A friend’s husband is being fitted with a prosthetic leg, his natural one lost to a lifelong scourge of Diabetes. Another is being fitted for a denture for all her upper teeth, scheduled for extraction when the denture is ready. It will be put in place while she is under anesthetic for the multiple extractions. It’s important, she says, that it be put in place at that time so that the soft tissue will conform to the rigid denture.

That’s the whole point. In medicine, in prosthetics, and even in robotic surgery (I’m told), rigid (“hard”) force is used to ensure compliance of soft tissue. Painful as it may be, the assumption is that the hard force is benevolent.

So the rigid force of the six recorded menus I endured today while trying to contact something with an ear was a benevolent force? The lines and the waiting lists, the policies and the policy makers, the ideologies and the ideologues, the countless thousands of bureaucracies and the bureaucrats—these are all benevolent, right? Created for the benefit of the soft tissue over which they hold total, rigid, irresistible power. Fill out the form—online only, of course. Take the standardized test that will not only determine your future but will tell you whether you’re worth educating. (Not that education still exists. Benevolent rigid forces have transformed it into training an indoctrinated workforce.)

Soft tissue must comply. Trusting children are the softest, so they are told what gender they are, what morality is, what truth is. This isn’t new. We’ve been on this road a long time, making concessions, trusting, believing in the benevolence of the rigid forces. The longer the road, or the assembly line, the more bruised soft tissue becomes. Until finally …

I received a sales letter from some company who wants to take over the cable services in my town. Buried down in the fourth or fifth paragraph was the information that the company had received permits from the city to dig up the easements in my yard to install their cable, and if I have irrigation systems, etc., I should call the given phone number. Hence, my futile call. After the interminable multiple menus, the only way I got hold of a person was by pressing the number to say I wanted their product. Someone answered. (Reward-and-punishment is an old favorite in the toolkits of rigid forces.) Yes, I told him, I do have an irrigation system, a gas line, a driveway–and a gun.

It is worthwhile to own a small piece of rigid force.