Country Living Series

Monday, July 4, 2011

Guest post: The Ant and the Grasshopper

A reader who goes by the handle of "3Peaches" recently re-read all the comments on my original The Ant and the Grasshopper post.

A little bit of history: I didn't write this post. It was just one of those things circulating around the internet. But I thought it was apt, so I posted it... little realizing how it would ignite a firestorm of comments, both supportive and snarky.

Both the post and the resulting comments sparked a WorldNetDaily column entitled Ants, Grasshoppers, and God which, I believe, turned out to be one of the better columns I've written.

Anyway, that's the history behind the post. But recently 3Peaches re-read the comments and became fired up all over again (before going any further, it might behoove everyone to go back and re-read the comments). She wrote a long rebuttal to the snarkers, and since it was too long to post as a comment, she emailed it to me separately. I thought it was excellent and asked her permission to post it here.

Her original email to me is as follows:

It’s been a year and a half since you wrote on this topic, both on your blog and on WND. Yet it becomes ever more relevant. I see the most recent comment on your blog was added just a few weeks ago. I suspect it will continue to be a hot topic, as two elements serve to keep it simmering: our increasingly socialistic gummint, along with increasingly pressed citizens who are already battling the wolf at the door. Add to the mix the pious-sounding do-gooders who know better than you what your own moral obligations are, and one gets the sense things could well reach the boiling point before too much longer.

As I read last night through the comments left after your excellent blog on “The Ant and the Grasshopper,” I wrote the response below. I couldn’t help reacting to the just-don’t-get-its –- it’s exasperating not so much because their views are privately held (which is of course their right), but because they don’t stay private. They reflect the prevailing fuzzy-headed attitudes that are defining my liberties and impacting my life.

So… I wrote. That’s how I offload my frustration when I can’t interact directly. (Perhaps you know that feeling.)

Without further ado, here is 3Peaches' views on the Ant and the Grasshopper.

There appear to be some emotional, knee-jerk reactions and accusations in these comments. Let’s take a look. FYI: I am not angry or hostile. But, being more concerned with what’s true and right than what’s politically correct, I will call out hypocrisy.

1. For those quoting Scripture in an attempt to shame Patrice and folks agreeing with her statements: It is hypocrisy to cherry-pick the Scriptures that support your point while discounting the others that speak to the same topic, and then pass your view off as “the” Christian view. You cannot presume to bind someone else’s conscience (and behavior) with your favorite lines isolated from their context, while ignoring the rest that provide a balanced representation of God’s views about our charitable concern for one another. If you are arguing from the standpoint of Christianity and the Bible, you must accept all of its counsel on the subject.

As has been ably documented by others, the issue is not whether to help those who are needy because of sickness, financial hardships, and so on; so stop with the straw man arguments and posing as though you have the moral high ground. Anyone who has the love of God in their hearts is eager to help those in genuine need, exactly as the Bible instructs us to do. However, that same Bible explicitly instructs us not to help the able-bodied who simply refuse to work. To do so is a disservice to everyone involved, and direct disobedience to God. Period. End of discussion.

2. For those of you alleging racism behind the position expressed here: Shame on you. What petty tyrants you are, pulling the race card to bully others into silence. Where do you find a racial element suggested in the remarks offered? Sloth and greed and selfishness know no boundaries of skin color – or of hair color, height, weight, nationality, or any other trait. They are deficits of human character. Period. Enough of your hypocrisy in calling others racist, when it is your own racism that insists on framing everything in racial terms.

3. Let’s bring this down to a personal example.

You have two nephews. Both are out of work. Both end up on your doorstep. You are already working two jobs to try to support your own family in hard times, but you don’t want to turn away someone who’s homeless and in need. So you take them in.

Nephew A is a hard worker. He is distressed over his situation. He combs the newspapers and online listings daily and applies for any job he can. Meanwhile, he shows his gratitude for your help by mowing your lawn, washing the dishes, and having dinner started by the time you get home from work. He tries to pull his own weight.

