By Dale Lucht
Remember the book “Animal Farm?” You probably read it in high school. Written by George Orwell, published in 1945, it was based on Soviet Russia. The story was about an animal uprising on Manor Farm. A meeting is called by the old boar, Old Major. In his speech, Old Major refers to humans as parasites. (Sound like makers and takers?) When Old Major dies two young pigs Snowball and Napoleon vie for leadership. The animals revolt and drive the farmer from the farm. They adopt Seven Commandments of Animalism, the most important of which is, “All animals are equal.” Eventually Napoleon ousts Snowball and takes over total control of the farm. Years pass and the animals start to take on some qualities of humans, such as standing on two feet, wearing clothes, and drunkenness. Eventually their seven commandments were replaced by one, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
It appears to me that our country is becoming more and more like Animal Farm. Since the most recent election the Republicans are starting to crowd around the trough to see how much they can get. Some of you may have grown up on a farm and if you raised pigs you’ll remember the pushing and shoving and grunting when they were fed. If I close my eyes that is what Congress sounds like.
Corporatist democrats are almost as bad. We’ve always had this symbiotic relationship with Capitalism, but now it’s more adulterous. Now the government no longer works with business, it works for business. Basically our country was founded by two groups of people: Land Owners and Religious Fanatics. Both groups were rather crazy. On the whole we haven’t healed ourselves; we may have even gotten worse. In our delusion we’ve even convinced other countries that our form of government is best.
Is it for the best that we breathe in smog? Is it for the best that well water is polluted? Is it for the best that we still have monopolies? I believe in a free enterprise system, but if politicians believed in it, they would be busting up monopolies. No one did a better job of this than the Republican Theodore Roosevelt. Teddy Roosevelt was instrumental in breaking up the largest railroad trust and also breaking up Standard Oil. He was also instrumental in cleaning up the meat packing industry. Even though President Roosevelt did many things I don’t agree with, I believe he was probably the first to take the side of the common man against Corporate Greed.
This is a battle that we have waged for more than a century, actually our whole existence as a country. Who is the government for? Is it for businesses and corporations or is it for individuals? You hear that political trends are cyclical. At my age, I have my doubts that I’ll ever see it swing back to my side of the spectrum, unless I live to my allotted 140 years.
My basic philosophy was formed by another book. This time of year made me remember it and I realized how much it affected my belief system. Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is that book. If you’ll remember Scrooge is talking to Marley’s ghost and Scrooge says that Marley was always a good man of business. Marley’s ghost moaned “Mankind was my business.” Let us try to remember that in the coming New Year.