Once upon a time, the Higgs Boson said to the Cosmic Parliament of Particles, “Four score and seventy million Plank times ago, the preons founded a new universe, conceived in indeterminacy, dedicated to the proposition that all particles are unbound. I call on you to affirm Nonconfinement as an eternal principle of our law. Is it so moved?”
The particles applauded loud enough to re-heat the universe to forty-two quintillion degrees Kelvin. Thus the measure passed by acclaim.
“Unfortunately,” the Higgs Boson continued, “the Mathematics Ministry informs me that austerity measures are now necessary, to maintain cosmic credibility. They recommend strict conservation of energy, momentum and spin, as a temporary measure for the duration of the emergency. Is it so moved?”
The universe expanded and cooled during the long debate. Finally the particles passed the measure by a vote of 987,654,321 to 987,654,320.
At that exact instant, the cosmic quark-gluon plasma condensed. Ever since then all quarks and gluons have been confined to bound states; but energy, momentum and spin remain strictly conserved.
Moral: Nothing’s more transient than an eternal principle, or more permanent than a temporary measure.