We are happy to publish the following commentary, which was submitted by a reader:
Once upon a time, a long, long, time ago, there was a mystical island known as “Merry Old England.” It was called that because all of the people who lived on that island were truly Merry. After all, why else would they have called it “Merry” if they really weren’t? Perhaps the biggest reason that the people were so merry is because so many of them grew a very special and highly prized plant called a Tomato. The fruit it produced was very pretty and red. In fact, it was so pretty that it actually looked very tasty, and the merry people thought, “why don’t we try eating some of them?” However, one person would always raise a very stern warning. His name was Frank, and he was a sleazy, slick marketing expert who recently moved to the island from a far away land. Whenever someone would suggest trying to eat a ripe tomato, Frank would tell the people of Merry Old England, “You can’t eat tomatoes. They are very poisonous and will kill you instantly. Think about it, carefully. If we all ate the tomatoes and died, there would be no one left to be merry. And without merry people, there would be no one left to create global warming.” What the Merry people of England didn’t realize is that Frank actually knew nothing about tomatoes. He was heavily invested in Industrial Wind Energy, which he wanted to develop in Merry Old England. He needed merry and unsuspecting people to believe in global warming so he could sell his Industrial Wind Turbines. He was very afraid that the merry unsuspecting people would die from eating tomatoes and he didn’t want to lose his very lucrative tax subsidies that he used to finance his Industrial Wind Energy projects. He didn’t care how much they cost the public or whether or not they generated useful or reliable energy. He just wanted to build them while the tax subsidies were available. He was a very evil man. In fact, he was the only person living in Merry Old England who was not truly happy. That is because he so feared that the merry people would learn the truth about his tax subsidies and how ineffective his wind turbines truly were that he might eventually lose his highly paid sleazy, slick marketing job. He was very careful to make sure no one knew about his fear.
Also living in Merry Old England was a very highly respected country doctor named, Wayne. I think he became a well respected doctor because he knows something about what made people live and die. Dr. Wayne was very merry because he loved to grow the prized tomato. In fact, he liked the tomato so much that he decided to do a detailed study of them to see if what Frank was saying was true. For some reason, he forgot that he was supposed to be unsuspecting like all the other merry people of Merry Old England and just believe what he was told. Well, Dr. Wayne researched information on the Internet about tomatoes. He found many web sites sponsored by Frank’s lobbying agency, the Merry Old England Wind Energy Administration that said the tomato was very poisonous and that no one who truly believes in Industrial Wind Energy should eat it. If they did, they would be killed instantly and there would be no one left to lobby for wind energy tax subsidies. However, Dr. Wayne also found a lot of web sites that said the tomato was good to eat and would not kill you. These web sites were sponsored by the Merry Old England Food and Drug Administration. Isn’t it funny how a happy country like Merry Old England can have two public agencies that give conflicting messages? Dr. Wayne thought it was funny, too. However, he thought it was bad for the taxpayers of Merry Old England to be paying for two government entities to give the people conflicting information about something so important as the highly prized tomato. He felt it was important to invent something new for the government. He decided to call this new thing “the Truth.” That made Dr. Wayne the very first truthteller in all of Merry Old England.
You see, this became a very important issue for Dr. Wayne because he was not just a highly respected doctor. He was so well known and liked by the people of Merry Old England that they elected him to serve in Parliament, the governing body of Merry Old England. In fact, he was one of only three people to serve in Parliament. That’s not because Parliament was limited to only three people. Many years ago, there were far more than 50 people serving in Parliament. However, a very deadly desease called the Black Death appeared one day in Merry Old England and struck down all but three of the people serving in Parliament. Ironically, the day that the Black Death came to Merry Old England was the same day that Frank moved there. Only Dr. Wayne recognized this sad coincidence, which is what made him initially suspicious of Frank. Dr. Wayne felt it was time to invent “the Truth” so the the people of Merry Old England could understand Frank and his message for what they truly were, a deadly plague on society.
