Grasshopper Heaven, Worker Ant Hell

Do they still tell the story of the ant and the grasshopper to school kids?

In this Aesop fable the fact that time changes conditions is illustrated, putting forth the idea that it is prudent to "make hay while the sun shines" even if there's more work than you would rather do, simply because the time may come when there is no work possible. Summer inevitably turns into winter for a while, yet one's daily needs will be the same in either case. Saving for hard times is the thing to do. Believing in spring alone won't cut it.

In our postmodern world, however, the idea of savings has been replaced by credit score. Debt is the new normal while self-sufficiency has become an outdated notion, falling by the wayside like dust on the side of the road.

In contrast with the story linked above, my experience tells me that ants usually work in groups, sometimes large ones. Furthermore, it has not escaped me that the grasshoppers have organized into unions and infiltrated the congress of lawmakers who have devised a clever plan. They have promised to protect the ants and their assets from harm, provide "social security" for their retirement and health insurance. This effectively eliminates the need for savings and all for a very small fraction of their production (initially voluntary, but eventually and continually growing). Having heaped regulations and parameters on the ants, more and more of their substance is drained away by the cabal of grasshoppers (whose attitudes remain profligate and derisive, as is their nature). Their habit is to spend the hard earned revenues and party with other miscreant non-workers off camera, while speaking in moderate tones to news repeaters (formerly reporters) about their efforts to provide for the general welfare.

Some things never change. They are called principles. Grasshoppers -- those who prefer to play rather than to work -- existed in the time of Aesop as they do now. But presently, in the system of social welfare concocted by progressives, the grasshoppers are running a dishonest racket and enslaving the worker ants while doling out favors to preferred groups of their cohorts in legal plunder.

The truth is there will always be haves and have-nots. Haves are those who work. Have-nots are those who will not work. An argument will be made that there are those who cannot work, but I say this is often merely an excuse, as any doctor working in an emergency room can tell you with the number of able-bodied people on disability coverage. So many useful services can be done sitting in a chair these days that all one needs is a cogent thought capacity. Unfortunately even this is not always present in every individual.


Sibyl West is the editor of and was handed the AFP-Texas Blogger of the Year award for 2010, with gratitude.