Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Free Thinking? Get Stinking.

Here’s the rule:

The Boy Scouts of America asks in any activity involving squirt guns that bodies not be used as targets, whether real or drawn.

Simple, right?

Maybe it’s to avoid litigation. Maybe it’s to avoid bullying, harassment, or hazing. But it’s a simple rule most can agree on – because so few activities in Scouting revolve around squirt guns.

I think it goes back to the old saw: A joke is only funny if everybody’s laughing.

Here’s the situation:

Pose that question online in a Scouting-oriented Facebook forum, and guess what happens: The forum quickly devolves into a Libertarian- and gun-rights advocacy thread in which the original purpose of the thread is totally forgotten by those bent on showing they don’t obey any rules and “teach their children to be free thinkers” and those who battle the free-thinking Libertarian and forget that the original post was about squirt guns and Boy Scouts.

I posted once in the thread and pretty much walked away from it.

But I do have a question for my Libertarian-leaning friends: Why is free-thinking better than rule-obeying?

Here’s an example of a free thinker. Please watch the entire video before you continue reading.

I’m glad he’s a free thinker. It’s his job to be a free thinker. All that free thinking is getting him from point A to point B in an expeditious manner. He does so safely, without putting others in danger.

But here’s why his free thinking works: Everybody else around him obeys the rules.

Rule No. 1: If an emergency vehicle appears with its lights and sirens blazing, do your best to get out of its way in as safe a manner as possible. This video is filled with such examples.

Rule No. 2: If you have the right of way at an intersection but an emergency vehicle appears with its lights and sirens blazing, you cede the right of way to that emergency vehicle. Again, the video is filled with such examples.

Rule No. 3: If you’re surprised by an emergency vehicle with its lights and sirens blazing and can’t get out of the way safely, pull over or stay put. The driver of said vehicle will find a quick way around you. Again, the video is filled with such examples.

The only reason this free thinker succeeds at his task is because everyone else in the situation is obeying the rules.

If everyone were a free thinker like this guy, the roads would be chaotic. No one would cede the right of way because with free thinkers, everyone has their siren and lights blazing. Everyone is seeking a route from point A to point B and wants to be as expeditious as possible. But with everyone doing that, does everyone get through without mishap? A few might. But you’d see a lot more fender-benders, a lot more close calls, and a lot more frayed nerves.

Free thinking is great. We all should give it a try. But we should also consider: Obeying the rules is an aid to free thinkers.

This won’t appeal to the hard-core Libertarians, of course. Because they love the rule-obeyers – they let them, the free thinkers, the John Gault/Ayn Rand free thinkers, get through and arrive at the finish line first, to take the largest piece of pie. That’s okay by me. Maybe the rest of us are obeying the rules to help make the pie higher.

And that’s why I gave up on the thread. You can’t reason with these people – because they’re not reasonable.

There is only one response, of course. And they won’t listen to it either:

Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and abuse you.

And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.

Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.

And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

There’s some tough rules to obey there, from a radical free thinker.

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