-condom scandal, I think I’ve come upon a clue as to how things work in America. So I have an idea. If you can put sufficient pressure on the government simply because you belong to a religion (in spite of the 1st amendment establishment clause) then perhaps instead of fighting religions we should follow the “if you can’t beat them, join them!” creedo.

It’s about time those of us that seek to understand reality by way of rational and objective observation of fact, find a way to get equal protection under the laws that seem to be becoming more and more inclined to pander to religious pressure.

Since religions always seem to have pretentious, hoity-toity names, thus I bring you….

Independent ManThe Manifest Cognizance of the Evident Percipience

As members of the MCEP, we believe that it is essential to our spiritual wholeness that each man or woman should be held accountable for meeting his or her own responsibilities. Each one of us accumulates a sum of these invisible, non-corporeal things known as ‘concepts’. And among these includes a special sub-sect known as OESWs. (objective evidence of self-worthiness)

These OESWs are essential to the mental condition of humans as spiritual beings. They improve one’s mood and increase motivation, help overcome depression and inspire achievement. A low quantity of OESWs tends to leave individuals susceptible to hoaxes, lies, misrepresentations, frauds and can lead to dependency, drug use, suicide, alcoholism, violent behavior and many other social maladies.

The view of the MCEP is that there is no greater moral sin than to willfully act in a manner or to participate in any action that will lead to a decrease of OESWs in themselves or in other human beings.  Therefore, it is strongly against our conceptual belief system to support, participate or otherwise contribute to any government programs (such as welfare, medicare, medicaid, social security, unemployment programs, foreign aid, minority endowments, social redistribution, public housing, public education, etc.) that will only serve to decrease the quantity of these OESWs in other human beings and therefore do them harm!

(feel free to suggest your own tenets of MCEP in comments)

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(re-written based on a joke once told by Ronald Reagan*)

Once in early America an average man worked hard and earned some money, and he saved the money until he had a modest amount.  He heard word that they were opening up some frontier land so he quit his job, sold many of his possessions and purchased passage on a wagon train headed for the new land grab.

But he found upon arriving that a lot of the good land was already gobbled up by the new settlers and what little land was left was far less tillable, overgrown and at higher prices due to the steadily increasing demand.  So he looked over the varous plots and found most to be too hilly or too rocky or too wet and they were all much smaller than he’d hoped for.  But he wasn’t about to be let down on his dream so he found a reasonably flat piece of land that was considerably overgrown and rocky but that he thought he could turn around with dedication and hard work.

Due to all the new settlers moving about a town quickly sprung up in the county seat and soon along came a church.  Since the man came with basically what he could carry on his back and what money he had, he was often in need of supplies as he labored to turn his small stretch of land into a viable farm.  So once a week he would make the 4 mile trip to town to get  more supplies.

Every time he went into town, the new preacher would see him and recognizing that his was a face that he had not seen in church at Sunday mass, the preacher would always walk with him and try to talk him into coming to church.  The preacher would tell the man of all the blessings that a faithful man could expect and all the bounty that God could bring.  But the man would politely decline the invitation and suggest that he had far too much work to do on his land to make it a worthy and productive farm.

Thus was the case every week.  The man would go for supplies, the preacher would spot him and go into his pitch.  The man would politely decline.  But work hard he did, he moved the rocks a wheel barrel at a time to the edges of the property to build a small rock border around the entire plot.  He cut down and pulled up the weeds until this hands were raw.  He tilled at the soil finding more and more rocks and used the smaller ones to grade a cart path up the middle.  He cut some trees and built a small, modest house and eventually a barn.  And before too long, after pulling thousands of weeds and moving more thousands of rocks he began to lay down seed.

As the crops began to grow he had less of a need to go to town for supplies and his trips became less and less frequent and eventually, as his crops began to bear fruit he found that he barely needed to go at all.  But still, on what trips he made, the preacher always made a point corner the man and to tell him all about the wonderful blessings he could expect as a follower of God.

