God’s Bed

 First there is God’s idea of a bed, and then the carpenter’s bed, made by someone who believes and pays attention to the idea, and then the artist’s painting of a bed, say Vincent Van Gogh’s. The artist’s bed is just one way a bed might appear, depending on where and how you place the mirror of your imagination, and probably how clear or muddled your imagination is. But even at its best and clearest, say the bed of Andrew Wyeth’s imagination, the bed of the painter is mirroring only one view–partial and incomplete and useless for design or sleeping–of the sturdy, useful, pleasant real bed made by the carpenter. 

 The artist’s imagination is three steps removed from the truth: the idea of a bed. It is the person who uses the bed who knows what the thing is and what it is supposed to do. So you have the knower of the truth (the user) of the bed; the maker–the carpenter who has the true opinion about it which he gets by listening to and believing in the idea, so making the thing correctly; and the artist is third, without any necessary connection to the truth of beds at all: the perspective of the artist may even be perverted or obscured. 

 This is the way I think about the nature of government. First you have the idea of government and then the products of government (essential services, national security, freedoms, transportation, criminal justice, ) made by the founding fathers who have the true opinion about what government is which they get by believing in the idea of government. Then you have the user of the government, the citizen, the knower of truth, who knows what government is and what it is supposed to do.

 Finally, there is the politician who mirrors only his or her perspective on government based on his or her personal interest in governing. The politician is much like the artist who ignores the user of the bed, and ignores the users of the government, who are the knowers of truth. Like the artist, the politician is three steps removed from the idea of government, without any necessary connection to the truth of the idea of government at all, and whose incomplete and partial theory about the nature of government may even be perverted or absurd.

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