by Sean Dempsey, 6/25/23
Once upon a time in a far away land there lived a mercurial king. The people adored their king for the simple reason that he was their king.
One day, driven by a peculiar whim, the King passed a decree that all citizens must wear a large hat adorned with a feather at all times.
The decree seemed ridiculous to the people, as it served no purpose or benefit to anyone. Nevertheless, they respected their king and they obeyed his law.
As everyone was now wearing an absurd hat, they soon became commonplace and accepted. But those who chose not to wear the feathered hats were jeered at, ridiculed, and treated as outcasts.
Among the skeptics was a young scholar renowned for his brilliant mind and logical reasoning. He found the decree perplexing and sought to comprehend its purpose. The Scholar approached the king with humility, presenting a well-constructed argument questioning the rationale behind the feathered hat law.
“Your Majesty,” the Scholar began, “I beseech you to reconsider this decree. It appears to lack any logical foundation and brings nothing but ridicule to our people. Shouldn’t a law be rooted in reason and serve the betterment of our kingdom?”
However, instead of considering The Scholar’s words, the King dismissed them with a wave of his hand. “Reason and logic have no place in this matter,” he proclaimed. “I am the king, and my decisions are beyond questioning. Wear the feathered hats, or suffer the consequences.”
As time went on, the King continued to reward those who complied with his decree. They received riches, titles, and privileges, while those who dared to oppose the law faced punishment and scorn. Yet, despite ridicule, the Scholar and a few others stood firm in their refusal to wear the feathered hats, employing reason and logic to explain their stance.
The Scholar spoke passionately to the people, pleading for them to see the folly of blindly following a law devoid of sense. He argued that a wise king should embrace criticism and listen to the voices of reason. But the people, swayed by fear and the allure of rewards, turned a deaf ear to his logical appeals. They mocked him openly and called him a fool.
Disturbed by the defiance, the King proclaimed a new decree outlawing logic and reason. “Anyone who challenges my laws or debates their merits with reason and logic shall be considered a traitor and face severe consequences!”
With reason and debate now outlawed, the kingdom descended into a state of ignorance. The people wore their feathered hats proudly. Those with the largest and most ostentatious hats were considered the wisest and most respected.
The once-thriving kingdom lost its luster, as innovation and critical thinking were shunned in favor of blind obedience.
One day, the Scholar was found bloodied and beaten in the gutter of an alleyway. Onlookers who witnessed the scene claimed he was seen brazenly not wearing a hat and so was punished by good citizens in the area upholding the King’s good law.
The Magistrate was soon called; in the alleyway the wounded Scholar was arrested for disorderly conduct. He was sentenced to be tarred and feathered and then put to death.