After a month had passed and the preacher did not see the man in town he began to wonder.  For all his attempts he hadn’t convinced the man to come to a single service.  Then one month became two months and two turned into three.  Winter was coming and the preacher decided he should make a trip before the weather gets cold to see what became of the man.  So the preacher ventured the 4 miles to where the man’s claim was said to be registered.

As the preacher rounded the corner of the country road he was overcome!  Despite the nearly unturned land on the neighboring plots where the other land grabbers had all but given up, here stood 8′ tall rows of corn, rows of tomatoes shining bright red in the sun.  Squash the size of a wash basin and melons as big as a small sow.  The preacher was amazed at the contrast between the bountiful farm and the surrounding land. His crops even rivaled the ones he’d seen on the more prime tracks of land owned by the members of  his parish.  At last the preacher spied the man hauling a basket overflowing with strawberries the size of one’s fist.

“Hallelujah!” exclaimed the preacher upon seeing the man.  “Hallelujah and praise the Lord!  Your land and your farm are like a miracle.  Your corn is taller than the eaves of your house!  And the ears appear as long as my forearm.  Your squash would fit but 2 to a cartload and the melons probably only one.  The tomatoes are so ripe and red… and those strawberries – oh those strawberries are downright divine!  It is absolutely amazing what the power of God and the work of man can do to create such a bountiful blessing!”

The man set this basket down and looked across his land remembering all the bleeding fingers, sore muscles, trip after trip with rocks and bundles of weeds and supplies from town and the hours tilling the soil, planting the seeds, pulling more weeds and tending to his crops.  But not wanting to be too unpleasant to the preacher he simply tipped his hat and said….

Preacher, you should have seen it when God was working it all by himself.


(*I’m not sure where Ronald Reagan got the joke, but I reworded the context considerably)

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The problem with demanding regulation on the cheap

(originally posted to facebook on Saturday, June 26, 2010 at 3:38pm)

The following was a comment made on a thread where people were demanding regulation of the meat industry. One of the comments suggested I should eat some ‘unregulated meat’ and get sick.

Me: Well, seeing as how I procure my own food as often as possible, good luck on that one! Besides, if you pay attention to who you buy from and how they do business (this sticky little thing I’ve mentioned before called ‘taking responsibility’) you don’t need regulations. He who sells me food that makes me sick, never sells me food again.

Imagine if you will three scenarios (we live in a mixture of 1 and 2 now)

Scenario 1: Customer goes to store, plops down money for meat. Customer buys whatever meat is most affordable. Lacking significant regulation, the producer sees a demand for low priced meat. Producer churns out as much high demand, low priced meat as possible to make the biggest profit. Customer ultimately gets lower quality meats. Customer eventually gets sick from low quality meat. Customer got what they paid for!

Scenario 2: Customer cries to government to regulate their meat. Government slaps tons of regulations on producers. Customers still just slap down money for meat feeling assured that the government is ‘protecting’ the quality of said meat. Customer still tries to buy the cheapest meat they can find. Producer sees high demand for low price meat. Producer monitors production not for quality but for minimum adherence to the plethora of regulations. Customer gets minimum legal quality meat. Customer eventually gets sick from low quality meat. Customer gets what they cried for.

Scenario 3: Informed consumer seeks to buy a specific quality of meat. Said customer stays on top of information about the producers their seller is buying from. Customer demands only top quality meat and is willing to pay a little more to get it. Producer sees demand for ‘quality’ meat. Producer monitors meat production to meet the demand for quality. Customer gets tasty num nums! Customer is happy, producer is happy, seller is happy – government can go fuck off!

Which would you rather live in?

———-

As an added note on this one – I’ve spoken to other people on the nature of ‘free markets’ including a recent discussion on such regulation in the auto industry and goods at Walmart.

There are a couple of common responses that I hear to arguments like this. In that discussion, one of the responses was in regards to an example raised regarding the requirement placed on automakers to include safety restraints in cars. The question was, ‘what if my friend buys a car with no seatbelts and I need to ride in his car? Are you saying I need to choose better friends???

My short answer to him was “YES!!!! THAT’S THE POINT!” In other words, it should not be society’s or government’s responsibility to make choices for you or to protect you from the consequences of YOUR OWN choices. That includes getting into a car that has no seatbelts!!!