Nephew B is a freeloader. He’s perfectly comfortable living off your largesse. He sleeps until noon, watches TV and plays video games all day, complains if the food isn’t to his liking, whines about others being the cause of all his problems, and is in no hurry to get a job. Neither does he do anything around the house; he must be reminded repeatedly just to take out the trash.

If you tell me you have the same level of desire to continue supporting both of these nephews with your hard-earned dollars, forgive me for not believing you. Both justice and common sense require us to draw a distinction between the two. Really – how long before you toss Nephew B out on his keester?

But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe you have been brainwashed and “guilted” enough by liberal churches and politicians that you feel convinced it really is your Christian duty to treat both nephews equally.

That brings us to an ancillary point: enablers and tough love.

Every person of goodwill longs to “fix” things for others we see in need. Yet if we can’t or won’t arrive at a balance in our views, we risk becoming enablers of those who are simply freeloaders: those who persist in behaving badly and making poor choices, with the expectation – nay, the demand – that others save them from the consequences of their folly.

Enter “tough love.” To keep on saving people from themselves only enables them to continue the behavior that is holding them back and hurting them (and those affected by them). We have to love such people enough to let them suffer the consequences of their choices. Tough love. That’s what moves us beyond smarmy emotion to caring about someone enough risk their wrath, if need be, in their best interests. Calling a halt to their gravy train will likely make them angry and abusive (maybe they’ll even call you racist!) – but will hopefully help them to learn the benefits of making wiser choices, accepting responsibility, and ultimately having a productive, fulfilling life.

But let’s add another dimension: Suppose you have come to terms with the fact that you are enabling Nephew B and doing him no favors. Desiring to help him get on with his life in positive, constructive ways, you fashion a plan that will teach him that his behavior is tied to consequences, whether good or bad. You offer to provide him with benefits according to his meeting certain reasonable expectations – all with his ultimate good in mind. Then along come the do-gooders who tell you that you must continue supporting your freeloading slob of a nephew with your hard-earned money. You’re not allowed to attach any prerequisites to his mooching or threaten him with eviction. He is simply entitled to presume on your support. This is somehow your obligation.

What’s wrong with this picture? It’s simple: Not only is this grossly unfair to you, it is in no way helpful to him. Everybody loses. This is true on a personal level. It is true at a governmental level.

Perhaps – just perhaps – that is why God in His love and wisdom made the rules:

(1) Always help those in genuine need, showing them practical love however you can.

(2) Never enable the slothful and selfish, but let them suffer the consequences of their folly, that they may learn thereby. This, too, is love.


  1. What so many on the left do not seem to understand is that you do not "help" someone by doing for them that which they should be doing for themselves. We have literally millions of people sometimes 4 and 5 generations of people who have been denied the opportunity to succeed. To try and maybe fail and to try again. To learn to become capable of taking care of themselves instead of "dependents" of the state. Make no mistake, politicians did this intentionally to create a class of voters dependent on politicians to hand them their daily bread (and drugs). What a shame. What a waste of human potential.

  2. You have to be careful about taking anybody into your home.There are laws that say if they have been in your home for a certain amount of time,that they are a legal tenant even if they have never paid rent.Then you have to legally evict them to get them out.How unfair is that.

  3. 3peaches, very well said! In my view, libs are hypocrites to the end.

    Happy Independence Day!

    Anonymous Patriot

  4. Like, like, like. 3Peaches, do you have a blog? I'd love to bookmark it.

    Forget the professional politicians holding office. We need ordinary citizens with common sense making the tough decisions.

    Patrice Lewis and 3Peaches in 2012. :)

  5. Excellent commentary!! And I agree Patrice Lewis and 3Peaches for 2012 :-)

    I'm a big fan of Glenn Beck and I don't believe it to be a coincidence that an recovering alcoholic can spot these enabling tendencies from a mile away. Most of us have either:
    1. Denied that someone in our life has a substance abuse problem and we don't understand their behavior and/or how we have contributed to the addiction.

