“Friends, we must leave behind the regressive dogmas of the past! All those ideas were invented to enslave us! It is time for us to start thinking for ourselves!”
“Yeah, what he said!” Melvin, Herman’s skinny sidekick, piped up and the crowd before them cheered them both.
“Think a little bit! None of you are thinking for yourselves,” a frail quavering voice echoed throughout the auditorium as the applause subsided. “You’re just parroting what you hear!”
“No we aren’t,” Herman bellowed as rage darkened his chubby features.
“We sure aren’t,” Melvin echoed as the crowd cheered it’s approval.
“You sure are, look at yourselves!”
Everyone at the Conference for Progressive Thought turned to face the intrusive voice. The elderly woman who was standing in the balcony wagging her finger at them as she continued preaching.
“Everybody knows that the ancient law, the one that says, ‘the less a man has to say the longer it will take for him to say it.’ Despite Herman’s lofty claims, he hasn’t left that regressive dogma behind. Think a little bit! He’s been talking all day long and has said very little so far.”
The auditorium was filled with booing and shouts of anger.
“Order…order…” Herman’s powerful voice boomed as he pounded on his podium. “Friends, we all know that little is much when love is in it…and trust me, love is the foundation for all I say.” He pointed up at his enemy as his voice grew harsh. “Take her away and give her the treatment she deserves!”
“Love of money you mean,” Gertrude shouted as a gang of grim looking security guards began hustling her off.
“Friends, we all know that tolerance and love are the foundations of our movement. That’s why we have to be intolerant to intolerance.”
“That means you are intolerant yourselves,” was the last barb Gertrude managed to squeeze out before she was dragged out of the building into a waiting black van.
There was a moment of blessed silence as Herman struggled to regain his composure.
“It is unfortunate that we still have these backward people among us. Anyway, let us move forward. Like I was trying to say. If you need help…” Herman, the wise teacher, shuffled the papers on the podium before him and then continued. “If you need help thinking for yourself, I have plenty of books in the back. Unlike the dusty regressive books of the past that try and promote their outdated ideas of what are proper and good. My books include only MY ideas on the kinds of ideas that are proper and good. I encourage you to read these ideas and make them your own. We’ve got a special deal on now just for this conference. If you buy three books we’ll only charge you for four. Think about it. They make great Christmas gifts! Thank you all for your support and I’ll see you over at the book table.”
With that Herman and his sidekick, Melvin left the stage and headed over to great their legions of adoring fans. Despite that unpleasant episode with Gertrude, it had been a wonderful conference full of talking and thinking…and best of all, none of the serious problems the facing world had been solved .
As long as the people were kept thinking and taking about thinking, they wouldn’t be tempted to change anything substantial about themselves.
If they refused to change themselves nothing else would would change either.
Which meant that there would need to be many more conferences in the coming years.
Indeed, it was truly a happy ending…for Herman and Melvin and their book sales.