The longer answer included pointing out that “choosing better friends” is not the only option. You could offer to drive. You could choose not to get in. And, if you aren’t a puss, you would tell your friend ‘why’ you choose not to get in or why you are going to drive with your car (because it ‘has’ seatbelts) and hit him up for a share of the gas money. If it is really that important to you, and your friend remains belligerent as to your safety or puts up a fuss as to your choice not to ride in his vehicle and to require him to ‘pay’ to ride in yours, are you really going to want such a person as a friend?

The other argument is in regards to ‘who has the time?‘ As in, who has the time to track all the companies you buy from? The reality is, we don’t.  For most things, the necessity of watching every company behind every purchase we make is way too daunting.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t exercise responsibility as often as you possibly can for your more important or more regular buying choices.

My response to this was coupled with a response to another question poised earlier in the discussion asking how a free market addresses ‘new’ needs or desires. The actual question is ‘where do these [new companies] come from? Out of the ‘ether’?’

At this point, I commented “As I stated earlier, the market abhors a vacuum. If there is a need for a product or service, people interested in profit will try to fill those needs.  People interested in ‘profit’ will fill any and all needs they are able to fill as often as possible. Not out of the ether, but because not all people are stupid! And people who wish to succeed in a free market need to be smart.”

Angie's List

AngiesList.com

I then scribbled down the url to http://www.angieslist.com and handed it to him. “Here you go,” I said. To which he asked ‘what is this?’ I responded, “It’s one of those companies that magically appeared out of the ‘ether‘ to fulfill a new market need for people like you who say they don’t have the time to keep track of businesses they solicit for goods and services.”

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How to take over the world:

  1. think up an ideal* that is ultimately unprovable, inconceivable, inexplicable, irreproachable and non-corporeal in nature (e.g. a “God”, the ‘common good’, the ‘State’, the ‘environment’, animal “rights”, EDIT: fighting a disease)
    * this goal should also ultimately be essentially unachievable in reality.
  2. convince people that adhering to the [pursuit of the] ideal is more important than their own rational self-interest
  3. demonize anyone or anything that questions or tries to controvert the existence of the ideal in #1 or the [pursuit of the] realization of #2
  4. convince your following that the ‘demons’ created in #3 are a threat to #1 and must either convert or be destroyed

(originally posted to my facebook)

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Zurich – The presence of a handful of US EPA officials in Geneva last week didn’t seem to garner many headlines, but leaks today following a clandestine meeting between them and two World Health Organization chairpersons may soon attract global attention as leaks suggest the two organizations may be planning an aggressive campaign against everyday electronic conveniences not just in the US, but the world over.

Taking their inspiration from the ‘lead based paint’ hysteria, rumors from the meetings suggest that there may soon be an outright attack by as many as 14 different health and environmental organizations from around the globe on any devices containing lead based solder and solder connections.

“We’ve suddenly seen a couple of academic studies showing up at rather prestigious progressive institutions in both the US and Europe suggesting health risks with lead based solder and solder alloys.  This seems questionable as there was no prior indication of there ever having been an issue involving the wide scale use of these materials,” says Rockshard University professor Wes Burns.  “It just strikes me as second-hand smoke and global warming all over again.”

And it would appear his suspicions may not be entirely unfounded.  Emails have already surfaced detailing possible programming ‘irregularities’ in one of the computer models used by an eastern research center involved in the studies and at least one of the EPA officials present in Zurich was formerly associated with the IARC report on second-hand smoke.

“If they are doing what we think they are doing, it’s yet another assault on industrialized society and technology,” says Burns.  “If they can stir up similar hype and hysteria, the facts won’t matter and we could see ‘sin taxes’ or outright bans on everything from your iPod to your toaster and hair dryer – virtually any electronic device.”

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TSA's new Enhanced Pat-Down

TSA's new Enhanced Pat-Down

New York – Experts warned in recent weeks that terrorists were in the process of utilizing women’s breast implants as a means of delivering explosives and explosive devices onto commercial air flights.  This led to the TSA implementing what many have dubbed ‘invasive’ new enhanced pat down measures, especially on women – leading to a great deal of controversy.

