08/06/2005 03:24 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Ant and the Grasshopper Retold

Once upon a time there existed in close proximity an ant and a grasshopper. The former was a hard worker who tended to himself, his family, and being a servant of the Great Maker, his community (which, as the Word of the Great Maker had shown, meant the whole world). The grasshopper was a lazy critter, having no regard for himself, the ant, or any other being. He loafed the summer away, and when winter came, he had no provisions. Under dire conditions, the grasshopper came to the ant asking for alms. Now, the ant did what he could, but recognized that the grasshopper could be no threat to him in the long run for two reasons. First, statistically speaking, there are not many grasshoppers and second, even the most generous of ants recognizes the limits of charity to one who refuses to learn.

However, in the midst of recognizing that the grasshopper was no threat, he began to meditate upon the greatest threat to anthood--the aardvark. He reflected upon the recent growth of the threats posed by the aardvarks. In past times, great leaders of the ants had recognized the need to engage protective measures which ensured a degree of protection to ants from their natural enemies. Since, however, aardvarks were also citizens of the great land, the protections afforded the ants aimed at allowing a degree of freedom to the aardvarks as well.

Unfortunately, in 1980, the Great Deceiver became the leader of the great land and began to dismantle protections for the ants. This alone, of course, would not gain the title of Great Deceiver for this leader. Rather, that came on two fronts. First, the Great Deceiver seduced a number of the ants who served the Great Maker into embracing two errors: 1) that all ants who were poor or otherwise on the margins of society where so by their own choice--in short, the Great Deceiver identified any poor or marginal ants as grasshoppers. This drove the first wedge into the midst of the community that the Great Maker had called together (consider, for example, the Great Maker’s parable of the Great Banquet). 2) He seduced many servants of the Great Maker into believing that the aardvarks were really friends of the ants and could be trusted to do the “right thing” with regard to the ants. Unfortunately, the seduced servants of the Great Maker had forgotten the story of “The Fox Guarding the Henhouse”, and they fell prey to embracing policies which, in fact, put the aardvarks in charge of the anthill. Thus was the Great Deceiver’s seduction of the servants of the Great Maker, but he was not yet done.

With these errors in place, those called to care for the ants were neutralized. This freed the Great Deceiver to embark upon his other great deception: the theory of trickle-down benevolence of the aardvarks. Of course, one only had to examine history to see that aardvarks have voracious, virtually insatiable appetites, intending only to fatten the ants to make better meals for themselves. And this came to be as the Wise Owl pointed out in his book The Politics of Rich and Poor wherein he demonstrated both the extent to which the Great Deceiver’s policies led to the consumption of more ants than ever before and the remarkable gluttony of the aardvarks. Of course, the Great Deceiver embarked upon other seductions beyond these primary ones. For example, he freed the aardvarks who managed the storehouses of the ants so as to allow them remarkable profits from the ants’ stores, and when the inevitable collapse came, the servants of the Great Deceiver, particularly the Mild One, established mechanisms to protect the aardvarks at the expense of the ants. The other accounts of the Great Deceiver’s perversity are so great that if they were to be written, it is unlikely that the world itself could contain all the pages.

Unfortunately, the deception of the ants who were servants of the Great Maker was so great that nearly 20 years after the passing of the mantle from the Great Deceiver, the servants of the Great Maker remain seduced. In fact, servants of the Great Deceiver have heightened their attack upon marginal ants--marking them as unworthy grasshoppers. Additionally, the servants of the Great Deceiver have expanded his deceptions in that they have now persuaded the by now obviously false servants of the Great Maker into believing two further errors–both of which the Great Deceiver would have been proud. First, they have persuaded the servants of the Great Maker, contrary to the teachings of the Word of the Great Maker, that the only truly serious sins are sexual in nature. The net effect of this, of course, is that as long as aardvarks behave themselves sexually, they may eat as many ants as they wish. Oh, the perversity of the seduced, prior servants of the Great Maker! They have forgotten how the Word of the Great Maker consistently focused his ministry upon the marginalized members of the first century anthill, and these false servants have, with their words, justified this very betrayal (can you believe it?) in the name of the Great Maker. Oh, the penalty that awaits these wicked servants (recall the Great Maker’s parable of the Wicked Tenants)! The second perversity of the servants of the Great Deceiver is the theory of “across the board tax-cuts”. Not only has the Great Deceiver’s policies resulted in remarkable fattening of the aardvarks, but now the son of the Mild One, the first servant of the Great Deceiver, has moved to make them even fatter--all the while, leaving the ants to work ever harder on the illusion that a few will become aardvarks, when in reality the overwhelming majority of them will be eaten. What will become of the ants, when the very mechanisms put in place by the Great Maker to protect have become so perverse? And, what bitter judgment awaits the servants of the Great Maker who has betrayed the trust!

As always, we invite you to join us here for discussion on these themes.