An Allegory of the Freedom Train

The following is an extended metaphor, hence why it’s an allegory. If you haven’t yet read, “The Parable of the Mugger’s Sandwich,” then please do so before reading this fictional story.

 

 

A long time ago, there was a megalopolis whose downtown brimmed in a thousand points of light. This sprawling cityscape soon became the technological and social center of a quickly growing empire. Despite the glorious marvels found only in the downtown area, there were other boroughs of the city where its inhabitants were barely living at all. Their ramshackle tenements felt as if they were about to buckle at the seams at any given moment. An air of desperation was all too common amongst the people here, and anything that offered itself as a reliable means of escape was considered to be very valuable indeed. To paraphrase a David Bowie song, the fleas were the size of rats stacked upon rats the size of cats.

It wasn’t just the fact that dilapidated shelters were the norm here; it was also the fact that no one lived here in what they would have considered to be their own homes. For instance, it was rather typical for meddling neighbors to demand the intervention of a constable for every minor inconvenience you could imagine, and many times, for even no problem at all. A culture of tattle-telling was emulated right here in the tenements, because it made many of the people here feel as if they weren’t that different from their wealthier counterparts who lived downtown. Unsurprisingly, this engendered an opposing counter-culture of those who simply wanted to live in peace with their neighbors without the meddling interference of the constables on nearly daily basis.

These brave and unrelenting souls approached their troublesome neighbors in several different ways over the many years. They argued, bargained, and sometimes even made compromises in order to find a resolution that would please both parties. Alas, every heroic effort resulted in stupendous failure, and many of those who had initially resisted their troublesome neighbors eventually became just like them. Dissension and bickering soon followed, and the effort to live in any form of tranquility in the city with one’s neighbors virtually collapsed.

Yet, there was a remnant who understood that the desire to interfere with one’s neighbors ran quite deeply, and ultimately they realized that there was no way to strike a deal with them, or compromise in any way, since such efforts had been repeatedly tried, and had always failed. This remnant eventually proposed an original, if radical, solution to this age-old problem – leaving the city behind forever. Much dissension within the ranks followed, although eventually, such bickering ceased once the eldest of the remnant pointed out that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Soon, preparations were underway for the great escape from the city.

The first major consideration was the mode of transportation. Much debate ensued, but it was eventually agreed upon that a train was the best option. It was cheaper than flying an airplane, yet it was quicker to build than a long caravan of automobiles. A train had just enough room to fit them all, albeit quite tightly packed together (or so said its designers). Most importantly, the construction of the train and its rails would be decried by city officials and potentially halted, so time would be of the essence if this ambitious effort were to be pulled off successfully.

As predicted, once construction was underway, the metropolitan authorities condemned the project, propagandizing that it would rip the social fabric of the city apart by suggesting it was possible to leave the city en masse. Some of these authorities even went so far as to try and sabotage the building of the rail line by pretending to join the project, fabricating phony complaints from non-existent neighbors, and then using these complaints to tattle-tale on some of the train’s builders. Although these poor souls were ripped away from constructing the train by the constables, most of the workers never found themselves in such trouble, and after some hesitation, everyone else went back to work more diligently than ever before.

Finally, the train and its rail were completed. Seeing no reason to delay its departure, and also seeing how impotent the city’s officials were at stopping its construction, these people set a date that, in later years, became known as Independence Day. On that day, there were celebrations, whooping, and speechifying. After the train was stuffed to the hilt with passengers, it began to pull out of the city. There were numerous swarms of people running after the train as it slowly began to gain speed, trying to catch onto the outside of the train before they worked their way inside. Some people who failed to catch the train, or otherwise stay on it, fell off on the outskirts of the city while also suffering injuries ranging from light bruising to broken collarbones.

After that hardest push to get the train moving, those who sought freedom from the city and its arbitrary constraints had set off on what they thought of as their great adventure. What they soon discovered was that there were various railway stations along the way whose memorial plaques told them that these stations had been built by those who had come before. A few passengers got off at this first stop, and they chose a leader who had proven himself capable of fending off hostile savages; his son would eventually take his place, as would his eldest son, for several generations. The supermajority of the train’s passengers, however, did not prefer this particular scheme, so they stayed on the train to see what the next stop had in store for them.

