The Two Cows Example of Political Philosophy begins with two cows.*

FEUDALISM:
You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.

PURE SOCIALISM:
You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else's cows. You have to take care of all the cows. The government gives you as much milk as you need.

BUREAUCRATIC SOCIALISM:
You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else's cows. They are cared for by ex-chicken farmers. You have to take care of the chickens the government took from the chicken farmers. The government gives you as much milk and as many eggs as the regulations say you should need.

FASCISM:
You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them, and sells you the milk.

BUREAUCRACY:
You have two cows. At first the government regulates what you can feed them and when you can milk them. Then it pays you not to milk them. After that it takes both, shoots one, milks the other and pours the milk down the drain. Then it requires you to fill out forms accounting for the missing cows.

PURE COMMUNISM:
You have two cows. Your neighbors help you take care of them, and you all share the milk.

APPLIED COMMUNISM:
You have two cows. You have to take care of them, but the government takes all the milk.

DICTATORSHIP:
You have two cows. The government takes both and shoots you.

MILITARIANISM:
You have two cows. The government takes both and drafts you.

PURE DEMOCRACY:
You have two cows. Your neighbors decide who gets the milk.

REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY:
You have two cows. Your neighbors pick someone to tell you who gets the milk.

AMERICAN DEMOCRACY:
The government promises to give you two cows if you vote for it. After the election, the president is impeached for speculating in cow futures. The press dubs the affair "Cowgate".

BRITISH DEMOCRACY:
You have two cows. You feed them sheeps' brains and they go mad. The government doesn't do anything.

SINGAPOREAN DEMOCRACY:
You have two cows. The government fines you for keeping two unlicensed farm animals in an apartment.

ANARCHY:
You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price or your neighbors try to kill you and take the cows.

CAPITALISM:
You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.

HONG KONG CAPITALISM:
You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly-listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt / equity swap with associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax deduction for keeping five cows. The milk rights of six cows are transferred via a Panamanian intermediary to a Cayman Islands company secretly owned by the majority shareholder, who sells the rights to all seven cows' milk back to the listed company. The annual report says that the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. Meanwhile, you kill the two cows because the fung shui is bad.

ENVIRONMENTALISM:
You have two cows. The government bans you from milking or killing them.

TOTALITARIANISM:
You have two cows. The government takes them and denies they ever existed. Milk is banned.

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS:
You are associated with (the concept of "ownership" is a symbol of the phallocentric, warmongering, intolerant past) two differently-aged (but no less valuable to society) bovines of nonspecified gender.

COUNTERCULTURE:
Wow, dude, there's like... these two cows, man. You have *got* to have some of this milk. I mean totally.

SURREALISM:
You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

THERAPYISM:
You have two cows. One is a metaphor for your inner child. The other is the manifestation of anger toward a parental figure. You take one of the cows on walks through grassy fields by the gentle ocean waves. The other you beat with an anger bat.

 (©2007 Mike McLoughlin, Executive Director, Memphis Recovery Centers)

RECOVERYISM:
You have twelve cows ... and a sponsor.

 (©2007 Mike McLoughlin, Executive Director, Memphis Recovery Centers)

INSURANCISM:
You have two cows. The Federal regulator requires you to hold one cow in reserve because they predict a shortage of milk. The Provincial/State regulator requires you to drop the price of milk because they predict a surplus of milk. The courts deem your cows inherently dangerous and order you to provide free milk to anyone who has ever been frightened by a farm animal. The marketing people are promising chocolate milk at an enhanced commission and you discover your own actuaries have been building pricing models assuming goats instead to save on the expense line.

(©2002 Saskia Oltheten Matheson)

OLTHETENISM:
You have two cows. You milk them and sell the milk in the Discovery Cafe.

 ( This entry was added by one of my Freshman Discovery Students who wishes (for obvious reasons) to remain anonymous. )


( The Two Cows example hit the e-mail curcuit (I got three separate copies) in 1997. None of them quoted any source so I offer this and credit it to anonymous until someone lets me know to whom the credit belongs. )

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