Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, once a staple in the English-speaking educational curriculum, is probably no longer of interest to the politically correct shapers of our children. Kipling is too colonial, too male and too violent for the delicate sensitivities of children who are no longer allowed to play “tag” due to the possible psychological stigma associated with being “it.” But there are lessons indeed to be gleaned from the exciting and exotic moralistic tales found in the JB. One of my favorites is Rikki Tikki Tavi. In this harrowing tale, Kipling weaves the narrative of a young boy’s acquisition of a pet mongoose. He names the mongoose Rikki Tikki Tavi and the adventure revolves around the mongoose protecting the boy and his family from an evil pair of cobras. Rikki Tikki Tavi eventually destroys the snakes. Kipling’s fable was re-cast in song early in 1970 by the Scottish flower child/folksinger, Donovan Leitch, on his Open Road album. Donovan illuminates the story with a political twist:
Everybody who read the Jungle Book knows that Rikki tiki tavi’s a mongoose who kills snakes (Well) when I was a young man I was led to believe there were organizations to kill my snakes for me i.e. the church i.e. the government i.e. the school.
Is this not precisely the Barack Obama/Democrat solution to the nation’s problems? The Democrat response to any problem is a federal and institutional one, rather than an enterprising and private one. Dems choose to sick an army of mongeese, disguised as lawyers and bureaucrats, on our problems. Of course these are always hired federal mongeese. Our national infrastructure remains replete with telling examples of the havoc wrought by institutional mongeese, each with his little mongoose ax to grind. From the mortgage mess, to the energy debacle, to the pitiful state of our educational system and the enfeeblement of our diplomat corps: government by mongoose comes a cropper every time. Note, however, that the song alludes to the singer’s youth being a time of reliance upon the organizations serving as his protectors:
(But when I got a little older) I learned I had to kill (the snakes) myself…. United Nations ain’t really unitedAnd the organizations ain’t really organized Rikki tiki tavi mongoose is goneWon’t be coming around to kill your snakes no more my love…
Ah, here we have the mature, adult realization of the necessity of self-reliance. In political terms, this is the free-market solution to problems. And it is also the conservative approach to public dilemma. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were simply government mongeese developed to kill what Democrats decided were housing snakes for us. In painful hindsight, we now recognize that individual banks need to make their own decisions on what amount of risk to take in the mortgage process. Concommitantly, the solution for those who would like to become homeowner’s is to work to develop their personal finances and credit to be able to qualify for the standards set by the free market. I find it rather surprising that a hippie case like Donovan Leitch could actually be the proponent of individual and institutional maturity in public matters. He concludes the song with an apt description of the fuzzy middle of the 2008 electorate:
People walk around they don’t know what they’re doing They bin lost so long they don’t know what they’ve been looking forWell, I know what I’m looking for but I just can’t find itI guess I gotta look inside of myself some more. Right on Donovan! We certainly need not look to some institutional mongoose to kill our snakes for us. Electing Obama to redistribute our incomes won't work any more than will handing over the management of our economy to Congress or delegating our national security interests to the United Nations. Let's look inside ourselves and our businesses to find the solutions we need to move our resilient economy forward. Rikki Tikki Tavi mongoose is gone