This actually happened.
Or, to sum up, they're excited that their new list of Conservative Parables has hit 15 entries. Wow! Knowing Conservapedia, however, I immediately found myself wondering, "What are these parables like?" In hopes of finding out I clicked through to the list of parables and discovered to my surprise and delight that there were, apparently, more than fifteen! Instead, there appears to be more like 19 parables. I also discovered a definition for "conservative parables" which goes something like this:
Or, in plain text:
Conservative parables are stories that illustrate a conservative insight. The stories may or may not have actually occurred.
Now, I've read through these parables and they're just awful. I mean, really, really shamefully bad. They're so bad that they actually require a new word to provide an adequate description, a word that combines terrible and parable. That word is: "parrible". And so, because I love y'all, I'm going to share these little parribles with you- the first fifteen anyway- and offer a little commentary at the end of each one. No, no, don't thank me. Really. Let's start, shall we?
The Fly Ball
One Sunday afternoon a dozen teenagers gathered for a game of coed softball against a rival team from another church. As the first team's coach assigned his players to positions in the field, he noticed a new player on his team whom he had seen only before in church services. She suffered from a severe case of cerebral palsy, making it difficult for her to walk or use her arms. But she always had a smile on her face, and she brought a softball glove to play.
The coach, against his better judgment, told her to be the right-fielder. The coach knew that in softball the ball is hit to the right field less frequent than to other positions. This was supposed to be a friendly game between churches, but turned out to be far more competitive than that.
The game went smoothly for several innings. But the other team was good, and it was hitting the ball hard.
The inevitable disaster then struck in the 6th inning, with several runners on base and two outs. A batter for the other team hit a line drive directly at the right fielder.
The coach, and indeed his entire team, turned in dreadful anticipation as they watched the ball travel at a high speed right at the player with cerebral palsy.
The player held up her glove and the ball smacked directly into its pocket. She had caught the third out. Her team erupted in cheers and her ever-present smile glowed even wider. Her team went on to win the game.
Her teammates were inspired more by her catch than by anything else they saw the entire year.
Stated Lesson: It's inspiring watching a disabled person succeed at something.
Intended Lesson: Don't underestimate the disabled.
Actual Lesson: A good attitude will compensate for a lack of skill, practice, or ability. Also, churches like to beat each other at softball.
Commentary: What do you say to this? It's a feel good story that doesn't make any real sense. The coach didn't really take a chance on her, seeing as how he shoved her off into the safest part of the field, she isn't depicted as doing much of anything at all except bringing a glove and smiling all the time, and it's somewhat unclear what conservative insight this is supposed to illustrate. I also have to say, I'm often very impressed with those who are less physically able than myself, but this story doesn't really produce that kind of feeling. It isn't, "He was confined to a wheel chair but exercised and practiced until he was able to swim the English channel," it's "girl wanders into a field and gets in the way of a ball." Call me heartless, but I frankly think this parable belittles the disabled.
The Story of Two Psychiatrists-- Or How To Deal With Liberal Critics
Rowland Evans, the famed columnist, was having lunch with Ronald Reagan in 1987, six years into his presidency, a milestone by which the previous five presidents had been defeated, resigned in disgrace, refused to consider reelection, or assassinated. Somehow, Reagan was shining through, making it look easy, and was enormously popular. Evans, a tough old newsman, was in awe. He looked Reagan in the eye and said, “You know, Mr. President, I’ve known you for more than twenty years. I first met you in 1966, and the amazing thing is that you don’t look any older now than you did back then, and the criticism never gets you down. How do you do it?”
In response, Reagan offered a parable. "Let me explain it this way":
Let me tell you the story of the two psychiatrists — the old psychiatrist and the young psychiatrist — who had a practice together. They’d come into their office every day just bubbling with enthusiasm, always happy, upbeat, smiling, and chipper. Then they’d go into their separate suites and have patients come in and lie on the couch all day and talk about the woes in their lives. At 6:00 p.m. they’d come out and the young psychiatrist would be devastated, wiped out by the day, with a stomachache, and just miserable. The old psychiatrist would be just as chipper and smiling and upbeat as he was when he went in that morning. This went on for a number of months.
