Saturday, October 31, 2009

Into The Maelstrom

For over two hundred years the United States has been the envy of the world, her economy the gold standard and her liberties the inspiration of the French, who were so impressed as to offer the wondrous statue that greets sailors in New York harbor. Then, over forty years ago, the fortunate inhabitants of the greatest country the world has known decided that our superiority was unfair and our society even less so. Taking advantage of the freedoms bestowed upon them by the very structure of that society, they began the slow and steady swirling motion that created the maelstrom in which we now helplessly spin.

As the funnel grows deeper and the wall of water ever steeper, the speed at which our utter destruction approaches has increased exponentially. Worse, those who have not been willing or active participants in the slow demise of America are complicit simply by virtue of their obliviousness. As many of their lives did not seem to be directly affected by the pending doom, they carried on with business as usual.

In Edgar Allen Poe's Descent Into The Maelstrom, the phenomenon is perfectly illustrated in the form of centrifugal force. The story is a retelling by an old fisherman whose vessel was surprised by a sudden hurricane, which pushed the boat into a maelstrom. The narrator survived to tell the story, in which he recounts:

"She was quite upon an even keel - that is to say, her deck lay in a plane parallel with that of the water - but this latter sloped at an angle of more than forty-five degrees, so that we seemed to be lying upon our beam-ends. I could not help observing, nevertheless, that I had scarcely more difficulty in maintaining my hold and footing in this situation, than if we had been upon a dead level ; and this, I suppose, was owing to the speed at which we revolved."
In short, had he been blind and deaf, the narrator would have felt as if the ship were right and not tilting at all and he would have been completely unaware of his jeopardy. It is in the same fashion that the innocent yet culpable are indicted because, had they noticed the destructive rocks that await at the bottom of the maelstrom, they may have been more eager to steer the ship away from its grasp before allowing it to be placed in peril.

The mutinous amongst us have not been merely satisfied with the complacency of their unwitting accomplices, however, though they have found it useful. It thus became much easier to take the impetus of those who had stalled in their pursuit of the American dream and reverse their course to their own detriment. This was accomplished through false compassion and a successful admonishment of faux greed, playing on the sympathies of genuinely good people and turning them into the tools of evil.

Despite the overwhelming generosity of the average American, they have been convinced nonetheless that they have not done enough to ease the "suffering of their compatriots", thereby allowing the steady creep of government intrusion into their lives, and the confiscation of their wages. No longer content with the amount of giving by the American, the whirlpool machine of the federal government has ever increasingly seized more and more of the private citizen's earnings in order to give to those that the government deems needy.

I have read numerous comments lately by my fellow citizens on various news sites and blogs, and some of them both frighten and sadden me. The general sentiment among liberals is that they "prefer socialism under Obama over corporate 'greed' under Bush". And so we spin ever faster to our ultimate end, round and round the maelstrom.

There is a glimmer of hope here, however, as I know that many will bemoan the lugubrious tone of this writing; the narrator in Poe's tale survived the maelstrom. He did so by calmly observing his surroundings, and noticed many other objects similarly caught up in the vortex in which he found himself. (Take note that the very reason for his calmness was out of resignation to his fate for, having made his peace with God, he no longer suffered the paralysis of panic.) Rather than awkwardly try to summarize the reason for his escape, I will post a rather lengthy excerpt in which Poe explains it best:
"It was not a new terror that thus affected me, but the dawn of a more exciting hope. This hope arose partly from memory, and partly from present observation. I called to mind the great variety of buoyant matter that strewed the coast of Lofoden, having been absorbed and then thrown forth by the Moskoe-ström. By far the greater number of the articles were shattered in the most extraordinary way - so chafed and roughened as to have the appearance of being stuck full of splinters - but then I distinctly recollected that there were some of them which were not disfigured at all. Now I could not account for this difference except by supposing that the roughened fragments were the only ones which had been completely absorbed - that the others had entered the whirl at so late a period of the tide, or, for some reason, had descended so slowly after entering, that they did not reach the bottom before the turn of the flood came, or of the ebb, as the case might be. I conceived it possible, in either instance, that they might thus be whirled up again to the level of the ocean, without undergoing the fate of those which had been drawn in more early, or absorbed more rapidly. I made, also, three important observations. The first was, that, as a general rule, the larger the bodies were, the more rapid their descent - the second, that, between two masses of equal extent, the one spherical, and the other of any other shape , the superiority in speed of descent was with the sphere - the third, that, between two masses of equal size, the one cylindrical, and the other of any other shape, the cylinder was absorbed the more slowly. Since my escape, I have had several conversations on this subject with an old school-master of the district ; and it was from him that I learned the use of the words 'cylinder' and 'sphere.' He explained to me - although I have forgotten the explanation - how what I observed was, in fact, the natural consequence of the forms of the floating fragments - and showed me how it happened that a cylinder, swimming in a vortex, offered more resistance to its suction, and was drawn in with greater difficulty than an equally bulky body, of any form whatever."
The narrator, realizing his discovery, lashes himself to a cider barrel from the deck and leaps overboard, thus sufficiently slowing his descent until the maelstrom subsides. The hope here lies in the possibility that the socialist movement will become such a behemoth that it smashes on the rocks below, while the rest of America remains buoyant long enough to survive the maelstrom which is nearing its zenith under Obama. Grab yourself a barrel and hold on.

Sphere: Related Content

1 comment:

Willi said...

Great, just don't be eye-balling my barrel.