The Mostly Nice Nation and the Very Scary Person — A Cautionary Fairy Tale

Once upon a time there was a Nation. This Nation was very much like all nations: some people were rich and some were poor, some educated and some ignorant, some wise and some foolish.  As with all Nations, most of the people were well intentioned.

There came a time when the Nation’s economy was very, very bad.  The Nation had a very large deficit, mostly because the government had to pay for the wars it fought with other nations.  Many people were out of work and many were hungry. There were still Banks in the Nation that had lots of money, but they weren’t willing to lend it, even though lending it would have helped the people of the Nation.

The Nation’s government was like most nation’s governments..  Some of the politicians were rich and some were poor, some educated and wise and some ignorant and foolish.  As with all politicians, most were well intentioned.

Politicians and their advisers tried hard to solve the Nation’s economic problems, mostly by figuring out the Facts and trying to decide what was best to do. But the Nation’s money problems were made even worse by a world-wide economic problem that was caused by the failure of some Large Banks that had made foolish and risky investments.  The foolish Large Banks ended up making a very large Financial Bubble, which, like all bubbles, eventually burst.  The bursting Bubble, like all bursting bubbles, splashed all over.  Everywhere it splashed it caused more financial problems, and because the Bubble was a very large Bubble indeed, is splashed very far.

All of the Nation’s economic problems made everyone in the Nation very sad.  The smart people in the government still tried to solve the puzzle of the economy, so that the people would be happy again.  Mostly, they tried to solve the puzzle by thinking about Facts.  

After a while, many of the people in the Nation became angry that the smart people in the government hadn’t been able to fix that Nation’s problems. Some of them decided that trying to solve problems by making decisions based upon the Facts wasn’t working.  Almost all of these people were ignorant, because only an ignorant person ignores Facts, and they were all foolish, because even an ignorant person who ignores facts should be glad that the politicians in charge were trying to use Facts to solve problems, even when the problems were very, very large.

The foolish people were very mad, but they couldn’t do much about it.  Because they were foolish, they had no ideas about solving the Nation’s economic puzzle, so mostly they complained and said foolish and ignorant things, which were (mostly) ignored.

As it turned out, some of the politicians were much more interested in Power than they were in solving the Nation’s puzzle.  The Politicians who were interested in Power began telling the angry people about a time in the Wonderful Past, before there were economic problems and puzzles, and when everyone was happy. Those Politicians realized that the stories about a Wonderful Past gave all the foolish and angry people something to hope for, and that the foolish and angry people were angry enough to hope for anything, even if that something was a Magic story about a Wonderful and Make-Believe Past when everything was beautiful.  Many of the angry people supported the Politicians who told Magic Tales, which made the Politicians happy, because it made them more Powerful.

The days went by, as days always do, until one day a Very Scary Person began telling stories to the angry people. The angry people were told that the Nation was Special amongst all the other nations of the world, and that the people who were True Citizens of the Nation were also Special, and would do Wonderful Things.   But the Very Scary Person said that not all of the Nation’s people were True Citizens.  Some of the people living in the Nation belonged to evil groups that hated the Nation, didn’t believe the Magic Story, and wanted the Nation to fail.  Fortunately, the Very Scary Person said, these people were easy to identify. Many of these people looked different or belonged to a different religion than most of the True Citizens.  Some of these people were boys that loved other boys, or girls that loved other girls.  And, the Very Scary Person said, people who weren’t True Citizens believed in Facts and didn’t believe in the Magic Story.

The Very Scary Person said that if all of the people in the Nation believed with all their hearts in the Magic Story, and didn’t listen to Facts or to any people who weren’t True Citizens, the Magic Story would come true.  The Nation would once again be the most Special Nation in all the world, and the True Citizens would be recognized as the best and most Special people.  But they were warned that if there were too many people who doubted the Story or questioned the Very Scary Person, the Magic Story might never come true.

And the foolish people who were afraid of the Facts believed the Very Scary Person.  They tried their hardest to believe in the Magic Story and to chase away all doubts.  And when someone talked about Facts, or questioned the Very Scary Person, the foolish people would cover their ears, yell and sing songs about the Nation as loudly as possible, so that they wouldn’t hear any Facts that might make them doubt the Magic Story or the things the Very Scary Person told them.

It may be hard to believe that people could really think they could make something wonderful come true just by believing in it. But there have been people like this ever since there were stories to believe. And there are many stories that teach that belief can make wonderful things come true. There is the story of Peter Pan, who believed that fairies would be real if everyone believed that they were, and clapped their hands. And then there is the story of Dumbo, who believed that he had a magic feather that let him fly, and then found out that he didn’t even need the magic feather to fly because belief was enough! And there was Oral Roberts, who told people that a 900-foot-tall Jesus would kill him, unless enough people believed and showed their belief by giving Oral eight million dollars. There were enough people who believed that story that Oral got nine million dollars. And then there is the 700 Club. But there are far too many stories about foolish people to tell here, and, besides, we must find out what happened to the Nation and the Very Scary Person.

The Very Scary Person made the foolish people very happy. They liked to believe that problems could be solved by Belief, and they liked to believe the Magic Story would come true. They also liked knowing that there were some people who weren’t True Citizens who could be blamed when the Magic Story didn’t come true.

And so the Very Scary Person was elected leader of the Nation. But after a while, the Very Scary Person decided that maybe the rest of the world should be taught about how Special the Nation was and how Special the True Citizens were. And so the Very Scary Person got all the Nation’s soldiers together. And invaded Poland.


Even people who remember history can be forced to repeat it if enough people don’t remember, don’t care and don’t want to listen;


In the real world, elephants who think they can fly always come to a bad end.

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