January in western New York has forced my cat, in again-out again Finnegan, to modify his behavior, his disturbingly psychopathic personality forced into remission by the harshness of winter. With his nose nearly touching the French door’s bottom windowpane, he sits surveying a lifeless, seemingly unending landscape devoid of warmth and color. To his chagrin, nothing stirs (not even a mouse), marginal sunshine and winter-kill having devastated what would otherwise be a thriving countryside. It’s why all the really smart creatures have either migrated south or have burrowed in to sleep off summer’s preparatory binge. The door opens. In again-out again Finnegan goes out again.
A short time later, he returns to the same door, to the same window, this time to look in. Nose nearly touching the windowpane, his view of the temperate world is obscured by his own empty reflection, his countenance unchanged since the Bush administration. That’s when we initially took him in, a kitten, mewing, hungry and abandoned. The door opens. In again-out again Finnegan comes in again.
My cat is a predator. As a consequence of nature, he’s part of a hedonistic, illiterate society — self-indulgent and short on common sense. Running water boggles his mind. In fact, most of life puzzles him. He sleeps, grooms himself and will sit cute as a button. He appears harmless, but is, in fact, insidious. He’ll give the impression of love and loyalty, but treachery lies just beneath that huggable, feline facade. Seductive, nuzzling and playful, he’s quick to extend his claws, instinct superseding rational behavior. Social and moral obligations, he has none; he would just as soon bite your head off as look at you. I need him about as much as he needs me. We put up with each other.
In the political spectrum, my cat shapes up left of center, far enough left that I consider him a Socialist. Personally, I’m sour on socialism; I wouldn’t want to live in a predominately Socialist state any more than I would want to exist as a cat. And if I had to be a lower animal, I’d want to be a dog or a horse or a milk cow, be an integral part of my master’s existence, if only a minor role. My cat and I live in harmony because to do otherwise would be anti-productive. He owns nothing and shows no interest in ownership. He won’t even own up to his occasional “accident” on the carpeting. He possesses not one moral, legal or mental bone of accountability. The underlying principles of right and wrong are foreign to him. If I didn’t think him incapable, I’d swear he subscribes to the notion that laws are meant to be broken. He’s as responsible as a hobo, his daily bread someone else’s bread, someone else’s responsibility. If not for me, he’d be out on the street. To be fair to my cat, his brain’s not much bigger than a walnut; I have no excuses for socialism.
Under more favorable conditions, my cat brings home rabbits and chipmunks, mice, moles, and birds. He desires them, relishes biting their heads off and slurping their essence. In a final act of psychodrama, he’ll leave his mark in gizzards on the sidewalk. Yes, I find him repulsive, but his habits are rudimentary, instinctive and no less palpable than the traditional desires of humankind. Desire, a little strength of feeling, can do a body good. A little desire can complement our makeup. But it’s the desire to have what does not belong to us that is the greatest evil of socialism. And it’s this inordinate desire — wanting what belongs to others — that comes under the heading of coveting. And coveting is strictly forbidden by a power far greater than the weight of socialism. Nowhere is this more evident than in the sculpted marble image of Moses holding the two Hebrew-inscribed tablets, the Ten Commandments, high up on the south wall, inside the actual courtroom of the U. S. Supreme Court.
Socialism wasn’t born out of concern for others, but the desire for what others have. To think otherwise is to confuse socialism with Christianity. Socialism’s call for “wealth distribution” has little to do with “do unto others” and everything to do with laundering other people’s property, money and investments. Socialism works for my cat, but after all is said and done, after he’s been cared for, fed, watered and his litter box cleaned, I’m left holding the bag.
Donald E. Melville, author and regular contributor to Messenger Post, resides in Honeoye. He welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.