Reader Zippy Provides This Wonderful Slice of Douglas Adams

Reader Zippy Provides This Wonderful Slice of Douglas Adams July 16, 2012

from _So Long and Thanks For All the Fish_

“It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see…”
“You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?”
“No,” said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, “nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.”

“Odd,” said Arthur, “I thought you said it was a democracy.”
“I did,” said Ford. “It is.”
“So,” said Arthur, hoping he wasn’t sounding ridiculously obtuse, “why don’t people get rid of the lizards?”
“It honestly doesn’t occur to them,” said Ford. “They’ve all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they’ve voted in more or less approximates to the government they want.”
“You mean they actually vote for the lizards?”
“Oh yes,” said Ford with a shrug, “of course.”
“But,” said Arthur, going for the big one again, “why?”
“Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,” said Ford, “the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?”
“I said,” said Ford, with an increasing air of urgency creeping into his voice, “have you got any gin?”
“I’ll look. Tell me about the lizards.”
Ford shrugged again.
“Some people say that the lizards are the best thing that ever happenned to them,” he said. “They’re completely wrong of course, completely and utterly wrong, but someone’s got to say it.”
“But that’s terrible,” said Arthur.
“Listen, bud,” said Ford, “if I had one Altairian dollar for every time I heard one bit of the Universe look at another bit of the Universe and say ‘That’s terrible’ I wouldn’t be sitting here like a lemon looking for a gin.”

Or, we could, try thinking different.

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  • SecretAgentMan

    That’s all well and good, Mark. But if you really understood Catholic teaching you’d know that supporting one candidate is a sin, and not supporting the other candidate is a sin. To avoid sin, one must support one candidate and not the other. It’s really that simple.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      Your statement only makes sense if someone holds a gun to your head and tells you you must vote for either of two candidates.

      And…I was going to go on, but then I realized that I think you’re being facetious. Teh Interwebs make it so hard to tell.

      • ivan_the_mad

        “Teh Interwebs make it so hard to tell.” That’s because, as Obama recently pointed out, “Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet”, not so that you could easily tell if someone is joking or not 😉

      • Jmac

        It’s true. Between the Application and Internet layers, all packets have their sarcasm identifiers removed and are clumsily compressed. Quantization and compression result in errors which always force the reader into a knee-jerk rage reaction.

        And I had no idea either. I was going to leave that one alone until someone else touched it. I have really bad luck distinguishing reality from satire on this site sometimes. I spent a couple months thinking Ben the Athiest was a cleverly written parody of the stereotypical internet atheist.

    • Ted Seeber

      But supporting either candidate, in this case, is a sin.

  • Dave G.

    We could consider thinking differently, that’s true. We would have to make sure everyone thinking differently was thinking differently the same, otherwise it would be of nothing other than personal value. And that’s fine too. But some folks still think it best to get in and change things from within. Both sides have their advantages and drawbacks, as long as those on both sides remember that.

    • “But some folks still think it best to get in and change things from within.”

      Understanding that the act of voting for someone in a general election doesn’t change things from within.

  • A Philosopher

    Preference voting would help with this. Among other things, if your ballot is a preference-ordering of candidates, rather than a selection of a single candidate, it might help undercut the thought that putting a candidate at the top of the preference ordering is the same thing as “supporting” or “endorsing” him.