Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage…Basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass. [Emphasis added.]
– Prof. Jonathan Gruber, a chief architect of ObamaCare
On Thanksgiving Day, many Americans sit down with family and friends to a turkey dinner. But have we really thought about turkeys?
The wild turkey is a lean, fast bird. It can run at 25 mph and fly at 55 mph. Ben Franklin proposed it for our national symbol, though the flashier bald eagle won out. But then turkeys were domesticated and bred for tender meat. They became too heavy to run fast or fly. They became too stupid to protect themselves. During storms they panic and run in all directions.
Domestic turkeys’ deficiencies aren’t important, as long as the farmer continues to provide food and protection from predators. But unlike their wild cousins, the poor birds couldn’t survive on their own. They couldn’t find food, or protect themselves and their young. They couldn’t recognize enemies.
But these stupid creatures aren’t the only ones that have been so domesticated that they have lost the ability to protect themselves and their young. They aren’t the only ones that depend on their owners to feed and protect them.
There are human turkeys who have become so used to being cared for that they are unable to recognize enemies, much less fight them. There are human turkeys who have been treated as domestic animals for so long that they have come to think of themselves that way.
And in the process, their brains shrank. Overall intelligence remained the same. The shrinkage was localized to the segment of the brain that recognizes danger and evokes a vigorous response. The deficiency developed in the part of the personality that sees itself as a responsible individual. The defect appeared in the portion of the mind that initiates action itself, rather than waiting for someone else to do something. (Recall the Penn State sex-abuse scandal? Everyone expected someone else to act, so no one did.)
Consider the differences between wild and domestic turkeys. Consider which type many of us have come to resemble.
● Wild turkeys are lean and muscular. They must be able to move fast. But many Americans, even young ones, are fat. They eat huge portions and get little exercise.
● Wild turkeys are alert. They have to be to stay alive. But many Americans have lapsed into a pacifist stupor. They are interested only in making money and having fun, and they narcissistically assume everyone is like them – materialistic. So they can’t understand religious fanaticism. They can’t believe there are people who hate them, spit on their way of life, and want to behead them.
● Wild turkeys can recognize enemies. But many Americans can’t. They fear Evangelical Christians more than they fear extremist Muslims. They saw Major Hasan’s attack at Fort Hood that left 14 dead, but claim his motive is a “mystery.” Who knows? Maybe a “toothache” made him “snap.”
● Wild turkeys are wary of danger. But many Americans condemn “profiling.” They pretend not to notice when grandmothers from Grand Forks are searched in airports, while Middle Eastern young men pass through freely.
● Wild turkeys care for themselves. But many Americans treat formerly fatal diseases with a handful of pills, then condemn “big pharma” for “obscene” profits. They enjoy excellent health care, but passively watch it being dismantled. They know people whose lives were saved by cancer screening, but they say nothing when “experts” plan to reduce screening.
● Wild turkeys care for their young. But many Americans abdicate that responsibility to the government. They expect schools to provide breakfasts, lunches, and now even suppers. They expect teachers to provide guidance on behavior, drugs, and safe sex. They expect the government to take over child care. They expect the state to take over if the father “takes off.” When a wild turkey takes off, it is to find food.
● Wild turkeys build nests to shelter their young. But many Americans see their houses not as family homes, but as speculations to “flip” every year or two for a profit – or a foreclosure if the market drops.
● Wild turkeys protect themselves and their young. But many Americans expect police to protect them, then tie cops’ hands. They scrutinize shootings by police to fix blame, but gloss over shootings of police, neglecting to discover whether their unrealistic rules put police in extra danger.
● Wild turkeys mature into self-reliant adults. But many Americans remain childlike. They assume that if they don’t have guns, they will be safe from armed criminals. They assume that if they don’t build a missile defense, they will be safe from missiles armed with nuclear, biologic, or chemical weapons. They assume that if they don’t fight terrorists, there will be no terrorism. They assume that if they close their eyes, the boogey man can’t see them.
● Wild turkeys live in flocks, then separate into family groups to mate and rear their young. But many Americans no longer see the family as the basis of civilization. They have children out of wedlock and go from one partner to another. Their primary concern is their own pleasure, not their children’s well-being. They pursue careers, but allow their kids to be raised by others. They “love all the peoples of the earth,” but neglect their own families. They want to “save the planet,” but not their own marriages. They are “citizens of the world,” but not of their own country. The idea that they might have to fight to protect what’s theirs never occurs to them.
● Wild turkeys are independent. Nobody owns them. But many Americans no longer see themselves as individuals responsible to a just God, but merely as cogs in a socialist machine. They abdicate to the state the responsibility for important decisions − and for the moral consequences of those decisions. Killing unborn babies or severely disabled adults? Allowing bureaucrats to decide who gets medical care and who doesn’t? It’s not their problem.
● Wild turkeys know they must obtain their own food. So do most middle-class and working-class Americans. But many at the extremes − the very rich and the very poor − expect the government to bail them out of trouble caused by their own bad choices.
● Wild turkeys follow their own path. But many Americans admire Western Europeans, forgetting that in a generation or two, Europeans’ low birthrates will allow Muslim immigrants to outnumber them, and Europe as we know it will disappear. Europeans have lost the ability to maintain themselves, much less to defend themselves. Why emulate failure?
● Wild turkeys have a strong survival instinct. But many Americans remain apathetic while an activist minority undermines the foundation of their civilization, including all vestiges of their Judeo-Christian heritage − even Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Many Americans resemble domestic turkeys, not wild turkeys. But domestic turkeys are notoriously stupid and helpless. They make lousy role models.
Domestic turkeys lead thoughtless lives. They concern themselves with eating and having sex. But if marauding coyotes threaten, they ignore the danger. They try to “see the point of view” of the coyotes. They try to understand the “legitimate grievances” of the coyotes.
And if the farmer stations guard dogs to protect them, they blame the dogs for “causing trouble.” They demand that the farmer remove the guard dogs from the barnyard. After all, “Barking is not the answer.”
Even if they were capable of gratitude, domestic turkeys wouldn’t be grateful for freedom. They would only be confused by it, and would feel no gratitude to those who risk their lives to defend it.
Domestic turkeys have no idea of their fate. They trust their owner, so they expect to grow old in safety. They think “death panels” are fictional. In reality, they’ll get treatment only if “experts are advising doctors across the board… that it will save money.” Not prolong life. Not reduce suffering. Not improve functioning. Just “save money.” But prolonging the lives of elderly or disabled persons would cost money. The government will save money by having them die as soon as possible. Of course, it won’t be called a “death panel.” The farmer will take them one-by-one, so the turkeys won’t notice the axe.
Worst of all, domestic turkeys are utterly unaware of their purpose in the scheme of things. Turkeys make up an important part of Thanksgiving, but they have no notion of what we should be thankful for, or to Whom we should give thanks.
Yes, the domestic turkey would be an appropriate symbol for many modern Americans. It would be more fitting than the wild turkey, and certainly more fitting than the eagle. But before we go to the trouble of redesigning our Great Seal, our military insignia, and our money, we should consider redefining ourselves.
The turkeys have been in charge of the barnyard for some time, so our first task is to clean up a really nasty mess.
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