Stupid Cattle: An American Parable


There was a time when the cattle went pretty much wherever they wanted and did as they pleased.

But that was before the farmer took over.

He had 20 acres of beautiful green grass. That’s a lot of land in the city where he came from. Certainly it would be enough to handle a few animals who just sit around waiting to give away their milk or to be turned into hamburgers.

It didn’t take long for the new farmer to realize how foolish he was. Sure, the grass keeps growing but not nearly as fast as the cattle. And as more came along, his 20 acres seemed to shrink.

As the eager farmer saw it, there were two options.

The first option was based merely on common sense. He could buy more land and allow the cattle to have more freedom to roam and eat as they please. While that would be good for them, it wouldn’t be so good for the farmer. He would no longer enjoy the control he had when space was limited to that small parcel of land. Even worse, the cattle would start to realize that they don’t need him quite as much as he likes to be needed.

So he went with the second option. He called it the stupid option. But really, it was quite brilliant.

He called it the stupid option because the entire plan was dependent upon the stupidity of the cattle. If they were ever made aware of or reminded of how great it is in the wide open spaces that surround the farmer’s small piece of land, the whole plan falls to pieces.

He decides to keep some of the cattle. The others have to go. There’s only one question. How should he cut down on the numbers? After careful consideration, he develops a plan to stay in power, keep the numbers of cattle down to a manageable level and have tighter control over the cattle that he does keep. Sure, he could just sell the ones that he didn’t want but that would be inhumane.

So he does everything he can to discourage reproduction among the cattle. He confuses gender lines and terminates those calves, “mistakes,” “bundles of cells” and “unwanted pregnancies” that somehow manage to get past him.

Next, he singles out some of the best cows, the ones who have done the most, proven themselves as hard workers and sacrificed for the good of others. He punishes them. He makes them wait when they need help the most. If they die while waiting, this only helps his ultimate agenda of thinning the herd. The last thing the farmer wants is legitimate heroes and examples of a strong work ethic walking around and spreading their influence. He also manages to convince the rest of the cattle to willingly jump in on this same plan. He does this by promising them the whole prairie while only giving them a few blades of grass.

Finally, the numbers are where the farmer wants them. The small amount of cattle are easily controlled at all times. Just so long as they stay satisfied with the few blades of grass that they are given. Just so long as they remain convinced that they really are being given the world. Just as long as they remain blind, uninformed and apathetic about what it is that is being done to them.

Ignorance, as the old saying goes, is curable. The farmer does not want this cure for his cattle. For his plan to work, the cattle must be more than just ignorant. They must be stupid. This is why it is important for him to control what they know and how they think.

Stupidity is different than ignorance.

Stupidity is always fatal.

An informed man will eventually resist.

A stupid man delights in the tyranny done to him and worships the one who is doing it.

Just as long as he can be convinced that his bondage is freedom and that his oppression is for his own good.

Years from now, people will discuss what it was that finally destroyed the once great United States. Was there a foreign invader? Did a tyrant king take over by force?

The answer will be a simple one.

There was no foreign invader. The tyrant did not take over by force.

He was elected.

By stupid people who would rather be given a few blades of grass than to roam freely in order to get their own.