Once upon a time, five groups lived on the plains.  It was late spring, and they looked toward the mountains;
they had heard of cool air, clear water and plentiful wild game there.

The first group was lead by a mystic-minister-rabbi-ayatollah-priest.  As HE was considering a trip to the mountains,
a divine messenger warned them of dangerous animals, and fierce lightning and thunder appeared ahead.
The followers were afraid and confused.  So the religious leader prayed and meditated,  then spoketh:
"It is God's will that we not go. The mountains are obviously full of the devil,
and anyone who goes there will surely suffer eternal damnation,  as the Holy Scriptures have prophesied"
Some thought this was foolish and contrived.
But not wanting to risk the dreaded Satan's Curse or  rejection by their religious society,
no one went into the mountains. Church schools taught the next generation that
mountains are evil by using parables, myths and fear of hell stories, 
and the Good Book was edited to pass on this eternal truth.

The second society was headed by a dictator king. Thinking about the heights,
they too saw the severe storms and heard of the untamed beasts.
Most wanted to stay but some desired to go, so the king consulted with
his court intellectuals and spiritual leaders. Then he proclaimed,  "By Royal Decree and Divine Right,
anyone who goes into the mountains will have their head cut off."
No one went into the mountains and teachers warned their students.

The third group was lead by a communist central committee and had also heard of the rapacious scavengers
and violent weather. The people were divided: many wanted  familiar safety and a few chose forward progress.
The central committee met and issued a law:  "For the public good,  no one shall go into the mountains.
Violators will be sentenced to ten years hard labor."   Two mavericks escaped into the hills.
One was caught and confined for ten years,  as an example. The other was never seen again and
the party newspaper said she had been eaten by wild carnivores. 
School textbooks repeated this for future generations.

The fourth community settled disputes by vote. After intense lobbying by  entrenched special interests,
a majority voted for tradition,  to conserve society.  So a law was passed:  "For the public health,
safety and welfare and especially  The Children,  mountain living is punishable
by up to five years in prison and a $5000 fine."
Two individualists drifted toward the heights. One was apprehended and sentenced to  plea bargained
community service,  as an example.  The government issued a press release stating that
experts had conducted a grant-financed study: 
the missing person was probably killed by wild animals or lightning.
The mainstream media parroted the findings of the bureaucratic line;  one headline read,
"Mountain Man Eaten Alive By Wild Beasts!"
Compulsory government schools echoed:  "highs are unsafe and illegal."

The free spirits were different.  Some chose their roots.  Many went into the mountains,
met the two surviving mavericks,  and thrived on the cool air,  clear water and plentiful wild game.
One was mauled by a bear and survived.  Another was killed by lightning while flying a kite on a mountain;
she was conducting electrical experiments during a thunderstorm.
The independent media and internet warned about bears and standing on mountain tops during storms.
The children learned liberty and the free spirits lived happily ever after.

        Which group would you choose?


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