How to Catch a Wild Pig – a Parable
This is a personal favorite of mine and worth retelling. Incrementalism is imbued with subtlety...and we know whose favorite that subtlety is: "Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" - Genesis 3:1
A chemistry professor at a large college had some exchange students in the class.
One day while the class was in the lab, the professor noticed one young man, a foreign student, who kept rubbing his back, and stretching as if his back hurt.
The professor asked the young man what was the matter. The student told him he had a bullet lodged in his back. He had been shot while fighting communists in his native country who were trying to overthrow his country’s government and install a new communist government.
In the midst of his story he looked at the professor and asked a strange question: “Do you know how to catch wild pigs?”
The professor thought it was a joke and asked for the punch line.
The young man said this was no joke and explained:
“You catch wild pigs by finding a suitable place in the woods and putting corn on the ground. The pigs find it and begin to come every day to eat the free corn. When they are used to coming every day, you put a fence down one side of the place where they are used to coming. When they get used to the fence, they begin to eat the corn again and you put up another side of the fence. They get used to that and start to eat again.
You continue until you have all four sides of the fence up with a gate in the last side. The pigs, who are used to the free corn, start to come through the gate to eat; you slam the gate on them and catch the whole herd. Suddenly the wild pigs have lost their freedom. They run around and around inside the fence, but they are caught.
Soon they go back to eating the free corn. They are so used to it that they have forgotten how to forage in the woods for themselves, so they accept their captivity.”
The young man then told the professor that is exactly what he sees happening to America.
The government keeps pushing us toward socialism and keeps spreading the free corn out in the form of programs such as supplemental security income, tax credit for unearned income, tobacco subsidies, dairy subsidies, payments not to plant crops (CRP), welfare, food stamps, government subsidized housing, Medicaid, Medicare….
Meanwhile, with each government program, we lose our autonomy and freedoms a little at a time.
Then one day, we look around and find ourselves completely fenced in. But by then, we’ve grown fat, complacent, and have forgotten what freedom is and how to be free people in charge of and responsible for ourselves.
Some of us grumble and shake our fists at our overlords on Internet chat forums. Some even manage to gather the energy and join a march or protest. But the outrage quickly dissipates, like smoke from a chimney dissolving in the air.
And we go back to eating the free corn and watching ESPN.