THE WORLD FATALLY FUDGED AND
FINALLY LOST FINE SWISS CHOCOLATE
by Terence Kumpf
Come the time
when its later, and most of the poorer developing nations of the
Earth had finally industrialized. Their citizens, with a reasonable
amount of governmental and social support, had finally found a modicum
of comfort. Hunger and famine had, for the most part, been entirely
eradicated. There still remained some hungry souls treading about their
native soil, but they were hungry due to short lapses in meaningful
work or an inability to hold down suitable employment to provide the
necessary means of sustenance. But even these people, mostly through
the generosity and caring of others who had been in their unfortunate
shoes once before, usually found enough food, and so forth, to maintain
fairly content lives. Greed had also been wiped out, along with other
sicknesses of the human conditionjealousy, envy, hatred, racism,
and so forth.
People were generally happy, content, and living in a compromised estimation
of peacewhat it could be, as opposed to what it should be. In
light of criticism that greed and desire fuel human activities like
artistic creation, well, that had been debunked, and people had found
other inspirations to flint their creative sparks and funnel their creative
urges. In fact, most scientists and theologians of the day concurred
that creativity, rather than an offshoot of our petty wants, lusts,
and needs, was merely an extension of our natural biological desire
to procreate as a race of sexual beings. Indeed, creativity had come
to be thought as closely connected to creation, which seemed logically
enough linked anyway.
Yes, everyone was generally happy, content, and satisfied. Smiling and
crying had become the foundation for the newly emerging non-verbal global
language. Hugs and kisses, too. This was an unforeseen phenomenon, but
welcome, for people now had a new technique to cross-culturally communicate.
Even though the tools for this non-verbal communication had been in
place for eons, we had somehow forgotten the power of a laugh, a hug,
or a hope.
War had ceased to exist. People of all races, creeds, colors, and religions
had learned to live with mutual respect for one another. Its never
a good bet to surrender that war retired, but no one could recall a
major regional conflict in recent memory, and war was something we only
read about in history books. In actuality, war had become an arcane
principle. If a man or a woman taking stage in conversation chose to
ratify the positive points of armed conflict, they were quickly rebuffed
and very soon after came their admission that they were merely playing
Devils Advocate to spin speculative discussion. Everyone had a
laugh and would toast their beverage of choice.
Due in large part to the disappearance of armed human conflict, governments
had somehow found a way to make money and fund the social programs and
support nets that kept society together; hence, contentedness. The coffers,
as they were often called, were usually fullif not overflowing.
There were never any deficits, and many leading figures in the social,
political, and economic forums were seriously considering banning hard
currency completely. The monetary system, like war, was an old institution,
and people nowadays were starting to see its stuttering inefficiency.
A few new ideas for sufficient exchange of goods and services were being
kicked around. The best minds were usually busy working on these kinds
One of the main reasons for the bulging coffers was the behavioral legislation
that had been successfully passed and regimentally implemented generations
prior. All tobacco and alcohol products were stiffly taxed. Most people
thought this would dully lead to a decrease in consumption and, subsequently,
a diminishing of what was thought as adverse behavior. The best experts
had concluded, after rigorous study and analysis, that ones smoking
and drinking increased the costs for public healthcare. This was deemed,
therefore, wholly unacceptable. And for a great number of years, consumption
dropped off the radar. The public houses that were once meeting place
for such activity, smoking and drinking, shriveled up and closed. A
number of years after the legislation and reeducation programs
had been implemented, no one drank alcoholic beverages.
In public, naturally.
The social coffers sagged.
But some people, of course, continued to smoke and drink, these habits
long held hand in hand with other customary social behaviors. Folks
still loved meeting for a drink, a smoke, and conversation. After some
time, people started to remember what joy could be had sipping some
fine micro-brewed suds or nipping at a carefully distilled charcoal
sour mash or even a fruity Gewurztraminer. With this resurgence, a new
appreciation for alcohol and tobacco and the candle around which conversation
draws emerged, and the social phenomenon of smoking and drinking again
reattached its roots in society.
And so people met, frequently, sometimes in private, smoking and drinking,
speaking and chatting, and much to the chagrin of the Others
who looked down on the dirty habit. There came to be a serious
stigma attached to the preoccupation with alcohol and tobacco consumption.
As per the usual, the smokers and drinkers, their products stiffly taxed,
gleefully engaged in their pastime while contributing to the coffers.
In these quiet circles it was hipper than ever to smoke or drink, and
special meeting places called bars started cropping up where people
could smoke and drink and talk.
The authorities saw this reemergence of social drinking and smoking
and, although they knew it would negatively affect the health of the
users, decided to let it be. The smokers and drinkers knew their behavior
could adversely effect their health, eventually leading to a burden
on the social health system, but generally took the view that life was
for the living. It was soon understood that those people who drank and
smoked would again contribute to the social purses. The authorities
saw this as a good clean thing. Regarding the known health risks, smokers
and drinkers were required, by newly passed legislation, to sign a waver
clearly relinquishing their rights to social health care in lieu of
their failing healths link to smoking and drinking. The smokers
and drinkers naturally gave in to this waiver system, as they, like
most thinking people, knew they would not live forever, and why not
enjoy yourself now while full of life and time?
