The children are hungry, there’s food in the store-room, and you won’t let them eat! It’s just cruel, and you are a hateful, selfish, jealous beast!

“There’s no food in the store-room, dear.”

“Yes there is! I saw it! It’s the same food we’ve been eating all along! Is there something wrong with it?”

“No, there’s nothing wrong with it, at least I hope not, but it isn’t food, dear. That’s seed. We put it in the ground when the weather gets warmer, and it grows, and then we have lots of food.”

“But that’s next year, gods curse you. The children are hungry now. Can’t you hear them crying?”

“Yes, I hear them.”

“It doesn’t break your heart, I see. You have no feelings.”

“I’m just trying to do what’s best for everybody.”

“Children crying because they’re hungry is a good thing, then. That’s just cruel.”

“No, children crying isn’t a good thing. Children starving to death next winter beacause there’s no food is a worse thing.”

“That’s next winter. This is now. I cannot believe they can’t have a little bit. A lot of food grows. Taking a little bit can’t hurt.”

“A ‘little bit’ is really a lot, dear. We get back just about ten for one. That means that for every day we eat the seed grain, we go hungry for ten days next near.”

“I notice the men are eating.”

“The men are hunters, dear. If they can kill something, or find food somewhere, we can all eat, including the children. They can’t hunt if they’re too weak.”

<sneer>”Yeah, right.</sneer> What you mean is, you and they get to go out and sit around the fire swapping stories and drinking beer, and you don’t have to listen to the children crying because there’s no food.”

“That’s not…”

Yes it is! Well, I have to stay home and listen to them crying while you are out enjoying yourself, and it’s not fair!

“No, it’s not fair. It’s just the way it is.”

“It’s not the way it is! I don’t believe you! You’re just a hateful, mean, vicious, cruel beast who wants to save all the food so you and your buddies can go out and party in the woods while the rest of us listen to our bellies growling and the children crying because there’s no food! There’s food in the store-room, gods curse you, and I’m going to go get it and give it to the children!”

“I’ll stop you from doing that. We have to have that seed to plant in the spring.”

“How will you stop me?”

“I’ll hurt you if I have to. We can’t eat the seed grain.”

“Oh, now it’s clear. You just love having people beg you for food, don’t you? And you like having people weak from hunger because it makes you feel strong, doesn’t it? Strong enough to hurt people just because they want food! And it gives you an excuse to hurt people, and you just love that! You’re a hateful, spiteful, cruel beast! Well, other people are hungry, too, and I’m going to get everybody together and we’re going to go and take the food, and there’ll be enough of us that you can’t keep us away from it!”

“Then there’ll be nothing to plant in the spring, and next year we all die. Is that what you want?”

NO! What I want is to feed the children, and the food’s right there!

[d.c. al coda]

***

I wonder how many, many times something like that sequence has taken place in the long turning of the years since agriculture was invented…

Remind you of anything in the current “debates”?

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