Monday, 14 November 2011

A history lesson in the chicken pen

Too many chickens turned out to be cockerels. There were three of them. Two too many. They had to go. But I put off making a decision until one morning I saw that all three cockerels had somehow forced their way out of the pen and were gathered nearby fighting. The head and neck of the smallest one were covered in blood. Now I knew who would survive.

The nicest survived. The two merciless fighters perished.

I felt then that on our little bit of the hillside social Darwinism had been decisively trashed. The idea that the strong are necessarily in the right is a lie. Strength is not in itself good. It is the opportunity to do good - an opportunity that might be taken or might be missed.


James Hadley said...

I assume this post is meant ironically. Can you apply the idea of "nice" to cockerels? And isn't it plain old Darwinian 'survival of the fittest' at work with these birds? Not 'social Darwinism', surely? Weren't you playing God.
Incidentally, my girlfriend is afraid of cockerels. They can be vicious little buggers.

Torn Halves said...

To reply:
1. No irony here.
2. That cockerel is a nice guy - so far he has not behaved like a vicious little bugger.
3. I said "social Darwinism" simply because at the time, in my mind, the cockerels with their necks on the block were placeholders for the bastards of history (and we just saw a re-run last night of that great documentary about the assassination of Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973).
4. Playing God? You touch (I guess) on the problem for all revolutionaries, i.e. that the merciless force of the bastards of history can only be overcome by an equally appalling force (given that dialogue with the likes of Buffet and Friedman is impossible). Or perhaps you mean something else - there are things (God's things) that we shouldn't intervene in. Let me suggest that to all intents and purposes God is absent, and in his absence the difficult decisions are left up to us. Who is to have the upper hand: the good guys like Allende or the bastards of history like Pinochet?