Finally one day they came out at 6:00 p.m., the young psychiatrist devastated as usual, and the old psychiatrist just as happy and smiling as he was when went in. The young psychiatrist stopped him and said, “I don’t understand it. We do the same thing every day, and I leave wiped out by hearing patients all day, and you come out after patients have been streaming in and out of your office just as upbeat as ever. How do you do it?”
The old psychiatrist paused a minute and said, “I never listen.”
Stated Lesson: Old psychiatrists don't listen to their patients.
Intended Lesson: Pay no attention to things that bring you down.
Actual Lesson: When faced with a tough job, shirk whenever you can get away with it.
Commentary: There is absolutely nothing complimentary in this parable for anyone, least of all conservatives. On the other hand, it does nicely sum up Schlafly's approach to rhetoric.*
The Desperate Smoker
A smoker was in a drug store to purchase a pack of cigarettes. Short on cash, he emptied all his pockets in order to scrounge up with every last penny he had. The cashier counted all the change and but found it was ten cents short of the total required for the cheapest pack of cigarettes.
The smoker desperately turned to the man standing behind him and asked him for a dime. The bystander clearly had a spare dime.
Should the bystander give the smoker a dime so he can purchase the pack of cigarettes?
The bystander, who is generous by nature, did something more difficult for him: he denied the request and instead urged the smoker to "kick the habit."
The smoker then gathered all his change and left the store.
This parable actually happened.
Stated Lesson: This parable actually happened.
Intended Lesson: Sometimes it's more generous to give someone what they need rather than what they want.
Actual Lesson: It's okay to tell other people what to do with their bodies, especially if you can be a dick about it in the process.
Commentary: I'm no fan of smoking, and obviously if you don't want to loan the dude money for a pack of cigs that's your business, but do we really have to encourage each other to use random public encounters as an excuse to pressure others? Also note that we have no idea what happened to the smoker. I tend to assume he gave a trucker a blowjob and was back for his cigs in ten minutes.
The Fasting Woman
A woman had been fasting for several days and was quite weak. It was Sunday morning, and she wondered whether she had enough strength to attend church. It would have been easy to justify not going, as she had already shown her love and devotion to God that week. But she decided to attend the services anyway. Without eating any breakfast, she prepared herself for the late morning service. She got dressed, gathered her purse and belongings, and drove off to the church.
The church was filled for the late-morning service, with many hundreds of worshipers. The woman sat near the back and watched the pews fill up with members of the community, young and old. The service was about to begin. The woman then heard an unusual commotion outside, including several loud noises and shouts. She turned around several times to look at the door to the church. Her intuition told her something was wrong.
Suddenly, a large man burst through the door and began shooting at the hundreds of worshipers, children and all. The woman mustered all her strength and pulled out her gun from her bag. She then shot the intruder. Stunned, and expecting to die from her shot, the intruder killed himself. The worshipers in the church were all saved. Afterwards, the woman said that she had been "praying to God that he direct me" in what to do in life.
Stated Lesson: Do what god tells you.
Intended Lesson: Have faith and never, ever be even slightly less than totally devout.
Actual Lesson: When you've been denying yourself food for days and are so deliriously hungry that you can barely stand, it's totally okay to operate heavy machinery and brandish loaded firearms.
Commentary: See, this is why I don't go to church.
The Troubled Pregnancy
A pregnant woman was doing missionary work in the Philippines. Due to contaminated drinking water in an impoverished area, the woman contracted amoebic dysentery while pregnant. This required that she take strong medications in order to recover.
The woman's doctor told her that the medication inevitably caused irreversible damage to the developing unborn child in her womb. The doctor advised the woman to have an abortion. The doctor told the woman that she would be burdened with a disabled child and it would be better to get rid of the unborn child now through abortion.
