For some reason this analogy just happened to enter my mind, Lord knows from where, but it sorta-kinda makes a weird sense, if you think about it. I probably should have thought it out a bit more before committing it to the blog, but sometimes the Cesspool of Consciousness demands that something be written before it haunts the inside of your skull forever.
The American Republic is like a house in which four people live. They're complete strangers to one another, but they have this arrangement between them to live together as best they can, and so long as the rent is payed, and they equitably split the chores around the house, they will try to leave each other alone. The point here is that living together is a matter of convenience.
In the medicine cabinet of this house shared by four friendly strangers is a rectal thermometer. Most homes, I assume, have one. They're rather handy, sometimes.
The first Roommate is content to leave the thermometer alone, unless he or one of his roommates is obviously ill, at which point, he'll use it if he has to. The act of using a rectal thermometer upon another is slightly gross, embarrassing, and can be construed as being an imposition without sufficient cause. He is content to leave the rectal thermometer in the medicine cabinet, unused, except in direst emergency, an emergency which he fervently prays never arrives. He'll do his part in that emergency, but he'd rather hang around his own room, doing his own thing, and have as little contact with the other Roommates as possible. Especially if it means staying away from their asses.
The second Roommate is absolutely enthralled by the rectal thermometer. She loves it because it represents something, surety, accuracy, a sense of security that if someone in the house has a fever, she will be able to use it to divine that someone does indeed have a higher-than-normal temperature, and then take all sorts of actions. She likes to take actions. All the time. She's the sort of Roommate that leaves little notes on people's pillows to remind them to pick up their socks, and draws little smiley-faces on the note. She knows that if, indeed, one of her Roommates look sick, she'll be the first to get to that rectal thermometer and use it, and prove herself to be a really useful and valuable housemate.
The third Roommate is unaware there is a rectal thermometer in the house. In fact, he doesn't even know what a rectal thermometer is, or even what it's used for. He's managed to scrape by in life without ever having to use a rectal thermometer or have one used upon him. In fact, he probably doesn't even know what a fever is, and how someone obtains one. If it were left up to him, and one of his Roommates was sick, he might watch someone else use that rectal thermometer, but only because once the concept was explained to him it sounded pretty neat. But he'd otherwise be as useful as teats on a bull during the entire process, except maybe to giggle and snigger and offer play-by-play analysis in single-syllable words. And then he'd go back to wonering about who is leaving notes with smiley faces upon his pillow.
The fourth Roommate is the one who one days asks "Excuse me; does anyone know why this thermometer tastes so funny?"
Anyways, that's the beginning of the idea. I'll elaborate on it more as I think about it. I'm sure there's some nugget of universal truth in it. Somewhere.