Experts are now warning that these measures have inspired Al Qaeada and other terrorist groups to seize hold of these new procedures with a new terror evoking response; utilizing none other than sexually transmitted diseases!

A recent report out of Yemen suggests that terror groups are actively recruiting people known to have sexually transmittable diseases such as gonorrhea, genital warts, hepatitis and even crabs.  The hope is that when combined with the new, ‘full contact’ examination methods, the contagions will be spread with the full help and cooperation of the TSA’s new enhanced body-frisk methodologies.

As many pundits and critics of the new TSA techniques have suggested, these methods involve all-but fondling of the breasts and groin areas of anyone that opts out of the previously controversial ‘full body scanners’ utilizing Advanced Imaging Technologies.  Intelligence experts now say that these bodily contacts are ‘providing great opportunity for terrorists to exploit these new measures for the spread of such contagions‘.

Terrorist seek to spread VD via air security pat downs

Terrorist seek to spread VD via air security pat downs

One of the fears is additional exploitation of women in those countries.  “Even if a woman obtains a venereal disease from an infeliditous husband, the husband would generally accuse the wife of the infidelity,” says middle eastern cultural sociologist Dr. Faruq Shadid.  “Normally, any woman accused of infidelity in a country under strict sharia law would likely face execution.  Committing an act of terror as a means of redemption is practically a given.”

The TSA has yet to issue a statement on the subject but they are rumored to be in the process of enacting stricter requirements on the disposal of inspector’s gloves and other sterile safe measures. Although some rumors suggest that STD testing as a possible passenger requirement prior to boarding an international flight is not out of the question.

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Section 1. Congress shall enact no law entailing the distribution of any person’s wealth or property against that person’s will to benefit another, except as settlement for a crime against the other whereof the first party shall have been duly convicted.

Section 2. Congress shall enact no law entailing the distribution of any legally levied Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises or other government revenues to benefit another except as Compensation for Goods or Services provided for the authorized operation of the United States Government, as to be ascertained by Law.

Section 3. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

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The ObjectOpus

Be sure to check out this and my other works of fiction on the new multi-contributor objectivist fiction showcase:
The ObjectOpus


Three men found themselves stranded on a desert island.  One man was a doer – a man of action.  One man was a dullard – a dimwit and a brute.  The last man was a delegator – a man who’s special skill was telling other men what to do.

Faced with their plight, each man set about taking in their situation.  The delegater began to cry, “What do we do?  What do we do?” while the dullard sat down and played in the sand of the beach.  The doer just stood in place and slowly surveyed his surroundings.

“What do we do?” kept on the delegater until finally the doer spoke up.

“We’ll need shelter, food, water and a wood for a fire,” he said.

The delegater perked up.  “Yes, good idea.  We should get shelter, food, water and wood.  But from where?”

The doer pointed up a hill that rose into the jungle.  “I see a small stream breaking the line of those trees.  That should be a source of fresh water.”  He then pointed down the beach.  “I see some coconut trees down the beach there which we can use as food.  And the forests should be full of sufficient materials to build a shelter and to serve as fuel for a fire.”

“Yes, of course!”  said the delegater who gestured to the dullard to get up, and they started toward the hill with the stream.

The doer just shook his head, knowing they had nothing to carry the water and headed in the direction of the coconuts.  He gathered enough for all of them and headed back to their spot on the beach, found a small round stick and some dry wood and proceeded to drill a hole in one coconut.

By the time the other two returned, he had drilled three holes in three coconuts and each drank the milk and then he showed them how to use a stick to dig out the white meat inside like a scraper.  “This way we can use them to carry the water,” he told them.  But they were already tired from their hike to the spring so when they finished he went with three empty shells to get more water for later and pointed to them where they could gather some wood he had seen for a shelter and a fire.

Upon arriving back to the beach with the water, he noticed the dullard hauling all the wood while the delegater gave him directions.  He shrugged it off for at least there was a considerable pile.  On his way back he had collected some grass stems and began to weaving a small piece of twine.  The delegater glanced at  his work every so often but mostly occupied himself with leading the brute about.

