Once upon a time, there was a group of people that were as intelligent as William F. Buckley. They generated wealth, conserved resources, spent wisely, were generally happy, and had a large world view. They became powerful and did not want to lose their position so they appointed a friendly dummy to rule the kingdom. Over time the dummy wasted money, spent foolishly, had only one view of the kingdom, and was plainly ignorant. The once-wise became vain and thought it would appear bad if they chastised their dummy. They did not police themselves to cultivate their deepest values, and started to reach old age.
The idiot ruler surrounded himself with people like himself. For one thing, he appointed a fox as town cryer. The wily fox knew if he said only good things about the king’s reign he would get big treats. Any who disagreed were made fun of and then banished. Citizens heard only one story. The once-wise liked it that way. But the foxes stories created a deep division in the kingdom. A silent resentful group smart enough to know the difference between a lie and the truth – called the knowers, and the less intelligent who couldn’t tell the difference – called the believers.
As the once-wise began to die off, their ranks were filled with braggers, boasters, and simple-minded believers who listened without question. A great turnabout occurred as if by magic. The believers, remarkably once-wise, now had reversed their cherished values. They no longer generated wealth, they contrived money-making betting schemes, squandered resources, became mean, intolerant of the world, were generally unhappy and were proudly and heroically stupid.
The kingdom became poorer not because the dummy made foolish decisions, but because the once-wise did not intervene to fix anything. Why? Because they were too old, too wealthy, and lived in fabulous palaces. Soon they all died off.
One day the dummy king tripped over a dictionary used as a doorstop and died. To replace him, the once-wise, now stupid found they needed many dummies to rule in order to keep their palaces. The believers gave the town crier an even bigger megaphone to call for dummies. The fox was clever. He began as usual, “Shut Up! Everyone Shut Up! Listen to me.” Then he hailed things at his listeners to make them more angry and unhappy than they already were. How clever then to say, “We have always hated the dummy!” Rather than understand what the dummy had truly done wrong, it produced the desired effect. They found more dummies.
The large kingdom, after eight years of silly rule, filled with the banished and the resentful who kept quiet for fear of ridicule and death threats. Outcast and censored, these people grew smarter and respected truth. They learned that truth was not what they were told by the fox.In fact the it was quite opposite. The knowers saw their little bit of wealth go to the money-making schemes of the once-wise. Behold, a suprising thing came to pass that truly was magical. It was the banished group who became as intelligent as William F. Buckley, conserved money, spent wisely, had a large world view, and were generally more happy than the once-wise.
How could these out-of-power people be happier and more productive than the once-wise? Could it be their great humor and happiness came from their arts? For when a people are banished, poor, and evolving intelligently they have time on their hands and make art.
The believers tired of their own feeble humor, exhibitions for maximum stupidity, anger contests, even the fox’s favorite contest of who could tell the cleverest lie. They envied the other’s culture and when the believers tried to make it their own, the original artists refused to cooperate, making the believers even meaner.
The showdown came as to how the kingdom would be ruled. The fox hailed, “The kingdom needs a fatherly-looking King to fix our money-making schemes. He must be mean, strike fear into hearts, appear unhappy and say the kingdom comes first.” Two dummies ran into each other and went to the fox. The first one, Canus, old and once-wise was perfect. He had forgotten the old ways, but he knew how to rant and rave at followers. The second, Betchus, was younger and even more ignorant than the dead dummy. Betchus was hypnotically handsome to look upon, unable to reason, or speak, but knew how to rant and rave at followers. The fox and the dummies had an anger party. They threatened to kill any who were not like them. Sadly, the kingdom grew more fearful of their own countrymen than of their own enemies. In time all citizens tired of the fox’s talk of fear, probably because they had true fears. The kingdom, no longer productive, fell apart. Thinking it over the generation of the banished, the smart, and the creative, that is the knowers, came to one great conclusion and told the believers. “We no longer want your dummies. We have a better idea called democracy.”
But the once-wise believers were no longer smart enough to understand the idea or even how to say it. Therefore the believers put the angry fox on them. The fox whipped up great hatred, telling the believers to kill any knower who talked of dumocracy. The fox made spectacles, laughing at this idea. Pulling an outcast to the stage, the fox said, “what’s that in your pocket?” Out came a passport. The crowd screamed in hideous laughter, for who would want to see the world? The Kingdom comes first. Seeing the riotous blood-thirsty hatred of the mob, the fox shouted louder into his megaphone declaring, “We are the appointed rulers of the kingdom and you will live by our new rule called dumocracy. If you do not agree you are banished! There is no such thing as democracy.”
Hearing banishment from the country they loved, rather than weep, the outcasts shouted out as one, “Yes, we can have a democracy!” The knowers voices grew louder, “yes we can”, until magically after the sixteenth time of saying “yes we can”, all the kings, the angry dummies, the ill-gotten palaces, and even the fox vanished into thin air. There was no longer a kingdom, but instead a country. It became the greatest nation of all time, but that would be another story.