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Mouseland and voting for the least wrong lizard – Douglas on democracy May 7, 2015

Posted by P, J, or J in Uncategorized.
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vote or the wrong lizard may get inOn its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.”
“Odd,” said Arthur, “I thought you said it was a democracy.”
“I did,” said Ford. “It is.”
“So,” said Arthur, hoping he wasn’t sounding ridiculously obtuse, “why don’t people get rid of the lizards?”
“It honestly doesn’t occur to them,” said Ford. “They’ve all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they’ve voted in more or less approximates to the government they want.”
“You mean they actually vote for the lizards?”
“Oh yes,” said Ford with a shrug, “of course.”
“But,” said Arthur, going for the big one again, “why?”
“Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,” said Ford, “the wrong lizard might get in.

Douglas Adams from So Long and Thanks for all the Fish

owing a certain something to a Canadian political speech in the 1940’s…

Tommy Douglas, Mouseland on CBC radio, 1961

Tommy Douglas’s story of Mousland: a political allegory

Mouseland was a place where all the little mice lived and played, were born and died. And they lived much the same as you and I do.

They even had a Parliament. And every four years they had an election. Used to walk to the polls and cast their ballots. Some of them even got a ride to the polls. And got a ride for the next four years afterwards too. Just like you and me. And every time on election day all the little mice used to go to the ballot box and they used to elect a government. A government made up of big, fat, black cats…
….the laws that were good for cats weren’t very good for mice. One of the laws said that mouseholes had to be big enough so a cat could get his paw in. Another law said that mice could only travel at certain speeds–so that a cat could get his breakfast without too much effort.

They voted the black cats out. They put in the white cats.

If you have a spare five minutes you can listen to Tommy Douglas telling the full story of Mouseland on CBC radio or watch a youtube video, it finishes with an idea about mice voting for mice and the suggestion that “you can lock up a mouse or a man but you can’t lock up an idea”

Today it’s election day in the UK (unless you’re reading this later) so if you are in the UK, or anywhere else with an election, don’t forget to vote!

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