What Really Counts

Bob was talking with a group of businessmen in his hill-country home, speaking about individual rights. His special guest, (though why he was, he couldn’t guess) a liberal senator from Nevada, suddenly yelped, “Bah! Individual rights are out of date! I’m sick of hearing about them!. The group is what really counts in this modern world!”

Whereupon Bob quickly stepped across the space dividing them, grabbed the senator by the shoulders, spun him around and pulled out his wallet from his back pocket. “Hey!” cried the senator, “What are you doing?! Give that back!”

Bob calmly took out all the greenbacks, stuffed them into his pocket and handed back the wallet. “Hey!” yelped the senator, “you can’t do that! Give me back my money!”

Bob replied, “Your money, senator? You have a right to it? Just a minute ago you said individual rights are out of date. This group of five here will back me up. You’re just an individual and you don’t count.”

“This is an outrage!” shouted the senator. “I’m calling the police!”

Bob said, “I have disconected the house phone and taken your cell phone out of your overcoat pocket. Your car now has four flat tires, we are in the country far from the nearest residence, and there is a blizzard beginning as I speak. Perhaps, however, you can persuade one of these fine gentlemen to lend you his cell phone.”

One of the men spoke up, “I think I speak for all of us when I say that the only way you can persuade us to lend you a cell phone is to convince us of the moral rightness of individual rights. Begin when you will.”

The senator yelled, “You’re all crazy! This is a loony bin! I’m getting out of here!” Therewith he ran out into the fresh-flying snow, jumped in his car, slammed the door, started the engine, and sped off on four flat tires at fifteen miles an hour—until he met the first of several big, sloping hills. At five miles an hour he reached the crest. The storm was in full fury—a blinding blizzard. As he picked up speed going down he remembered that there was a sharp turn, but he couldn’t see it, and he and his car slithered off into a deep rocky canyon. But, of course, this whole last paragraph doesn’t count.

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