The woman refused to have the abortion and subsequently gave birth to a baby boy, whom she named Timothy.
Twenty years later, Tim Tebow was recognized as the best college football player in the United States by winning the Heisman Trophy, the first to win that prestigious award as only a sophomore.
Stated Lesson: Babies that were almost aborted are totally awesome at football.
Intended Lesson: Doctors are stupid.
Actual Lesson: Ignore authority whenever it tells you something you don't want to hear and everything will work out for the best.
Commentary: Not a lot to say about this one, since it boils down to, "Ha! You were wrong! Neener neener!"
The Lost $40
One day a teenager received $40 from his father. The teenager then had to drive somewhere, and he put the $40 on the seat of his car. After going in and out of the car several times, and driving with the windows open, the $40 was gone. He searched and searched for it, but could not find it anywhere.
He then spent dozens of hours agonizing over the lost $40, obsessed with having lost it. It bothered him for weeks, even months. He still remembered it years later.
One day he realized that, based on the prevailing wage for teenagers of $8 per hour, that $40 was worth no more than about 6 hours of his time (after taxes). If he had simply worked rather than worry, he would have quickly "found" the $40 and accomplished something in the process.
Stated Lesson: Work rather than worry.
Intended Lesson: Work is good.
Actual Lesson: The author of this parrible is inordinately proud of being able to perform simple multiplication.
Commentary: This parrible is bizarre in the extreme. It says that a teenager "received $40 from his father" and then the teenager "had to drive somewhere". Was this a loan? A payment? I can't tell from the story. And where the hell is he going? To work? To school? Was the teenager going to buy his dad some crack, thus explaining both the money and the mysterious need to "drive somewhere"? I mean, what the fuck is even going on here?
A skinny young man having limited athletic ability had a determination to do his very best and win. He picked the high jump event, but could only clear about 5' 3", nowhere near what was needed to win any competitions. But he worked tirelessly, trying all known techniques for jumping over a bar. Still, he could not improve to the point where he could win.
Yet he did not give up, and harnessed his competitive spirit to invent a revolutionary style of jumping back-first over the bar. Though lacking the athletic gifts of his competitors, the young man improved his jumping ability by a foot and more. He began to win.
His peculiar style attracted mockery and name-calling, as people derided his technique as the "flop". But that did not faze him, and he continued to jump in the direction opposite to all his competitors. Despite winning the national college high jump event, experts still considered his success to be a fluke and his approach to be a joke.
When it came time for the Olympics, no one considered the young man to have a chance, and his more athletic competitors were favorites to win the high jump event. The whole world was riveted to the television screen as the young man flawlessly cleared every height as the bar was raised again and again. When the bar was finally raised to an Olympic record height of 7' 4 1/4", only the young man and his "flop" were able to jump over it. He had won the gold medal.
Virtually immediately everyone else, including those who had mercilessly mocked him, began praising and imitating his style. To this day it is known as the "Fosbury Flop."
Stated Lesson: If you come up with something that works, those who mock you will begin to immitate you.
Intended Lesson: Persevere even if others laugh at you along the way.
Actual Lesson: Being a conservative is a good way to get mocked.
Commentary: I have an image of the author of this parrible sitting at a computer in his mom's basement, cackling, "Someday they'll pay. Oh, yes! Someday they will FEAR the name of- what? Mom! No, I can't take out the trash now! I'm in the middle of something!"
The Difficult Science Problem
Physics 401 was the most difficult course in the entire college, having problem sets that would take many hours to complete each week. The students often worked on the homework together, as allowed and even encouraged by the professor. Students were also able to consult books and online resources in solving problems.
As the course progressed, the problems became increasingly difficult and complex. Some students were better than others at solving the problems. Reputations developed about which students had answers, and which ones did not.
