The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Mice in Council

Lida Brown McMurry (1853-1942) was a primary school teacher in DeKalb Illinois. She was also an author who wrote books for young children. The Preface of her book, Fifty Famous Fables, begins
The fifty fables in this book have been selected for second grade reading because they are easily comprehended by pupils of that grade, and because they teach lessons which every child should learn.

Over the past four years, criticism of the United States and its efforts to fight Islamofascism have grow from a soft murmur of concern to full crescendo of “outrage” from groups as diverse as the UN, the EU, the Russians, the Chinese, the preponderance of MSM, almost all Democrats, some Republicans, Presidential contenders, Hollywood, … need I continue? One thing that strikes me is how ready every critic is to criticize our actions, but how little any of the critics have to say about what specific actions they would take to blunt and/or eradicate Islamofascism. They advocate abstractions—“multilateral approaches,” “negotiation,” “understanding," modification of our own "offensive behavior," and the like—but I think it’s reasonable to assert that the critics have offered very few specifics and even fewer viable alternatives.

But what does any of this have to do with Lida Brown McMurry? In an aside to a commentary at The Belmont Club, a snippet from a fable from Ms. McMurry’s book was presented. I did a little research, and found a more complete version. Although it was intended for second graders, I humbly suggest that every critic of our current efforts against the Jihadis read it. The fable is called The Mice In Council:
What a queer meeting that was down in the cellar! There were big mice, little mice, old mice, young mice, gray mice, and brown mice, all very sober and thoughtful.

At last an old mouse spoke up and said, "Shall we have Mr. Graypate for our chairman? All those who wish Mr. Graypate to be chairman will please hold up their right hands." Every mouse raised a tiny paw.

Mr. Graypate walked out to the front and took charge of the meeting. It was well that they chose him, for he was the wisest mouse in the whole country. Gazing over the crowd, he said, "Will Mr. Longtail tell us why we have met here? Mr. Longtail, come out in front where we can hear you."

Mr. Longtail walked slowly to the front. Then he stood upon his hind legs and said:

"My friends, I think you all know why we are here. Last night Mrs. Whitenose, whom we all love, and all her family were killed by the big white cat. The night before, while Mrs. Blackfoot was out hunting, all her cunning little babies were killed by the same cat. Early this week one of my finest boys was killed. You or I may be next.

"Must we bear this and do nothing at all to save our loved ones and ourselves? We have met here to make some plan for our defense."

Having spoken, Mr. Longtail walked back into the crowd.

Mr. Graypate arose and said: "You have heard why we are here. Anyone who has a good plan for ridding us of the cat will please tell of it. The meeting is open
to all."

"Let us all run at him suddenly when he is not looking for us, and each give him a bite. That would surely kill him," said one brave mouse.

"But how many of us do you think he would kill?" said another mouse. "I will not risk my life nor that of my family." "Nor I"; "nor I"; "nor I," said many other mice.

"Let us steal his food and starve him to death," suggested another.

"That will only make him hungrier for mice," they replied. "That will never do."

"I wish we might drown him," said another; "but I don't know how we could get him into the water."

At last a little gray mouse with a squeaky voice went up to the front and spoke:

"I have a plan that will surely work. If we could know when the cat is coming, we could get out of his way. He steals in upon us so quietly, that we can not escape. Let us find a little bell and a string. Let us put the bell on the string and tie the string around the cat's neck. As soon as we hear the bell, we can run and get out of the cat's way."

"A very good plan," said Mr. Longtail. "We will ask our leader to say which mouse shall put the bell on the cat's neck."

At this there was a great outcry. One said, "I am so little that I can not reach high enough to bell the cat." Another said, "I have been very sick and am too weak to lift the bell"; and so the excuses came pouring in.

At last Mr. Graypate called to the crowd, "Silence! I shall choose no one. Who will offer to bell the cat?"

It was very quiet in the meeting. One after another of the younger mice went out. None but the older ones were left. At last they too went sadly home. No one would bell the cat.

No one … but us.