Hunter (who you should remember from his previous appearances) offers this updated version of the Parable of the Talents.
Please note that the “ruler” in this piece is not Obama, but rather more along the lines of the imaginary President who Hunter recently had lecturing Congress on fiscal restraint.
By the way, I’m pleased to announce that, after some encouragement (and maybe a TINY bit of waterboarding), Hunter has taken my advice and started his own blog:
Atomic Monkey Action Squad.
Stop by and wish him well on his new adventure.
The Parable of the Talents, 2012
(with deep apologies to Matthew 25:14-30 and Luke 19:12-28, and with no claim or attempt to represent this version as being strictly biblical)
…Therefore stay alert, for a nation turning its attention to its own affairs and not being mindful of its elected representatives is like a wealthy ruler going on a journey, who summoned his bureaucrats and after drawing up a contract between he and them, placed into their keeping the divisions of his government. To one he gave oversight of five departments, to another two, and to yet another one, each according their popularity and personal appeal, saying “promote and enable the nation’s businesses with these so that they flourish and grow until I return, drawing responsibly from my Treasury only what you need”. Then he went on his journey.
The bureaucrat who was given five departments went off right away and began hiring additional staff, diversifying and expanding his influence, spinning off narrow oversight functions into separate departments, building his scions up into full-fledged divisions, constructing beautiful, ornate, and highly-secure premises within which to office his staff, requisitioning soldiers to guard all his facilities, showering largess upon all who looked in his direction (most heavily upon his subordinates), and institutionalizing his expansion policies until the number of offices and sub-bureaus under his control could only be drawn as an increasing geometric curve, with each org chart only as stable as the sand in which it was inscribed, giving chronic nightmares to the royal actuaries.
The bureaucrat who had been given two departments did likewise.
The bureaucrat who had been given one department feared his master, so he did all he could to support the kingdom’s merchants with his meager staff, and yet he refused to expand his authority. Quickly realizing that no amount of under-spending on his part could make up for the actions of the other two, he counseled them to reverse their course and return to the contractual boundaries in place with their king. When they didn’t listen, he found he could not get his message to the people because the Heralds’ Union was now highly regulated, and happily so, and they did not wish to endanger their new pension plans.
After a long time, the ruler returned and summoned his bureaucrats to settle accounts.
The one who received five departments came and said “Master, you entrusted me with five departments, and now they are as many as the stars in the sky!” The one who received two departments came and said “Master, you entrusted me with two, and now they are more plentiful than the sand along the sea!”
Then the one who had received just a single department came and said “Master, I know you are a hard man, and will not wish to harvest what has been sown! I was afraid, and I and my staff worked tirelessly day and night to facilitate trade, and to enact as little restraint upon business as we could ethically manage, so that the economy might not be stifled! But the public has been turned against me. For trying to keep the kingdom on the path you decreed, I have been accused of wanting to slay children and the elderly, and hating those who look different than me, and of being insensitive to the endless needs of our invaders (this last I will admit is true, but feel that it is a strange accusation nonetheless).”
“I have had to fear for my life, the lives of my family, and for my diligent servants because my reluctance to, for example, provide public funding for the arts is now equated with attempts to both censor and enslave the citizenry! These others have rendered for naught all of my efforts!”
The ruler sat quietly on his throne, aghast in the dawning realization of what had been done in his absence. Turning to the first bureaucrat, the one who had received five departments, he asked “How stands my Treasury?” Seeking to dissemble, the man replied “My lord, there is some disagreement among the royal accountants, what with different accounting standards, closing schedules, and economic schools of thought…”
The ruler asked again “How stands my Treasury?”