Wednesday, July 8, 2009

King Of The Hill

Baby boomers probably remember the game, king of the hill. It was played on a pile of dirt and the rules were simple: get to the top by knocking the guy currently on top, off. It taught us competitive skills and perseverance, with the reward of success. Some kids were too small to succeed, true, but as they grew and aspired to win, they held fast to the dream of being the king.

Then something terrible happened. Adults ruined all of the fun by declaring the game too dangerous in light of the skinned knees and crying children, and decreed that fairness by fiat was to be the new rule. Everyone would share in the chance to stand atop the pile of dirt without the perilous contest. Not realizing that the very purpose of the game was removed, the adults could not understand - in their elder-inspired wisdom - why the kids found something else to occupy their time. Not addressed in this formula was the question of who the ultimate arbiter was to be regarding whose turn might be next, which created a ruling class of humans; the adults.

Of course, this is but a crude example as I would not denigrate the necessity of adults being overseers of children, but as we slide further into a future of becoming as children and subsequently wards of the State, we find ourselves surrendering to decisions that - as adults - we are more than capable of making for ourselves but which are increasingly being made by the people we hire to...rule us.

The simple truth is, if there is nothing to work towards, the game is not fun. Winning is what makes the game, no matter how the left tries to equalize virtually every aspect of life in the misguided endeavor of achieving "fairness". While the removal of conflict has long been the goal of man with enduring peace the ultimate reward, instead of promoting good sportsmanship - whereby the victor is gracious and the vanquished inspired - our society has adopted the notion that competition itself be banished. Conflict being the key word here, it must be segregated from the word "contest".

Life itself, at least in a free society, is nothing but a contest. And especially in America, where the contest is the thing - through the myriad promotions to "win a million" - attempts to stifle the will to succeed seem rather...un-American. Yet we are faced with rules and regulations that squelch the human spirit to win from a young age, all under the guise of alleged safety. While winning by simple fortuitousness is acceptable, the same result due to hard work is frowned upon. Forgive me, but that concept seems completely backward.

When children are prohibited from running on school grounds, forbidden to play dodge ball and punished for any physical contact whatsoever, they become adults who cringe at the notion of defeating a rival in the board room. After all, it really isn't fair that all of that hard work to win a contract was chosen over that of the poor schmuck who procrastinated and arrived with a proposal with half the effort.

Compassion is a wonderfully human concept, and a noble one as well, but it must be experienced from a lofty perch. It is only deliverable from a position of affordable philanthropy, and appreciated only from below. When all people have the same ability to give, they also enjoy the same capacity to accept. Total, complete equality may sound like some form of Utopia, but it is truly the death knell of a civilized society.

The king of the hill is an admirable - and should be a desirable - goal. Without it, there is no reason to exist.

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