Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Fence, part II

In Part I of our story, we happened on a certain country in which the people built fences to separate themselves from danger. The name of this land was Youdopia.

The specialists in charge of the fences had performed their duties superbly -- so well, in fact, that the Fence-Builders created more fences and of such intertwined delicacy that Fence-Keepers no longer could be satisfied with inspecting, adjusting, and repairing the fences. They had begun tearing down old ones and building new ones with parts from the old, as well as with parts imported from foreign lands and parts they created themselves with their own wonderful Ethics -- from whole cloth, as it were -- having set aside their former Restraint. We saw that the Builders welcomed this new type of Fence-Keeping, praising it to preserve the faith the people had placed in the fences. They eluded controversy if someone else built a fence.

But trouble was afoot in our happy land. In a far away country, one most of the Youdopians had only read about, another people had fences of their own. These fences were not compatible with any other kind. The leader of the foreign land, one Moe Anita-Nutjob, saw great things ahead for his brand of fence. So happy with his fence was he, and so attentive to the needs of his fellow man, that he insisted on every country using the kind he did. It was only fair.

Part of the allure of his type of fence was a united class of Fence-Makers. Rather than listen to the people in the creation and repair of fences, the Fence-Makers demanded the people use the ones that were made for them, or die. It was better for the Fence-Makers that way. These were the only fences that anyone would ever need, and would never need to be replaced, repaired, or altered.

But with so many fences and such division among the people of Youdopia, there was no way to build fences to protect the people when this enemy attacked. The people had become too accustomed to the easy safety of their many fences. They did not know anything but fences, and most had forgotten how to build for themselves.

They had also forgotten the post of Fence-Master. The Fence-Master appointed the Keepers, and approved the fences built by the Builders. In times past of great tumult, the Fence-Master had been able to make superb fences of short duration, swiftly creates unusual fences of terrible power. Some of the fences built by previous Fence-Masters had even been used against the Youdopians themselves. This Fence-Master rallied the people, and stood fast against the evil Moe Anita-Nutjob.

When the Fence-Master began making his fences against the enemies, the people rejoiced. Then, over time, some of the people began questioning the Fence-Master's workmanship. "This is just like the fences they built in the ocean!", they cried, and they began protesting and singing songs, chanting "No more Oceania!", and calling for the Fence-Master to be replaced for building his powerful fences on foreign soil.

Some of the more enlightened Keepers, in their wisdom and skill, decreed that the foreigners were really not foreign, because one fence is as good as another. They began making modifications to the Fence-Master's designs, removing as many as they could from use, in order that the fences follow the vital technical rules the Keepers had developed.

Finally, the people decided that the Fence-Builders allied with the Fence-Master should be replaced with others, those who remembered how things were before Moe Anita-Nutjob and his allies came. The new Builders would fix things so that the people could sing songs and march in protest in peace, with no worries about offending their enemies by building fences where a civilized people would not build. "Our fences will protect us," they said.

And Moe Anita-Nutjob smiled at his good fortune. His fences were designed just for the lands the new Builders would soon abandon. After that, he would be the only Fence-Master anyone would ever need.

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