"Sloppy" Joe Baconburger was the owner of a restaurant. It was an independent eatery called the Celestial Carnivore. As you have probably deduced it catered to a meat-eating clientele. Barbecue ribs, steaks grilled to perfection, pork chops, and prime rib – these were the staples of the supper menu. Its hamburgers, fried chicken and chili con carne were all popular. The pizza section of the menu had but a single entry and that was for “Meat Lovers”. The Carnivore was most famous, however, for a sandwich.
This sandwich was a multi-layered spectacular. Forget the mere clubhouse or even the triple-decker. This sandwich had separate layers for roast beef, roast pork, roast turkey, and roast lamb. Each layer also contained a hearty portion of ham and bacon and slices of various sorts of cheese. If you wanted, vegetable fillers such as lettuce, tomato, and cucumbers would also be added, but these were optional. It was served smothered in chili and gravy. Naysayers called it “the heart attack waiting to happen” but every day people would come from near and far to order it.
One day something strange happened. Like any other day, "Sloppy" Joe arrived at the Carnivore early, pulled into his parking spot, got out of his car, and headed towards the door. Then he ran into a wall. Or at least it felt like a wall. Whatever it was he could not see it. There was nothing there to the visible eye but something was blocking his path to the entrance.
Baffled by the invisible barrier and uncertain of what to do about it, "Sloppy" Joe turned around and took a step in the direction of his car. He was unable to go any further, however, because he found his path impeded yet again by the unseen wall. Turning to his left and right, he discovered that he was boxed in on all sides.
Uttering something that need not be put down in print, "Sloppy" Joe looked around and saw his neighbour Bob walking down the sidewalk on the other side of the street. He called over to Bob, asking him to go for help, but Bob just kept walking along. "Sloppy" Joe called louder, but there was still no response. He then screamed at the top of his lungs but Bob did not seem to hear him. Whatever was keeping him from leaving or entering his business was apparently also trapping all sound.
Eventually Bob looked around and saw "Sloppy" Joe at which point "Sloppy" Joe began to gesture as best he could within the confines of his transparent cage. Bob shook his head and said “Better stick to cooking Joe, that pantomime act is never going to sell.”
Soon thereafter one of his employees arrived for her morning shift. She waved to "Sloppy" Joe and said hello as she moved toward the restaurant entrance but did not seem to notice anything was amiss. When she got as close to the door as "Sloppy" Joe was, however, a look of surprise came over her face and then, as she turned in all directions, one of panic. "Sloppy" Joe realized that she was trapped too. One by one, his employees showed up, and each in turn got trapped within an invisible box.
“What will happen when my customers start to show up?” "Sloppy" Joe asked himself.
He did not have long to wait. The first customer, one of his regulars, showed up like clockwork at the time the restaurant normally opened its doors to the public. He too found himself stuck between the mysterious unseen walls. The same happened to every other customer that arrived after him.
Before long the area around the restaurant was surrounded by people, trapped in place by invisible boxes. There was approximately six feet of space between each of them.
All of a sudden, a loud maniacal cackle came descending upon them from above. Looking up, they saw a man standing on top of the restaurant, holding a device that resembled a cross between a machine gun and a video camera. Groaning inside, "Sloppy" Joe recognized the man as Dr. Tofu Veggiebrain the notorious mad scientist and leader of an animal rights/environmentalist activist group that wanted to make veganism mandatory and which had been targeting him and his restaurant with harassment of various sorts for years.
“How do you like my latest invention, 'Sloppy' Joe?” Dr. Veggiebrain asked. “I call it the Insta-Mime. Soon you and all others who murder and eat our animal brothers and sisters will be trapped between invisible walls in the world’s most despised form of performance art forever.”
It looked like he might be right. Within an hour the police, fire department, and other emergency services had been called in and they could find no way of releasing anyone from the invisible boxes. The police wrote "Sloppy" Joe and each of the others a ticket for breaking the by-law against public displays of pantomime and then took off.
Soon, however, word of the strange impromptu mime session outside of the Celestial Carnivore got out and within a couple of days it made its way to the Marshmallow Monks (1) in the Carpathian Mountains. They immediately contacted “Eddy” Johnson who rushed to the scene as Reaction Man, (2) battled Dr. Veggiebrain, and freed everyone from their invisible prison. Since this is not an actual episode in The Adventures of Reaction Man but merely an essay illustration in which he makes a cameo appearance, I will not elaborate on the details, but will instead skip ahead to the aftermath of the trial of Dr. Veggiebrain.
After Dr. Veggiebrain was convicted criminally, "Sloppy" Joe filed a civil action against him to recover the losses his business suffered over the period in which he, his employees, and his customers had been mimed. It was not difficult to obtain a ruling in his favour for the law on the matter and the principle of natural justice underlying that law are quite clear. If you deliberately harm somebody else’s business he is entitled to compensation.
Things became complicated, however, when Dr. Veggiebrain said that he would not contest the ruling and would gladly pay the damages – but only on the condition that the Celestial Carnivore sign a statement of agreement with his vegan values and convert to serving only plant-based food.
Whereas most judges would not agree to such a stipulation, "Sloppy" Joe was unfortunate enough to have Justice Bob Baddecision of the Ontario Inferior Court hear his case. Judge Baddecision, who as we know is a close friend of Lucy himself and is prone to live up to his last name, (3) considered Dr. Veggiebrain’s stipulation to be entirely reasonable, and ordered that it be carried out.
You have likely already figured out the point of this story. Therefore I will make my commentary brief.
A man’s business is his livelihood. If your actions are demonstrably responsible for harming or destroying another person’s business, by the laws of natural justice you are required to compensate him for this damage. You do not get to hold the compensation to which he is entitled hostage until he meets your demands. If you attempt to do so you are guilty of a form of blackmail or extortion.
Over the past two months many people have seen their businesses suffer to the point of insolvency. This was not due to substandard goods, poor service, or other faults of their own. Nor can it be attributed solely to causes which are outside human control and for which no human agency can be held responsible. The coronavirus did not destroy these people’s businesses. Government ministers and their health officers did with their mandatory social distancing regulations, shelter in place orders, and lockdown of so-called “non-essential” businesses and services. This is why these businesses are entitled to government assistance at this time. Such assistance is not a “bail out” nor is it socialism, although it will have the same long term effect as these of saddling generations to come with an unthinkable tax and debt burden. It is certainly not the government being compassionate, no matter how much Captain Airhead tries to dress it up in these terms. It is the government paying compensation for damage it has itself inflicted.
This is why the government has no right to impose a values test on the small businesses that apply for such compensation. Since the government put these businesses in danger of bankruptcy, justice demands that the government pay restitution. As the party that has committed the injury, the government does not get to hold back this restitution until the party that has sustained the injury agrees to support abortion and the alphabet soup agenda. Its values test is a form of extortion.
Don’t let Captain Airhead get away with it.
(1) To learn more about the Order of the Marshmallownians see “Brother Moonpie and the Devil’s Apocalypse.”
(2) “Eddy” Johnson previously appeared in The Adventures of Reaction Man: Episode One – The Origin and The Adventures of Reaction Man: Episode Two – Reaction Man Versus the Marxist Zombie Army.
(3) Justice Bob Baddecision of the Ontario Inferior Court and Lucy the gender-confused devil feature in Lucy’s Day in Court and Justice for Minnie?
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