What the passengers began debating with each other over was which train stop was the “best” one to get off at. Passionate speeches were made about how this stop, or that stop, was the one that offered the most capable social arrangement for making sure neighbors don’t interfere with each other. The train would stop at a couple of stations, and a few people at each one would disembark, but the vast majority of the passengers stayed on the train, just to see if they could bear witness to an even better outcome. Before too long, one passenger reminded the entirety of the whole train that, in accordance with their own stated principles, they should stop at each station and passively allow whomever wanted to depart to do so, simply because the decision about whether to not to get off at a particular stop was primarily a deeply personal one. Once the commotion over this new proposal had settled down, most passengers nodded in agreement, even though some of them felt this idea left a bad taste in their mouths, for they had wanted a “solution” that would be applied equally to everyone.

So, on it went, with some passengers stepping off the train at the next stop, but most choosing to stay on it and see how far they could go. One rather vocal minority of the train even went so far as to argue that they will only get off the train once they have reached the end of the line. The majority scoffed at this, claiming that there is nothing beyond the end of the rail, and that everyone must get off only when the train stops at a station, since by now all of them had discovered that the rail line that they had constructed had now blended in with an older rail, which had been built by the same folks who had built this series of train stations.

Towards the end of the line, there was last one stop at a rail station where the remaining bulk of the passengers disembarked. Throngs of bodies dotted the train platform, and that same minority who had wanted to go the end of the line grinned in anticipation of what they considered to be their just reward. Right before the last of the willing passengers had stepped off the train, some of those who had assumed the guise of leadership convinced the rest of the passengers on the platform that it was wrong for even that tiny minority to see the end of the line, much less leave the train for it. By inciting the crowd, these self-appointed representatives stepped in front of the stopped train, drew their guns, and opened fire. They killed every last one of the remaining passengers.

Much time passed, and those who got off at this last train stop had originally built a relatively small fishing village, which then expanded into a small town, then a larger town, eventually a medium sized city, and finally into a megalopolis, which bore an uncanny resemblance to the one their ancestors had originally fled. Unfortunately, these new city officials had learned from the previous great escape, and had forbidden the building of any trains or rail lines that would take people away from the city. Inevitably, there grew a disgruntled minority who wanted to leave this city, but alas, they found themselves trapped, perhaps forever, unless they found another way. Maybe those electrical inventions by that Serbian immigrant could become useful to them.

But for the foreseeable future, they all continued to live miserably ever after.

The Parable of the Mugger’s Sandwich

The following is a fictional story, hence why it’s a parable.

 

 

One evening, a long time ago, Joe Citizen was freely travelling the roads on his way home from work. Suddenly, a dark figure emerged from the alley. Joe was startled, and before he could do anything else, the stranger asked him for the time. Naively, Joe glanced at his watch, but before he could reply, a revolver was pressed against his temple. After taking all the money Joe had on him, the mugger quickly fled.

Shaking from the anxiety he felt at just being robbed, Joe didn’t know what to do. The money that was stolen from him was worth half a week’s paycheck, so Joe soon became concerned about how he was going to pay his bills. Knowing little else about what to do, Joe proceeded to continue on home.

Meanwhile, the mugger arrived at his lair and showed off the loot to his fellow thieves. Upon seeing how much was stolen, they advised the mugger that he should temper the shock of the robbery itself by buying Joe something that showed that he wasn’t really that much of a bad guy. Seeing this as a way to possibly escape the natural justice of the surrounding community, the mugger went to a delicatessen and bought a sandwich.

Only a little later, Joe was surprised again by the mugger’s reappearance. This time, Joe flinched, but his curiosity was peaked by the fact that the mugger extended his hand, revealing a sandwich. Perplexed more than anything, Joe asked the mugger why he wanted to gift him a sandwich, especially in light of their previous encounter. Discovering that the sandwich was bought with the proceeds from the mugging (for despite his thievery, the mugger was no liar), Joe became indignant at the mugger’s audacity by knocking the sandwich out his hand and into the street.

By now, a crowd had begun to form around the two men, intrigued by the nature of their situation. Once they had learned the facts of the case (for neither of them were liars), they then deliberated amongst themselves until they had appointed John Q. Public to speak on their behalf. John subsequently announced that the mugger was not guilty of any crime because he had returned with an offer of a sandwich, which Joe had refused, despite the fact that the mugger still kept the majority of Joe’s stolen money; in fact, it was Joe who was in the wrong, because, as John explained, Joe should have been grateful that the mugger had offered a sandwich in the first place; therefore, by refusing to accept the sandwich, Joe had forfeited the rest of his own stolen money.

