David Brooks raids a 40-year-old science fiction classic --
Maybe you’re familiar with Ursula Le Guin’s short story, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.” It’s about a sweet and peaceful city with lovely parks and delightful music.-- to explain (oh Lord) why his decades of calculating, loathsome, immoral career decisions weren't really that bad after all:
The people in the city are genuinely happy. They enjoy their handsome buildings and a “magnificent” farmers’ market.
The rest of us live with the trade-offs. The story reminds us of the inner numbing this creates. The people who stay in Omelas aren’t bad; they just find it easier and easier to live with the misery they depend upon. I’ve found that this story rivets people because it confronts them with all the tragic compromises built into modern life — all the children in the basements — and, at the same time, it elicits some desire to struggle against bland acceptance of it all.I do wish Andrew Rosenthal would keep his diarrhetic mutt the hell outta my backyard.
Also, Mr. Rosenthal, if you want to see this sort of thing done right, here are a few examples