The Emperor Is Not Naked, Really

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July 30, 2007

I know what you are thinking, dear reader. Where are parts II through XXX of the delusions under which the masses operate? This is not an exhaustive list, just an exasperating one. I'd love to hear your responses. You might need another cup of coffee for this list, but it will only hurt for a little while. That's it - now sit back and keep breathing.

Delusion #13

There is someone, somewhere, who is more interested and capable of securing your liberty, financial stability and well being than you are. They are superior beings, who only need to be elected to deliver to your door all the things you didn't realize that you need and want but cannot afford. These 'freebies' will not only actually arrive one day, but will be exactly as anticipated and come at little or no cost to you because of the sheer quantity of people who need them. When they come, they will be superior to and just as satisfying as if you had worked to attain them yourself. Whenever you want something, just sit back, open another beer, turn on the tube and someone else will surely make it materialize. Keep checking the mail.

Delusion #12

There is someone, somewhere who can be trusted, not only to deliver your dreams, but who doesn't actually have any ambitions of his or her own. Bureaucrats are actually a special kind of philanthropist ' they just use other people's money. You must believe that it is not easy to spend other people's money; it is a stressful, practically thankless job. They live to fulfill your dreams, serve, protect and care for you.

These talking heads of government can be trusted to hold your money for you and return it one day, plus interest. (If they mess this one up, don't worry, you'll probably win the lottery.) You must believe that they can be trusted to decide how much of your money they should use to pay themselves with and how often. In fact, they are so good that they deserve much better pensions than any you'll ever see, such as full pay for life, a free car with driver, free body guards for life and subsidized vacations, all at their own discretion, and you must believe they have plenty of that. It's even OK for them to bounce checks because they are not ordinary people. (How many times must I tell you?)

Their personal investments and fortunes have absolutely nothing to do with the capital spending decisions they make. It is not at all self-serving for them to accept gifts from lobbyists, to allow lobbyists to write legislation, nor is it nepotism to place their family, friends or lovers into cushy government jobs for which they may or may not be qualified.

This is all appropriate ' usual and customary. Believe it; just don't mention it because it's not polite.

Delusion #11

The millions of people who have been killed by governments over centuries were not actually wrongful deaths. Burning women and children alive with chemical weapons was appropriate and necessary to sustain the life of someone else somewhere, somehow. It could just as readily have been American women and children, or even the American President himself and his children ' believe it. This is actually why we have to fight them over there.

Often, killing lots of people somewhere else is a good idea and it will somehow make you free and prosperous. This killing is appropriate because it's not actually you who has to pull the trigger, inject the lethal dose of poison or actually clean up the dead bodies, prepare them for burial or knock on the door of an unsuspecting mother and tell her what you did to her child. There are other toadies for that. Don't worry - you won't have to remind her that her tax dollars paid for the demise of her child at the hands of government. Division of labor and knowledge is purely accidental.

'Thou shalt not kill' needs to be put in context and interpreted by the person for whom you vote, which is completely different than your neighbor voting for some other serial killer.

What must be believed is that your man would never actually interpret you as being one of those whom it is acceptable to kill, and that's why it's important to vote. You don't want to end up on the wrong side of a vote, do you? At this point, the characters in Orwell's Animal Farm would go out back to find the basic rule written on the wall of the barn has been modified to read: 'Thou shalt not kill me' and 'Thou shalt love and honor thy bureaucrat with all thy heart, mind, soul and body.'

Delusion #10

Government does not play fast and loose with your money, your property, your life or your child. (No, seriously. I mean it. Stop that snickering in the back row!) They also hold themselves to the same standards as average Americans. They do not consider themselves above any law they make for the masses. Laws protect us all, they are all good and this is why we follow them, so that we are all held to the same standard, safe and secure. Politicians do not actually pardon one another, that idea is a nasty manipulation of the truth by the ferocious watchdog, mainstream media.

The legislative process actually costs nothing. We're about to obtain freedom any day now and here's the plan: freedom fries, freedom of voting and freedom of obedience.

Freedom is not less than a zero sum game ' we can keep it and export it to Iraq at the same time. Not that many Iraqis are dying, especially not children. Actually only a few old, bad ones are dying in our current war, possibly of natural causes, and they're practically killing themselves, so they don't count. The Bush Administration does not have a baseline number anyway, so it has no way of determining how many Iraqis have been killed except to estimate: 'one-half,' 'two-thirds,' or 'three-quarters,' depending on the day of the week. To sum it up in a bumper sticker, you could say, 'Want Peace? Start Killing People. ' That ought to do it.'

Iraqis are actually bad and different from you and me, in that if our situations were reversed, we would be resisting tyranny, they, however are resisting what superior and benevolent people know to be good for them. (You do believe this, don't you?)

The defense contractors who are becoming obscenely wealthy and their relationship to the current administration is not something you should think about. The American military personnel who are dying, wounded or committing suicide aren't really something you should think about or talk about, either. That would be unpatriotic. The reason that politicians' children go to private schools and stay of out combat is purely accidental, and again, not something you should think about.

