A ludicrous fable

Two people sat down in front of a Monopoly board and had an argument.

Person A wanted to play Monopoly by the standard rules in the rulebook.

Person B argued that the rules made the game boring and that the best players were often unable to win the game — because victory was too much a matter of luck. Person B wanted to take a less rule-bound, more commonsense approach to making the game fairer and more enjoyable. Instead of leaving outcomes to chance rolls of the dice and random card selections, the players themselves would determine what should happen each round, according to what seemed best to the players.

Person A argued that tossing out the rules would cause the game to devolve into an endless, fruitless debate about fairness and fun, and that this would not be fun at all.

Person B asked: “In what way does this argument follow the rules of Monopoly?”

Person A was flummoxed, and unable to respond.

Person B continued: “If you are so committed to the rules of Monopoly, why aren’t you following those rules right now, you hypocrite? You claim that my way is so bad. But then you go and do exactly the same thing!”

Person A realized that in order to win an honorable victory, he must stick to his principles. He rolled a double-6. But even this powerful roll was insufficient to persuade Person B.

Person A ended up losing both the argument and the game.

This is a fable, and therefore has a moral: Person A would have served his principles more faithfully had he simply refused to play Person B’s game.

(Principles are not rules.)

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