Bewildered by this public opinion, Joe was at a total lost as to what he could do. As everyone began dispersing, not only did John look down upon Joe, but the mugger also sneered at him, as well. Joe gradually discovered over the following days and months that the entire town had ostracized him because of the stink he had raised about his own mugging.

Some years went by, and Joe’s daughter was travelling the same route back home from work when the mugger’s son similarly robbed her at gunpoint, as well. The entire situation played out nearly identically as it had originally transpired between Joe and the mugger before, although this time it ended a bit harsher for Joe’s daughter, because she was scolded by the very same John Q. Public for wasting the sandwich. As John explained, that sandwich could have been used to feed the town’s sick children; she too, like her father before her, was soon ostracized by the townsfolk for causing a similar ruckus.

Decades later, one of Joe’s descendents chose a very different response than her ancestors before her had done. Instead of simply handing over her money, she shot her mugger at point blank range. John Q. Public proclaimed that henceforth, anyone who shot a mugger in self-defense will be burned alive at the stake, because by now, as a social custom, all muggers had offered their victims a wonderful selection of sandwiches to choose from. Despite her heartfelt protests, she was seized and bound by the same men who prowled the streets late at night. Although a few people were inspired by her execution to go punish these muggers themselves, the majority of the town decried such activities, claiming them to be lawless and criminal.

Centuries went by, and the same scenario replayed itself many times. Although the names and incidental details changed, the formula remained exactly the same, as were the public opinions announced by John Q. Public’s heirs. Never again would the town’s muggers ever be prosecuted or otherwise held to account for their crimes against the townsfolk, for as long they as they kept to the traditional precedent of offering sandwiches to their victims, then the interests of justice were satisfied, as far as the conscience of the community was concerned.

And everyone lived miserably ever after.

Quote of the Week – Convenient Boogeymen

 

“By setting up fictitious monsters and pretending their influence is everywhere and in all things, the paranoid person creates an environment where he or she always has something to fight against. By making the interpretation of the threat completely subjective, he or she can make an enemy of anyone, or anything, for any reason, at any time. Since the problem does not actually exist, the problem can never be solved. If one can monetize the fear they create, it can bring in an endless stream of not only entertainment and social excitement, but revenue as well…[a]s recently as any given Sunday morning at any church, to any ancient historical record of deity worship, one might directly profit from these superstitions, or simply benefit from the communities that build around them…[w]hether the doctrine at issue is Christianity, Judaism, Islam, feminism, communism, statism, or any other hysterical superstition, there are certain constants. Holy men preaching to flocks of sheep about deities and devils, causing all manner of mayhem in the society, while blaming the impurity of their followers for the troubles the holy men caused.”

– Christopher Cantwell

Convenient Boogeymen

Residence “Legally” Defined

The following definitions for “residence” are taken from Ballantine’s Law Dictionary (3rd edition), Bouvier’s Law Dictionary (6th edition), Black’s Law Dictionary (2nd edition), and Webster’s Dictionary (1828):

 

 

(Ballantine’s)

A term of dual meaning, sometimes meaning a temporary, permanent, or transient character of abode; at other times meaning one’s fixed abode or domicil [25 AM J2d Dom § 4]. Sometimes a mere physical presence in a place; at other times an abiding in a place with intent to make it one’s home [Manufacturers’ Mut. Ins. Co. v. Friedman, 213 Ark 9, 209 SW2d 102, 1 ALR2d 557; People ex rel. Heydenreich v. Lyons, 374 111557, 30 NE 2d 46, 132 ALR 511; Dixie Fire Ins. Co. v. McAdams (Tex Civ App) 235 SW2d 207, 41 ALR2d 714]. Sometimes a temporary, at other times an actual or permanent, abiding place [2 AM J2d Adopt § 52]. A word having a variety of meanings dependent upon the context in which it is employed as well as the subject matter involved [Hughes v. Illinois Public Aid Co. 2 Ill 2d 374, 118 NE2d 14, 43 ALR2d 1421], sometimes meaning domicil, at other times not [State v. Garford Trucking, 4 NJ 346, 72 A2d 851, 16 ALR2d 1407]. A dwelling house.

