Monday, July 21, 2008

Did You Get This One Yet?


I got it from my mother:

Wild Pigs

A chemistry professor in a large college had some exchange students in the class. One day while the class was in the lab the Professor noticed one young man (exchange student) who kept rubbing his back, and stretching as if his back hurt. The professor asked the young man what was the matter. The student told him he had a bullet lodged in his back. He had been shot while fighting communists in his native country who were trying to overthrow his country's government and install a new communist government.

In the midst of his story he looked at the professor and asked a strange question. He asked, 'Do you know how to catch wild pigs?'

The professor thought it was a joke and asked for the punch line. The young man said this was no joke. 'You catch wild pigs by finding a suitable place in the woods and putting corn on the ground. The pigs find it and begin to come everyday to eat the free corn. When they are used to coming every day, you put a fence down one side of the place where they are used to coming. When they get used to the fence, they begin to eat the corn again and you put up another side of the fence. They get used to that and start to eat again. You continue until you have all four sides of the fence up with a gate in The last side. The pigs, who are used to the free corn, start to come through the gate to eat, you slam the gate on them and catch the whole herd. Suddenly the wild pigs have lost their freedom. They run around and around inside the fence, but they are caught. Soon they go back to eating the free corn. They are so used to it that they have forgotten how to forage in the woods for themselves, so they accept their captivity. The young man then told the professor that is exactly what he sees happening to America . The government keeps pushing us toward socialism and keeps spreading the free corn out in the form of programs such as supplemental income, tax credit for unearned income, tobacco subsidies, dairy subsidies, payments not to plant crops (CRP), welfare, medicine, drugs, etc.. While we continually lose our freedoms -- just a little at a time. One should always remember: There is no such thing as a free lunch! Also, a politician will never provide a service for you cheaper than you can do it yourself. Also, if you see that all of this wonderful government 'help' is a problem confronting the future of democracy in America , you might want to send this on to your friends. If you think the free ride is essential to your way of life then you will probably delete this email, but God help you when the gate slams shut! In this 'very important' election year, listen closely to what the candidates are promising you !! Just maybe you will be able to tell who is about to slam the gate on America . 'A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have.' - Thomas Jefferson

Oy. Typical neocon propaspamda.

Here's my reply:

"This is really confusing to me.

Why is this story set in a chemistry class? Is it because whoever wrote this wants you to think that the person talking about wild pigs is smart?

What does the bullet in the back have to do with the story about wild pigs? Is it because whomever wrote this wants you to think the person is brave? (If he's so brave, by the way, why's the bullet in his back?)

What does fighting communists have to do with the story about wild pigs? Is it because whomever wrote this wants you to believe the young man loves freedom?

When was the last time there was a country that had a war against a communist uprising? I'm not talking about a political struggle--a bullets-flying, people-dying war that involved a communist or marxist faction? The last one I can remember is in Nicaragua, back in the late 1970's/early 1980's. But if you recall, the communist faction--the Sandanistas--were in power, and the Contras who were fighting them were funded almost entirely by America.

So, this 'young' man who was wounded would have to be in his late forties. And his anger towards a government that hands things out would be incredibly hypocritical, since he had doubtless been eating at the same trough as those other formerly wild piggies.

But let's put that argument aside for a moment and just look at the wild pig allegory.

What is the function of government? Is it simply to pave the roads and build jails and stay out of the way of capitalism? We have a government that does that right now, more than any other time in the world, and what do we have? More tainted food than ever before--in peppers, tomatoes, ground beef, et c. More poisonous unsafe toys than ever before. More mine collapses than ever before. Higher food prices, higher gas prices, unregulated banks approving horrible-risk people for mortgages that are guaranteed to bankrupt, (and the government moves in to save the corporation just three years after making it harder to declare that bankruptcy) more uninsured people, more underinsured people...the list goes on. All on the watch of a Republican.

Capitalism, at its nature, is a beast. It favors the rich, it punishes the poor. Left unchecked, it destroys societies and creates oligarchies. One role of government, in my mind, is to control this beast. To level the playing field, at least a bit. To make sure that anyone who works hard can succeed, as opposed to just the sons of those who are already in power.

Government should, in short give hope to the hopeless.

I find it interesting, too, that this screed which decries the removal of freedoms that a big government brings us (and in the last forty years, the government has gotten larger, yes. But most of the growth of government has come during the tenure of three Presidents: Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and Dubya). Not mentioned at all in this is the actual removal of Constitutionally-guaranteed freedom as laid out in the Fourth Amendment, which is what the telcom immunity clause in the recent FISA bill brought us.

Since the heart of the claptrap below was a bit of 'folksy' animal husbandry, let me lay my own bit of Wild Kingdom on you:

Do you know how to catch a monkey? It's easy: Bury a jar with a slightly narrow neck in the ground. Let the earth around the jar harden, then drop some grapes and some nuts in the jar. Pretty soon a monkey will climb down, and reach into that jar, and grab those grapes and nuts. But the neck of the jar, which let his open hand in, won't let his closed fist out. And that monkey won't let go of that food. He won't let go, even as people come up to him, and throw a rug over him, and capture him, or club him to death.

Sometimes people are like those monkeys. They see what they think is a good idea--usually it's a mention of a past that seems so much nicer than today, or a convenient scapegoat to blame for todays ills, and they hold onto it. They hold on, and the don't let go, no matter if what's coming at them is a disaster. They just don't realize that if they just let go of that, they have a better chance of survival."

Yeharr

7 Comments:

Blogger Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Great reposte to this awful story, there seems to be a terrible re-obsession in the US with it becoming some kind of socialist state, clearly because those making money off the American people, those in power, want to keep socialist style programs as far away from the US citizen as they can; so the money can keep being bled dry from an economically drained people.

Dear me.

4:10 AM  
Blogger GC said...

I'm confused
do you agree or disagree with the story?

2:07 PM  
Blogger cadbury_vw said...

word

good analysis

i especially liked you taking apart the anti-communist fighter moment...

[heh]


----

"Also, a politician will never provide a service for you cheaper than you can do it yourself."

i dunno

we have the lowest telephone rates in north america where i live. and the lowest auto insurance rates (it might be a dollar or two higher than the lowest on aggregate).

both of those services are provided by government owned companies.

i fact we have the lowest cost bundle of basic utilities in north america.

and they are provided by government owned companies.

and and the government provides free medical care. with no premiums. it's paid through taxes - which are now the second lowest in canada. and the difference in my taxes and the taxes of a person in Texas (for example) is less than i would pay for regular guy health insurance in the U.S.

just sayin'

6:32 PM  
Blogger mal said...

but the corn tasted soooooooooo good! *SNARF*

8:22 AM  
Blogger mal said...

all kidding aside, metaphor and analogy can be illustrative, but they are not valid for any argument

8:23 AM  
Blogger United We Lay said...

Strange - universal healthcare seems to be working in England, Canada, and France to name a few. People will always come up with reasons not to do things. There's nothing wrong with social democracy.

11:24 AM  
Blogger MANCHA said...

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2:45 PM  

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