Unconfigured Ad Widget

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Grasshopper and Ant

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Grasshopper and Ant

    A fable by Thomas Sowell.

    Just as the “Rocky” and “Star Wars” movies had their sequels, so should the old classic fables. Here is the sequel to a well-known fable.

    Once upon a time, a grasshopper and an ant lived in a field. All summer long, the grasshopper romped and played, while the ant worked hard under the boiling sun to store up food for the winter.

    When winter came, the grasshopper was hungry. One cold and rainy day, he went to ask the ant for some food.

    “What are you, crazy?” the ant said. “I’ve been breaking my back all summer long while you ran around hopping and laughing at me for missing all the fun in life.”

    “Did I do that?” the grasshopper asked meekly.

    “Yes! You said I was one of those old-fashioned clods who had missed the whole point of the modern self-realization philosophy.”

    “Gee, I’m sorry about that,” the grasshopper said. “I didn’t realize you were so sensitive. But surely you are not going to hold that against me at a time like this.”

    “Well, I don’t hold a grudge—but I do have a long memory.”

    Just then another ant came along.

    “Hi, Lefty,” the first ant said.

    “Hi, George.”

    “Lefty, do you know what this grasshopper wants me to do? He wants me to give him some of the food I worked for all summer, under the blazing sun.”

    “I would have thought you would already have volunteered to share with him, without being asked,” Lefty said.

    “What!!”

    “When we have disparate shares in the bounty of nature, the least we can do is try to correct the inequity.”

    “Nature’s bounty, my foot,” George said. “I had to tote this stuff uphill and cross a stream on a log—all the while looking out for ant-eaters. Why couldn’t this lazy bum gather his own food and store it?”

    “Now, now, George,” Lefty soothed. “Nobody uses the word ‘bum’ anymore. We say ‘the homeless’.”

    “I say ‘bum’. Anyone who is too lazy to put a roof over his head, who prefers to stand out in this cold rain to doing a little work—”

    The grasshopper broke in: “I didn’t know it was going to rain like this. The weather forecast said ‘fair and warmer’.”

    “Fair and warmer?” George sniffed. “That’s what the forecasters told Noah!”

    Lefty looked pained. “I’m surprised at your callousness, George—your selfishness, your greed.”

    “Have you gone crazy, Lefty?”

    “No. On the contrary, I have become educated.”

    “Sometimes that’s worse, these days.”

    “Last summer, I followed a trail of cookie crumbs left by some students. It led to a classroom at Ivy University.”

    “You’ve been to college? No wonder you come back here with all these big words and dumb ideas.”

    “I disdain to answer that,” Lefty said. “Anyway, it was Professor Murky’s course on Social Justice. He explained how the world’s benefits are unequally distributed.”

    “The world’s benefits?” George repeated. “The world didn’t carry this food uphill. The world didn’t cross the water on a log. The world isn’t going to be eaten by any ant-eater.”

    “That’s the narrow way of looking at it,” Lefty said.

    “If you’re so generous, why don’t you feed this grasshopper?”

    “I will,” Lefty replied. Then, turning to the grasshopper, he said: “Follow me. I will take you to the government’s shelter, where there will be food and a dry place to sleep.”

    George gasped. “You’re working for the government now?”

    “I’m in public service,” Lefty said loftily. “I want to ‘make a difference’ in this world.”

    “You really have been to college,” George said. “But if you’re such a friend of the grasshopper, why don’t you teach him how to work during the summer and save something for the winter?”

    “We have no right to change his lifestyle and try to make him like us. That would be cultural imperialism.”

    George was too stunned to answer.

    Lefty not only won the argument, he continued to expand his program of shelters for grasshoppers. As word spread, grasshoppers came from miles around. Eventually, some of the younger ants decided to adopt the grasshopper lifestyle.

    As the older generation of ants passed from the scene, more and more ants joined the grasshoppers, romping and playing in the fields. Finally, all the ants and all the grasshoppers spent all their time enjoying the carefree lifestyle and lived happily ever after—all summer long. Then the winter came…
    IMO
    YMMV
    LOL

  • #2
    Question is Stan, was it the grasshoppers first summer, in that did it genuinely think there would be no winter. Maybe it’s parents abandoned it at an early age hence that naivety.
    If that was the case, IMO, the ant should have shared as the grasshopper wasn’t necessarily taking the proverbial.
    As for all the others jumping on the gravy train afterwards, it’s a monumental fu€k off and get your own you lazy €tw@ts.
    He'll regret it till his dying day, if ever he lives that long

    Comment


    • #3
      And yea it was a land of golden resplendence....and then Nibiru came ploughing smokily through the clouds....

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Itsonlyagame View Post
        Question is Stan, was it the grasshoppers first summer, in that did it genuinely think there would be no winter.
        I think it's implicit that that wasn't the case Itso, judging by his dialogue with the ant. Otherwise I think the ant would have shared his food. But either way I think Sowell is using the grasshopper character more as a literary device to make the wider point of the fable.



        Last edited by Stanley; 09-10-2018, 07:01 PM.
        IMO
        YMMV
        LOL

        Comment


        • #5
          Of course what this fairly ludicrous update fails to include is how boring old George was entertained throughout the summer by the grasshopper's lovely singing, which he did freely and from his heart. Imagine a world that consisted only of Georges, what a dull place it would be.

          Furthermore, George gathered that food for free, so share with your companions George, don't be a miserable old hoarder. In a world that is not owned and controlled by top down hierarchies, their property stolen and enforced by their henchmen, there is enough for all, the artists and those who enjoy the toil, rewarded by the admiration and gratitude of those they provide for.

