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A Parable

October 18, 2009

seesaw

When I was a kid I used to play at a park near my home. One of my favorite things was the seesaw. The kid I saw most often at the park also loved the seesaw. Since it can’t be used by only one person, we often looked for one another and joined forces on the thing.

However, this kid never seemed to fully understand that it was  team effort. Every time we got the seesaw going, the first time he rode all the way to the top he would shout out to his mom: “Look, I did it! All by myself!”

He never seemed to understand that he could only ride to the top because I was on the other side of the damn thing.

It’s no surprise that this kid grew up to be a libertarian. Today I see him on Facebook, and he rants about the ideal of individualism free from government interference: “I got to where I am today without the government’s help, and I won’t need it’s help tomorrow. When the government gives handouts, it makes infants of us all.”

He has no idea that since his parents were poor, he would never have had an education without the one provided by the state, that he didn’t build the roads he takes to work everyday, that he would have a life expectancy of 40 years without public health regulations, that he would be dead in his already dangerous job without OSHA guidelines, and that he could afford to buy his house only because of the indirect effects on lending practices caused by actions of the Federal Reserve.

No, he doesn’t realize these things, and thus his mantra: “Look, I did it! All by myself!”

The state on the other end of the seesaw is as invisible as I was.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 18, 2009 10:01 am

    Then the state oughta do what I did as a kid when I got to the bottom of the see-saw – jump off real quickly and send the other kid crashing to the ground. If they’re lucky, they’ll just be walk away angry. If not, they’ll be nursing a broken coccyx.

  2. October 19, 2009 7:06 am

    Ingratitude is endemic.

  3. October 21, 2009 3:13 pm

    lol @ ibs.

    I’m amazed at the blinders on (some) libertarians. Also, it seems so sad, imagining life as a solitary effort.

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