Sunday, November 21, 2010

An Analogy

Let's say you have a race out in the ocean where the first swimmer to get to the shore gets a new car.

There are a few amateurs and a guy named Peter who has been training for the race for months. Peter is a real go-getter who is really determined and goes after things that he wants. The amateurs, fearing that Peter will have the upper-hand, lobby the race organizers to have Peter penalized. So the race organizers organize a meeting and agree that if they let Peter race unpenalized, they will just be 'giving' the car to him. So they decide that they are going to attach some additional weights to his legs to make the race "fair."

A gun fires into the air and the race begins. The swimmers start splashing and kicking, chugging towards the shore. Peter starts lagging behind the other swimmers due to his exhaustion from the extra weight burden that was placed on him. George, one of the event organizers, fearing Peter will drown decides to give this guy a break. He speeds a powerboat out to remove one of the weights, but leave the other one on so that Peter doesn't have some 'unfair advantage.' The race continues. So at this point do we expect Peter to suddenly run across the water and beat everybody to the finish line because one of the weights was removed? No, of course not. And let's not forget that he still has a weight attached to him.

But the amateurs, looking back because they heard the speedboat racing to Peter, start complaining about Peter being given a break. "Now they are just giving him the car," complains one of the amateurs, "it is so unfair!" But the race continues and Peter starts cutting down the distance between himself and the other racers; His hard preparation is paying off, but he is still quite tired from the extra burden that had been placed on him earlier in the race. He swims past Paul, who is a couch potato and didn't think it was worth any additional effort to prepare for the race.

So Nancy and Barrack, two of the other event organizers, start debating if they should put the other weight back on. Barrack convinces everyone that Peter should have a rope attached in order to tow Paul behind him to make things "more fair" for Paul. "We need to spread the ability around," he says.

Welcome to America.

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