The monarchy had ruled the country with a benignly for over 300 years .
The ruler had inherited by birthright his authority to rule . He assumed his inheritance as sacred . It was based however fallaciously on the presumption that whatever he decreed and however he ruled he was but articulating the wish of a greater power in attaining the wishes of the people . The position was quite robust. It had silenced all but a few grumbling intellectuals . But the king was resolute . He was governing as was the will of his heritage which echoed to him with an infallibility dreams from across s the timelessness of his ancestry .
He governed as he chose. What he said became law. And because he made these decisions for the people it became the will of the people . In other democracies it works differently. But they didn’t always work to any great satisfaction all the time . Moreover enforcement of the consent is really the true manifestation of a fair and just society..
The people should be privileged to be still governed by seers and monarchs long passed this worldly realm and ruled now through the humble mouthpiece of the king . They had ruled with wisdom since time immemorial. And that augured pretty well for the present .
The intellectuals made their rhetorical speeches against this doctrine . They called it dressed up dictatorship. But the king was benign and he allowed each new intellect speak grandly on the quality of the state and the state’s ruler. Each was allowed one deviation from the path of the ancestral truth . A second deviation demanded his exile , and any obduracy , demanded his head . There were many exiles each year . But the passage was free , unlike the society they were exiled to.
So the grand thinkers of the day retired from the public plazas . They spoke in hushed silence in the dusky twilight.
How could you believe men who only spoke in the dark , the kings reasoning went . Would you but a horse in the dark ; why No !
And should you trust such men ; or throw them down for what they were ; seditionists !
The people lived in a much unchallenged world . This thinking made sense and it didn’t. They could trade happily in daylight but listened to the others at the hearth. Besides for the most part they did not enjoy riddles . They enjoyed good wine much better .
Despite these countervailing forces the people were reasonably content . They had their freedom . They paid tithes to the monarch but by and large they were free of privations, trade was open , markets free, and the press had what palace had described as level-headed freedom.
Their views were sought but only a portion were permitted to challenge the doctrine of orthodoxy. If a journalist sought to challenge this doctrine he was exiled . He could write all he wished from abroad.
The kingdom imposed modest restrictions on radio and TV stations . Foreign stations were not permitted . They were mechanically blocked by a"n ingenious contrivance referred to as the Communications Detoxifier.
The army had long determined to depose this out dated regimen .The new chief of staff , more adventurous ,and cunning than his predecessors who had each in turn , risen to the steps of the gallows , rather than to the heights of military command . He had met with had made a brave calculation of the odds . Success seemed almost 70% attainable . On the basis of an age old military college dictum he considered the odds good .He had carefully hatched the plot . His hour was neigh . The plot was masterful and it was carried out with enviable precision .
So he now moved boldly where others had at their peril demurred, and the plot was swiftly executed . The monarch was dispatched into exile and the army moved in to the palace
After a year in power with a biddable government appointed the chief of staff had felt he had good reason to expect a little more enthusiasm on the occasion of his accession to power . He had his ordained a victory parade to immortalise his moment of triumph .
To his great dismay. He had he felt good reason to expect jubilation and some - yes - some adulation!
It had not been so.
His convoy had paraded through the streets festooned with banners and bunting but he detected little celebratory mood I among the citizenry . Where he expected jubilation he found apathy , where he expected triumph he found indifference. Not even the new Army Number One Band seemed to lift the people from their dreadful inertia, Why he even saw a group of youths playing soccer in an alley ignoring the parade completely.
He had these indigents arrested instantly-for disturbance of the peace, a charge which was later changed to subversion of the state and at its last writing it was being redrafted under the rubric of sedition, whereafter it would be but a small step to change it to treason.
He now summoned his aide de camp, a loyal servant and well paid member of staff.- one on whom he could utterly rely , and whom he had watched all his waking hours . He could depend on this man for at least half the truth. The other half he could obtain from his arch enemy the leader of the opposition , given that both had a propensity to lie to their own ends .
We find the chief , for he had long dispensed with the chief -of -staff moniker It was too verbose . In any case he was considering chief to be a more expedient step to emperor ; but we find him now in consultation with his aide.
The chief is sitting on the royal throne for no better reason , he insists than it is merely a comfortable seat . And he has a bad back. His aide is before him kneeling on a cushion. All chairs have been removed from the royal reception hall as they were considered unnecessary. And moreover ’ heirlooms of decadency ’
He has given the matter much thought .He has realised that his popularity was perceptibly less than that of the deposed king. Why ? He is asking his aide. Have I not given them a modern democracy ; raised their standards of living , heightened their sense of the arts ; culture ; freedom of expression ; liberated them to the extent that they could now claim to be a sovereign state and eligible to apply for the Olympic Games .
The aide thought carefully also. He had long been anticipating this moment .
- Perhaps , Sir , if I could have permission to speak frankly
-Speak Frankly then !
- Without fear or favour or threat of retribution …
- Speak !
- Or the nuisance of having to face the gallows …
The chief looked at him with unconcealed contempt . But he needed answers and at least part of the truth - which he suspected might now be below 30%
- Speak ! , or your many little reservations and nuisances might become more of immediate and tangible concern !! Speak !!- he thundered.