Near the end of the course, the teacher assigned a particularly difficult problem to the class. The night before it was due, the students gathered as they had been throughout the course, and worked as hard as they could to find the answer. One student who had a reputation for not being as smart claimed he had the answer, and started to explain it to the others. But the smarter students quickly rejected his approach to the problem and told him to be quiet. Despite trying several times to describe his answer, he was ignored.
The next day the students handed in their homeworks, and the following week the professor returned their graded papers. He said that only one student had answered the difficult problem correctly. That student was the one who had tried to explain it to the others, but they would not listen.
The one student had found the correct answer in a book not used by the other students.
Stated Lesson: Sometimes bad students find good books.
Intended Lesson: Don't ignore someone's idea just because to date they do not appear to have understood a damned thing.
Actual Lesson: When dealing with a difficult problem, be sure to make full use of your campus' reference librarians.
Commentary: I dunno what conservative insight is in here other than, perhaps, "reading is good". Then again, I've not really noticed conservatives to be much into the book learnin' of late.
The leader of a nation traveled to a distant land, and planned to deliver a speech there. This leader was not known for having great intelligence, and in fact was often ridiculed within his own country. He wondered what he should say in the foreign country while he was there.
For decades, there had been a massive wall in this foreign land which denied its inhabitants the freedom to travel and visit relatives, or simply move to places having greater opportunity. Inhabitants who tried to surmount the wall were shot and killed. The region enclosed by the wall was subjected to communism; outside the wall capitalism and freedom existed.
The leader began to focus on the wall in connection with his planned speech, and proposed uttering the bold command, "tear down this wall."
But his top advisers, who were very experienced in politics and foreign policy, were adamantly against such a bold statement. They insisted on removing it from the speech. As each draft circulated these experts took the phrase out, but each time the leader inserted this phrase back in. The experts felt the phrase made the leader look foolish and hopelessly naive, and could not possibly have a positive effect. The experts were sure it would subject their leader to even more ridicule than he already endured.
But the leader did not care about the potential for ridicule, and he wanted to say what he felt was best for his audience. He ignored his experts and delivered the bold command as part of his speech.
The leader's advisers were horrified when they heard the words delivered in the actual speech. They braced for a backlash and criticism.
But two years later, to the amazement of the entire world, this wall that had stood for decades was torn down exactly as the leader courageously suggested.
Stated Lesson: The first step in getting a wall torn down is telling someone else to do it.
Intended Lesson: Speaking out for what's right is always a wise choice.
Actual Lesson: Post hoc ergo propter hoc.
Commentary: Shit, why stop there? Why not talk about when Kennedy said that he was a Berliner and then mention in the next sentence about how the wall came down decades later? When you don't care about anything but being a political hack, parribles are easy to make!
So, I was talking to this little girl Catherine, the daughter of some friends, and she said she wanted to be President some day.
Both of her parents, liberal Democrats, were standing there with us - and I asked Catherine - "If you were President what would be the first thing you would do?"
Catherine replied - "I would give houses to all the homeless people."
"Wow - what a worthy goal you have there, Catherine." I told her, "You don't have to wait until you're President to do that, you can come over to my house and clean up all the dog poop in my back yard and I will pay you $5. Then we can go over to the grocery store where the homeless guy hangs out, and you can give him the $5 to use for a new house."
Catherine thought that over for a second, while her mom looked at me seething, and Catherine replied, "why doesn't the homeless guy come over and clean up the dog poop and you can just pay him the $5?"
And I said, "Welcome to the Republican Party."
Stated Lesson: Homeless people should clean up dog poop.
Intended Lesson: Even children know that conservatism makes sense.
Actual Lesson: Serious social problems only seem simple to conservatives and children.
Commentary: Lovely. Conservapedia has to recruit by tricking children now. Also, as long as we're on the subject, how much dog poop do you think a little girl should clean up for $5? I mean, if the prevailing wage for teenagers is $8...?
