THE GOAT and COW — A Parable of Political Truths
From a chapter in my upcoming RIGHT and WRONG, Not Left and Right!
The Goat and the Cow
“Myths which are believed in tend to become true.” –George Orwell
Right and wrong, good and evil, truth and lies, have been with mankind from the beginning of recorded history. It is these elements which occupy much of the storyteller’s time and creates the triumph necessary for good literature to succeed with the reader.
We know good and bad when we see it, and we can sense and feel it from childhood. Our history is wrapped around it, our fables and fantasy stories require it. We live by it in moral codes of conduct and by rule of law in every city, county, and state in our union.
Our faith requires understanding it and we even see the opposites of virtue and vice, corruption and incorruption in terms of heaven and hell.
God is with us or he is not. The devil rules us or he does not. Right and wrong have consequences as sure as night follows day. It does not matter much what we believe. It only matters what we believe is also true.
I was driving with my son, who then was in his early teens but totally connected to the world of instant gratification in terms of knowledge, accepting the quickest answer to things via the internet and was generally otherwise distracted by noises of the world. This is a “normal” for a teen now days.
I had, however, thought I had done a good job of parenting to this point, though forgetting what it was like to not be mature in judgment and knowledge, or in other words an average teenager.
I was sipping a soft drink as we drove up a canyon. He didn’t have any other distractions before him, just the scenery as it passed us by. I too was in deep reflection, most likely upon a chapter I was then engaged in editing for one of my novels.
Excitedly he said, “Look Dad. That sure is a funny looking cow!”
I looked everywhere for a cow. Finally I said, “Where?”
“Over there!” he pointed with the tone that implied my age created fewer brain cells each passing year.
I spewed the soft drink out and over the car’s console, my lap, and pulled over choking.
I looked over at him and asked sincerely, now believing my failures as a parent were complete, “Are you serious?”
“That’s not a cow.”
“But it has black and white spots,” he replied with exasperation.
“Son, pigs have black and white spots. Just because it has black and white spots, does not mean it is a cow,” I answered.
“Then what is it?” he asked.
Tears were almost stinging my eyes as I looked out the car window, up into the sky and pled, “God, what have I done wrong?”
I sucked it up and kindly replied, “It’s a goat, Mike. Goats also have black and white spots.”
The remainder of the drive was fun for him as he learned a new truth. Just because the spots are apparently the same as worn by another animal does make the belief true. A cow is a cow, and now he knew what a goat looked like.
Cha ching! Another day done and another success in good parenting!
The parable of the goat and cow as applied to the question at hand is not if I am left or right politically, but if I am right or wrong. Being wrong and proclaiming it right does not make it so any more than calling a goat a cow makes the goat… a cow.
You can believe anything you want. Believing something doesn’t make it so. Truth is unyielding as it produces effects which can be examined under the light of careful scrutiny. Truth produces the fruit of its seed. It is consistent, does not vary, and yields results which any double-blind scientific test may validate over and over again.
Political fantasy, however, offered from the utopian mind of the social do-gooder is built upon sands called hope and a verbal vapor called change and disappears from view as rapidly as reality based upon ageless truths wash over them. They are rhetoric without substance, ends justifying the means to gain power.
Wrong often prevails in politics, regardless of the fantasy induced in slick marketing to present it as truth.
You can lap information up from one party or another but the spots don’t make the animal. Truth of nature makes the animal. Make sure you understand what you are seeing and get it right.
James Michael Pratt is a New York Times bestselling author of fiction and non-fiction. His most popular title, The Lost Valentine was recently made into a Hallmark Hall of Fame world premier event with Betty White and Jennifer Love Hewitt and viewed by 14.5 million. He has appeared on national radio and television including Hannity’s Great American Panel. His books have been published in 6 languages. He is a frequent guest columnist for major online news sites. More about his writing and career may be found at www.jmpratt.com.