A Message from the Patriarchy: The Enemy Drinks Blood

Some weeks ago, I drove with my daughter to make a college visit. Early on the trip, she asked a question that led to the following discussion. Forgove some fictive license.

“What is the source of rights?”

“What do you think?”

“From the Constitution.”

“So, did we not have rights before the Constiution?”

“Well, yes, we did have rights.”

“So, from where do we get rights? God?”

“You don’t believe there’s a god.”

“No, I don’t. So, you know that’s not where I think we get rights.”

“Alright, what do you think?”

“Well, how are your rights protected?”

“What to you mean?”

“If you have a right to property, and somebody steals from you, what do you do?”

“Call the police?”

“What will they do?”

“Stop the thief.”

“How?”

“They’ll arrest him.”

“How?”

“With handcuffs.”

“what if the theif doesn’t want to be arrested?”

“They make him.”

“How?”

“They’ll grab him and hold him down.”

“Using what?”

“They’re bodies?”

“They use force.”

“…”

“The police must use force to make others do something, or the threat of force, which is conditional force.”

“…”

“Look, how do we decide things in this country.”

“We vote.”

“Is that moral?”

“Yes. Everybody get’s an equal say.”

“Alright. What do you want for dinner tonight?”

“Huh?”

“What do you want for dinner tonight?”

“I don’t know.”

“Pick something.”

“Pizza.”

“Now, let’s say we go home tonight, and your mom and I decide we want spaghetti. If we’re voting, our votes outnumber yours, and we eat spaghetti.”

“Well, that wouldn’t be the first time…”

Snigger. “Let’s say, everywhere you went, you were always among others who all insisted upon an equal say: a vote. And let’s say that’s how things worked at every meal, every restaurant. Everybody sits down at the restaurant, and everybody orders, and the order with the most votes wins.”

“…oh.”

“And no mater what gets the vote, you’re still obligated to pay the bill, even if you don’t eat.”

“I think I get it.”

“And that’s how we run our country.”

“But what if I don’t want to pay?”

“Well, let’s take the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, for instance, but it could be any other tax, for that matter. Let’s say you don’t want to pay the tax. Then what?”

“The IRS will take your money.”

“From where?”

“From the bank.”

“What if I don’t keep my money in a bank?”

“What do you mean, ‘I don’t keep my money in a bank.’ “

“I mean, what if it’s gold in my house, or some other commodity, or land. Then what?”

“They’ll come take that.”

“How.”

“Oh.”

“Yep: the IRS will send some group of people, probably with guns, to take it from me.”

 

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