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May 10, 2002

Aspiring Plato shares his philosophy

John Lovejoy

Viewpoints Staff

It's high time I confessed my lifelong ambition to be the Plato or possibly Hobbes of my day. You see, I want to be known by one name and have cheap busts of my head grace library shelves in prep schools throughout the land. To this end I have written the following comprehensive work of political science and philosophy, Lovejoy's Big Book Treatise Manifesto. Hopefully it will frustrate Chicago undergraduates two thousand years after I'm gone.

The State of Nature can be described as Maryland, where men are free to drink beer and eat crab cakes while watching televised baseball. Man leaves this state of nature when he gets up to use the bathroom, or leaves to purchase more beer or crab cakes. The toll to leave the State of Nature depends on the number of axles on man;s car, and said man must declare all fruits and vegetables he is carrying in said car when he leaves the State of Nature. Upon departing the State of Nature, man will see a sign, "Visit State of Nature again, Governor Horace T. Weevis."

Having established this as the essential nature of man, I will outline the seven forms, or modes, of government: hereditary democracy, junta, PTA, thugocracy, rule by council of elders, rule of three, Magic 8 Ball, and Voltron.

Of these, PTA is the best, for only in a PTA can one eat lemon squares, drink orange soda, and discuss the new gym uniform design without resorting to bloodshed.

Rule by council of elders is the worst, for the elders will take frequent breaks, both to use the bathroom and to watch televised mystery shows. Also, the elders will complain about the temperature and humidity of their meeting place.

Magic 8 Ball is moderately good since decisions are rendered by an impartial body. However, when the Magic 8 Ball is overthrown, i.e. dropped, it breaks and the toxic liquid within seeps out. This returns people to the State of Nature unless a second 8 ball is found.

Hereditary democracy is when people elect leaders from a pool of men whose fathers were also leaders. This ensures that wisdom and leadership abilities are preserved through the ages by way of inbreeding.

A junta is suited for countries whose primary export is citrus fruit. The ruler is the Grand Colonel, who is head of the Congress of Colonels. Whichever colonel has the most medals and most elaborate uniform becomes the Grand Colonel.

Thugocracy is suited for countries in which respect for the law has deteriorated, and so laws are enforced with ball-peen hammers.

Under the rule of three, the first ruler is funny, the second slightly less so, and the third the funniest in an ironic twist sort of way. Any more rulers and they become tiresome and cease being funny anymore.

Voltron is the giant robot government created when all the other forms morph and join together.

We can conceive man as being in a locker room. Most men, the non-philosophic men, are showering, chatting, and popping each other with towels. The philosophic man is trapped in a locker. He knows the truth and must enlighten the other men; however, only when the janitor lets him out can he go on to do this. And he will return for his high-school reunion with a Porsche.

The philosophic man brings about law. To keep hooligans from stealing or keying his Porsche he will enter into a contractual relationship with a security guard. The security guard will wear a blue shirt and an authentic-looking badge, and drive about the philosophic man's neighborhood in a conspicuous-looking sedan and will deprive minority youths of their habeas corpus rights.

There are two types of justice, poetic justice and Texas justice. Poetic justice is when the man who talks nonstop during the movie chokes on his own popcorn. Texas justice is when one man gets sent to the electric chair for selling a vial of crack and another gets a five-month suspended sentence for having 15 pounds of cocaine in an onyx cookie jar next to his bed.

Religion in the State of Nature:

As Adam came about naked, man's nature is to be naked until such time as he gains clothes. Such clothes therefore, make him a man. Bad clothes make him bad, just as finery makes him a fine man,.

God gave man ten toes to correspond to the five precepts of man:

1) Man must eat, and drink, also emit waste.

2) Man can only run for so long before he gets tired.

3) Man will like Woman, unless he likes Man, or both, or Ewe.

4) Said Ewe-Loving man will contract the disease.

5) Man with the disease will feel bad, unless he likes the disease.

There are also seven ethical predilections of man: sleepy, hungry, frisky, dyspeptic, post-coital, mean and perplexed. If the last of these is your way after reading this tract, you are obviously what Socrates referred to as a "mouth-breathing nitwit."