Sentencing the Liar
Once upon a time, the Archangel Michael sued Lucifer for every cent he owned, on a charge of Fraud.
Standing before the Bench, Lucifer the Dark Angel testified, “I am not a crook; I am an Artist. What you call Fraud, I call Fiction.”
Michael the Warrior Archangel argued, “Your reputation precedes you. You profit from trickery; you beguile and flatter; you sell utopias, dystopias, paradises and infernos, all of them false!”
The Father of Lies replied, “My reputation reminds my clients not to take me too literally. I traffic in enchantment; people freely pay me for marvels, wonders, fantasy, terror and personal affirmation. My imaginary paradises proclaim noble ideals; my cautionary dystopias are safely unreal; so either way, my tales are good.”
Michael roared, “You hypocrite! You call your illusions good when they’re good, and good when they’re bad! But I say they’re bad either way! Everything you do is perverse! You are a Liar, and you are a Lie!”
Lucifer purred, “I am an Artist, and I am a work of Art. And so are you, dear brother. To condemn me is to condemn yourself.” The Light-Bearer turned to address the Bench. “The same goes for Your Honors. You are as fictional as I am; so what true sentence dare you pronounce against me?”
The Judges ruled, by a vote of two to one, that some of the Defendant’s words are deceptions. They also ruled, by a different vote of two to one, that all deceptions merit punishment. Then they ruled, by yet another vote of two to one, that none of the Defendant’s words merit punishment.
Moral: This sentence is false.
Commentary: The Spook thought that lucid Lucifer told the Truth; Junior was willing to cut the Liar some Slack; and Dad wanted to blast that so-called ‘Artist’ straight to Hell. Each Judge was outvoted two-to-one, in an absurd trio of rulings. Voter’s paradoxes plague all triumvirates.