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Friday, August 5, 2011

The Gift Of Corn: A Libertarian Parable

I work in a small office with maybe 14 other people. I am the only person in my office who does what I do so I pretty much enjoy a quiet workday separated from the daily water-cooler goings on. Yesterday, a co-worker brought in ears of corn from her farm as gifts for all of us. Well, not all of us because I was left out of the corn philantrophy. As the story goes, one person helped himself to copious amounts of corn which meant that by the time the corn giver got around to remembering I worked there, there was no corn left. Most people took only what they could eat for themselves or their families and some others took more than their fair share, whatever that is. Some people felt bad for me, but not bad enough to give up any of their corn. While it's never a nice feeling to be the guy that gets left out of anything, I had great fun at the expense of the corn giver and the lucky corn receivers.

This left me to thinking about politics.

This is how a Liberal would handle the situation:
The liberal would chastise the corn giver for their inherent unfairness and compell everyone else to donate corn to feed me. An altruistic liberal, of which there may not be any anymore, would gladly take from their own corn holdings first. If a regular person had more than their fair share of corn that person would be chastised, but if that person was high on the corporate food chain they would only be remarked about behind his back but never confronted directly about his corn greed.
This is how a Conservative would handle the situation:
The conservative would understand the inherent unfairness of the situation but in order to be liked by everyone he would gently chide those with corn to be charitable and give some of their corn to me. He would secretly fault the person who took more than his fair share, but if that person was high up the corporate food chain the conservative would understand that that person deserved more corn because of the employment opportunities he provided to both the corn enabled and the corn deprived.
What would a Libertarian do?

Stop at a farm market on the way home from work and pick up a couple of ears of corn to feed his family. He would also remember that true Libertarianism has a long way to go because of the behavior of Liberals and Conservatives.

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