Saturday, December 4, 2010

No One Objected

And no one objected.

The motion sailed through the committee meeting with not a word of discussion or debate.

Couldn't they see what they were doing? Didn't they understand what would happen if the idea that seemed so innocuous, so benign, were ever to see the light of day. It would change fucking everything.

And yet no one objected. The idiots had no idea of what they'd just approved. Their manner belying their thoughts: What's the big deal anyway? Who's it gonna hurt?

Well I'll tell you who it's gonna hurt; it's gonna hurt everyone.

Sure, it'll start out as optional, just a checkbox on a form. Check it. Don't check it. No one cares which way you go.

But slowly things will change. A casual remark, "Oh, Mr. Smith, I noticed that you didn't check the box. Did you mean not to?" or "Say, did you want me to check this for you?"

People will accept the proposal simply to avoid the questions, the embarrassment, the delays in processing.

Sure, why not? Please go ahead and sign me up.

Before you know it, the question will infiltrate conversations. At home around the dinner table. Standing at the water cooler. Sitting in the coffee shop.

Hey, did you sign up for it yet? Why not? What are you waiting for it?

And no one will object, at least not out loud.

They may hem and haw. They may offer excuses. Everything inside them may be screaming, "Don't check the frigin' box!"

But no one will object.

And so it will go. One by one, like lambs to the slaughter, like lemmings to sea.

Movements will form. Not radical movements, at least not to start. Nope, just lighthearted neighborhood movements involving families and children encouraging friends to accept the option.

Slowly the movements will take on lives of their own, becoming stronger, bolder, more pervasive. Rallies will be held. Experts will testify. Leaders will emerge.

Those who opt out will become targets of persuasion, of propaganda, of pests and pushers. They'll become pariah.

Friends will report friends, simply to be accepted by the mainstream. Thirty pieces of silver will seem a king's ransom by comparison to the price of their betrayal.

Betrayal will cease to be recognized as such; it will be justified by self-preservation, or perhaps more accurately, preservation of property, of employment, of lifestyle.

And no one will object. Not a one.

Most will betray passively, they won't report or turn in, they'll simply fail to object.

They may feel a sense of disappointment in themselves and those around them, but it will be short-lived, overtaken quickly by the relief of being on the inside or at least not being on the outside, not targeted.

As the momentum builds, long after the option has ceased to be optional, laws will be passed; the non-checkers, the opt-outers will become criminals.

The movements will cheer and celebrate their accomplishments. They'll slap one another on the back and congratulate themselves. After all, they made the right choices. They abandoned naive idealism for responsible practicality.

It's easy to believe in the potential for change, in creating a better world, in honoring the rights of all people no matter what they believe, when you're young and naive. But eventually you have to grow up, to be realistic, to make the "hard" choices.

And no one will object.

Not a one.



  1. Faith, hadn't thought of that, though I could see it from what little I know of Atlas Shrugged.

    I've read The Fountain Head a few times, but never Atlas Shrugged. But yeah, I can see it.


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