The Mad Hatters of UN Land
© 2003 by Doug Patton

April 7, 2003

Once, there was a place of whimsy, where people who had no use for reality could go and have their wildest fantasies indulged. This place was known as UN Land, and it was run by people who could only be described as resembling the Mad Hatter from “Alice in Wonderland.”

Many of the folks who populated UN Land represented cruel and strange nations that held their people in bondage and committed horrible atrocities upon them. But this did not matter one bit, because the Mad Hatters had decreed that everyone’s worldview was equal in UN Land.

Those who came from free lands objected to this notion, but the Mad Hatters only laughed. They put their worst and most brutal members in charge of Human Rights Committees and allowed the most warlike among them to chair talks on disarmament. These folks would never allow a vote within their own borders, but they always demanded one in UN Land.

The disputes settled among nations by the Mad Hatters were notoriously flawed, generally allowing for the splitting of countries along strange boundaries and calling truces between mortal enemies. One such truce left the people in the North starving under a repressive ruler, while the South flourished in prosperity. But since the Mad Hatters considered all views and philosophies of government to be equal, none of this mattered, and this nation remained divided for fifty years.

Then, one day, a terrible, unprovoked attack on the Land of the Free forced the Mad Hatters to look at the storehouse of weapons being held by one of their members, whose leader, known far and wide as the Evil One, claimed he had no such weapons. The Land of the Free claimed that the peace of the world was at stake, but the Evil One and his fellow Hatters were of another opinion, throwing all of UN Land into a quandary.

“Whatever shall we do?” The Hatters asked each other. “We can’t condemn the Evil One for his deeds, lest we be scrutinized ourselves. Besides, we’ve warned him sixteen times before.”

“Let’s warn him again,” someone suggested. And so the did. In a unanimous voice, they all voted for the seventeenth time to warn the Evil One to be nice and tell them where his weapons were.

The Evil One laughed and said again that he had no weapons, so the Hatters decided to send one of their own – Inspector Hans Hatter, as mad a hatter as had ever lived in UN Land – to engage the Evil One in a game of Hide and Seek.

For months, Inspector Hans searched and searched, periodically reporting back to UN Land, asking for more time to complete the game.

Occasionally, the Evil One would actually let something be found, at which time Inspector Hans would scurry back to UN Land and, being careful not to actually condemn the Evil One, report that his was an important job, indeed, because how else could it be done?

Finally, with the Land of the Free poised with its great army at the doorstep of the Evil One, the assembled Hatters were in a panic.

“What shall we do?” Asked one.

“Let’s do nothing!” Shouted another just before plunging his head directly into the sand.

“Oui!” Said another. “Let us do nothing!”

So the volunteer warriors from the Land of the Free set off on their own with a sigh to do what they had always done before: save the world from itself. The Hatters were furious. They blustered and demanded vote number eighteen.

The Evil One threatened terrible things, but the Free Warriors rolled into his land with ease. And as the smoke began to clear over the battlefield, the sounds of the Hatters could be heard in the distance. They were chattering about how important their role was and who should make the peace.

But no one was listening. Not even Alice.


Doug Patton is a freelance columnist who has served as a political speechwriter and public policy advisor at the federal, state and local levels. His weekly columns can be read in newspapers across the country and at He also writes for the Talon News Service. Readers can e-mail him at

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