November 28, 2012
My friend Dennis from North Dakota sent me this updated fable several days ago. I don’t know what Aesop had in mind in his specific culture when he wrote the fable, but he pointed out a common weakness in human nature. The “old version” shown below is a synopsis and not the whole story. Do you want to see how up-to-date Aesop is? Read the two versions:
The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.
The ant works hard in the withering heat and the rain all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while he is cold and starving.
CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. America is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can it be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?
Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and everybody cries when they sing, “It’s Not Easy Being Green“. ACORN stages a demonstration in front of the ant’s house where the news stations film the group singing “We Shall Overcome“.
Rev. Jeremiah Wright has the group kneel to pray for the grasshopper’s sake. President Obama condemns the ant and blames President Bush, President Reagan, Christopher Columbus, and the Pope for the grasshopper’s plight.
Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid exclaim in an interview with Piers Morgan that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.
Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity & Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government Green Czar and given to the grasshopper.
The story ends as we see the grasshopper and his free-loading friends finishing up the last bits of the ant’s food while his government house, which, as you recall, just happens to be the ant’s old house, crumbles around them because the grasshopper doesn’t maintain it. The ant has disappeared in the snow, never to be seen again.
The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident, and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize and ramshackle the once prosperous and peaceful neighborhood. The entire Nation collapses, bringing the rest of the free world with it.
What is the point?
Personal responsibility is increasingly anachronistic in these United States. With entitlement mentality embedded in the hearts of more and more citizens, people tend to think their problems are the fault of someone or more likely some group. This leads to increased divisiveness, pitting classes against one other for political or economic advantage. The greater the emphasis on the collective, the lesser the emphasis on the individual. The lesser the emphasis on the individual, the smaller the emphasis on taking responsibility.
It doesn’t work out well for anyone. In the short term it seems peachy for a few. For the society, however, corruption is sown, and degradation follows.
I wonder what a good dose of growing up might do for us all.
What do you think? Is the fable accurate?