The Old Man and the Sea Ė 2011
The Burning Platform
first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency;
the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring
a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic
opportunists." ~ Ernest Hemingway
the Federal Reserve policy harms the average American, it benefits
those in a position to take advantage of the cycles in monetary
policy. The main beneficiaries are those who receive access to artificially
inflated money and/or credit before the inflationary effects of
the policy impact the entire economy. Federal Reserve policies also
benefit big spending politicians who use the inflated currency created
by the Fed to hide the true costs of the welfare-warfare state."
~ Ron Paul
and Ron Paul never met. Ron Paul was completing medical school in
1961 when Hemingway committed suicide at his home in Idaho. I think
they would have hit it off. I stumbled across the quote from Hemingway
above. Those words could have come directly out of the mouth of
Ron Paul. Both men spent their whole lives seeking the truth and
presenting their ideas in a blunt straightforward manner. Hemingway
is one of the most renowned writers in American history, with classics
such as A
Farewell to Arms, For
Whom the Bell Tolls, and The
Sun Also Rises to his credit. He won the Nobel
Prize for literature in 1954. He constructed a new literary style
characterized by lean, hard, sparse dialogue. He influenced literature
and young authors for decades. As a teenager I was immediately drawn
to his gritty realistic novels. There was no nonsense to his novels.
They always involved manís struggle against death and hardship.
Most of his best work was done in the 1920s and 1930s, but he produced
one of his finest works in 1951 towards the end of his life. Hemingway
won the Pulitzer Prize for his story about an epic battle between
an old man and a great marlin.
was bigger than life. Hemingwayís real life reads like a Stephen
Spielberg Indiana Jones movie. He was an ambulance driver in World
War I, where he was seriously wounded. He had four wives. He lived
in Paris during the 1920s associating with other famous "Lost
Generation" writers. He was a correspondent during the Spanish
Civil War and World War II, while also joining in the fighting.
He survived two plane crashes and multiple car accidents. He battled
alcoholism and mental illness, eventually taking his own life, just
as his father, brother and sister had done before him. His novels
reflected the pain, struggle and inevitability of death that permeated
his own life.
Old Man and the Sea is a novel about Santiago,
an old fisherman whose life is approaching its conclusion, and his
final heroic struggle against a great marlin and the evil sharks
that ultimately devour his prize. The mark of a great writer is
the ability to tell a story that means many things to many people.
Hemingway described his aim in writing this novel:
good book has ever been written that has in it symbols arrived
at beforehand and stuck in. ... I tried to make a real old man,
a real boy, a real sea and a real fish and real sharks. But if
I made them good and true enough they would mean many things."
always had a gritty reality to them. This particular novel is rich
with symbolism and life lessons that are timeless and relevant today.
The plot of the story is quite basic, but the character analysis
reveals much deeper insights. For eighty-four days, Santiago, an
aged Cuban fisherman, has set out to sea and returned empty-handed.
So strikingly unlucky is he that the parents of his young, devoted
apprentice and friend, Manolin, have forced the boy to leave the
old man in order to fish in a more prosperous boat. On the eighty-fifth
day he decides to sail far into the Gulf Stream past where most
fishermen would dare venture alone. A big fish, which he knows is
a marlin, takes the bait that Santiago has placed one hundred fathoms
deep in the waters. The old man expertly hooks the fish, but he
cannot pull it in. Instead, the fish begins to pull the boat.
Unable to tie
the line fast to the boat for fear the fish would snap a taut line,
the old man bears the strain of the line with his shoulders, back,
and hands, ready to give slack should the marlin make a run. The
great fish pulls the boat for two straight days. The entire time,
Santiago endures constant pain from the fishing line. Whenever the
fish lunges, leaps, or makes a dash for freedom, the cord cuts Santiago
badly. Although wounded and weary, the old man feels a deep empathy
and admiration for the marlin, his brother in suffering, strength,
and resolve. On the third day, the fish tires and Santiago is able
to kill him with his harpoon. He lashes it to the side of the boat
and begins the long journey home.
navigates toward his destination, the marlinís blood leaves a trail
in the water and attracts sharks. The first to attack is a great
mako shark, which Santiago manages to slay with the harpoon. In
the struggle, the old man loses the harpoon, which leaves him vulnerable
to more shark attacks. The vicious predator sharks continuously
attack Santiagoís trophy and despite killing several of the sharks,
his battle became ultimately hopeless. He fights a gallant fight,
revealing manís finest qualities of bravery, confidence, courage,
patience, optimism, and intelligence during the struggle.
devour the marlinís precious meat, leaving only skeleton, head,
and tail. Santiago chastises himself for going "out too far,"
and for sacrificing his great and worthy opponent. He arrives home
before daybreak, stumbles back to his shack, and sleeps very deeply.