          Comment


          • #6
            George would have fed Grasshopper had Lefty not got involved. Remember George said he doesn’t hold a grudge, but just has a long memory. Therefore he was reluctant to feed Grasshopper at first, understandably because of the disdain and mockery Grasshopper had shown him all summer. Remember too that George would rather have educated Grasshopper, which is actually the kinder more compassionate act in the long term. As said though, Sowell is only using the Grasshopper character as a literary device to make the wider point of the fable.
            IMO
            YMMV
            LOL

            Comment


            • #7
              Well it's unbalanced without a clichéd 'Righty' to match the clichéd 'Lefty' Stan. It masquerades as a fable, but it is of course a piece of right wing political satire. It's meant to be satirising socialism, but, as so often with right wing satire, it misrepresents socialism.

              I do accept there is some truth in its representation of the kind of oxymoronic totalitarian socialism (or communism) though, but the central grasshopper character is possibly not the best analogy for the kind of wastrel the pseudo fable intends to deride. If only because of course reality is never as black and white as this. However, those who rely entirely on handouts without contributing anything have been a problem for all societies going back as far as when the tribal systems were replaced, usually in line with the beginnings of agriculture. I don't think education can always, if ever, solve this issue... But therein lies another unintended irony in the fable, in that the wastrel grasshopper is more likely to get educated under a form of socialism, or a least a more social system. One of the inherent problems with individualism is that it is as at odds with the reality that we live in societies.

              Comment


              • #8
                * Righty would have put Grasshopper in a workhouse.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Hubble View Post
                  Well it's unbalanced without a clichéd 'Righty' to match the clichéd 'Lefty' Stan. It masquerades as a fable, but it is of course a piece of right wing political satire. It's meant to be satirising socialism, but, as so often with right wing satire, it misrepresents socialism.

                  I do accept there is some truth in its representation of the kind of oxymoronic totalitarian socialism (or communism) though, but the central grasshopper character is possibly not the best analogy for the kind of wastrel the pseudo fable intends to deride. If only because of course reality is never as black and white as this. However, those who rely entirely on handouts without contributing anything have been a problem for all societies going back as far as when the tribal systems were replaced, usually in line with the beginnings of agriculture. I don't think education can always, if ever, solve this issue... But therein lies another unintended irony in the fable, in that the wastrel grasshopper is more likely to get educated under a form of socialism, or a least a more social system. One of the inherent problems with individualism is that it is as at odds with the reality that we live in societies.
                  Took the words right out of my mouth.
                  He'll regret it till his dying day, if ever he lives that long

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Hubble View Post
                    * Righty would have put Grasshopper in a workhouse.
                    Can you imagine the outrage if grasshopper had been brown......

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Itsonlyagame View Post

                      Took the words right out of my mouth.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Johnnykc View Post

                        Can you imagine the outrage if grasshopper had been brown......
                        He probably was after romping around in a fekin field all bleedin summer, the bone idle git.
                        He'll regret it till his dying day, if ever he lives that long

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          A little amusement for the lefties :
                           

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by brightonr View Post
                            A little amusement for the lefties :
                            A stork with Parkinson’s is how Rod Liddle described her.
                            Wtf is she doing leading this country ffs.
                            Last edited by Itsonlyagame; 13-10-2018, 04:10 PM.
                            He'll regret it till his dying day, if ever he lives that long

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I agree that the fable does not do full justice to either side of the divide. Perhaps it needed a third ant who will feed the grasshopper but not so much that it disincentivises him from working. Yes, we do of course need a welfare state. I also concede that the story assumes a degree of fecklessness in the poor, which might be true in a small minority of cases, but I think the majority of people would like to work if they can.

                              Sowell is essentially a Libertarian, which is reflected in the fable's message. So I think libertarianism would be a more accurate word to use than 'individualism'. I also doubt that libertarianism is really at odds with the reality that we live in societies. I'd have thought it would be less so than socialism.

                              Libertarians believe in society, but without excessive government interference. In any modern, democratic, civilised nation, the state must always play a fairly significant role, not least to protect the vulnerable. It’s all a question of degree in the end.

                              The question of 'deserving versus undeserving poor', and what to do about them, has been debated since Elizabethan times. The Victorians placed the latter (or those they regarded as the latter) in workhouses. Society has become more humane since then, but the question never goes away. As we’re discovering with Universal Credit, there are always innocent victims of any government attempt to rationalise the welfare system.

                              However, to expect a fable that characterises a festering syndrome in society at large is wishful thinking. Just as a pithy epigram can sound a basic truth without telling the whole story, likewise this fable points up the ultimate futility of so many socialistic theories, and shows where they lead. As the fable ends, "then the winter came….." as a characterisation for, say, what happened to an erstwhile oil-rich nation like Venezuela that, by espousing the mad policies of Cuban-style socialism, frittered its riches away and is now on IMF benefits and a suffering population in revolt [and the adulation of Corbynistas] - as is inevitable when you behave like our grasshopper while the sun shines.

                              I also agree that formal education cannot fully solve this issue because formal education is far too theoretical and too remote from the coalface - which is always the best teacher. Just ask any North Korean who feels free enough to talk to you.

                              Socialism has a role where sympathy and amelioration are required, but even that is usually due to its own effects in the real world when the welfare/benefit remedies can't cope and leave so many injustices exposed. But the real problem with socialism is its failure to recognise one of the most fundamental precepts in economics, which is Say's Law, which recognises that "we produce in order to consume". Hence that without production preceding consumption there is only demand (never in short supply), but nothing to consume. This is the kernel: Production requires capital, and capital comes from savings - not state handouts. That is the harsh reality.

                              Interestingly, the author Thomas Sowell was actually a black orphan raised in abject poverty in Harlem, NYC - one of the poorest areas in the country - before eventually rising to become one of the most renowned economists and social theorists of the last 100 years.
                              IMO
                              YMMV
                              LOL

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X