THE GOAT AND THE COW, Post #3 from RIGHT and WRONG, Not Left and Right, a series

“Myths which are believed in tend to become true.”

–George Orwell

Perception can be as dangerous as lies.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters  (D LA/CA  – Feb 28th) stated with a sober face as she was backed by colleagues,  that the US would lose 170 million jobs due to sequestration!

Oops… Only 154 million in 2009 census of the civilian workforce and we’ve lost more than 10%  of those since then…

Was she lying, did she misspeak, or is she just plain stupid? Sometimes it doesn’t matter. What matters is who believes and how much.

In Post #2 of this series the question of moral governance was considered along with the consequences of trying to make something right that in all recorded history has proven to be wrong.

I hope you will find this abridged chapter, Post #3, from the coming eBook, RIGHT and WRONG, Not Left and Right – America’s Third Option, useful in defense of traditional American values.

The Goat, the Cow, and Problem of Perception

Right and wrong, good and evil, truth and lies, have been with mankind from the beginning of recorded history. These elements occupy much of the storyteller’s time and create the triumph necessary for good literature to succeed with the reader.

We know good and bad when we see it, and we can sense and feel it from childhood. Our history is wrapped around it, our fables and stories require it. We live by it in moral codes of conduct and by rule of law in every city, county, and state in our union.

Our faith requires understanding good and evil as we even see the opposites of virtue and vice, corruption and incorruption in terms of heaven and hell.

God is with us or he is not. The devil rules us or he does not.

Right and wrong have consequences as sure as night follows day.

And yet a man or woman can believe anything they want.

In the movie Second Hand Lions Robert Duvall’s gruff and aged character tells Haley Joel Osment’s character he can believe anything he wants, but then shows his life experience and wisdom through what he values as true and worth believing:

“If you want to believe something, then believe in it. Just because something isn’t true, that’s no reason you can’t believe it. Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things that a man needs to believe in the most.

“That people are basically good; that honor, courage and virtue mean everything; that power and money, money and power mean nothing; that good always triumphs over evil—and I want you to remember this—that love, true love, never dies. You remember that boy.

“You see a man should believe in those things because those things are the things worth believing in. Got that?” –Second Hand Lions



I was driving with my son, who then was in his early teens but totally connected to the world of instant gratification in terms of knowledge, accepting the quickest answer to things via the internet and was generally otherwise distracted by noises of the world. This is a “normal” for a teen now days.

I had, however, thought I had done a good job of parenting to this point, though forgetting what it was like to not be mature in judgment and knowledge, or in other words an average teenager.

I was sipping a soft drink as we drove up a canyon. He didn’t have any other distractions before him, just the scenery as it passed us by. I too was in deep reflection, most likely upon a chapter I was then engaged in editing for one of my novels.

Excitedly he said, “Look Dad. That sure is a funny looking cow!”

I looked everywhere for a cow. Finally I said, “Where?”

“Over there!” he pointed with the tone that implied my age created fewer brain cells each passing year.

I spewed the soft drink out and over the car’s console, my lap, and pulled over choking.

I looked over at him and asked sincerely—now believing my failures as a parent were complete—“Are you serious?”

“Yeah. Why?”

“That’s not a cow.”

“But it has black and white spots,” he replied with exasperation.

“Son, pigs have black and white spots. Just because it has black and white spots, does not mean it is a cow,” I answered.

“Then what is it?” he asked.

Tears were almost stinging my eyes as I looked out the car window, up into the sky and pled, “God, what have I done wrong?”

I sucked it up and kindly replied, “It’s a goat, Mike. Goats also have black and white spots.”

The remainder of the drive was fun for him as he learned a new truth. Just because the spots are apparently the same as worn by another animal does make the object true. A cow is a cow, and now he knew what a goat looked like.

Cha ching! Another day done and another success in good parenting!

The matter of the goat and cow as applied to the question at hand is not if I am left or right, but if I am right or wrong.

Being wrong and proclaiming it right does not make it so any more than calling a goat a cow makes the goat… a cow.

You can believe anything you want, but believing something doesn’t make it so.


Truth is unyielding as it produces a cause and effect which can be examined under the light of careful scrutiny.

Truth produces the fruit of its seed. It is consistent, does not vary, and yields results which any double-blind scientific test may validate over and over again.

Political fantasy, however, offered from the utopian mind or the social do-gooder is built upon sands called hope and a verbal vapor called change and disappears from view as rapidly as reality based upon ageless truths wash over them.

Political fantasies are pretty lies, rhetoric without substance, ends justifying the means, evidence to the contrary be damned, and all to gain power.

The problem?

Wrong dressed up as benevolence often prevails in politics, regardless of the fantasy introduced in slick marketing to present it as right.

And when wrong prevails it produces a fiscal, cultural, social, and security train wreck for the voters who trusted the lies in the first place.


You can lap information up from one party or another but the spots don’t make the animal.

Truth of nature makes the animal. It matters that you get that right.


James Michael Pratt is a New York Times bestselling novelist and non-fiction author, screenwriter, owner and founder of www.powerthinklibrary.com — one of the world’s largest 1 stop shops for original source documents and books, editor at www.jerusalemreports.com and Op Ed contributor. More about his work may be found at www.jmpratt.comFacebook and Twitter.

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