Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mark the Philosopher

My father-in-law recently had to renew his tabs at the Secretary of State. However, due to the heavy snow that morning, he was afraid to drive in his little Ford Ranger. He called to ask if I'd take him because I have a 4WD SUV.

Mark and I were out running errands when the call came in, so I said that we would by over within 30 minutes.

On the ride over to my father-in-law's house, Mark asked why we needed to pick up Opa, so I decided to teach an impromptu civics lesson.

I told Mark that the government was forcing Opa to give them money, otherwise--if he tried to drive his car--they would arrest him and hurt him by either taking more money or throwing him in jail. (Please note that this is pretty much exactly what goes on every time you renew your tabs).

Mark said that if the government ever does that to him, then he will call the police on the government.

When I told him that his plan was flawed because the police actually work for the government, he became exasperated.

"You mean the police are evil?" he asked.

"No," I said, "what I mean is that the police work for the government."

"Yeah, but if the government steals from people, then it is evil; and if the police work for the government then they have an evil boss, so the police are evil too." He fired back.

I was impressed by his ability to reason via hypothetical syllogisms. However, I explained that most policemen are good people whose job it is to help people in trouble.

"And kill bad guys," he added.

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