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Did you ever hear the Parable of the Unfit Leader?
Once upon a time, in a happy land, the people grew restless and felt it would be best to choose a ruler who had no rulership experience. "He won't be of the ruler class," they said. "He is a merchant and a skilled bargainer."
Unsurprisingly, the merchant was lost amid the castle staff and soldiers, and there were murmurs that the people were starting to suspect they had made a grave error. His advisers told him to be decisive and make a spectacle.
The town crier, on the following day, heralded the news: "Hear ye, the Leader has demanded a 10-foot statue of himself, made of 18 karat gold, be erected in the square." This caused much hue and cry. For the town did not need a golden statue. There were more pressing needs.
Worse, the description of the statue changed from day to day. Now it was a "30-foot statue of 24 karat gold," and there might be two of them. Or a dozen. The people protested that they would not pay for such a needless project of no value. And the Leader grew furious.
"I'll teach these ungrateful people a lesson," he said, and ordered the castle staff, the functionaries, the bursars, to cease their labors—with the exception of the soldiers who would guard the gates. Business in the city came to a halt and the markets began to empty.
The townspeople were now alarmed. The prospect of starving was worse than building the statue. The soldiers were unhappy as they weren’t being paid. But all in the land could say that the Leader was doing something. He wanted to be seen as powerful and mighty.
“We’re still not going to build the stupid statue,” they said. And, in time, the Leader changed his mind and decided to attack the neighboring kingdom instead, which would occupy the soldiers and remind the people of his vast and dauntless powers.
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