After they collected enough wood, the dullard and the delegater stood by the doer as if to say ‘now what?’  He strung his piece of twine on a small, flexible stick as a bow and showed them how to use it on another stick to start a fire.  He then explained to them how they could construct shelters for each of them to sleep in.  When he was satisfied they understood, he told them he was going to build a trap to catch some fish so they wouldn’t have to eat just coconuts.

The brute sat down at once with the bow and began to pull and the doer stayed long enough to help them get the fire started and to be sure the delegater understood how to build the three shelters before he went off to build his traps.  By the time he returned, sure enough there was a healthy fire and three shelters.  The delegater had ‘assigned’ himself the largest of the three and the dullard the smallest, but his was more than suitable so they all slept for the night.

Early the next morning, the doer again set off for the coconut trees making sure the other two knew where to find more wood for the fire and that they should get more water.  On his way he wound himself another longer piece of twine which he used to help him climb the trees as most of the nuts on the ground were already picked up.  As he was finishing up, the delegater came along and was admiring his rope.

“That’s a mighty handy tool!  Let me have it and I’ll get the dullard to carry the coconuts for you!”

It seemed a reasonable exchange to him, and he didn’t like dealing with the dullard.  The delegater seemed to have a knack for it so he agreed.  He set to weaving another rope for tomorrow while checking his fish traps.  That evening they ate both coconuts and fish over a fire.  The doer did notice the delegater giving the dullard an extra coconut but didn’t fret, for he had helped carry them home.

Before returning to the coconuts the next morning, the doer looked around for a sturdy stick.  He had already pulled any loose coconuts free so he would now need something to pry the others loose.  Finding a stick  he found it worked quite nicely to the task and after he had knocked a sufficient number down, he noticed the delegater again coming up after having gathered (or getting the dullard to gather) the day’s firewood and water.

“Mighty nice pry stick you have there.  Let me have it and I’ll get the dullard to carry the coconuts again!”

He was exhausted from climbing the tree and prying at the coconuts, so he welcomed the thought.  The doer instead set about finding another stick for tomorrow and checking his traps for fish.  He had also caught a huge coconut crab climbing one of the trees and it gave him an idea.  He searched the beach near his traps and found a nice tapered rock to help him pull the green husks off of the coconuts, as they had enough drilled for water containers now.

As the doer hammered open his coconuts, the others quickly saw the expedience of this and they set about finding rocks of their own.  It made for much quicker work and the meat of the nut was much easier to get at so they too found rocks to use for the purpose.

On the following morning the doer got yet another idea and before setting out to gather more coconuts, he used some of his twine to tie the rock to his stick to make a crude tomahawk hammer.  Seeing this, the delegater was intrigued and asked how it was done, so he showed him.

Before too long, he too had a cruder version of the same tool as per the instructions of the doer and quickly found many of his daily tasks would be made easier.

Again the doer went about getting the coconuts but when he completed the task, he quickly noticed no one had come to help him carry them back to camp.  And upon arriving in camp, he learned they had only gathered a small amount of wood, the fire was almost out, and there were just two shells of water.

The doer asked why no one came to help carry the coconuts and why there was barely enough water and wood, to which the delegater replied “we were busy exploring the beach and I was explaining to the dullard the finer points of leadership.”

The doer was struck with a thought.  “Fine, but we all have tasks for which we are responsible if we are to survive.  If I am going to be gathering all the food then I expect there to be firewood and water when I get back.  If you desire coconuts and fish tomorrow, it is your business to make sure there are at least 3 shells of water and half a cord of wood at my shelter.”  Both men seemed to understand.

Yet upon returning the following day he only found two shells of water and a quarter cord of wood, so the doer gave the others an according share of the coconuts and fish.

The following day, he found no water and wood left for him so he didn’t say a word.  He instead headed to the spring himself to get some water and gathered some dry wood on his way back.

He returned to find the dullard and the delegater stealing his fish and coconuts.  “What is the meaning of this?” he shrieked.

