Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A brief parable

As you’ve been window-shopping at the marketplace of ideas, you’ve also been listening to the organ grinders that you have passed by. Occasionally -- perhaps even at random -- you have been handing quarters out to the monkeys, all of whom have tried to bite you. It's annoying, but the monkeys are cute at first glance.

Suddenly, you stop at one organ-grinder because you thought you heard him say "to every tribe" and thought he had shibbolethed. But when you bend down to give his monkey a quarter, the monkey bites you.

You go home, but begin to feel very ill. You dial 911. You are diagnosed with Ebola. You almost die. You infect your family. It becomes an epidemic, and then a pandemic.

Oh, the OUTRAGE! To show how mad you are, after you’re discharged from the ER you walk up to the organ grinder and tell him, "Signore, your monkey bit me even though I know you’re a Christian."

To which the organ-grinder replies, "Looky here, Gringo! He's a monkey; you think I baptized him or something? And you are somehow appalled that an organ-grinder is using a monkey? We’re all organ-grinders. We’re all using monkeys. To get mad at me and boycott me when you’ve boycotted none of the rest for using monkeys is, in fact, arbitrary.”

Too which you reply, “No, it’s not arbitrary. All the other monkeys may bite, but your monkey has Ebola. It's contagious. It ought to be quarantined! And you ought to be run out of town!”


  1. What is your basis for saying that only the Christian's monkey has ebola?

  2. By Gumm!

    The nifty thing about a parable is that you can make up a parable to prove anything you want to since a parable is fictitious, so it only says as much as you want it to say.

    That’s what the Turkoman did. I don’t say this as a criticism. But you know the fix is in from the get-go.

    My point, in rewriting his parable, is that not all monkeys are equal. And not all monkey-grinders are equal.

    It’s possible to say that some sins are more socially destructive than others. It’s possible to say that some monkey-grinders (=Christian monkey-grinders) should be held to a higher standard than others (=non-Christian monkey-grinders). It is possible to say that timing makes a difference at a time when the liberal establishment is doing it’s best to mainstream sodomy and imprison its opponents.

    In saying this I’m not taking a position on the End of the Spear, but simply introducing morally relevant distinctions which should figure in our moral valuation.