Friday, November 18, 2011

The Sow In The Wheelbarrow

Watching this video:

(h/t Kate @ SDA) I am reminded of an old story about a farmer and his prize sow. 

Farmer Brown was a rather poor man, and although he had a marvellous prize sow, he had no boar. Fortunately, his neighbour Farmer Jones was a very rich man, who had the best boar in the area. So Farmer Brown called his neighbour and asked him if he might borrow the services of the boar. 

Farmer Jones was happy to help. "Certainly," he said. "Just put her in the wheelbarrow, bring on up to the farm tomorrow and she can go in with the boar." So Farmer Brown dutifully pushed his sow in the wheelbarrow all the way up the steep hill to Farmer Jones. In due course, the boar performed his duties and Farmer Brown started back home with his sow. "How will I know if it worked?" he asked. "Easy," said Farmer Jones. "You'll see her lying on her back in the morning." 

So Farmer Brown awoke early the next day, but the sow wasn't on her back. She was snuffling happily as usual. So Farmer Brown loaded her back up into the wheelbarrow, pushed her back up the hill, and put her in with the boar again. And once again he wheeled her down the hill and waited to see what would happen.

The next morning, the sow was still snuffling around in her sty. So Farmer Brown, although getting tired, pushed her once more up to his neighbour's farm and put her in with the boar. And once again, he hauled her down to his own farm.

The next morning, Farmer Brown couldn't bear to look out of the window himself, so he asked his wife. "Is the sow up and about and rooting for food?" Mrs. Brown looked out of the farmhouse window. "No," she said. Farmer Brown perked up. "Is she lying on her back?" he asked. "No," said his wife, "She's lying in the wheelbarrow."

For too long, the hard working taxpayers of the west have been pushing the wheelbarrow up the hill, in the hope that somehow or other the sows of the welfare state might be turned into productive members of the farm community. But far from that, the sows haven't learned to be productive. They've learned the wheelbarrow is a comfortable place to be, where someone else will carry them up the hill and they can still enjoy their rewards at the top. The farmers are tired, they can't push any longer, and the sows don't like it. This seems to me to be where we are, in a nutshell. Not to mention the obvious analogy between the Occupiers and the pig pen dwellers.