Once Upon a Time…

Ever’ so often, folk like to listen to storybook tales. Accounts, if well written, serve to create intriguing visuals that assist the reader in their understanding of current dilemmas they may be encountering. A clear moral conclusion may be drawn.

Here’s a new, but old one to decode.

Once upon a time, a long time ago, in a kingdom far, far away lived wicked nobles. Not only did they hoard land, but wealth, treasure and power.

Now, the loyal subjects were unsuspicious of their royal overlords due to the fact the powers-that-be intentionally kept them in the dark. An uneducated and uninformed lot were they. For peasants were only meant to serve and scarcely survive. The elite owned all printing presses and media outlets (called “town criers” and “messenger boys”). It was a totally privatized society; there was no “public sector”.

So, the only news that trickled down was heavily censored and focused on distractions – such as aliens, UFOs, myths, dragons, feel-good fables, and other forms of superstitious creed.

The rulers also effectively brainwashed the peasants by making them to feel as patriots – through remarkable ritual, ornamental crosses, flag-waving, and ceremonial pomp and pageantry. Symbols and emblems meant everything while true heroics meant nothing. The expressions of entranced joy were spread all over the subjects’ faces – like hypnotic glares from multitudes of Nazi devotees at Hitler rallies.

They would believe anything from the Emperor’s mouth and nothing that contradicted his divine words. A state of denial took on religious mandate; anyone straying from the doctrine was persona not grata.

“Keep them down and dumb,” was the Emperor’s decree. For he wanted all wealth to himself. Fixing the kingdom’s pot holes was deemed too expensive – yet lavishing  gold and treasure [stolen from the peasant class] was fine, just so long as it was spent renovating the palace or any of the Emperor’s other pet projects. In fact, budget constraints were only brought up when involving public works.

The kingdom’s tax code mirrored the monarch’s decree. All taxes were collected from the poor and none from the overlords. For, the rich evaded taxes by hiring high-paid lawyers to write tax codes into law for their exclusive exploitation.

Yet the peasants still did not see they were being robbed blind. They did not see because, somehow, they didn’t want to. They were clinging to their archery & mythology.

As the years went by, the Emperor became so exceedingly fond of new clothes that he spent almost the kingdom’s entire treasure on being well-dressed. Obviously, he cared nothing for the people, who persisted in their mass blindness.

Two visiting weavers came to the palace and persuaded the king to try on their colors and patterns of fine fabric – made of magic cloth becoming invisible to anyone disloyal to his highness or anyone exceptionally ignorant.

"If I wore them, I would be able to find out which people are loyal to me and which aren’t and I could tell the wise men from the fools,” thought the Emperor. Henceforth, he paid the two swindlers a large sum to start work at once.

The day arrived when the Emperor showed off his new clothes to his entire empire. In the dressing room his immediate staff praised the new outfit [although the Emperor was standing before them stark naked].

Then, as he entered the outer chamber, the village priest immediately exclaimed, “Oh, it's beautiful – it’s enchanting!” The minister went on, “Such a pattern, what colors!”

With the church’s endorsement, the Emperor and his entourage proceeded to the national viewing court where thousands of countrymen were compulsorily assembled.

Of course, the Emperor was pleased with himself and was in complete denial that he was standing in the imperial courtyard butt-naked revealing his crown jewels to the whole kingdom.

The pandering and raving continued for several minutes from the crowd below until all at once a child cried out, “But he hasn’t got anything on!”

Then, like a slow-moving wave, whispering and laughter erupted from the throng. “He doesn’t have a stitch on!” the whole town at last cried out with spontaneous merriment. Such laughter to tears was never enjoyed so much by the general public – and never since.

Only the honesty of an innocent child exposed this naked truth which gifted the whole peasantry with uncontainable laughter for those precious moments and never ending joy for their book of remembrances.

However, the indictment by the court of history would not be issued against an Emperor so foolish, but against a population so gullible that only a child could remove their blindfolds.

The Emperor shivered, for he suspected they were right. But he thought, “This procession has got to go on.” So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all.

The moral of the story is… You can fool most of the people most of the time about the condition of the country with its economic disparity – promising future collapse if not soon altered. We all know who’s robbing whom and why. The sooner we let that little child inside us speak truth to power and yell, “The Emperor’s got no clothes”, the better. It’s obvious what’s going on. Why can’t others see? It won’t be a happy ending until the truth is widely known and accepted.

The End