The world explained by TWO COWS

If you went to university, like me, and studied the philosophers and the political science and such, you learned that people far, far smarter than us violently disagree on (a) how the world works, (b) how the world SHOULD work and (c) who should run the world.

However: I can boil down just about all the major approaches to these worldly questions by using TWO COWS.

Here we go.

ANARCHY: You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price — or your neighbors steal your cows and kill you.

FEUDALISM: You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.

PURE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors decide who gets the milk.

NIHILISM: You have no cows. Who really cares, anyway? They’re just gonna die some day, and so are you. And nobody’s going to remember you. And even if they did, you’d still be dead. It’s all so pointless. You might as well be dead now.

COWS WITH GUNS: You are a cow, and humans want to turn you into hamburger. The only solution? A revolution.

DARWINISM: You have two cows. They develop opposable thumbs and milk you.

NORTH KOREAN COMMUNISM: We do not need cows. Those are the tools of the ruthless capitalist exploiters and rapists of the proletariat in the oppressed, feudal South. We will, in keeping with the principles of Juche, eat our own grass. Please do not pay attention to the mooing coming from the two large crates addressed to the Dear Leader, Kim Jong Il.

DICTATORSHIP: You have two cows. The government takes both and drafts you into the army.

THE MATRIX: There is no cow.

poster for The Matrix
Spoiler: the first movie is perfect, while the two sequels put the S in Suck. Image via Wikipedia

REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors pick someone to tell you who gets the milk.

ROMANTICISM: You have two beautiful, majestic, elegant, bovine companions. You think about them daily.

PURE SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else’s cows. You have to take care of all of the cows. The government gives you as much milk as you need.

BRITISH DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. One of your cows has a small foot infection. The government orders you to burn both cows. All the cows in the surrounding area are also burned, roads and footpaths are closed and the media throws the country into a panic. You decide to protest about not being allowed to hunt foxes on public roadways.

PURE COMMUNISM: You have two cows. Your neighbors help you take care of them, and you all share the milk.

BERKELIAN ANALYSIS: You have two cows. You put your cows in a drawer and close it. Your two cows cease to exist.

RUSSIAN COMMUNISM: You have two cows. You have to take care of them, but the government takes all the milk.

VEGANISM: You have two cows, and choose not to exploit them. Everyone is happy, especially the cows.

CANADIAN CAPITALISM: You have 2 cows. The government takes the milk and puts it in a bag. You get free health care.

YODAISM: Two cows you have, hmmm?

INDUSTRIALISM: You have two cows. You dissect them both and figure out how to build a milk-factory instead.

CONSERVATIVE CAPITALISM: The poor should give their cows to the rich so that the milk will trickle back down to the poor.

BIG BROTHERISM: You have two cows. Black is white. Eurasia is ungood. Eastasia is ungood. Oceania is plusgood. BB is doubleplus good. You have one cow.

SWISS CAPITALISM: You have 5000 cows, none of which belongs to you. You charge for storing them for others. If they give milk, you tell no one.

FREUDIAN ANALYSIS: You have two cows. You dream that they come to your bedroom at night, dressed in your mother’s clothes. On waking, you initially deny that this could mean anything. On further consideration, you move through phases of intellectualisation, displacement and projection, and finally determine that the cows represent a psychic compensation for the passive/aggressive treatment you received from your father during your adolescence. Also, you have a thing for mom.

RUSSIAN CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You drink some vodka and count them again — whoah, you have FIVE cows. The Russian Mafia shows up and takes however many cows you may or may not have.

GOVERNMENT COW-ER-UP: Cows never crash-landed in the New Mexico desert. In fact, cows never even existed. You never saw anything.

UTOPIAN LIBERTARIANISM: You have two cows. You sell one, buy a bull and grow a prosperous herd of cows.

HONG KONG CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt / equity swap with associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax deduction for keeping five cows. The milk rights of six cows are transferred via a Panamanian intermediary to a Cayman Islands company secretly owned by the majority shareholder, who sells the rights to all seven cows’ milk back to the listed company.

DARTH VADER: The two cows would be powerful allies. They will join us or die.

IDIOCRACY: You have two cows. One cow is stupid and breeds with other stupid cows, while the smart cow doesn’t try to mate. Eventually, you have lots of stupid cows.


PACIFISM: You have two cows. They stampede you.

CYNICAL LIBERTARIANISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull and grow a prosperous herd of cows that your neighbor steals. He may or may not shoot you first. But we don’t need a government or police — your survivors can always sue the evil neighbor for damages.

PROTECTIONISM: You have two cows. You can’t buy a bull from another country.

FRISBEETARIANISM: You have two cows. One of them flies up on the roof and gets stuck. You hope the government provides cow ladders.

SURREALISM: You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

22 thoughts on “The world explained by TWO COWS

  1. Religious Fundamentalism: You have two cows. Both cows must adhere to the rules in the Old Farmer’s Almanac, says all other cows on the farm. There is no other almanac truer than the Old Farmer’s Almanac, says all other cows on the farm. Adherence will lead to green pastures.


  2. Orwell: all cows are equal but some cows are more equal than others.

    PC Jane Austen: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single cow in possession of a good udder must be in want of a farmer (or a milkmaid, depending on sexual orientation of cow)

    Charlotte Bronte: (Farmer): Neighbor, I milked her.

    Dostoyevsky’s Underground Cow: I am sick. I have mad cow disease. I lie. I am pink slime. I lied when I said I lied: pink slime perfectly safe.

    Fitzgerald’s & Hemingway’s Cows: (F): Rich farmers’ cows are different from the rest. (H): yes, they have more milk.

    Gertrude Stein: A cow is a cow is a cow


  3. Sartre’s existentialism: you have 2 cows. They are free. So are you. It is an awful responsibility.

    Camus’ existentialism: you have two cows who must take turns rolling a giant cud up a hill only to have it ceaselessly roll down but when it is 1st cow’s turn to labor with giant cud, 2nd cow can choose to be happy about not pushing cud at that moment. And vice versa.

    Beckett’s existentialism: Cow1: Is he coming today? Cow2: Tomorrow, he said. Cow1: Shall we go and come back? Cow2: Yes, let’s go. (Neither moves)

    Jung’s archetypal Cows: since the two cows existed in our collective unconscious before birth, which was also before language, and the trauma of birth makes us forget exactly what they mean, we are condemned to write about the two cows, draw them, put them on Noah’s ark, wear ritual cow masks, send one on a journey which will change him, let the older wiser cow teach the secrets of the universe to the younger cow who proves himself most worthy, draw them, write them, watch the ending of Coppola’s APOCALYPSE NOW over and over and over


  4. PHILOSOPHY OF LOGIC: If you have one cow then you add another cow, and if A=cow one and B=cow two, then you must have two cows.


  5. As a political scientist, I enjoyed this far too much. I also have a few to add:

    MACHIAVELLI: You have two cows. You hire someone to brutally kill one cow, then you kill the cow-killer. The remaining cow loves and fears you.

    PLATO: You have two cows. You are better than both cows, so they care for and milk each other, providing you with all of the milk you need while you think about the true nature of the universe.

    BUDDHISM: You have two cows. Cows cause suffering. You will only be free from suffering once you release your desire for milk.

    CONFUCIUS: You have two cows. Without the cows, your existence has no meaning, so you work for the benefit of the cows, putting their welfare before your own.

    SOCRATES: You know nothing about cows.


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