Unlike some of the indoctrinated students and liberal adults of today, Baby Boomers learned much about life from truthful newspapers and journalists. Back in the day, Dear Abby and Ann Landers (twin rival sisters) were among the most reliable advice columnists in syndicated print media.
Some say this Ann Landers response was the most accurate and succinct explanation of the differences between the “-isms.”
Dear Ann Landers:
I am an inner city English teacher, and my students are reading George Orwell’s “1984.” I am having a difficult time explaining communism, socialism and fascism to my students without giving a full-blown, time-consuming history lesson.
I recall you printed a humorous column some time ago explaining these concepts using cows as examples. Will you please print it again for my students? I’m sure it will kick-start a lively class discussion. I’d appreciate your help. — A Teacher in Mississippi
Dear Mississippi Teacher:
Thank you for asking. It’s an “oldie,” but a “goldie.” Here it is:
Socialism:You have two cows. Give one cow to your neighbor.
Communism:You have two cows. Give both cows to the government, and they may give you some of the milk.
Fascism:You have two cows. You give all of the milk to the government, and the government sells it.
Nazism:You have two cows. The government shoots you and takes both cows.
Anarchism:You have two cows. Keep both of the cows, shoot the government agent and steal another cow.
Capitalism:You have two cows. Sell one cow and buy a bull.
Surrealism:You have two giraffes. The government makes you take harmonica lessons.
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