“Several years ago there arose an emperor determined to be seen by his people as the fairest and greatest ruler who had ever lived, and so he invested all his money in that pursuit. He didn’t care whether the money he invested improved the condition of his people, or whether his many decrees decreased the liberties of his people, so long as he appeared to be the fairest and greatest ruler of all time.
One day two swindlers arrived at the town where the emperor’s palace was. They told everybody they were weavers of a most marvelous cloth. Not only was their material extraordinarily beautiful, but it had the strange quality of being invisible to anyone who was unfit for his office or cruelly uncaring and unjust. Desiring a garment of this marvelous material for himself, the emperor gave the swindlers a lot of money so they could start working at once. . . .