Many times when I’ve tried to discuss the issue of socialism/communism, and other governmental isms, with those who are not that knowledgeable of these forms of government, it can be difficult to boil it all in a nutshell that can be easily understood and remembered.
I’ve found that parables are a very effective way of explaining complex concepts to a large and diverse audience.
For your consideration:
Here’s the best list I’ve been able to find in my search for understanding the differences between the types of systems of government philosphy. I don’t know who compiled it. But, it is insightful. In the interest of full disclosure, I did edit it a bit to make it more timely.
FEUDALISM: You have two cows. Your lord of the manor takes some of the milk in return for protecting you from roaming brigands. (This is where the Mafia got the “protection racket” idea.)
PURE SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else’s cows. You have to take care of all the cows. The government gives you as much milk as it thinks you should need.
BUREAUCRATIC SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else’s cows. They are cared for by ex-chicken farmers. You dairymen have to take care of the chickens the government took from the chicken farmers. The government gives you as much milk and as many eggs as the regulations say you should need.
FASCISM: You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them, and sells you the milk. (See Chrysler and GM)
PURE COMMUNISM: You have two cows. Your neighbors help you take care of them, and you all share the milk equally. Life is good until one of the neighbors has triplets that require more milk than the alotted equal share. A committee is formed to decide what to do. In order to maintain the equal shares of milk, the triplets are killed.
RUSSIAN COMMUNISM: You have two cows. In order to avoid a one-way trip to the gulag, you have to take care of them, but the government takes all the milk.
TOTALITARIANISM (DICTATORSHIP): You have two cows. The government takes both cows and shoots you and your family.
SINGAPOREAN DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. The government fines you for keeping two unlicensed farm animals in a one room apartment.
MILITARIANISM: You have two cows. The government takes both and drafts you.
PURE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. You and your neighbors vote to see who gets the milk.
REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. You and your neighbors pick someone to tell you who gets the milk. Of course, the duly elected representative gets to siphon off first dibs on the milk.
AMERICAN DEMOCRACY: The government promises to give you two cows if you vote for it. After the election, the President is impeached for speculating in cow futures. The press dubs the affair “Cowgate”. If the President is a Democrat, MoveOn.org urges us to move on and not cry over spilled milk. If he is a Republican, a truth commission headed by Nancy Pelosi will be convened.
BRITISH DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. You feed them sheeps’ brains and they go mad. The government doesn’t do anything. The Queen eventually dissolves Parliament and the mad cow crisis is blamed on the IRA.
BUREAUCRACY: You have two cows. At first the government regulates what you can feed them and when you can milk them. Then it pays you not to milk them. After that it takes both cows, shoots one, milks the other and makes you pour the milk down the drain. Then it requires you to fill out forms in triplicate accounting for the missing cow and fines you for improper disposal of milk.
ANARCHISM: You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at what your neighbors think is a fair price or your neighbors try to kill you and take your cows.
ENTREPRENEURIAL CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You have an idea to create a dairy farm and dairy product company. You take personal intiative and risk to bring it to reality. You sell one cow and buy a bull. You breed them and work your butt off to create a small dairy and a herd that grows in size. You and your family get up at 3:00 am everyday to make the dairy productive and prosperous. Eventually you expand production by reinvesting your profits to grow the business and you hire workers to work in the growing dairy and take care of the herd. You produce much more milk much more efficiently and at a lower cost per gallon. You sell the milk, butter, cheese and ice cream far and wide and profit from your efforts. The government comes along and regulates the dairy to assure public health and safety. You have to hire a department to keep up with the regulatory paperwork. Profit margins shrink. Production costs rise. The Milker’s union organizes your employees without a secret ballot using “Card Check” and then makes demands for higher wages and more and more benefits that cause the dairy to become non-competitive with cheaper imported milk,cheese, ice cream and butter. With profits tanking and regulatory and union headaches soaring. You finally say, “Enough is enough!” You liquidate the dairy, sell the cows, equipment and land to a shopping mall developer and retire to Florida. The unionized workers now go to the unemployment line and grumble about how unfair you are. The government will tax your estate when you die as a last act of indignity.
HONG KONG CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly-traded company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-laws at the banks, then execute a debt/equity swap with associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax deduction for keeping five cows. The milk rights of six cows are transferred via a Panamanian intermediary to a Cayman Islands company secretly owned by the majority shareholder, who sells the rights to all seven cows’ milk back to the listed company. The annual report says that the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. Meanwhile, you kill the two cows because the feng shiu is bad.
ENVIRONMENTALISM: You have two cows. Thanks to ACLU lawsuits for animal abuse and torture, the government bans you from milking or killing them . OSHA and the EPA mandate that all manure and methane emmissions must be properly captured by workers in haz-mat suits and treated before disposal at the Government Recycling Center 246 miles away. It is open every other Wednesday between 9:00 and 4:30. Permits for transportation and disposal must obtained every other Friday between 9:00 and Noon at the recycling center.
FEMINISM: You have two cows. They get married in New Hampshire and adopt a veal calf. They buy fat free homogenized milk at the store and live out a peaceful life as dry cows.
TOTALITARIANISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and denies they ever existed. Milk is banned because of “it’s consumption can lead to obesity, heart disease, mad cow disease and lactose intolerance.”
COUNTER CULTURISM: Wow, dude, there’s like… these two cows, man. You got to have some of this milk.
SURREALISM: You have two male giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.
LIBERTARIANISM: You have two cows. One has actually read the Constitution, believes in its principles and has some really good ideas about government. The cow runs for office, and while most people agree that the cow is the best candidate, nobody except the other cow votes for her because all the other cows think it would be “throwing their vote away.”
DISCONTENTED CARNATIONISM: Discontented Carnation cows vote for “Change” and Obama is elected and ACORN is put in charge of counting your cows and all of the rest of the cows – and, because of the hay bale out – all cows are now owned 75% by the Milker’s Union and 22.5% by the Federal Government and 2.5% by you. The Bondholders have to settle for 10-cents on the dollar. Take it or leave it.
Birk, Commonsensetarian and Citizen of the Republic
PS: None of the cows mentioned in this blog were harmed or consumed during the writing process, nor was any milk spilled or cried over, nor does the homogenized milk mentioned have anything whatsover to do with the movie MILK.