I read one today.

In the 1920s a Polish immigrant to the US returned back to Poland for a funeral. On her way back she had to pass through Ellis Island, which meant she had to go through customs. Normally this wouldn't've been a problem, as short trips didn't count towards the daily quota at Ellis, but on this particular occasion she returned with more baggage than she left with: she had had a baby on the Atlantic, and, as the Polish quota was exhausted, the baby had to be sent back to Poland, sans the mother.

The comissioner that was confronted with this problem was in a bit of a perdicament, as all you non-baby-haters can imagine. So first he suggested that the baby was British, not Polish: the ship the woman arrived on was a British ship, and therefore done birthed her kid on British soil.

No good; the British quota had been exhausted the day before.

Then, said he, the baby was Belgian. The ship had come frmo Belgium to America, so it had last seen Belgian soil.

Belgian quota exhausted last week.

"Well shoot," said the guy (it being the 1920s). After a minute of thinking, he came up with the solution. The baby was, in fact, American. The ship had been a day late in arriving, and had it done so on time, the baby would've been born in America. As it was intended to be born in America, so thus it was. The baby was admitted as an American citizen.

That story made me smile. And also respect the power of philosophy and argument.

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