Civics 101

The Realities of Government and Politics

By: Leon Felkins
Written: 1/8/96 -- Revised 10/26/2004
Hard at Work! This area is in work.
Happy Cattle!
After having taken each individual, in turn, into his powerful hands and moulded them in his own way, the sovereign reduces each nation into nothing more than a herd of timid and hard working animals of which the government is the shepherd.
-- Alexis de Tocqueville, De la Démocratie en Amérique (1840)
First let me explain the pictures. There is a connection to the stated subject. Cattle -- in return for giving up their freedom -- get free medical care, free food, disputes resolved, and lots of security. They really have nothing to worry about. They are a contented lot.

From the cow's point of view, their master seems exceptionally kind and benevolent. Not only are all the comforts provided, most of the cows would argue that they have plenty of freedom. Most of the time they are allowed to roam a rather large pasture at their will. Of course, the pasture does have a fence around it and there are those disturbing instances when they are locked up in pens for awhile, but even that is usually for their own good. Strangely, some cows don't like the fence and are constantly probing for its weaknesses. Such cows, when found out, find that there are severe consequences for such probing.

All in all it is a good life, not much to complain about really. Until one day, it suddenly becomes obvious why they have been so well cared for. But by then it is too late!

A Proud Deer! The deer, on the other hand, has to worry about all those things. The deer has no medical care, it has to find its own food and it has to provide for its own security. In fact, in return for her independence, about the only thing she gets, for sure, is . . . freedom! But the price is high. She has to find her own food, she has to provide for own security, she has to settle her own disputes, and she has to find her own shelter.

From the cows point of view, the deer is a fool to give up so much just for freedom. Who needs freedom anyway? What good is it?

It is not obvious. The benefits are subtle but they are significant. First, physically and mentally, the deer is superior to the cow. It has to be to survive. It doesn't rely on drugs and medical care for its health as the cow does. Surviving on its own has resulted in it being graceful, strong, fast, intelligent, and very alert. Second, it enjoys the variety and wonder of nature. Unlike the cow, it doesn't have to look at the same terrain every day. It is smart enough to know it can jump fences (Cows can too, they just don't know it. In a crisis, some discover they can). Third, the deer's life is exciting. The cow's life is dull, dull, dull. The deer would not trade places with the cow and if it were somehow provided with all the cow's benefits but with the fence, would try to escape.

So what does all this have to do with politics and the human condition? I'll leave that for you to decide. Surely, when you have examined the information I present here on the political environment we live in, the answer will be obvious. So, let us begin. Following are the primary divisions of politics and government that will be discussed here:
Leon Felkins

Copyright © 1996-2004, S. Leon Felkins