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« What Is Needed? | Main | Republican Generals »

July 12, 2005


Jeff Luebcke

Very good. It is an important lesson that we all must learn. If you choose not to, all that can come is death. It is a lesson that must be understood lest we fall back into the dark ages.

Jason Roberts

If you are equating the Dark Ages with the absence of thought, then amen to that!

Brendan Hargrove

Reason would have told the goat to not climb into the bottom of a well he could not get out of. Instinct would have told him to be wary of trusting the fox in the first place. Either way you look at it, the goat made an unwise decision.

Jason Roberts

Interesting Brendan. I have a question though: what do you mean by Instinct? Can you define it? And are you implying that the billy-goat was acting without instinct too?

Brendan Hargrove

Instinct- An inborn pattern of behavior that is characteristic of a species and is often a response to specific environmental stimuli (

Taking this into consideration, the goat did in fact act out of instinct. The fox is a predator. Despite the fact that the fox acted honest, lets put it this way. Do you feel any moral qualms about lying to a hamburger?

Jason Roberts

Haha-no, though I really don't often do so...

My point would be this:

Let's say we define the fox as "sly, cunning". This is how the fox acted in this situation.

Now, let's define the billy-goat as a "brute".

Could we not say that this is also a political statement? As long as the sly person remains sly, and as long as the brute remains a brute, will not the sly guy triumph?

Brendan Hargrove

I'm speaking literally, while you are speaking metaphorically. In a literal sense, the fox would be a natural predator to the goat, and therefore teh goat would have reason to be wary of it. You do bring up a good point though; one which I agree with entirely. In a symbolic sense, the fox has always been portrayed as a trickster (or in your words, cunning). By tricking the goat, the fox was simply taking advantage of its most recognizable survival trait. Either way, we're both saying the same thing: The goats downfall was brought about by its own hand (or hoof, I suppose).


This is not a straightforward lesson in "look before you leap" [into a well].

The moral I draw is: "Just because you see someone else in the well, does not mean its okay to leap in."

i.e. not "Think first", but "Think for yourself first"

Jason Roberts

Very interesting angle-I hadn't looked at it that way before.

Though I would counter with this question:

Was not the Billy-Goat thinking of himself when he went down into the get the water that he may quench his thirst?


Nop because it was thinking of its thirst, not its safety.


"Was not the Billy-Goat thinking of himself..." Sure. He was thinking *of* himself, but not thinking *for* himself.

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