Under the provision of the Uniform Negotiable Instruments Act for sending notice of dishonor of a bill or note to the residence of an indorser, the term “residence” is not used in a strict sense as necessarily implying a permanent, exclusive, or actual abode in the place, but it may be satisfied by a temporary, partial, or even constructive residence [11 AM J2d B&N § 856].

As to requisite residence for purposes of old age assistance [Anno: 43 ALR2d 1427. As to relationship between “residence” and “domicil” under venue statutes, see Anno:12 ALR2d 757].

See domicil; inhabitancy; legal residence; one residence; one residence only.

 

 

(Bouvier’s)

  1. The place of one’s domicil. There is a difference between a man’s residence and his domicil. He may have his domicil in Philadelphia, and still he may have a residence in New York; for although a man can have but one domicil, he may have several residences. A residence is generally transient in its nature, it becomes a domicil when it is taken up animo manendi [Roberts; Ecc. R. 75].
  2. Residence is prima facie evidence of national character, but this may at all times be explained. When it is for a special purpose and transient in its nature, it does not destroy the national character.
  3. In some cases the law requires that the residence of an officer shall be in the district in which he is required to exercise his functions. Fixing his residence elsewhere without an intention of returning, would violate such law [Vide the cases cited under the article Domicil; Place of residence].

 

 

(Black’s)

Living or dwelling in a certain place permanently or for a considerable length of time. The place where a man makes his home, or where he dwells permanently or for an extended period of time.

  • The difference between a residence and a domicile may not be capable of easy definition; but every one can see at least this distinction: A person domiciled in one state may, for temporary reasons, such as health, reside for one or more years in some other place deemed more favorable. He does not, by so doing, forfeit his domicile in the first state, or, in any proper sense, become a non-resident of it, unless some intention, manifested by some act, of abandoning his residence in the first state is shown [Walker’s Estate v. Walker, 1 Mo. App. 404].
  • “Residence” means a fixed and permanent abode or dwelling-place for the time being, as contradistinguished from a mere temporary locality of existence. So does “inhabitancy;” and the two are distinguishable in this respect from “domicile.” [In re Wrigley, 8 Wend. (N.Y.) 134].
  • As they are used in the New York Code of Procedure, the terms “residence” and “resident” mean legal residence; and legal residence is the place of a man’s fixed habitation, where his political rights are to be exercised, and where he is liable to taxation [Houghton v. Ault, 16 How. Prac. (N.Y.) 77].
  • A distinction is recognized between legal and actual residence. A person may be a legal resident of one place and an actual resident of another. He may abide in one state or country without surrendering his legal residence in another, if he so intends. His legal residence may be merely ideal, but his actual residence must be substantial. He may not actually abide at his legal residence at all, but his actual residence must be his abiding place [Tipton v. Tipton, 87 Ky. 243, 8 S.W. 440; Hinds v. Hinds, 1 Iowa, 36; Fitzgerald v. Arel, 63 Iowa, 104, 18 N.W. 713, 50 Am. Rep. 733; Ludlow v. Szold, 90 Iowa, 175, 57 N.W. 676].

 

 

(Webster’s)

RES’IDENCE, n.

  1. The act of abiding or dwelling in a place for some continuance of time; as the residence of an American in France or Italy for a year.
    1. The confessor had often made considerable residences in Normandy.
  2. The place of abode; a dwelling; a habitation.
    1. Caprea had been – the residence of Tiberius several years.
  3. That which falls to the bottom of liquors.
  4. In the canon and common law, the abode of a person or incumbent on his benefice; opposed to non-residence.

Quote of the Week – Preparing to Die

“We need to understand the force of darkness among us, and that force of darkness is the very government we have elected and empowered to impose the darkness upon us. The better we understand it, the more we understand it, the sooner we can be free from its shackles.

“I expect, that when I die, I will do so peacefully in my bed, surrounded by people that love me, and faithful to first principles. That will not happen to everybody in this room. Some of you, particularly the young people, must be prepared to die in a government prison. And some of you, particularly the young people, must be prepared to die in a government town square, to the sound of government trumpets blaring. When the time comes, you will know what to do, because freedom lies in everyone’s heart, but it must do more than just lie there.”

Judge Andrew Napolitano

The Natural Law as a Restraint Against Tyranny