The article stood on the hill outside the capital city of each member land. It was visited every year on the date of its creation by the great and the good, stood in serried ranks to salute the symbol of peace and prosperity. It had been there for fifty years, a testament to the modernity of the people of the lands and their superiority to those who had gone before with their wars and their destruction, their prejudices and their lack of fellow feeling.
At first the article had been universally popular. Those outside the lands had looked on with envy at those who lived under the article’s benign gaze, an invisible power to protect and nourish the people. Those allied to the lands, with their own articles and shared experience of the horrors of conflict had applauded the lands for their commitment to a better way of life. In the lands of the diktat, the naysayers who were imprisoned and disappeared had pointed to the article as a beacon of hope, as something to aspire to and fight for. The lands of the article had consistently supported these refuseniks. When the lands of the diktat collapsed under the falsity of their theory, the lands of the article had welcomed them with open arms, leaving only a bruised and distressed rump outside their new and improved community. It seemed that the lands of the article were destined to be the saviours of humanity.
All were in favour of the article. Those who weren’t simply didn’t understand the power of the article. So great was the support for the article that those who insisted on publicly denying its power within the lands were called ‘shovers’ and laughed at for their crazy theories. Some compared them to the ‘smashers’ who had caused chaos in the time before the article. The article provided jobs and new technologies that made life better for all. No one was left behind. Those who seemed to be left behind were not there because of the article but because they were ‘idlers’. The ‘idlers’ were obviously that because people from the new lands of the article and those who escaped from lands beyond it (for there were still many places where the article was resisted) came to the lands and found work and contributed to the good of all. The ‘idlers’ only had themselves to blame. The ‘shovers’ hated the ‘idlers’ but they recognised that the ‘idlers’ hated those they called ‘pushers’; the believers in the article, the establishment, the experts and the people in control. So the ‘shovers’ stared to whisper in the ears of the ‘idlers’, promising them great things if they helped overturn the article.
As time past, the wars that created the article became a thing of first memory and then history. The towns and cities were rebuilt, the children and grandchildren of the people of the lands travelled throughout and learnt the language and customs of their fellow citizens and forgot the disagreements and distrust that, only decades before, could have seen them shooting each other rather than sharing conversation. Some began to wonder if the article was really all powerful. There seemed to be more and more ‘idlers’ wherever you looked. Some of the ‘pushers’ suggested that the article needed to be considered anew, that the ‘idlers’ were not to blame, that the article itself was creating them. But the majority of the ‘pushers’ were doing ok, they had their new things and their settled lives, they had forgotten what could happen, what had happened in the past and they ignored the pleas for the ‘idlers’, electing to pursue them further. They forced the ‘idlers’ to work for their bread and took their houses from them if they didn’t work. The ‘shovers’ saw this and they smiled. With each push the ‘idlers’ came closer to them and there were more and more ‘idlers’.
So it came to past that as time went on the voices of the ‘idlers’ and the ‘shovers’ combined became so loud that the ‘pushers’ decided to shut them up for once and for all. In the lands of the article one by one the ‘pushers’ in charge decided to ask the people to say that the article was good for all. On that day in each of the lands the people spoke. And some of them said that the article was not good. Enough of them said that the article was not good for the article to be removed. The ‘pushers’ were aghast. How could the article not be good? It had kept them safe for five decades, made life better for all. The ‘pushers’ repeated that the ‘shovers’ were crazy. The ‘shovers’ said that they were now in charge. Some ‘pushers’ pretended to be ‘shovers’. The ‘idlers’ were the happiest. They had told the ‘pushers’ where to go and now their protectors, ‘the shovers’ would make it all ok.
Years of strife followed. The ‘shovers’ shoved and the ‘pushers’ pushed. The people of the diktat lands saw their chance and made their empire anew, the lands of the former article too busy fighting each other to stop them. The ‘ilders’ soon realised that the ‘shovers’ didn’t really care about them. Soon they became ‘smashers’ and the lands of the article were again ravaged by strife and war and misery.
After decades of ‘smashers’ smashing and ‘pushers’ pushing and ‘shovers’ shoving whilst all around the people of the diktat lands gorged themselves on the weak and the defenceless a peace was declared. And on a hill outside each of the capital cities of the former article lands was erected the declaration. And the declaration promised peace and prosperity and all were happy to be people of the declaration. Except for those who weren’t but they were just crazy.