Two Cows in Political Isms …


Myself

By T.V. Antony Raj

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In the ancient days to convey their viewpoint across to their listeners orators used metaphors, similes, and analogies. Now, to explain complex ideas we use simple and humorous images and share them using the internet.

Yo have two coves

The various anecdotes that start with the saying “You have two cows …” refer to a form of political satire. They involve variations of a scenario, where eponymous cows are used to demonstrate the functioning of some political systems.

A column titled “The Class in Political Isms” in The Chicago Daily Tribune of December 3, 1938, attributes a version involving socialism, communism, fascism and New Dealism to an address by Silas Strawn to the Economic Club of Chicago on November 29, 1935.

A Canadian writer and journalist Bill Sherk mentions that such satirical snippets circulated throughout the United States since around 1936 under the title “Parable of the Isms”.

In the collection of humour in “Vox Lycei 1939-1940” compiled by the Lisgar Alumni Association the following snippet appears on page 71 :

FORMS OF GOVERNMENT

Socialism: You have two cows. You give one to your neighbour.

Communism: You have two cows. You give both cows to the Government which lets you buy part of it back.

American New Deal: You have two cows. The Government shoots one cow, buys the milk from the other cow and pours it down the sewer.

Nazism: You have two cows. The Government shoots you and takes the cows and sells the milk.

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

Social Credit: You ‘shoot the bull’.

As early as 1944, the humour of this type attracted the attention of scholars in the United States. An article in The Modern Language Journal lists the following classical ones some of which are similar to those in “Vox Lycei 1939-1940” :

Socialism

Socialism: You have two cows. The government takes one and gives it to your neighbour.

Communism

Communism: You have two cows. You give them to the government, and the government then gives you some milk.

Fascism

Fascism: You have two cows. You give them to the government, and the government then sells you some milk.

Traditional Capitalism

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

In the late 1960s, comedian Pat Paulsen on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour appended this comment to capitalism: “…Then put both of them in your wife’s name and declare bankruptcy.”  Later on, he used this material as an element of his satirical US presidential campaign in 1968 and was included it on his 1968 comedy album “Pat Paulsen for President“.

Nazism

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

To these, we can add Bureaucratism:

Bureaucratism

 

And also:
Venture capitalism

 

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