- If I may then be so bold , Sir .- He paused . How to frame this to his best advantage and least treachery .
-It may well have something to do with image Sir ,- he says hesitantly , looking for the smallest twitch of disapproval of the royal face . He saw none and continued with caution.
-Yes , there were so many images of the former monarch all round the city. In the museums ; the squares; the plazas and the schools . The monarch exuded a sense of , what I might call benevolence , and I put it all down to the royal effigy - An effigy would have to be created and erected in the plazas etc. Of course the artist .whosoever that might be would be counselled in the precise image he were to convey. That would be important.
There is a pleasant portrait of St Francis of Assis in the cathedral , Sir . Something along those lines might be considered.
He further advises that if the chief were represented in this manner would render him more endearing - , - more affable -that would undoubtedly win the people over.
He was 100 % certain that such would be the case.
The chief considered this . Hmmm !! Affable !! He was a vain man and could so easily yield to the temptation of erecting his own statue in the main square Indeed it was a burning ambition of his to do so, But he was also prudent .If this vile little creature were 100 % certain , it meant he believed in less than half of this hogwash., and destined to damage his image .
He now sent for the leader of the opposition. There was in fact no opposition really . Just the lesser trusted members of the military occupied the opposition benches in the parliament .
The leader was duly summoned and as he now knelt before the chief , he too was asked the same question . Why was his popularity so low.
- Now , before you go off on some preamble about speaking freely and retribution and the gallows , yes yes . To all that - yes ! Now get on with it .
- It is because the people fear you . They fear for their lives , their farms , their houses. They complain that their taxes are punitive . The yearn , frankly … and this is difficult to say. ..They yearn for the return of the monarch .
The chief concealed his rage with all the fortitude he could muster .
-I see, and your recommendation would be .?
- I would stress for my part that their perceptions are in error , and that the case requires what the learned men refer to as double , or inverse psychology.
- What’s that - the ruler demanded
- Well Sir , It is difficult for a lowly colonel to understand but I am given to believe that what the proponents of such psychology would perhaps recommend Sir , might be to erect a statue of your self good self Sir - something portraying you , as a fearsome warrior . The image would represent the liberation of the people from the tyranny of the monarchy- the deliverer of democracy . I believe that to maximise the effect it might be advocated that the imagery , statuary , and portraits be in prominent evidence in the town square , in the plazas , in the museum , and of course in the schools. It would demonstrate to the populous , many of them , frankly ingrates sir - Show them whose the true ruler. You rule with an iron hand . But it is a just, and wise hand,- he speedily added .
-They will soon learn when to celebrate the achievements of their ruler. That , at least Sir, is the course which psychologists might well adopt.
Something representing the chief in the role of the noble crusader , soward in one hand , lance in the other , mounted on a black steed
The chief considered this .
- Not a white steed ? He queried mildly,
So there he had it . Both had given him advice which was certain to do detriment to his already diminished popularity. So they both were already plotting to dispatch him . Well he thought . - we shall see.
Now he reached for the cord which connected with the office of his former batman to whom he had entrusted the meeting out of justice as it was ordained by decree and the man who emerged from the dungeon was summoned and now stood before him He was a brutish thug , tattooed arms , an assortment of accoutrements of office attached to his studded leather belt. His title was that of ‘ The Enforcer’ and he had not failed in the endearing sobriquet . His head was shaven , but to make up for the hirsute deficit he had hair sprouting wildly from every part of his anatomy. His facial hair extended seamlessly down his back and on to his fingertips. Just his fearsome green eyes peered ferociously through his latex skie mask
He knelt on the cushion but the chief waived this formality.
Cut to the chase was his motto. The put his predicament before the Enforcer He had been given different advises from both sides of the house. He trusted neither , but didn’t know who he trusted less. Which in other words would be the quickest to mount a coup.
-You- he said to the executioner - you have seen many heads roll at my command - do they even in death tell the truth.
No - it was impossible to judge - he would trust neither party either. The chief was prudent in his judgement there..
- cut the fawning sycophancy - he ordered - your advise.
In his humility the executioner advised that regrettably whereas both men had undoubtedly good qualities..
- you mean hang them both
- in a word , sir Yes.
-Then see to it instantly - have it done publicly after my secretary announces a treacherous plot to kill the chief .., treason etc…
- By the way -he digressed for an instant - did we hang those soccer players last year ..
- no sir , you did not sign the order
- ah an omission !.. The burdon of duty ,, heavy is the head .. Something on the kings shoulders .. Eh!! In any case my secretary will have the necessary orders promulgated and whatever else .. Bla bla do I make myself perfectly clear
-Yes , Sir !
-well , go to it then..?
By by..- Yes !.this afternoon .?
-In the square . …
- Yes - then have their heads chopped off and hoisted on pikes over the museum.
- and the soccer players also - said the Enforcer , his left eye riveted in a cast in his excitement .
- no . leave them for another day… Another day. Now leave ! I would be alone !!
The treacherous plot was announced early that afternoon.