This particular war and the ones that follow it (and there will be plenty of those) are much different from previous ones. This war and future wars will be pleasant, quick and cost next to nothing. You don't see any pictures of coffins containing dead G.I.'s in the newspaper, do you? It's because there really aren't very many, and they might not even be that dead.

Delusion #9

You do not own your life. Questioning authority is dangerous. It could create chaos, the kind you find birthing order in nature every day of the week. You must believe that it is someone else's responsibility to see that people do not die prematurely (or even break a fingernail) from being free to live their own lives as they see fit, rather than the millions of souls who have been expedited to heaven by governments since the beginning of tyranny. It is good, noble and appropriate to die from government mandate. It is simply wrong to decide to end your own life no matter what the circumstances. The government needs your income and moral support. Otherwise, what would happen to our wars?

Delusion #8

Other people's deaths are just not as important as your beliefs or your representative's actions on your behalf. Good intentions of bureaucrats are more important than life itself, so long as it's not your death we're talking about. That would be different and important to them and everyone else--believe it.

Delusion #7

You do not own your body. Other people are responsible for healing and providing for it should you make poor life choices, and this is why they must tell you how to live. They feel your pain. Government programs, which you understand first hand to be completely useless and even destructive to the human spirit, are somehow appropriate and useful for other people.

Handouts do not create dependency, but somehow raise self-esteem and encourage people to make better choices the next time around. They'll have fewer children, become responsible parents, and make better food choices and exercise. They'll stop smoking, excessive drinking and gambling. To put it in a nutshell: teach a man to fish and he'll starve. Create a huge bureaucracy to give Third World dictators unfathomable piles of cash with which to fuel their military and police powers and you'll see violence diminish and an end to hunger. It's going to work any day now. Total government can also nullify the fact that life isn't fair.

Delusion #6

You actually do own your property. Your name is on the mortgage, isn't it? This is not a scam in which you are simply 'renting' it from the powers that be depending upon your ability and willingness to pay property taxes. Coercive taxation backed by firepower is necessary to get your trash picked up and your streets plowed, even if it should begin to feel like highway robbery. ($4.5K a year for a 2,000 square foot house sounds like theft to me, but never mind the musings of a troublemaker.)

If your property value should decrease, just because your taxes are calculated as a percentage of it does not mean that they should decrease, too. Don't be selfish ' just think of the many government employees who depend upon you. Their cost of living is going up all the time. They're not like you--you can just go out and get a second job.

If you improve your home in any way, trash pick up and snow plowing costs increase. I know you are squirming now, and don't like the sound of this, but in order to keep voting, you must believe it. You must also believe that not only is this good, right and fair, but your man will change all this so that you can once again be comfortable with the idea of a Santa Claus who's making a list, checking her twice and 'getting' her done.' Then the new rules will be good, right and fair. Try not to think about how you were told that the old ones were good, right and fair. I know this is confusing, but just trust the government, they'll always tell you clearly what is OK and what isn't, like the 10,000 pages of IRS tax code and wrong answers to your queries. You don't need to think. They are here to help you.

Delusion #5

You will never be the victim of a mistaken 'no-knock' drug raid. The police are your servants. Video cameras, tanks and SWAT teams coming to your town will not be used against you. They will actually eliminate crime and keep you safe. Remember, they are from the government and they are here to help you.

Delusion #4

Elections are above board. Ballot counters are never tempted to cheat in favor of their candidate, even though they are potential beneficiaries of candidate's policies. Electronic voting machines are never rigged.

Delusion #3

The emperor is not actually naked. If you voted for him, his use of force (war/rulings/deceptions/power grab/secrecy) is different and right, not like the last one. He is actually anointed by your god, capable of getting direction from said god for the rest of us to carry out just as Moses did on Mt. Sinai (no matter how many must die), and he obeys the orders of the voices in his head without question. Shouldn't you?

Delusion #2

The initiation of force to achieve social goals actually works, costs nothing, and does not create unintended consequences or counter force. Your political party, given unlimited reign, will eventually create less government, less violence and less suffering for all life on the planet. It can rescind the laws of supply and demand and the tendency of everyone to want something for nothing and power mongers from seeking office. It will end injustice, oppression, war and hunger around the globe and require less and less of your paycheck to do it every day.

Delusion # 1

The greatest lie you must believe to continue voting is that liberty actually comes from pimp daddy in Washington , D.C. You do believe this, right? Government approved and financed teachers in schools all over the country would not lie to you. That would be a crazy, paranoid, tin hat, conspiracy theory.

You have the right, but not the obligation, to pursue your own happiness, except where prohibited. Or how prohibited, how much prohibited, or when, what or who prohibited. The pursuit of happiness is subject and limited by a few, simple parameters--suggestions, really, which government kindly lays out for you at every turn. (You must believe this is best; otherwise anything could happen.) Benevolent, selfless legislators everywhere work day and night to see to it that 'anything' does not happen. And it's not because they are high on power and prestige, nor are they profiteering from the legislative process--really. It's because they wake up each morning wondering what they can do for you today - believe it.

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Retta Fontana's picture
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Retta Fontana is an atheist, anarchist, baker, potter and parenting teacher.  Children are her favorite people.