Issue 2 for 2023 now available.
Meaning in Life and Society
Joel Vos, Pninit Russo-Netzer, and Stefan E. Schulenberg
As if they hadn’t banned enough things in recent times, the State of Florida went ahead this week and banned constructive alternativism.
“Constructive alternativism is a perverted and, frankly, un-American lifestyle choice,” said Governor Ron DeSantis at the ceremony in Tallahassee where he signed the bill into law on Friday. “In fact, it is one among the many alternative ‘lifestyles’ ruining our nation. I can proudly say that in Florida, it will not be tolerated. If you engage in it, prepare to be prosecuted.”
When informed by reporters that constructive alternativism was an obscure theoretical concept from a 1950s psychological theory and not a sexual orientation, Governor DeSantis seemed undeterred, and a little confused.
“Those are just not the kinds of alternatives we want Floridians to have,” said the governor.
“Are you saying that Americans must be accumulative fragmentalists?” asked one reporter.
“Well, um, sure. Yeah. Of course!” stammered DeSantis. “Accumulative fragma … fragma … whatever you call it … it, um, is at the core of American capitalism. Right? After all, in the U.S., we live by the motto ‘he who accumulates the most wins!’”
Reactions across Florida were mixed. Some people were skeptical of the new law, feeling it distracted from the governor’s central agenda.
“Why aren’t we staying focused on banning the important things in Florida?” asked Bradley Gunn, a parent of two in Lakeland. “You know, like books and gay people.”
But others were more sanguine.
“Constructive alternativism is like marijuana. It’s a gateway to more dangerous forms of constructivism,” said Mary Anne McGroin of Stark. “Once people start exploring alternative epistemologies, who knows where it could lead.”