The next morning, a crowd of amazed fishermen gathers around the
skeletal carcass of the fish, which is still lashed to the boat.
Manolin, who had been worried sick over the old manís absence, is
moved to tears when he finds Santiago safe in his bed. The boy fetches
the old man some coffee and the daily papers with the baseball scores,
and watches him sleep. When the old man awakens, the two agree to
fish as partners once more. The old man returns to sleep and dreams
his usual dream of lions at play on the beaches of Africa.
and the inevitability of death permeate the pages of this brilliant
novel. But it is grace under pressure in the face of overwhelming
odds that is the true message Hemingway leaves with the reader.
There is no avoiding death, but the critical test of mankind is
how you live your life and how you endure the suffering and pain
that are inflicted upon you.
in Struggle, Defeat & Death
man is not made for defeat," he said. "A man can be destroyed but
not defeated." ~ Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the
is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey
that matters, in the end." ~ Ernest Hemingway
Life is a journey.
At the end of every worldly journey, death awaits. That is a certainty.
The ending will be the same for everyone who walks this earth. What
matters is the course chosen on the voyage through life. The vast
sea represents lifeís journey, with its ebbs, flows, and storms
that must be navigated. In Hemingwayís portrait of the world, death
is inevitable, but the finest men will nonetheless refuse to give
in to its power. In both the sea and in life, there are a number
of possibilities that lie hidden from the common eye; some are gifts
to be treasured and some are problems to be defeated. Neither will
be found unless man embarks upon the journey. If man is lucky enough
to discover a treasure he must fight until death to retain it; if
man is unlucky enough to discover an evil lurking underneath the
surface of the sea, he must fight it bravely and nobly until the
end. In either case, it is the struggle that is all- important,
and a man obtains the status of hero if he battles the sea (life)
with grace under pressure. The only way to obtain the status of
hero is to set sail on the uncertain sea of life.
Ron Paul, trained
as a doctor in the early 1960s, served his country as an Air Force
flight surgeon from 1963 through 1968 during the Vietnam War. Heís
been married for 54 years and has raised five children. He has delivered
4,000 babies during his medical career, while routinely providing
free care to poor patients and refusing to accept Medicare or Medicaid
payments. He has also refused to accept a government pension, seeing
it as immoral and hypocritical. He could have spent his life running
his medical practice, playing by government mandated rules, and
becoming a multi-millionaire. Instead he chose to embark on an uncertain
journey into the sea of Washington politics.
to begin his struggle against tyranny, big government and currency
debasement by the Federal Reserve on August 15, 1971. While still
a medical resident during the 1960s, Paul was influenced by Friedrich
Road to Serfdom, which led him to read many publications
by Ludwig von Mises. He became acquainted with economists Hans Sennholz
and Murray Rothbard, and credits them with his interest in the study
of economics. He came to believe what the Austrian school economists
wrote was confirmed when President Richard Nixon "closed the gold
window" by implementing the U.S. dollar's complete departure from
the gold standard. On that day, the young physician decided to enter
the rough treacherous seas of politics, saying later, "After that
day, all money would be political money rather than money of real
losing are not what is important in life, as we all will lose out
to death in the end. It is the honor gained during the struggle
that matters. Itís the legacy we leave for future generations. Did
we fight the good fight, or did we sit idly by while life passed
by? Did your life mean something to someone? You can stay safely
on the shore or you can jump into your skiff and sail into the deep
water and conquer your marlin. Both Santiago and the marlin display
qualities of pride, honor, and courage, and both are subject to
the same eternal law: they must kill or be killed. As Santiago reflects
when he observes the weary warbler fly toward shore, where it will
inescapably meet the hawk, the world is filled with marauders, and
no living thing can escape the unavoidable struggle that will lead
to its demise. Man and fish will struggle to the death, just as
ravenous sharks will ravage an old manís prize catch.
Ron Paul chose
to join the struggle in 1976 when he was elected a Congressman from
Texas for the first time. His years in Washington have been a never
ending struggle against corruption, the military industrial complex,
and the Federal Reserve currency manipulators. He has been a lone
fisherman fighting for truth and liberty for over three decades.
