Societies have a great many laws. Thousands of them. Too many probably for anyone to know let alone obey. Among them are laws that don’t appear on any books. As it were, they’ve been written on the human heart. And there’s not a day in our lives these three don’t somehow apply:
* the law of contradictions
* the law of the survival of the fittest
* the law of unintended consequences
The law of contradictions says two antithetical propositions cannot both be true. Seems to make sense. Until recently. Some of us are still trying to understand how the Tea Partiers — now in control of John Boehner’s House — insist government is bad at the very same time they insist on their government entitlements. I’ve tried to locate the protester last summer who screamed: “Don’t let the government touch my Medicare!” No luck, as she is probably busy tapping into it as we write.
Further defying the law of contradictions, the Tea Partiers go on to explain: They are not opposed to government benefits per se, only to “unearned” benefits. Upon closer examination, this ends up meaning any benefits extended to African-Americans, Latinos, immigrants, and the very young. Driving home their point, one recent state poll of Tea Partiers found that 83% opposed any Social Security cuts while 78% rejected any changes in Medicare.
How to reconcile such contradictions…?
Perhaps with that second unwritten law: The law of the survival of the fittest. Loosely translated into this year’s political campaign: I’ve got mine because I earned it; if you don’t, that’s your problem, not the government’s. For instance, if the upcoming Super Bowl were to be played by this law rather than the rules of the NFL, well it would roll out without either 10-yard-markers or referees on the field. You know, the biggest, baddest, boldest warriors win.
All of which brings us to that third law, the one about unintended consequences. Picture for a moment a Super Bow and a society without any governing rules and regulations. The biggest, baddest ,boldest win! Now go ahead and study that picture. Where do you see yourself? You and I and all the rest of the 99%.
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