“We must eat, we need food!” said the delegater.

“Me hungry,” said the dullard dropping his coconuts.

The doer shooed them both away explaining that if they did their share of the work, they would be welcome to a share of his.  Otherwise begone.  As he turned to reorganize the scattered stack of coconuts and fish, he felt a sharp blow to his head and blacked out.

As he came too, he saw the dullard lugging away the last of coconuts and fish and the delegater supervising.

“Did you make him hit me with the hammer?” said the doer now aware his life was waining.

“But of course,” said the delegater, “we needed food to survive and you weren’t letting us have any of yours.”

“You fool,” said the doer fading in and out of consciousness.  “The dullard is not smart enough to survive and you barely lift a finger to work.  Neither of you know how to rig my traps and you can’t survive on just coconuts.  When I die, you two will shortly follow and it will be ALL YOUR FAULT!!!

The delegater looked at the doer with an indignant stare.

“My fault?  It was YOU who kept me alive long enough to help ME build the hammer!”


A scorpion was wandering along the bank of the river, wondering how to get to the other side. Suddenly he saw a fox. He asked the fox to take him on his back across the river.
The fox said, “No. If I do that, you’ll sting me and I’ll drown.”
The scorpion assured him, “If I did that, we’d both drown.”
So the fox thought about it and finally agreed. So the scorpion climbed up on his back and the fox began to swim. But halfway across the river, the scorpion stung him.
As the poison filled his veins, the fox turned to the scorpion and said, “Why did you do that? Now you’ll drown too.”
“I couldn’t help it,” said the scorpion. “It’s my nature.”


Al Wilson’s “The Snake” on YouTube

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The ObjectOpus

Be sure to check out this and my other works of fiction on the new multi-contributor objectivist fiction showcase:
The ObjectOpus


Washington, D.C.

A spokesperson for the United States Department of Education announced new standards today for what they are calling an ‘equalization of educational opportunities initiative’ that will place new standards and practices on operations throughout the classroom.  Not much unlike previous directives forbidding the use of ‘red markers’ when grading papers, some of the practices include restrictions on the colors used in classroom decorations and even strong recommendations on the choices of toys.

“We have introduced the ’round-bag-round-hole’ toy as a prime example,” said the spokesperson.  “The idea is to not place such rigid restrictions on childhood development and the expression of youthful desires.  When a child is faced with such finite possibilities such as with similar previous toys that used hard wooden pegs, this placed considerable limits on the imagination of the child.  Furthermore, attempting to insert a peg that would not ‘fit’ in a given hole created a feeling of failure.  The softer bean-bags are much easier to pass through unhindered giving the child an immediate sense of achievement.”

The new version of this popular childhood toy includes three round holes instead of the typical mixed variety and instead of an inflexible ‘peg’, it uses a pliable bean bag in it’s place.  “We also did not want to enforce arbitrary mixed color selections that may have been offensive to some students,” added the representative of the UDoE, pointing out that the color schemes chosen for this version include neutral gray tones.  “This leaves the child’s imagination free to assume any color they desire.  We predict this will leave their minds much more open to other, less static conceptualizations in the future making educating them much less difficult for teachers.”

Previous efforts from the new progressive education secretary such as ‘lineless’ coloring books and requirements to replace all dolls with gender-neutral androgynous counterparts to the traditional male and female predecessors were initially met with protests.

“As we run into parents who actually graduated under this progressive education scheme, we find they are much less willing–and perhaps even capable–to make a sound argument no less feel inclined to do so,” said state psychology and sociology Czar, Biff Miller.  “This frees up our educators to enact further progressive initiatives with much less interference.  We find this very encouraging!”

Environmental groups expressed concern when their demands on the USDoE failed again to solicit an acknowledgment of their desires for ‘greener’ toys but find this a positive step in the right direction since the practice discontinues the use of the prior ‘wooden peg’ versions which a WWF spokesperson cited, “Costs us at least 130,000 beautiful old-growth pine trees every year.”  However, some international human rights concerns are requesting additional information on the toys to assure they were not built by child sweatshops in third world countries.

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