The Emperor’s New Wall

The new Emperor had announced that there would be a new wall built to protect the homeland from invasion – not by any conquering army – but by foreigners from the south who were moving north looking for work and opportunity.  For as incompetent as the new Emperor was, his country had been very successful in the past and was still wealthy and needed workers for jobs that many citizens of the Empire disdained.

Prior to ascending to his lofty position, the new Emperor had repeatedly insulted the people from the south and promised that under his glorious and divinely inspired reign there would be a new wall built to protect his subjects from those who would dare come north to clean their toilets and cut their well-manicured lawns.  The new Emperor repeatedly would speak about the promised wall in glowing terms describing its strength, height and beauty.  He also promised that the wall would be free and that the people from the south would somehow be forced to pay for a wall that would keep them out.  This he never explained, but that was of little consequence to those enraptured by the vision of the marvelous wall they believed would protect them from the imagined hordes of criminals and miscreants swarming into their pristine land.  Many of the new Emperor’s most devoted followers did not realize that more than a hundred years ago much of their country had been seized from the south and that many of the areas where the southerners settled were lands that used to belong to them.  This would not have mattered to them had they known it.

Upon taking control, however, the new Emperor seemed unable to find enough money to build the wall and the people from the south laughed when told they would pay for the wall.  “With what?”, they asked.  Undeterred, the new Emperor continued to travel his land and began to envision a taller even better wall.  Many of the Emperor’s subjects opposed the wall, but they were dismissed as fools and charlatans who were unwilling to protect their country.  The new Emperor hated those foolish citizens and kept promising that everyone would be amazed and happy with his wonderful wall.

Yet the wall was still not built and there was no money to build it.  Then one day the new Emperor had a brilliant idea.  “I will build an invisible wall,” he thought.  “A wall that only those who truly worship my greatness will believe actually exists.  Anyone who cannot see that the invisible wall actually functions will be declared insane and delusional and put away for their own good.  Only the truly righteous and patriotic will know that the great invisible wall is protecting us.”

And so the new Emperor began speaking everywhere – telling all about the coming of the magnificent invisible wall and how those who did not believe it existed were incapable of understanding his divine plan to protect the land from the southerners.  “Only fools and criminals will not be able to see how this wonderful invisible wall works.  Anyone who does not believe in the wall is subhuman who has no place in our magnificent empire.”

And so began the construction of the incredible invisible wall.  Armies of mimes were employed to build the invisible wall.  They worked day and night for over a year completing the wall in record time.  When completed, the new Emperor travelled to an isolated spot in the desert on the southern border.   In front of the cheering crowd bussed in for the occasion, he lifted an invisible bottle of champagne and broke it against the invisible wall.  The crowd cheered and all were amazed at the invisible wall that would now protect them from the disgusting people of the south.

Some from the southerners themselves believed in the invisible wall and had stopped coming north.  Others were more skeptical, and a large group of them hid themselves behind a hill not far from where the new Emperor was dedicated the wall.  As soon as he smashed the invisible champagne bottle into the wall, a group of almost 3000 southerners made a mad dash for the border and burst through the invisible wall without stopping.  The new Emperor was stunned for one moment and turned to his advisors.  Then he began to speak.  “I am advised that some of you believe you are seeing southerners coming through our amazing invisible wall.  Don’t be fooled.  This is a trick of my lying enemies.  There are no southerners coming into our country.  The wall is great and impenetrable. Who are you to believe – your lying eyes or your glorious Emperor?”

The invisible wall proved to be a great success for almost all.  The new Emperor’s supporters believed that it was nearly perfect and had stopped the southerners from invading their country.  They were satisfied that the new Emperor had saved the country.  Those who did not believe in the wall were largely silent for fear that they would be imprisoned for challenging the perceived reality of the wall.  Those few brave enough to insist the invisible wall did not exist were quickly rounded up and summarily executed for social deviancy and disbelief in the greatness of the new Emperor.   For their part, the southerners came to learn that the invisible wall was a master hoax perpetrated by a con man of an Emperor and continued to come and go from south to north and back.

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