Seventeen years ago (yes, I know I have way too much time on my hands) an officer from your department told me that in some places 2 + 2 = 4 is an opinion. So, according to him the certainty of this rather simple arithmetic equation depends upon location. I used to think that this claim was self-evidently absurd. But I was, of course, wrong to doubt armed authority. A person with a badge and a gun can never be wrong. Because he has a badge and a gun. Therefore, everything he says must be completely reasonable. And, so, the claim that the certainty of basic arithmetic depends upon location must be reasonable according to a very simple syllogism: 1) Anything a person with a badge and a gun says is reasonable, 2) A person with a badge and a gun claimed that the certainty of a simple arithmetic equation depends upon location, 3) Therefore, this claim must be reasonable.
But, then again, if a person with a badge and a gun says that such syllogisms are valid only in some places, then, well, all bets are off. But I haven't heard an armed, badged person say such a thing. Yet. And until one does, I guess I may assume the universal validity of properly-ordered syllogisms. I just hope a police officer never tells me that he is lying right now because he might shoot me if I doubt him or if I believe him.
Anyway, the above syllogism, absent any police officer's statement to the contrary, is valid, and since it is valid, I would like to ask you, the Glen Carbon Police Department, how the certainty of a very simple and apparently self-evident equation depends upon location. Would you, please, explain this to me? I thought I had mastered basic arithmetic in grade school. I thought I learned that a simple equation is true and certain everywhere, that 2 + 2 is as certain to equal 4 in St. Louis as in New York, in the U.S.A. as in the Congo, on Earth as on Saturn, etc. But I was very, very wrong. I apparently was asleep when the teacher explains to us how basic arithmetic is geographically contingent. And I really feel embarrassed to have missed such a basic lesson, especially now since I am middle-aged and long past the age when I could have blamed my ignorance of such rudimentary stuff on immaturity. I got to face it. I am not three anymore.
So, Glen Carbon Police Department, would you please teach me what I missed in grade school? Please, explain to me how the certainty of basic arithmetic depends upon location. Pretty please?