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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Emperors New Clothes

You remember the story,

...."the little Kingdom had an emperor who lived in his castle and was incredibly vain and insecure. Along came the con men and started selling him invisible cloth. And he bought it! They make him the most "beautiful gown" that "only a fool can't see how fine it is" and knowing deep in his heart that he's probably not all he's cracked up to be he goes along with their Con. And sure enough on the fateful day he's parading down the street wearing not even underwear, while the Cons are skipping town with his money."

Well that little Con game is part of our current political discourse. We have genuinely wise people who can have legitimate arguments over how to spend money, whether we are printing too much or too little of it, and how to make this country a better place. And then we have the Con Artists who sell us abusive myths, invisible cloth, instead of myths that can be made reality. Myths aren't necessarily bad things. Before the Empire State building was built, it's image was a myth. It took engineering, projects, plans, requisitions, materials and labor to put that building there. The building may not be the tallest building in the world anymore, but it still is a place where one can see the world that is the metropolis of New York. An ideal is a myth, reality is what we make of it. But con artists sell us things that don't actually exist, or can't possibly actually exist.

And of course it was dangerous for the little boy who noticed "Ooh, the Emperor is Naked!"

As long as it's only one kid in the crowd who is aware of the scam. It can continue. It's when everyone realizes they've been sold invisible cloth that we get back some sanity.

Fighting the Con artists starts with the realizations that:

a: Both our and their goals are myths until built.
b: Their myths are part of a bullying narrative that suits the bullies not anyone else.
And if we build their narrative we'll get dysfunction and misery in return.
We'll be parading down the street naked while the Con artists skip town.
c: Our myths a lot of effort to define and build to be any better.

Most Con artists are "grifters." A Grifter is someone who runs a con and then leaves town before they are caught. We only have cons in charge because we never seem to notice we are shivering and cold as we walk around in the cold. We work to build our goals and the result will be nice. It might not be paradise but it will be better than what we had before.

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