Start Somewhere

By Ipsa Liberalis

Quite a bit has occurred in the world since I last showed my face around these parts. It's not for lack of trying, but for lack of thrust. I'm coming back, though, with some navel-gazing.

It begins with an allegory: The Long Spoons.

Somewhere in hell, people sit around a table with a great spread of delicious food. They all have spoons, but the spoons are too long for them to put any food in their mouths. They try and try to eat, but cannot get the food to their own mouths. All are starving and miserable.

Somewhere in heaven, people sit around a table with a great spread of delicious food. They all have the same long spoons as the diners in hell. Instead of trying to put food in their own mouths, though, they feed each other. All are well-fed and happy.


I first saw this about 20 years ago in a novel I was reading for high school. It has stuck with me, I remember the scene well, and I try to remember it when I am feeling selfish or surly. It is my touchstone. I think it is part of what makes me a good liberal.