We are all pulled by our own individual marlins. Ron Paul has endured
scorn and derision, much like Santiago endured from the other fishermen
after going eighty four days without a catch. He has always stayed
focused on the important issues that have led to the relentless
decline of the American Empire: liberty versus security, freedom
versus government control, and sound money versus persistent Federal
Reserve created inflation. He has fought forces within his own party
and in the opposition party. Despite fighting this battle alone
for decades and being bloodied and battered, he has never given
up the fight.
novel suggests that it is possible to transcend natural law. The
very inescapability of destruction creates the terms that allow
an admirable man to rise above it. It is specifically through the
endeavor to combat the inevitable that a man can prove himself.
Indeed, a man can prove this resolve over and over through the worthiness
of the adversary he chooses to fight. Santiago, though devastated
at the end of the novel, is never defeated. Instead, he emerges
as a dignified conqueror. Santiagoís struggle does not enable him
to change manís position in the world. Rather, it enables him to
meet his most noble destiny.
fruitlessly for decades in the corrupt halls of Congress, surrounded
by sharks, scorned by the corporate mainstream media pundits, and
ignored by a public that has chosen security and delusions of credit
based wealth over freedom and personal responsibility, Ron Paul
chose to take on his greatest challenge Ė seeking the Presidency
of the United States. The odds were overwhelmingly against him in
2008 and they are again in 2012. He is 76 years old and has every
right to be sitting on his porch in Lake Jackson, Texas enjoying
the twilight years of his life. He is driven by his sense of duty
to future generations of our once great country. Even though deep
in his heart he knows this struggle will end in defeat, he endures.
He will continue to spread his message of liberty, freedom, sound
money and an optimism that has attracted millions of young people
to his worldview. Like Santiago, Ron Paul is determined to show
"what a man can do and what a man endures."
the Source of Greatness & Determination
choice had been to stay in the deep dark water far out beyond all
snares and traps and treacheries. My choice was to go there to find
him beyond all people. Beyond all people in the world. Now we are
joined together and have been since noon. And no one to help either
one of us." ~ Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the
original American patriots were those individuals brave enough to
resist with force the oppressive power of King George. I accept
the definition of patriotism as that effort to resist oppressive
state power. The true patriot is motivated by a sense of responsibility
and out of self-interest for himself, his family, and the future
of his country" ~ Ron Paul
Santiago ventured into the deep waters of the Gulf, far past where
a lesser fisherman would dare endeavor, was pride. It wasnít the
false pride of vanity, but the pride described by St. Augustine
as "the love of one's own excellence". It was a virtuous
pride revealing his greatness of soul and faith in his own abilities.
Santiagoís pride ended up being his tragic flaw. He went out beyond
the boundaries of a normal fisherman. In the end he was ruined,
along with his prize, by the malevolent sharks. His run of bad luck
was an affront to his pride and drove him to go beyond his limits.
not denounce Santiago for being full of pride. On the contrary,
Santiago stands as testimony that pride inspires men to greatness.
Because the old man concedes that he killed the mighty marlin largely
out of pride, and because his capture of the marlin leads in turn
to his heroic transcendence of defeat, pride becomes the source
of Santiagoís greatest strength. Without a fierce sense of pride,
that battle would never have been fought, or would have been forsaken
before the end.
Ron Paul has
a clear vision of the America our forefathers imagined. It is a
vision of a people free from government control of every aspect
of their lives. Itís a vision where the people keep what they earn
and donít pay half to government to be redistributed based upon
a politicianís re-election aspirations. Itís a vision where the
people are free to make their own choices and free to succeed or
fail based on their own merits. Itís a vision where a truly free
market exists and private bankers do not control and manipulate
the currency. Itís a vision that calls for a strong national defense,
not being the policeman to the world. Itís a vision where we follow
the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law. Itís a vision where a
limited government ensures the liberties and freedoms of the population.
Itís a vision that calls for balanced budgets, sound money, and
citizens and corporations accepting the consequences of their actions.
If Santiago was a fisherman in the U.S. today, he would be required
to have a license to fish, a permit for his boat, pay taxes on his
catch, and probably have to release the marlin because it was endangered.
Some government thug would have met Santiago at the dock and written
him a ticket for being at sea too long and illegal feeding of sharks.
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© 2011 The