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A Descent into the Maelstrom by Edgar Allan Poe - a short story discussion 
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Post Re: A Descent into the Maelstrom by Edgar Allan Poe - a discussion
DB Roy wrote:
I would like to discuss Poe's "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket" at some point--another seafaring tale but certainly one of the most bizarre ever written. Would anyone care to discuss it?

Sure, why not have a short streak of Poe stories.

Edit: Did not realize that "Pym" is novel-length. But still would be interested in reading and discussing it.



Sat May 13, 2017 6:59 am
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Post Re: A Descent into the Maelstrom by Edgar Allan Poe - a discussion
Robert Tulip wrote:
DWill wrote:
Bush was heard to mutter, "Man, that was some weird shit," and since that rainy (or was it?) day, there has been a steady excrescence of the same.
Hardly surprising from dub, given the orange drumbeat about ‘low energy Jeb’. [/quote
Oh, so you think the "American carnage" speech was an example of high oratory?
DWill wrote:
I mean, Robert, anyone can always say that by some un-understood, paradoxical, or dialectical process, we may end up at a good place after a virtual shit-storm has finished raging.
I think of it more like the frog in a pot. The frog feels perfectly secure and warm, but fails to see that these feelings seal its doom, just as the narrator’s brother was damned by clutching ever more tightly to his boat.

I refer above to your idea that Trump's weird incoherence will somehow deliver us to a better place, that he has a method to his madness. There is no method beyond the narcissist's priority of self. Narcissism, by the way, is a quality Trump has proudly embraced in his "writings." Are we frogs in a pot with regard to Trump steadily eroding norms and institutions? I don't think so, because we can clearly see it happening. We might not care enough to stop it, though. My bet is nevertheless on impeachment down the road, perhaps in 2018 after the midterm elections.

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There are are massive cultural divisions swirling around the maelstrom of American politics, and deconstructing these polarities opens deep emotions about security and progress. The steady warming of the pot, seen as a metaphor for the ability of government to deliver progress and security through increasing tax, creates a strong sentimental attachment to the idea that government can make us safe and prosperous by expanding the intrusion of the state into civil society.

If you want this war against government fought, you need a suitable warrior. You don't have one in Donald Trump. You've always projected onto him whatever qualities you think the moment calls for, creating someone with an ideological firmness that DJT simply does not have and has never demonstrated. Would this person of your imagining have touted Australia's government-backed healthcare system, for example? That is merely one example of Trump's complete nonaquaintance with consistent thought. The man can't talk for three minutes without blithely committing non-sequiturs. He's totally unperturbed by that, as well.

Quote:
The big ideas behind the Trump movement challenge that myth of ‘gubmint oughta fix it’, albeit at high risk of war and collapse.

I persist in seeing Trump as a type of John Galt figure, seeing the economy as a free maelstrom rather than a controlled plan, like a ranga calling for the law of the jungle as a source of competitive strength.

Despite the Ronald Reagan imitation, Trump is no Reagan. Reagan switched parties once and was done. Trump switched parties six times. Nonsense about Trump as John Galt. Would Rand's hero have availed himself of government bankruptcy regs so many times to save his personal fortune while screwing many others?

Quote:
That Rand typology is only partly true, but the trend question it raises is whether the trajectory of taxation is up or down. Economics says better results come from lower taxes, since churning money through the state only produces friction and waste, destroying incentive and freedom.

Look at Trump's proposed tax reform plan. It provides tax favors for the already wealthy. I would add that libertarians such as you have never had an answer for paying for the shared amenities, protections, and services that are central to modern civilized states.

Quote:
Unfortunately I fear that Trump’s rhetoric about small government is just lies and fantasy.

So, it's rather that you persist in wanting to see Trump as John Galt, even though you concede that he's a phony Galt. It's not only that, though. Trump doesn't even have significant rhetoric about small government. In fact, with his proclamation "Only I can fix it!" he's right up there with Louis XIV's famous cry. See the conservative National Review's take on Trump's small-governmentalism. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/4 ... atism-dead

Quote:
Your comment about reason and unintended consequences is well illustrated by the descent into the maelstrom. Your strategy is exactly what the brother does, imagining that clinging to his boat is his best option for survival, in a context of mad blind terror. In fact, his failure to see that letting go would be the only way to save him is a bitter irony about our reasoning prowess, and inability to change course once path dependency sets in.

This Buddha-like detachment has the cryptic koan quality of Yoda. Poe is calling us to let go of our effort to control reality, saying control is the wide and easy path of damnation, when to be saved we need to find the narrow hard way where many are called but few are chosen.

To the contrary, the brother is simply too terrified to think, whereas the narrator has possession of his reason and uses it. The narrator conceives a technical solution to a problem, which is much different from the act of "letting go," as I see it.

Quote:
Trump’s big message is that the role of the state is rule of law. That is very simple, but also very chaotic, complex, profound, risky and difficult.

Rule of law concerns are exactly what are animating some of the resistance to Trump, with regard to his conflicts of interest, his desire to bypass Congress, and most recently with his firing of the FBI director in order to try to scuttle an investigation that he must find threatening to himself. Looking at Trump's campaign themes, rule of law seems implicated only in his immigration policies.



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Robert Tulip
Sat May 13, 2017 8:22 am
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