The University Assignment
A young student studying his first Politics assignment picked to answer the question - "Have we reached the end of political ideology?" The young student, as this was his first paper, studied hard and long to argue that there has been a rise in conservative thought in recent years as a response to growing globalization and encroaching liberalism. The lecturer gave the paper low marks despite solid referencing and an extensive bibliography. The young student felt slighted by this as he had put in many hours work. Instead of bowing down and re-writing the assignment according to his lecturer's standards, the student petitioned the head of department to have his paper and final mark reviewed and also got several others to back him. In the end the student got an A grade.
This parable actually happened.
Stated Lesson: This parable actually happened.
Intended Lesson: Academics are totally biased, man! Fight the power!
Actual Lesson: If a student taking his or her first politics course doesn't do well on the first paper, it's totally appropriate to bitch and moan until the department changes the grade just to shut his or her dumb ass up. It's not like the first paper from the first course in a new field could possibly be- I dunno- bad, or anything.
Commentary: Apparently expecting professors to set "standards" is bad. Right-o! Where's my gin? Apparently, I don't have to put any effort into teaching at all!
The Conservative Conference
A conservative conference was scheduled for Sept. 25, 2001, expecting most attendees to travel by air. Unfortunately, on Sept. 11, 2001 there was the 9/11 terrorist hijacking of airplanes and a national crisis resulting in the grounding of airplanes for a week and widespread panic.
As a result, most conferences were cancelled, and the few that were held were poorly attended. Airplanes flew nearly empty for weeks once they were allowed to fly at all.
Though he expected few others to attend, one conservative rejected the objections of his family and flew out to the conference. He saw only two other passengers on his 140-seat airplane. He checked into the hotel and felt that at least he could cheer up the conference organizers when no one else showed up.
But to his great surprise, everyone else showed up. The other attendees concluded that both logic and faith weighed in favor of traveling to the conference. There was no logical reason for staying home, and faith eliminated any anxiety. In fact, the conservatives did not even waste time discussing their decisions to attend, at a time when nearly all other travelers acted irrationally and avoided airplanes.
This parable actually happened.
Stated Lesson: This parable actually happened.
Intended Lesson: Conservatives are totally brave.
Actual Lesson: It's okay to be a dick to your family if they want you to stay home during a time of national tragedy.
Commentary: This is one hella judgmental parrible right here. Everyone else is acting irrationally but the conservatives, who feel safe flying because if they die they know an invisible friend in the sky will take care of them? Right.
Born in 1910, this child suffered from a physical handicap as a youngster and could not attend regular school. He had to wear leg braces and was eventually enrolled in a school for "physical defectives." But that school was managed by the same organization that ran the school for "mental defectives" and, as he later explained, there was "some overlapping in the curriculum." As a result, he spent his days in basket-weaving classes, and was deprived of any formal academic instruction until age 10.
But he worked hard, and eventually found his way to the London School of Economics, the top school of its kind in the world.
He was an avid socialist, as were most of his fellow students. But in his senior year, he happened to take an economics seminar taught by Professor Arnold Plant. That course was devoted to the "invisible hand." It did not have any readings, and focused on stimulating discussions instead.
This young man's prior educational background may not have given him as much knowledge as his classmates, but it did give him an open mind. This single course changed his life, as he embraced the logic and power of the free market.
Later he immigrated to the United States and became an economics professor. But unlike most of his colleagues, he avoided mathematical equations and formulae, bucking the modern trend in his field.
His extraordinary insight was that the free market always reaches the most efficient level of productive activity, in the absence of transaction costs.
In 1991, he was the sole recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics. His name is Ronald Coase. To this day liberals fail to give him the recognition he earned.
Stated Lesson: Liberals won't give you credit for stuff.
Intended Lesson: Liberals are stupid.
Actual Lesson: Man, I just don't know. Maybe that conservatism makes the most sense if you don't analyze its claims using mathematics?
Commentary: Evidently basket weaving is good preparation for adopting a conservative ideology. Who knew?
The Little Red Hen - Ronald Reagan Version
Once upon a time there was a little red hen who scratched about the barnyard until she uncovered some grains of wheat. She called her neighbors and said 'If we plant this wheat, we shall have bread to eat. Who will help me plant it?'
