Dear Friends,

I know that I promised to post another wise fairy tale concerning tyranny next week, but yesterday’s senate hearing about the truth of Ms. Ford’s accusations against Mr. Kavanaugh who “allegedly” tried to rape her was so disturbing that I am compelled to publish the tale below to help us understand what is happening in the public domain. Kavanaugh’s disgraceful bullying behavior and his sobbing declaration of innocence while he blatantly attacked Senator Klobuchar from my home state of Minnesota demand careful reflection. How can truth be told when it is smothered by a judge? Well, Édourard Laboulaye, one of the greatest professors of jurisprudence in the nineteenth century, a man responsible for the creation of the Statue of Liberty, may be able to help us. Here is the story which will appear with others in my book, Slap-Bam, The Art of Governing Men in November. More about tyranny next week.

Falsehood and Truth

Édouard Laboulaye

In olden times, Falsehood and Truth resolved to live together like a pair of friends. Truth was a good person, simple, timid, and confident. Falsehood was a smooth talker, elegant and daring. One commanded, and the other always obeyed. Everything went well in such a friendly partnership.

One day Falsehood suggested to Truth that it would do well to plant a tree that would provide them with blossoms and flowers in the spring, shade in the summer, and fruit in autumn. Truth was pleased with the plan, and the tree was planted right away.

As soon as it began to grow, Falsehood said to Truth: “Sister, let us each choose a part of the tree. A community that is too close together breeds strife.  Good accounts make for good friends. For example, there are the roots of the tree. They support and nourish it. They are sheltered from wind and weather. Why don’t you take them? To oblige you, I will content myself, for my part, with the branches that grow in the open air, at the mercy of birds, beasts, and men, wind, heat, and frost. There’s nothing that we would not do for those we love!”

Confused by such generosity, Truth thanked her comrade and burrowed underground to the great joy of Falsehood, who found himself alone among people and was able to reign at his ease.

The tree grew fast, and its large branches spread shade and coolness far and wide, and it soon produced blossoms more radiant than the rose. Men and women came from everywhere to admire the marvel. Perched upon the topmost branch, Falsehood called them and soon charmed them with his sweet words. He taught them that society is nothing but falsehood, and that men should be ready to tear each other to pieces if they spoke the truth.

“There are three ways to succeed here below,” he added, “by simple falsehood,

as when the slave says to his lord, ‘I respect and love you,’ by double falsehood,

as when he exclaims, ‘May lightning strike me if I am not your most faithful servant,’ and by triple falsehood, as when he repeats, ‘My wealth, my arm, and my life all belong to my lord,’ and then deserts his master at the moment of danger.”

The sly Falsehood gave these lessons in a cheerful manner and supported them with such appropriate examples that everyone who heard him was thrilled by his words. They pointed to those who did not applaud and even began to suspect each other. For a hundred miles around nobody talked about anything except Falsehood and his wisdom. Some thought he should be king.  As to good Truth, who lay crouching in her den, no one gave her a thought. She might just as well have been dead and forgotten.

Abandoned as she was by everyone, she was forced to live on whatever she could find beneath the ground, while Falsehood was enthroned among green pastures and flowers.  One day the poor mole gnawed the bitter roots of the tree that Truth had planted, and it gnawed them so deep that, one day, when Falsehood, more eloquent than usual, was addressing a large crowd of people, the wind rose slightly, and suddenly blew down the tree which no longer had any roots to support it. As branches fell, they crushed all who were beneath them. Falsehood escaped with an injured eye and broken leg, which left him lame and squinting. Nevertheless, he managed to pull himself out of trouble once again.

Now Truth was suddenly restored to light and rose from the ground with disheveled hair and a stern countenance and began harshly to rebuke the people around her for their weakness and credulity. No sooner did Falsehood hear her voice than he cried, “Look! There is the instigator of all our ills — the one who has nearly destroyed us! Death to her! Death to her!”

As soon as the people heard this, they armed themselves with sticks and stones and pursued the unfortunate woman. Once they caught her, they pushed her again into the hole, more dead than alive. After doing this, they quickly sealed it with a large stone so that Truth might never more rise from her tomb.

However, she had still a few friends, for during the night an unknown hand carved

the following epitaph upon the stone:

Here lies Truth,

Killed by the cruel world,

Not by illness,

And now nothing can reign

but Falsehood and Dishonesty.

It is Falsehood’s smallest fault not to suffer contradiction. So, under his sway, the people searched for Truth’s friend, and as soon as he was found, he was hung. It is only the dead who don’t complain.

To be more certain of his victory, Falsehood built himself a palace over Truth’s tomb. But it is said that sometimes she turns in her grave. When this happens, the palace crumbles like a house of cards and buries all the inhabitants beneath its ruins, both innocent and guilty.

But the people have other things to do than mourn their dead. They continue to fulfill their inheritance. Those eternal dupes rebuild the palace each time more beautiful than the old ones, and Falsehood, lame and squinting, continues to reign there to this very day.

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