Saturday, October 5, 2013

Sitting Behind a Cow

I thought I was so damn smart, being from the big city and all. But then one day I found myself sitting behind a cow. It’s a long story. Suffice it to say I was on a writing assignment which took me to a dairy farm. I was sitting behind a cow in its stall. To my left and right there was an endless line of cow asses sticking out of stalls, as far as the naked eye could see.

Suddenly, I heard a whoosh. And gushing out of the ass of the cow in the stall directly to my left was a mudslide of shit, enough to fill a bucket. I instantly realized that at any moment the ass of the cow in front of me could similarly erupt, in which case gallons of shit would land in my lap.

So what did I do? I backed up until I was out of range. And I felt as if I had just learned a profound lesson about human existence. But I never figured out exactly what that lesson was until I recently met a man who spends much of his day worshiping a praising a Supreme Entity.

The man said the secret to his happiness, and to all human happiness, is to recognize the infallibility of this Entity and to surrender to its power. The Supreme Entity will ultimately judge us all in the end and its judgment is never wrong. Those that accept and obey its edicts and pronouncement and follow its path will be rewarded. Those that scoff will be punished. Thus, there is no such thing as injustice. The Supreme Entity always gives us what we deserve

This man, of course, is a libertarian. And the Supreme entity he so passionately worships is the Free Market, whatever in the hell that is. And listening to him going on made me realize that the valuable lesson I learned from nearly being shat upon by a cow was the difference between ignorance and naiveté.

To me, naiveté implies innocence. You do or say or believe something stupid because you don’t know any better. I was naïve about cows. I’d never been that close to a cow in its pre-slaughtered stage. Once I gained a deeper understanding of what cows are and how they function by witnessing how robustly they take a shit, I adjusted my behavior and worldview accordingly. Had I refused to acccept this new perspective, I would have been shat upon.

But ignorance to me is naiveté plus willful self-deception. The root of the word is ignore. You continue to do or say or believe something stupid despite all the evidence to the contrary. Some people are so ignorant they must take a daily personal vow: “I do solemnly swear to ignore the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” They must fervently pray first thing each morning: “Please give me the strength to dismiss everything that threatens to alter my perception of reality.”

It’s so bloody obvious that in this libertarian man’s utopia, the only change cripples could ever hope for is spare change. If this man spent much time at all hanging around cripples he’d see that pretty fast.  But I’m sure he knows that avoiding cripples is one of the keys to maintaining his ignorance.

Maybe he’ll see the light if he becomes a cripple and he gets shat upon.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I think you find men of that sort for any kind of ideology (or any kind of economic system, for that matter). But I will say that you make the, "one day in his shoes," to criticize the libertarian, which is kinda what the free market is all about. The free market assumes a limitation of knowledge. We can't put ourselves in the shoes of every sort of person who lives in this world and that's why a lot of libertarians think that the government can be mostly an obstacle because the government, itself, cannot place themselves in everybody's shoes yet they make impactful decisions all the time.

    The free market does not require individuals to understand every sort of person there is but uses prices as a way to judge value and scarcity of resources which individuals can freely base their choices on. It's not a perfect system, but I believe it is the best worst system we can strive for. It is a utopia, but so is perfect socialism and communism, and I haven't been able to place myself in the shoes of a Greek citizen or a North Korean citizen. The difference is that the free market is saying there is not one, general solution to an issue while the other two do.

    Though, I'll say I am not all for a free market, I am just not really for something that stands to provide solutions without considering the actual costs of these "common good" solutions. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed reading this post and all your posts.

  3. And then there are a couple people I've met who are both disabled and libertarian. They've been shat on repeatedly, but haven't yet figured out why.

  4. Greets SAC. I don't think much about politics, when I can be bothered to think at all. But a while back I took a quiz to see just what party I should worship - erm, vote for - whatever. It said I was (mostly) libertarian, whatever that is. Just wondering if you ever took one yourself to find out if your core beliefs align with your stated political views.

    Keep that flame of smartassery burning, dude.