About Frogs and Foxes
Author: Norman Kjono
Article Published: 1 January 2008
Agenda-Afflicted view themselves as victims of circumstance. To their mind, the circumstances with which they are confronted justify their self-serving, opportunistic behavior. In response to challenging circumstances, they often create more victims to solve their immediate problems.
Many respond to looters by becoming them—demanding that any group other than themselves be required to comply with mandates, pay discriminatory costs, or bear an unequal burden. By doing so, they confirm the looters’ agenda as legitimate. The only matters then left open to question are who the victims will be and how much will be consumed at their expense.
Such behavior is akin to the common squirrel begging a hungry fox to eat the hare. More sophisticated squirrels launch social marketing campaigns that extol the virtues of rabbit stew and its unique suitability to fox nutritional needs. Neither squirrels nor hares as a group tend to consider undertaking the effort or investing the cost required to build a fence that will keep the fox at bay. “Such things,” many squirrels indignantly say, “are other people’s responsibility, not ours.” “What else,” rabbits often complain, “are we paying legislators for? There ought to be a law.” Most squirrels and hares whine, “All we want is to be left alone.” Pointing to the other species, some sanctimoniously opine, “We’re better than them, so they should bear the costs of building our fence.” It is tacitly understood by the sanctimonious the once the fence is built the lesser species will be excluded from the protection it affords. By doing so, self-defined victims overlook the inbred instinct of the fox to feed and that the fox will not change its predatory behavior. Consequently, the fox population expands; with rabbits and squirrels pointing out the best locations to hunt the other species, the pickings are easy. Foxes grow to be sleek and bold.
Soon, however, neither hares nor squirrels can breed fast enough to feed the now-dominant fox population. Fox proclamations about the need for others to sacrifice themselves during times of shortage fall on deaf ears. Absent its easily-caught food supply, the dominant predator species dies back. With few predators reducing their numbers, expansion of squirrel and hare populations naturally follows. A new cycle begins. The cycles continue as the accepted order of things.
As the accepted order of things progresses it becomes entrenched. “It must be considered,” a social policy researcher opines, “that the fox has an equal right to feed.” Considering the fact that squirrels and hares have a decided preference to not be eaten would violate the accepted order; the researcher blanks out on that subject. Soon, mice—who placidly stood aside, watching the squirrel and hare populations be decimated because it did not effect them—find themselves to be the approved nutritional supplement for foxes. The fox is content, squirrels breathe a sigh of relief, and rabbits celebrate their now-elevated status above mere, lowly rodents. Social policy wonks rejoice—they now have a third demographic group to charge the foxes for writing about.
Grant-funded studies proliferate: the relative nutritional value of squirrel, hare and mice meat is examined in excruciating detail; the positive aspects of the fox’s predatory behavior to control society’s pests are emphasized; the breeding behavior of mice rabbits and squirrels, as influenced by environmental factors, are analyzed in graphic detail; volumes are published about the characteristics of each species that prove they deserve their status as prey. No one bothers to question why public resources are committed to defining entire demographic groups as prey or determining how the effects of stress induced by squirrels’ status as prey affects the intensity of their orgasms.
Squirrels, hares and mice respond with analysis to prove how flawed fox studies truly are. Policy wonks ignore the proofs. To acknowledge the proofs is to accept that there is no legitimate purpose for their studies or their grants. Squirrels, hares, and mice form a coalition to research other species as a substitute to feed the fox.
Frogs never see it coming. One morning the fox looms over them, salivating at the prospect of yet another delectable morsel presented on a silver platter. The platter is engraved with squirrel, hare and mouse sound bites. A wise old frog pondered the question of why the fox’s insatiable consumption necessarily assumed that he be willing to commit suicide by offering himself to become its next meal.
One day, a mouse said to a fox “You do not have my consent to eat me,” then scampered through a concealed exit hole he had created. A rabbit constructed its burrow in a thicket surrounded by thorns. Signs at the perimeter said, “Foxes of all varieties not welcome.” A bold squirrel proclaimed, “You want my hide? Just try to come and get it.” His strength and aggressive nature assured that foxes sought easier prey.
The wise frog discovered a new pond in a meadow where no fox could hunt. He returned to the accepted natural order and met with a mouse that lived near his old pond. He said to the mouse, “Without the consent of those to be eaten the established order of things cannot function.” The mouse joined the frog in his quest. Several weeks passed before other mice noticed that he was gone. During a conversation with a rabbit the frog asked, “Why barricade yourself in your burrow and limit how you live?” He presented a simple alternative, “There is a new environment where fox behavior cannot exist.” The rabbit left its burrow. New signs at the entry said “I have left it as I found it. Take over.” Many rabbits were pleased that their pesky neighbor who incessantly bothered them about protecting their burrows was gone. The frog and the squirrel readily agreed that there should soon be a shortage of fox food, at the least to the extent that they were part of its diet. The frog pointed out that no piece of paper and no law could protect the squirrel’s legitimate interests better than he could by his own efforts. The squirrel left his cache of nuts at the base of his tree on the way to join the frog. Other squirrels were delighted with the free food. Many chortled, “Come winter, that is one dead squirrel! All the more for us!” as they consumed or stored away the bounty left behind. Most frogs never noticed the empty lily pad in the far corner of their pond. The only noticeable effect of the frog’s departure was complaints about the more frequent watches necessary for frogs that remained, to warn of a fox approaching the pond. The established order of things continued for squirrels, rabbits, mice, and frogs in its natural—and now anticipated—progression.
Life quickly improved in the new meadow for the frog and his colleagues of like mind. Without the distraction of predators, each was able to focus their efforts on creating better ways to live. More squirrels, mice, rabbits, frogs and other species returned with the wise frog as he continued his quest. Each knew that the only requirement for living in this new environment was that he or she contribute value in equal or greater amount than they received. Life flourished for residents of the meadow.
After a turn of seasons a group of tired and hungry rabbits approached the meadow. Their group included several bedraggled mice and squirrels. Seeing the lush bounty available, many spread throughout the meadow to enjoy the fruits of other’s labor. They were quickly rounded up and returned to the path on which they arrived. A hungry rabbit shouted in anger, “But we need your food!” The response was “Your need is not justification for taking from us.” A bedraggled mouse whined, “It’s your duty to feed us, what about your social responsibility?” The mouse rejected as unacceptable the quiet reply, “Our duty to you is no greater than the duty that you hold to yourself.” A squirrel in the new group demanded, “Who are you to tell us what we must do? We have no other place to go, everywhere else is uninhabitable.”
The frog replied, “We’re the ones who gave you what you wanted—to be left alone!”
January 1, 2008
Copyright © Norman E. Kjono 2008