Mochiavelli Satire - The Greatest Citizen


Il Principio

The Greatest Citizen

"Father, I would like to be an inventor when I grow up,” the beaming little girl announced with all the sweet innocence and exuberance of a seven-year-old.

"Don’t be an idiot,” Leonardo said. “You’ll waste your life and make your country a poorer place.”

Harsh. Yet he loved his daughter and the Principality of Castoria dearly and could say nothing other. Leonardo was also sending a message to the girl’s always curious, eavesdropping brothers.

“But ... but I want to invent something to fix the water in the city,” she said, now trembling, stammering and teary.

“Do you know what is fouling the city water, dear?” Leonardo explained through gritted teeth and a choking throat. “All the crap that people have invented and the world doesn’t need.”

At this point, his daughter threw her stick-and-string flying machine school project against the wall and ran up the stairs to her bedroom.

Earlier, Leonardo had asked her to steal ideas from classmates from foreign lands, suggesting that it would be enough to just add shiny ornaments to their inventions. He told his child that this would make her school project better than the others because it would be technically as good, but also shiny. Still, she stuck to her immature and foolish desire to create something unique of her own.

“Stay in your room ‘til you are ready to stop thinking,” Leonardo shouted.

Reflecting on the confrontation decades later in his death bed, Leonardo realized that he may have been asking too much in expecting his daughter to understand the nuanced political theory around science and technology in the small country of Castoria.

As those in control of the realm knew well, Castoria suffered under the economic and social burdens of excessive discovery, creativity, and invention.  What the Prince’s expert advisors advocated was less creativity and more products, services, and processes that made use of what had already been invented in Castoria and beyond.

The gentle and generous Castorians liked to discover and invent and then give the fruits of their creativity away. This brought no benefit to their country and, in fact, made other nations more competitive, wealthier, and better than Castoria in vital international statistical comparisons.

As he lay dying, tears filled Leonardo’s eyes.

Despite his admonishments, all of his children had grown to be creative and inventive adults, who persisted in trying to think and discover despite the contrary example their patriotic father had set for them.

Purposefully and deliberately, he never invented anything, discovered anything, or created anything.   He spent his life appropriating and critiquing the creations of others.  He parodied great works of literature and gravely evaluated the worth of scientific research. All of his children had been adopted.

Leonardo knew in his heart and spirit that he exemplified the science and technology model the Prince and his royal advisors had promoted and that he, Leonardo, was perhaps Castoria’s Greatest Citizen by this standard.  He also knew that his country needed more people of his type.

But he had no clue how one would go about creating them.

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