MADISON, Wisconsin, July 7, 2013 — The world is full of puzzling questions: What’s the difference between Democrats and Republicans? Do ghosts exist? What is the meaning of life? Why are there two Twix bars in one wrapper?
Finally, after years upon years of vexation, the Twix company has shared the details of its troubled past, shedding light on the question of candy bar bifurcation. About a year ago, Twix released the first in a series of television commercials that has begun to explain one of life’s greatest mysteries.
It seems that almost immediately after Twix was unveiled, the company’s two like-minded founders—Seamus and Earl—fell into an abyss of irreconcilable disagreement. Realizing that they could no longer continue on as co-workers, they decided to split the company in two.
What emerged from the division were two rival companies alike in nearly every way, Left Twix and Right Twix.
While obvious to the outside world, the overwhelming similarities between the two chocolatey corporations went unnoticed by the myopic executives of each respective “side.”
According to the ad’s narrator, “Each factory took a vastly different approach. Left Twix flowed caramel on cookie, while Right Twix cascaded caramel on cookie. Left Twix bathed in chocolate, while Right Twix cloaked in chocolate.”
Another similar ad focuses on the modern-day state of the rival factories. An ambitious young employee approaches the head of Right Twix. “We’re in the Right Twix factory,” he says, “making cookie layered with caramel for the right side of the pack. And next door is the Left Twix factory, and they make cookie layered with caramel covered in chocolate.”
“No—cloaked in chocolate,” interrupts the obtuse executive. “Totally different process.” After peering across the driveway through a telescope, observing an identical office in the Left Twix factory, he contemptuously concludes, “I just don’t like the way they carry themselves.”
This is laughable, of course, because Left Twix and Right Twix “carry themselves” the exact same way. Beyond mere rhetoric, they are indistinguishable.
The Left-Right Twix dichotomy bears a striking resemblance to the American political system. Like Seamus and Earl, Republicans and Democrats quarrel over superficial disparities, while enthusiastically—albeit often unwittingly—agreeing on all matters of substance.
Democrats and Republicans quibble about the structure and funding of education, but they unanimously agree that mandated, standardized instruction is the only way to go.
Democrats favor intervention in one far-off land, while Republicans favor it in another, but neither party flinches at the mention of sanctions, foreign aid, arms dealing, drone strikes, combat troops, or outright war.
Democrats and Republicans adhere to slightly different philosophies regarding how to manipulate the economy, yet from both sides there is an unequivocal disregard for the free market. Bailouts, taxes, subsidies, and regulations are bipartisan rallying cries. The only hint of disagreement concerns whether the nation should approach financial insolvency at Mach-2 or Mach-3.
When it comes to money, the Left and the Right both march steadfastly to the beat of the Keynesian drum. The recipe for inflationary stew calls for equal parts donkey and elephant.
Whether it’s Medicare Part-D or Obamacare, healthcare nationalization counts on both sides of the aisle. Whether it’s marijuana or raw milk, the war on “illicit” commerce gathers support from the GOP and the Dems alike. Whether it’s sheet music or cell phone technology, “intellectual property” remains unquestioned by nearly everyone.
Attempts to distinguish the indistinguishable are futile and distracting. Prattling about trivial differences invites vacuous dialogue, subdues critical thinking, precludes progress, and produces farcical demagoguery.
From the Twix website, we learn of the length taken by each factory to maintain illusory separation:
“Right Twix Bars are packaged in the same location as that other Twix at The Twix Union Packaging Company, an equal opportunity packaging company. They package Right Twix between the hours of 12:00pm and 11:00pm. That other one is packaged between 12:00am and 11:00am. Between shifts, the equipment is reviewed and conveyor belts are replaced to avoid any unwanted cookie mingling.”
At the end of the day, though, neither Twix manufacturer can deny that their respective candy bars do, in fact, snuggle closely with their supposed rivals.
Excessive expenditures on avoidance and propaganda mirror the electoral rigmarole. Every four years, presidential candidates go to extraordinary lengths to convince the voting public that two inches is a mile.
Democrats flow from a river of absurdity, while Republicans cascade from a stream of futility. Democrats bathe in inefficacy, while Republicans are cloaked in uselessness. Despite these obvious, palpable, insurmountable differences, they both fit comfortably inside the same wrapper.
At the end of each Twix commercial, we are prompted to, “Try both and pick a side.” Of course, we could also choose to not buy Twix at all.
Joseph S. Diedrich also writes for the MacIver Institute, The College Fix, Young Americans for Liberty, Conbustible, LibertyBlog.org, Young American Revolution, and Musings of a Superfluous Young Man. Find him on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter @JSDiedrich.
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