This is the Parable of the Boiling Frog.
Suppose one wishes to serve live-boiled frog at a fancy dinner. As epicureans know, the frog can only be appreciated in all its juicy, succulent sweetness when it is cooked alive. But the frog is a wily beast. If we drop a frog into hot water, the frog will leap out of the pot, upsetting all our plans and enraging our wife in the process. We must boil the frog by degrees. If we submerge the frog into lukewarm water, only gradually raising the heat below our pot, the animal will be lulled to our stomachs. Never noticing each small rise in the water’s temperature, the frog can be boiled before it ever realizes its peril.
Now, it is a truth universally acknowledged that when a man tells the Tale of the Boiling Frog, nattering imbecile James Fallows of the Atlantic will surely arise to shriek, “THAT’S NOT TRUE! SCIENCE TEACHES THAT YOU CAN’T GRADUALLY BOIL A FROG BECAUSE THE FROG HAS A HIGHLY DEVELOPED NERVOUS SYSTEM THAT SENSES MINUTE CHANGES IN TEMPERATURE!”
Missing the point entirely. The truth of the Boiling Frog is this:
You are a frog.
Everyone you know is a frog. All of your friends, and all of your family, are frogs.
There are two kinds of people in this world: frogs, and frog boilers. There are about a hundred thousand frog boilers in the world. Vladimir Putin is a frog boiler. Barack Obama is a frog boiler.* Jamie Dimon is a frog boiler. At European Union headquarters in Brussels there are dozens of frog boilers.
Brett Kimberlin is a frog boiler, albeit an unusually stupid and clumsy one.
The rest of the world, all five billion of us, are frogs.
So whenever the cook slips up, and raises the temperature a little too high, it’s vitally important for us to leap about and croak. To warn fellow frogs of our impending doom.
This is the story of a family of frogs, John and Judy Dollarhite of Nixa, Missouri. The Dollarhites and their child are being scorched by the United States Department of Agriculture. As frogs of good will, we are compelled to croak at our government’s misconduct.
It started out as a hobby, a way for the Dollarhite family in Nixa, Mo., to teach a teenage son responsibility. Like a lemonade stand.
But now, selling a few hundred rabbits over two years has provoked the heavy hand of the federal government to the tune of a $90,643 fine. The fine was levied more than a year after authorities contacted family members, prompting them to immediately halt their part-time business and liquidate their equipment. …
The Dollarhites’ crime? Selling six hundred rabbits, a few more than allowed by the arcane, unread regulations of the USDA, to a pet store over two years.
For a profit of about $500.00, the Dollarhites have earned a $90,000.00 fine, and threatens from Government Bigfoots:
[I]n January 2010, another USDA official called, asking for a meeting with the Dollarhite family at their full-time business, a small computer store.
The inspector watched the store for an hour from his car before the meeting, and his physical appearance put off the small business owners.
“He was covered head to toe in filth. Jeans is one thing, but these were slicked. He had ‘Grizzly Adams’-style hair,” Judy Dollarhite said.
The inspector, whose name Judy Dollarhite could not recall, intimidated the couple, claiming to have interviewed their neighbors about their political beliefs.
Bob McCarty has more on the McCarty’s “business operation” (which has been described as something on the scale of a 4-H Club), and the disturbing behavior of USDA’s agents:
Eight weeks passed, and John decided to call Colorado Springs. Immediately, he was given the number to a USDA office in the nation’s capitol. He called the new number, and the lady he reached there was blunt, John said.
“She said, ‘Well, Mr. Dollarhite, I’ve got the report on my desk, and I’m just gonna tell you that, once I review it, it’s our intent to prosecute you to the maximum that we can’ and that ‘we will make an example out of you.”
There is no allegation that the Dollarhites ever mistreated a rabbit. By all accounts their rabbits were well fed and cared for. Their error is one of ignorance, ignorance not of laws passed by an elected legislature, but of regulations imposed by fiat of bureacrats all the way across the
Empire country in Tsargrad Washington.
To their credit, the Dollarhites are not backing down. They’ve hired a lawyer to contest the fine, and been promised in turn that USDA will seek far more than $90,000.00 if it prevails, to punish the Dollarhites for exercising their right to be heard in court.
For daring to jump out of the pot.
Via Amy Alkon.