Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Little Red Hen

A few weeks ago, I received this in an email:
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Once upon a time, on a farm in Virginia , there was a little red hen who scratched about the barnyard until she uncovered quite a few grains of wheat.

She called all of her neighbors together and said, 'If we plant this wheat, we shall have bread to eat. Who will help me plant it?'

'Not I,' said the cow.
'Not I,' said the duck.
'Not I,' said the pig.
'Not I,' said the goose.

'Then I will do it by myself,' said the little red hen, and so she did. The wheat grew very tall and ripened into golden grain.

'Who will help me reap my wheat?' asked the little red hen.

'Not I,' said the duck.
'Out of my classification,' said the pig.
'I 'd lose my seniority,' said the cow.
'I'd lose my unemployment compensation,' said the goose.

'Then I will do it by myself,' said the little red hen, and so she did.

At last it came time to bake the bread.

'Who will help me bake the bread?' asked the little red hen.

'That would be overtime for me,' said the cow.
'I'd lose my welfare benefits,' said the duck.
'I'm a dropout and never learned how,' said the pig.
'If I'm to be the only helper, that's discrimination,' said the goose.

'Then I will do it by myself,' said the little red hen.

She baked five loaves and held them up for all of her neighbors to see. They wanted some and, in fact, demanded a share. But the little red hen said, 'No, I shall eat all five loaves.'

'Excess profits!' cried the cow.
'Capitalist leech!' screamed the duck.
'I demand equal rights!' yelled the goose.
The pig just grunted in disdain.

And they all painted 'Unfair!' picket signs and marched around and around the little red hen, shouting obscenities.

Then the Farmer came. He said to the little red hen, 'You must not be so greedy.'

'But I earned the bread,' said the little red hen.

'Exactly,' said the farmer. 'That is what makes our free enterprise system so wonderful. Anyone in the barnyard can earn as much as he wants. But under our modern government regulations, the productive workers must divide the fruits of their labor with those who are lazy and idle.'

And they all lived happily ever after, including the little red hen, who smiled and clucked, 'I am grateful, for now I truly understand.'

But her neighbors became quite disappointed in her. She never again baked bread because she joined the 'party' and got her bread free. And all the politicians smiled. 'Fairness' had been established.

Individual initiative had died, but nobody noticed; perhaps no one cared...so long as there was free bread that 'the rich' were paying for.

EPILOGUE

Bill Clinton is getting $12 million for his memoirs.

Hillary got $8 million for hers.

That's $20 million for the memories from two people, who for eight years, repeatedly testified, under oath, that they couldn't remember anything.

IS THIS A GREAT BARNYARD OR WHAT?
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The person who sent it to me did it just to wind me up (she later admitted as much). And the fact is, it worked. I sat down to write a self-righteous, angry rebuttal about so-called Christian conservatives who excuse their lack of compassion and charity by telling themselves that all poor people are "lazy and idle." But about three paragraphs in, I realized I was accomplishing nothing. She'd probably read the opening sentence, hit delete, and then chide me for taking her joke too seriously.

So I abandoned my original rant and wrote this response instead:
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Once upon a time, on a farm in Virginia, there was a little red hen who scratched about the barnyard until she uncovered quite a few grains of wheat.

She called all of her neighbors together and said, "If we plant this wheat, I'll have far more bread than I'll ever need in my life. Who will help me plant it?"

"Will you give us any bread if we help?" asked the cow.

"I'll give you the absolute bare minimum required by law," said the hen. "And you're lucky to get that, with this job market!"

So the cow, duck, pig, and goose labored for eight hours a day and received barely enough bread to keep them alive. Meanwhile, the hen had so much that she couldn't possibly eat it all.

Eventually, the other animals went to the farmer and asked, "Can you give us some bread? We're starving."

"Sorry, I don't have any bread left," said the farmer. "I spent it all on liberating Iraq and tax cuts for the wealthy."

"That's right," said the hen gleefully. "I made out like a bandit!"

"But we're starving," the animals cried. "And we don't have enough bread to feed our families."

"It's your own fault for being so lazy and idle," said the hen.

"Sorry," said the farmer. "I have to do what the hen tells me."

So the hen fired all the other animals and outsourced the breadmaking jobs to a contracting firm overseas. And as the farmer's popularity declined, he desperately tried to distract the angry animals by blaming all of the barnyard's problems on same-sex marriage and foreigners.

The poor, starving animals eventually died, but nobody noticed; perhaps nobody cared...so long as "the rich" still had their bread.

EPILOGUE

Ronald Reagan was paid $6 million for his memoirs, which is kind of remarkable since he repeatedly testified, under oath, that he couldn't remember whether or not he had illegally traded arms to Iran.

ISN'T IT FUNNY HOW SELECTIVE MEMORY CAN BE?
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What can I say? Sometimes it's just better to fight passive-aggression with passive-aggression.

8 comments:

Professor said...

Two posts in 2 days! Be still my beating heart!!!

And this was freakin' hilarious- BOTH of them! (Tho I'm inclined to think like you...!)

Zoltan said...

These stories were great.
They remind me a lot of Ze Frank, really.
Come to think of it, you remind me of Ze!

Irb said...

Prof: Better take your Quinidine, baby, because I plan on going three for three!

Zoltan: High praise, indeed. Thanks!

scarletvirago said...

This is much better than the simply aggressive-aggressive responses to idiocy I post on my blog. *is humbled*

Professor said...

Irb hunny- the clock is ticking for that three for three... I've waited with baited breath all day...

Irb said...

Scarlet: Glad to see you wandered back in! And I applaud your active-aggressive posting.

Prof: Well, I finally made the post. I was going to backdate it just to keep from looking like a liar, but I doubt I'd be able to get away with that now...

Sylvana said...

I always aspire to write something that I can use to rebut my dad's horrible similarly toned emails to me that he is so lazy and idle that he doesn't actually create them, he just hits "forward".

Anonymous said...

In a free market, where government is an impartial umpire, employer and employee both naturally need each other for their success and prosperity. They will either come to a mutually beneficial wage or worse case scenario they both walk away no better or worse for the discussion. In a free market, anyone still retains the option of becoming the employer and thus preserving competition so necessary for advancement and prosperity. However, if to do a job requires crony capitalism, an in with the regulators, union labor, an exclusive government industry work permit, special government loans, then the government is no longer impartial but is picking marketplace winners and losers. Thus, whoever controls the government, controls the market making it no longer free. The result: Either the employee (usually a union) extorts more than an employer would want to pay for a given service thereby transferring the extra cost to consumers, or the employer extorts the employee for less than they would like to work transferring the cost of inefficiency to the consumers since a better but not politically connected employer has been shut out of the market. Since the market is no longer free (i.e. open) to competition to other employers and employees, the market has no remedy to any of these abuses. A non-union employee can't use his talent to work, and if not this favored business employer, you are not allowed to compete. Either way the lack of quality and cost of a partial government (i.e. umpire) is passed on to the consumer, you!