    2. Never really been exposed to addictions and have this 'nebulous' feeling that something isn't quite right, but can't explain it.

    This is how I look at politics - they are RAGING ADDICTS (power, money, status, ect.) and we are the enabling family. We have to learn how to not enable their behavior, thereby forcing the status quo to change.

    I've read the Al-Alon Blue book and I can see tons and tons of similarities between government and personal experiences. In addition to re-reading/memorizing the Bible and Constitution, we all should read or become familiar with the concepts in Al-Anon.

  6. Well written article, to the point and absolutely right on. Keep writing - it's a gift.

  7. The Bible says if a man will not work, neither should he eat. It was not written if a man can't work, it says if he won't work. Won't work is a refusal, he can but won't. Anybody that screams that we have to help those who won't do for themselves is ignorant, lying, or evil. Yes, those who purposely choose to twist the Word of God are evil, even if they claim to be Christian. Jesus Himself said that in that day, He would divide the sheep from the goats. to the sheep He says come in, and to the goats He says depart into judgment. The goats say, have we not done all these works in your name? Have we not cast out devils? Have we not prophesied in your name? How much more "spiritual" can you get that to prophesy? And the incredible thing that most people miss, probably on purpose not wanting to see it, is Jesus never refutes them. He never once says "No you did not". He says I never knew you, but never refutes their claim. Obviously there are a lot of people out there that think they are Christian, and going to Heaven, but ain't. Think twice before claiming to talk for God trying to tell others how to live, and what they "must do" for others. Even God said of Pharaoh "I raised you up to show my glory in you". He also says "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy." Take care of your own walk with God before you try to beat others over the head with Him to being your ideals.

  8. I believe this is from Ben Franklin...
    I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.

  9. Hats off to 3Peaches! I dream of being able to write and reason as well as that. Sigh...

    Steve Davis
    Anchorage, Alaska

  10. You hit the nail of the collectivist head right on the with 100 pound sledge hammer.

    When is it that the people will learn that some of the most evil things done by man have been done in the name of betterment for society?

  11. The original post was a little simplistic. But then so was the original fable.

    You do not have to cherry pick to find scripture that says you are to help the poor. There are almost no reservations given in how much help you are to give.

    However, the early Christians were outcasts from the hierarchy of the Jewish religion of their day (in a social sense). They were also not part of the State apparatus. So any help they were offering was either directly as an individual, or as part of their church community.

    I understand why the social safety net was set up. I am also not saying that a Christian could not support a social safety net run by the government. It is just that the biblical compulsion is not as strong.

    When your primary means of government was small and local, the distinction between government efforts and community efforts was not as large.

    Unfortunately, it was an earlier bubble (the Great Depression) that swamped the efforts of the local community based efforts (both private and government) that started the Federalized trend that would be completed with the Great Society of the 1960s. It is pointless to sermonize these efforts, the need was real. But if you go back to the old system of local support, you are going to need to come up with a solution that deals with the problems it was trying to address.

  12. What else need be said other than, Amen, and well done.

  13. I didn't realize this thread was still as active as this. It shouldn't be a surprise, though.

    The clarity of thought and style in this post make it a real treat to read. And a very useful treat. I'll study it and pray for God to place such wise words in my mouth the next time I find myself confronted with a ranting liberal or a holier-than-I 'Christian.'

    3Peaches has a marvelous knower. It knows a lot of stuff and it works real good.

    ...and I ain't never got no bad grammar, neither.


  14. Am happy to report that my wife laid down the law with our 19 yr. old son. After quitting his job so he could help a friend drive a vehicle from WA to AK, she told him he has one WEEK to get another job or we toss him out. He had just bought a truck which we co-signed for, so he's treading on thin ice after that stunt. Of course, we'd get to keep the truck.

    Steve Davis
    Anchorage, Alaska

  15. #1 - never cosign for anyone for anything. Never!
    #2 - Good job Steve and wife. It is especially hard to lay down the law with children but always necessary if we want them to become good adults.