The smokers and drinkers flourished. They were happier than ever. The
social stigma, however, did not diminish, due mostly to the barrage
of education handed down by the Right to Lifers. These were
the people who lobbied to pass the original laws barring smoking and
drinking. They claimed to work in the public interest when they were
actually working in their own selfish interest to infect others with
their biased and prejudiced thought. How could they, the Right to Lifers,
as one unpopular government official pointed out, be working for the
common public trust when they pushed for legislation that would decrease
the shiny gold pieces in the publics purse? Clearly all social
programs, in total, were important and not just one. There seemed a
dichotomy at hand. This was nothing new; human endeavor had, for years,
been marked by serious and often times ridiculous schism.
Despite the gaining popularity of smoke and drink, the education
program implemented by the politically powerful Right to Lifers found
serious success. Smoking and drinking continued, but all the recent
opinion polls showed the renewed interest leveling off, if not waning.
These new bars were closing faster than they were opening.
The Right to Lifers cheered and clapped each other on the backs. Boy,
were they proud. Some of them even toasted some kind of sparkling liquid
in fluted glasses in the privacy of their own homes. When word of this
got around town, there was much speculation about what these flutes
The Right to Lifers trumpeted their success and played their flutes
for a while. Some people followed along to their song and joined the
ranks of the movement. But very soon after the pubs and
bars had started to close, government officials saw a sharp
decline in the social coffers. Some programs had to be suspended indefinitely.
This raised a public outcry even the Right to Lifers couldnt ignore.
But they, drunk on the success of their education program
and the convincing history of their behavioral legislation, couldnt
think of a solution to quiet the public outcry for more money for social
The Right to Lifers were stumped.
A new political group emerged. They called themselves the Left to Lifers,
the name inspired by the groups direct opposition of the social
agenda of the Right to Lifers. These Lefties, some of them
proud private social smokers and drinkers (some of them not), had a
new idea. Based on the connection between consumables and the constant
need for overflowing governmental coffers, but unsatisfied with the
delineation and stigmatization of one particular social group, the Left
to Lifers introduced their now famous "Chocolate Tax." At
first, the Right to Lifers screamed in outrage. How can you tax a good
or product a child eats? Why should a child, who cannot work, be expected
to pay tax? The Left to Lifers quickly countered this argument by insisting
the childs consumption should be controlled and regulated by the
parents, a logical enough argument. The Lefts best argumentchocolate,
specifically the sugar in chocolate, greatly increased the possibility
of the user contracting diabetes, another debilitating disease. And
naturally, since this contributed a significant burden on the social
health care system, the point bore serious logical weight. There was
stiff resistance to newly proposed "Chocolate Tax," for the
Right to Lifers were a powerful legislating force, but eventually, and
after much raging public debate, the legislation passed, and people
soon paid exorbitant taxes on their chocolate.
The coffers flowed. Most everybody in their right mind saw the painfully
clear logic of taxing a good consumed by most everyone. Whether you
fell into full milk, dark, bitter, half bitter, white, nuts, fruit,
no nuts, crispies, or just plain old chocolate spread, you supported
your fellow man, woman, and child by paying a stiff tax and keeping
the public purse full. Every logical thinking individual felt they were
contributing to the social system; therefore, no one complained very
But then came the Swiss. The Swiss had thought for years that their
chocolate was the best thing going. In fact, most people came to believe
and accept this fact: Swiss chocolate was the best. White, dark, bitterthe
Swiss had chocolate down. The Swiss however didnt feel they should
have to pay this Chocolate Tax, as they were the producers of the finest
chocolate in all the land. They felt their esteem should relinquish
their social responsibility.
Well, naturally, the other people of the Earth felt this was ridiculous.
One group could not deviate from the law, no matter the justification,
and the public roared when the Swiss started protesting. They ceased
producing their chocolate, and this made many people very, very angry.
As every person in the world could generally afford any luxury good,
most people were damned mad. Many people felt the Chocolate Tax was
justified so long as they had access to fine Swiss chocolate. How could
the Swiss do this to us, they thought, how could they take away one
of the finest products they had ever bestowed upon the world simply
because they felt they should be exempt from the Chocolate Tax?
The Swiss, a smart and able bunch, held steadfast to their principles
and ceased producing chocolate. The government officials would not allow
a Swiss exemption from the Chocolate Tax, asnaturallygovernments
do not like to shrink in the face of public challenge. The Swiss felt
guilty for robbing the world of fantastic chocolate, but they were proud
of themselves for sticking to their principles. Over time, this was
considered a victory of sorts. Eventually, public discontent with the
Swiss decision to cease producing the worlds finest chocolate
subsided, as all public discontent usually does, and the Chocolate Tax
prevailed. But the world became a much sadder place.
been years since Swiss chocolate has been produced, and even the
remaining aged former Swiss chocolate experts have forgotten the
production process. In fact if, walking down the street, you ask
someone if they have ever sampled Swiss chocolate, they usual stop,
look at you, stammer, and eventually reply, "Swiss what?"
And the world is a much sadder place, and it has been ever since,
without fine Swiss chocolate.
Terence Kumpf October 2003
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