Ship of State

Metamorphosis talks to Hunter about government and politics, the “Ship of State”.

“My father cannot be manipulated politically.”

The sage grinned. “Voters know that political speeches are designed to manipulate them, but they want to be manipulated. Known as the ignorant masses, voters share a collective consciousness, a faulty mindset of, I’ll vote only for who I like, not for the person who is wise, ethical, and the most qualified. Public elections have become a popularity contest. Your professional politicians accuse each other of anything, including stretching the truth or outright lying, to manipulate potential voters.

“Your political figures are experts in disputes and arguments. What I mean is, they have no commitment to moral ideas, they only wish to argue against a verbal opponent. They become so skilled in fighting and arguing, refuting whatever is said, that no one can stand up to them. They argue anything, no matter if the issue is true or false, merely for the sake of victory. Your primitive society is unjust and corrupt because it is run by politicians appealing to the ignorant masses.”

I frowned, shaking my head, no way.

Captain Gog paced back and forth, squinting through a brass spyglass.

“I see doubt in your eyes, my son. Allow me to give you an excellent example.”

I gestured with my hand, go ahead.

“When a serious problem arises, do the people of Earth seek out the advice of a specialist, an expert? Or, do they seek the advice of an untrained citizen?”

“The trained specialist, of course.”

“When you humans suffer from illness, do you not seek the most competent medical specialist you can find?”

I nodded, yes.

“Or, do you go about asking everyone you meet for advice? Do you take a vote among as many people as possible to determine your illness?”

“No, that would be stupid.”

“Exactly. So why is it then, with regard to the political health of your government, your nation and your world, you allow untrained, unqualified, self-interest politicians to rise to power, voted in by uninformed and easily-manipulated citizens, the ignorant masses?”

“Somebody’s got to run the government.”

“You are correct. In a primitive society that requires laws and government, people fight, lie and cheat to be in charge, to be the leader. Often, the power-hungry leader becomes a tyrant, a dictator.”

“Okay, so what’s your solution to bad leadership?”

“Politics and philosophy must be united in the same person. A suggestion might be that your planet begin a specialized training academy for future politicians so they may wisely navigate the ship of state.”

“Ship of state?”

“Yes, your ship of state. On your planet, when you build a ship, you seek a shipwright. When you build a house, an architect does the job. But when it comes to building something much more important, like a society of wise and happy citizens, you humans ignore the experts on government and entrust the job to anyone who succeeds in achieving favor with the voters. How is this accomplished? Politicians flatter the citizens’ prejudices and make promises about what he or she will do for them once they are elected to power. In other words, your ship’s captain knows nothing about navigation.”

“Ship’s captain?”

“Allow me to use an allegory,” Morph said with a grin.


“Visualize a grand, sea-worthy ship docked in the harbor. A captain is needed. The ship owner is elderly, hard of hearing, poor of sight and lacks sea-faring knowledge, navigation skills. Knowing that the owner desperately needs a captain, all the sailors on the ship argue, fight and quarrel over who shall be the captain. However, these sailors know nothing about navigation or the operation of a ship. Because they have no skills or training or experience, they use brute force, intimidation, lies and deception to win the favor of the elderly ship owner. Whoever succeeds in persuading the owner to choose him is immediately recognized as a navigator, the captain, a person who knows how to navigate a ship. Everyone else is considered inferior and useless.

Morph pointed toward Gog. “The true captain, the one person who completely understands the craft of navigation and how to steer the ship properly, is called a worthless stargazer. The ship sets sail, navigated by a clever, unethical captain, a person of trickery and fraud. A shipwreck is inevitable.”

I smirked. “Okay, I get the point. We should have an expert, a philosopher king, run our government. Oh, excuse me, navigate our ship of state.”

“Excellent idea. Do you know of any on your planet?”

I scratched my head and thought. I failed to think of anyone’s name, but offered a response.


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