How Left and Right Were Separated: A Political Parable


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A long time ago…

…there was a community of hunter-gatherer families that lived on the plains of Africa. They would hunt as a group and eat as a group. They were becoming efficient hunters, so everyone was amply fed. There was one problem, the Giant Fossa, a big prehistoric feline, would sneak into the camp in the middle of the night and eat a member of the community.

The Patriarch of one of the families, who had recently lost one of his sons to a pack of Giant Fossa, vowed to solve this problem. He attempted to pile rocks around his family’s camp to ward them off. Yet another child was eaten. He piled the rocks higher. Another perished. He noticed that the higher he piled the rocks, the harder it was for the Giant Fossa to get into the camp.

Fueled by desperation…

…he piled the rocks higher. That night, when the Giant Fossa tried to get into the camp, the rocks toppled over and as the rubble hit ground, bright sparks ignited as the rocks clanked together. Frightened by the bright spark, the Giant Fossa did not come back all night. The Patriarch immediately began trying to replicate the spark that saved his family that night.

Soon, he had a nightly fire that warmed his family and warded off the Giant Fossa.

Awed by this magnificent discovery, his fellow Patriarchs tried to get a fire of their own, so their families may also be warmed and protected. The Firestarter offered his technology to his fellow Patriarchs for a small token: an extra flank for his family, or a small service. After all, with inherent value of the fire and the diversity of it’s applications, surly a small token of gratitude to creator of this new survival method did not seem unreasonable. He had paid his own toll in blood and he would have to spend the time away from protecting his own family in order teach his fellow Patriarchs how best light fires.

He offered a safety net to keep infirmed children warm at night at his camp, but he expected his fellow Patriarchs to chip in.

They had all chipped in while hunting, why would this be different? Many were unsatisfied with his terms. The community was divided. The Right half Patriarchs were happy to give a little extra for the immense value that the fire brought to the community. The Left half declared that The Firestarter was an uncompassionate racist (though they were all of the same race) and that he didn’t deserve to have fire nor the right to remuneration.

Since The Left side of community had more members, they felt they had the right to dictate the terms of the agreement.

The Left stole the fire from The Firestater and punished everyone on the Right side of the community by shaming them as Racists who supported the uncompassionate Firestarter. When The Firestarter refused to falsely and publicly admit that he was treated fairly by the community, they burned him at the stake on which he taught them to light.

And this, ladies and gents, began the miracle of fire as well as the bitter feud between The Left and The Right. Another note: after the first Giant Fossa was startled by the spark in the night, felines were forever dubbed, Scaredy Cats.

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