Government 101: Two Cows

Just before Election Day, I’d like to add a bit of political humor to lighten things up.

If you haven’t heard about the “Two Cow” Philosophy of Government, I hope it will bring a smile to your face. It’s a fun, irreverent way to learn the major forms of government. I don’t know who came up with the original idea, but there are a lot of versions out there (like The Two Cow Philosophy of Government, Political Philosophy 101, and Politics Made Easy) and many people have contributed their own ideas. It may have started as a joke, but the best jokes have an element of truth in them.

With a grin, here’s an introduction to Government 101:

* Anarchy: You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price or your neighbors try to kill you and take the cows.

* Communism: You have two cows. The government takes them both and provides you with milk.

* Democracy: You have two cows. Your neighbors decide who will get the milk.

* Democracy, American Style: You have two cows. The government taxes you to the point that you must sell them both in order to support a man in a foreign country who has only one cow which was a gift from your government.

* Dictatorship: You have two cows. The government takes both and shoots you.

* Fascism: You have two cows. The government takes them and sells you the milk.

* Feudalism: You have two cows. The lord of the manor takes some of the milk. And all of the cream.

* Socialism: You have two cows. The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor.

* Totalitarianism: You have two cows. The government takes them and denies they ever existed. Milk is banned.

* Bureaucracy (Not a government philosophy by itself, but it’s like death and taxes): 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, shoots one, milks the other, and pours the milk down the drain. Then it requires you to fill out forms accounting for the missing cows.

And while we’re at it, a quick introduction to Economics 101 (* with a few of my own additions):

* Barter: You have two cows. You trade the milk for cookies. *

* Capitalism: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.

* Capitalism, American Style: You have two cows. You sell one, buy a bull, and build a herd of cows.

* Charity: You have two cows. You give milk to a neighbor who needs it. When the neighbor has two cows of his own, he gives milk to another neighbor who needs it. *

* Free Trade/Free Market: You have two cows. You sell the milk to someone who makes cream, and buy cookies from someone who has no cows.*

My favorite has more to do with art than government –

* Surrealism: You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

How many cows do you have? What do you want to do with them?

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