The hangman did his bidding and heads were hoisted on pikes outside the museum ,and lolled listlessly in the silent afternoon sun across the plaza .
He then called his court , which comprised members of both parties . They were summoned to the great hall . These were members of the Upper House .
Their shared IQ came to considerably less than 50 . Which seemed on the generous side to the chief. They were mulishly loyal , as only those so intellectually challenged can be .
-There will be a further victory parade next week. Let it be known that I expect the people to enjoy themselves. It will be a jolly occasion. There will be much jubilation. Are there any questions . Points of order or motions of any kind .- Think deeply now -he cautioned There were none .
-Or queries , or amendments or , suggestions , or pleas of any kind - he asked genially.
There were none .
Dismissed ! - and as they began to vacate the great hall he said -
-one other thing - there will be fireworks .!!. Plenty of fireworks, and no soccer shall be played during the 24 hr period of celebration. We must retain the dignity of the office.
The following Saturday was the appointed day for the victory parade. As the cavalcade proceeded through the streets again festooned with banners and bunting , to his growing anger the party noted with the darkest dread and concern that the people had remained indoors . None had come out to line the street. They watched the chief as he stood erect in the leading open limousine . The cloud of wrath descend on his features . It was each man for himself after this , they realised .
A gloom had also descended on the court . When the chief spoke each soul knew that the slightest quirk on his countenance could be perceived as betrayal, and could quite readily demand the rather costly price of his own head.
The chief too saw this and it gave him no displeasure.
But now he sat in regal discontent glowering at his kneeling servants . Pitiful , he thought - the government and the opposition- they both loathed him equally. But then it struck him that perhaps one side loathed him more than the other . These flashes of inspiration were becoming more frequent to him. One came to him now .
- I am changing the government to the opposition .. And the opposition will become government and the ministers.. Well you all know what this means figure it out yourself ..my head is heavy - reverse everything ..but in addition I hereby I decree that each of you go forth from this hall and organise a proper celebration for the triumph of democracy under my rule - you will each see to it that there is jubilation on the streets , joisting on the fair greens, maidens dancing to the music of the harp in the plazas- there will be merriment - that is my order and my decree -
And , he cautioned
- any thing short shall incur our displeasure.
That last plural ‘our’ had a darkly ominous sound to it and each newly appointed minister scurried to his new office with the feeling that whereas he’d found a dollar , he’d lost two.
The Emperor looked across his open window where stood the old museum . It would be quite pleasing to have his effigy mounted in the plaza on a column like Lord Trafalgar. He summoned his secretary and dictated a letter indicating that the first minister to come up with the idea of erecting an effigy of the emperor in the plaza would be handsomely rewarded. He did not so much dictate this letter as leave it to the secretary’s digression as to his meaning. Some things were better left unsaid directly. That would be deemed dictatorial.
But lets move the story on.
We all know that the emperor isn’t going to fare too well, and as it has to have a happy ending lets finish it thus .
The new arrangement with the oppisition party leading is deemed a sihgular disaster as is evident by their abjsct failure to arrange a simple victory parade. the Emperpor's wrath has again been incurred and the conseqyences are brutal, swift and barbaric.
Their heads loll in the noon sun across from the palace , while the Emperor broods for days alone .
The soccer meanwhile team has been training surreptitiously in the back streets. They have become something of a surreptitious national celebration.
They qualify for the world cup. And go on to win it,
There is much jubilant and open ribaldry in the streets on their triumphant arrival home.
The emperor , (for he is that at least now ) is given to understand that he can share this moment . He is further convinced that his presence in the plaza to receive them home will contextualize his place in the democratisation of the nation, and his place in the pantheon of the nations hero-warriors will be secured forever.He sees his statue towering over the plaza. Indeed it can be seen for many miles about,
The understanding is flawed , however.
On their return , the team captain stands proudly in the plaza , on a modest soap box and after a modest speech he senses his modest moment in history is at hand .
Without further demurring he exhorts the frenzied crowd to bring back their exiled king.
He urges them to follow him in taking up the charge to storm the palace.
Some days later , as the emperor’s head lolls listlessly under the noon sun , on a pikestaff in the plaza ,
The monarch looks across at the hideous bloated faces of the columns of ministers ( for they too were charged with first treachery , then treason .) and ruminates benignly.
He was never one given to the vulgarity of athleticism , but he is cunning in the affairs of state .
He calls for his secretary.
He dictates a letter which announces a competition for the finest design of an elegant tribute to the king and his loyal and proud subjects who brought such glory to their nation in winning the world cup.
All the effigies will be mounted on plinths of equal height he decrees, but the king’s own will just that little bit higher . More like that of Lord Trafalgar.
- No , he reflects as the scribe is about to leave .
- the plinths shall all be of equal height.
The people returned to paying their tithes . The reporters reported wrote freely but submitted their reportage to the Office for Communications Approval-the press had what palace had described as level-headed freedom.. At least , they reasoned , their heads were safe.
By and large they were free of privations, trade was open , markets - by and large
The monarchy ruled the country again with a benignity , which was infinitely better that Imperialism . The people were reasonably content . and reasonable contentment was after all better than any other kind
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