Dr. Wayne decided that he could never invent “the Truth” using information available on the Internet. That was because the web sites that provided the public with information about the tomato were controlled by the government, which had helped invent “the Lie.” Dr. Wayne felt it was these government sponsored lies that helped Frank malign the highly prized tomato. So, Dr. Wayne conducted some surgery on one of his tomatoes. He carefully analyzed the genetic composition of the tomato and carefully catalogued all of its juices. Over time, he learned that the much maligned, but highly prized tomato was actually safe to eat after all. In fact, it was also very nutritious and might possess qualities that could have saved many people from the deadly Black Death. Unfortunately, so many unsuspecting merry people believed all of Frank’s dire warnings about the tomato that no one thought to carefully study the tomato and discover that it really did just the opposite of everything Frank had said. In this moment of true scientific discovery, Dr. Wayne proclaimed, “I have learned the truth about our much maligned, but highly prized tomato.” He was so excited that he rushed to Parliament to tell his colleagues and the public.
However, what Dr. Wayne soon learned is that it is very hard to tell the merry people of Merry Old England the truth after having lived so long under all of Frank’s government supported lies. These lies had been perpetuated so long, that the merry people of Merry Old England had come to believe that they needed industrial wind energy to save them from the global warming they created that they just couldn’t easily accept this new truth. After such a long time believing Frank’s lies, they were sure that the tomato was deadly and that this belief was fundamental to their merriment. If they stopped believing it now, could they really still be merry? This was a problem and it made some people mistrust the highly respected Dr. Wayne. He was forced to continually justify his findings about the tomato. Frank made this effort difficult by continuing to perpetuate his lies about the tomato, in order to protect his job and his lucrative tax subsidies.
It took Dr. Wayne a long time to convince a small band of merry people to understand and accept his determined research on the tomato. Unfortunately, he was unable to convince enough people to get re-elected to Parliament. Frank had convinced the two other members of Parliament to believe his lies and vote against Dr. Wayne on every Industrial Wind Energy project that came before them. The majority of Merry people in Merry Old England had become so fond of their blissful beliefs in wind energy that they couldn’t even accept the truth. Frank had proven himself to be the best and most expert sleazy, slick marketing expert that ever lived. He profited greatly from his lies and tax subsidies and lived happily ever after.
However, long after Dr. Wayne was voted out of Parliament, the taxpayers of Merry Old England found themselves becoming poorer and poorer over time as they bore the cost of ever increasing wind energy tax subsidies and rising electrical rates. As Frank built more and more Industrial Wind Energy projects, the people became poorer and poorer. In fact, this coincidence was ironically similar to the Black Death that had also arrived in Merry Old England at the same time Frank did. Over time, people gradually began to realize and accept that they weren’t coincidences after all. In fact, enough reality had set in that the merry people of Merry Old England began to understand the truth about Frank that they just couldn’t accept when Dr. Wayne had tried to prove it to them. Unfortunately, that realization had come too late and the people had to accept the inconvenient truth that they were so poor that they just couldn’t be merry any more. Now the history books reveal and tell the truth. Frank became wealthy and happy on the backs of the hardworking taxpayer by spreading unsubstantiated lies about the tomato. Dr. Wayne had bravely stood up against this powerful, sleazy, and slick marketing expert to tell the truth, despite the personal consequences to him and his reputation. However, the people had foolishly and blindly accepted Frank’s lies because they thought they needed wind energy, and the tomato was too big a threat to its expansion to accept the health benefits it offered. Now the once beautiful mountain landscape in Merry Old England is littered with industrial wind turbines, which produce very expensive but unreliable and virtually useless electricity. If they had only listened to Dr. Wayne and his little merry band of truthtellers, the people of Merry Old England would still be merry, wealthy, and healthy. Now they are only unhappy, poor, and sad.
THE MORAL OF THIS FAIRY TALE – Telling the truth is not always easy or convenient, especially when, to do so, you must face a sleazy, well funded, slick marketing expert who perpetuates a big bag of politically sponsored lies from which he profits greatly. What many people fail to understand until it’s too late is that the truth is not founded in popular beliefs, it is founded in facts and scientific reason. Hopefully, in the long run, history will remember the thruthteller and his little merry band of followers when people finally come to understand the inconvenient truth that they have been duped by sleazy, slick marketing experts. I’m sorry I can’t make the consequences of such mistakes a happier ending for the story. This is why life is not a fairy tale and why we should not be so eager to believe in fairies. I would much rather be a part of Dr. Wayne’s little merry band of followers than one of Frank’s sorry band of thieves. When will we learn to critically understand the truth about tomatoes…and Industrial Wind Energy?
This is my contribution to the debate on what to say in response to Frank Maisano’s personal attack on Dr. Wayne Spiggle.