"Not I, " said the cow.
"Not I," said the duck.
"Not I," said the pig.
"Not I," said the goose.
"Then I will," said the little red hen. And she did. The wheat grew tall and ripened into golden grain. "Who will help me reap my wheat?" asked the little red hen.
"Not I," said the duck.
"Out of my classification," said the pig.
"I'd lose my seniority," said the cow.
"I'd lose my unemployment compensation," said the goose.
"Then I will," said the little red hen, and she did.
At last the time came to bake the bread. "Who will help me bake bread?" asked the little red hen.
"That would be overtime for me," said the cow.
"I'd lose my welfare benefits," said the duck.
"I'm a dropout and never learned how," said the pig.
"If I'm to be the only helper, that's discrimination," said the goose.
"Then I will," said the little red hen.
She baked five loaves and held them up for the neighbors to see.
They all wanted some and, in fact, demanded a share. But the little red hen said, "No, I can eat the five loaves myself."
"Excess profits," cried the cow.
"Capitalist leech," screamed the duck.
"I demand equal rights," yelled the goose.
And the pig just grunted.
And they painted "unfair" picket signs and marched round and around the little red hen shouting obscenities.
When the government agent came, he said to the little red hen, "You must not be greedy."
"But I earned the bread," said the little red hen.
"Exactly," said the agent. "That's the wonderful free enterprise system. Anyone in the barnyard can earn as much as he wants. But under our modern government regulations productive workers must divide their products with the idle."
And they lived happily ever after, including the little red hen, who smiled and clucked, "I am grateful, I am grateful."
But her neighbors wondered why she never again baked any more bread....
Stated Lesson: Baking bread is hard!
Intended Lesson: We should never share with anyone else.
Actual Lesson: The author of this parrible really, really did not understand "Animal Farm".
Commentary: I'd just like to point out, for the record, that from the responses the cow is apparently already fully employed.
A Parable about Socialism
A young woman was about to finish her first year of college. Like so many others her age, she considered herself to be a very liberal Democrat, and among other liberal ideals, was very much in favor of higher taxes to support more government programs, in other words, redistribution of wealth.
She was deeply ashamed that her father was a rather staunch Conservative, a feeling she openly expressed. Based on the lectures that she had participated in, and the occasional chat with a professor, she felt that her father had for years harbored an evil, selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his.
One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes on the rich and the need for more government programs. The self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to be the truth and she indicated so to her father. He responded by asking how she was doing in school.
Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her no time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn't even have time for a boyfriend, and didn't really have many college friends because she spent all her time studying.
Her father listened and then asked, 'How is your friend Audrey doing?' She replied, 'Audrey is barely getting by. All she takes are easy classes, she never studies, and she barely has a 2.0 GPA. She is so popular on campus; college for her is a blast. She's always invited to all the parties and lots of times she doesn't even show up for classes because she's too hung over.'
Her wise father asked his daughter, 'Why don't you go to the Dean's office and ask him to deduct 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your friend who only has a 2.0. That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of your GPA.'
The daughter, visibly shocked by her father's suggestion, angrily fired back, 'That's a crazy idea, how would that be fair! I've worked really hard for my grades! I've invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard work! Audrey has done next to nothing toward her degree. She played while I worked my tail off!'
The father slowly smiled, winked and said gently, 'Welcome to the conservative's philosophy.'
Stated Lesson: This is a Parable about Socialism.
Intended Lesson: We should all keep what we earn and never share with anyone.
Actual Lesson: If you don't have a 4.0 it's because you're a drunken floozy and everyone knows it.
Commentary: In case you hadn't noticed, these guys really don't like socialism, but don't really understand what it's about. Also, starting your parrible by stating, "A parable about..." is really shit writing.
There are more- the unfinished additional four- but I don't have the courage to comment on them. Feel free to make suggestions for them in the comments, though!
* "Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah! I'm not LISTENING!!!!"