Why the Sea is Crude Author: TriSecDate:06/05/2010 11:59:37
A cautionary tale for our times:
ONCE upon a time, long, long ago, there were two candidates, the one rich and the other poor. When Election Eve came, the poor one had not a vote in the house, either of lobbyist or citizen; so he went to his running mate, and begged him, in God's name, to give him something for Election Day. It was by no means the first time that the candidate had been forced to give something to him, and he was not better pleased at being asked now than he generally was.
"If you will do what I ask you, you shall have a whole vote," said he. The poor one immediately thanked him, and promised this.
"Well, here is the vote, and now you must go straight to BP Headquarters," said the rich candidate, throwing the vote to him.
"Well, I will do what I have promised," said the other, and he took the vote and set off. He went on and on for the livelong day, and at nightfall he came to a place where there was a bright light.
"I have no doubt this is the place," thought the man with the vote.
An old man with a long white beard was standing in the outhouse, reading the National Review.
"Good-evening," said the man with the vote.
"Good-evening to you. Where are you going at this late hour?" said the man.
"I am going to BP Headquarters, if only I am on the right track," answered the poor man.
"Oh! yes, you are right enough, for it is here," said the old man. "When you get inside they will all want to buy your vote, for they don't get much access to candidates here; but you must not sell it unless you can get the drill which stands behind the door for it. When you come out again I will teach you how to stop the drill, which is useful for almost everything."
So the man with the vote thanked the other for his good advice, and rapped at the door.
When he got in, everything happened just as the old man had said it would: all the people, great and small, came round him like ants on an ant-hill, and each tried to outbid the other for the vote.
"By rights my running-mate and I ought to have it for our Election, but, since you have set your hearts upon it, I must just give it up to you," said the man. "But, if I sell it, I will have the drill which is standing there behind the door."
At first they would not hear to this, and haggled and bargained with the man, but he stuck to what he had said, and the people were forced to give him the drill. When the man came out again into the yard, he asked the old man how he was to stop the drill, and when he had learned that, he thanked him and set off home with all the speed he could, but did not get there until after the clock had struck twelve on Election Eve.
"Where in the world have you been?" said the old woman. "Here I have sat waiting hour after hour, and have not even two lobbyists to lay across each other under the Electoral College.”
"Oh! I could not come before; I had something of importance to see about, and a long way to go, too; but now you shall just see!" said the man, and then he set the drill on the table, and bade it first grind money, then a lobbyist, and then power, and influence, and everything else that was good for a Election Day victory; and the drill ground all that he ordered. "Bless me!" said the old woman as one thing after another appeared; and she wanted to know where her husband had got the drill from, but he would not tell her that.
"Never mind where I got it; you can see that it is a good one, and the drilling mud that turns it will never freeze," said the man. So he ground power and prestige, and all kinds of good things, to last all Election-tide, and on the third day he invited all his friends to come to a feast.
Now when the rich candidate saw all that there was at the banquet and in the house, he was both vexed and angry, for he grudged everything his candidate had. "On Election Eve he was so poor that he came to me and begged for a trifle, for God's sake, and now he gives a feast as if he were both a count and a king!" thought he. "But, for heaven's sake, tell me where you got your riches from," said he to his running mate.
"From behind the door," said he who owned the drill, for he did not choose to satisfy his running-mate on that point; but later in the evening, when he had taken a drop too much, he could not refrain from telling how he had come by the drill. "There you see what has brought me all my wealth!" said he, and brought out the drill, and made it grind first one thing and then another. When the rich candidate saw that, he insisted on having the drill, and after a great deal of persuasion got it; but he had to give three million dollars for it, and the poor candidate was to keep it till the term of office was over, for he thought: "If I keep it as long as that, I can make it grind power and prestige that will last many a long year."
During that time you may imagine that the drill did not grow rusty, and when re-election came the rich candidate got it, but the other had taken good care not to teach him how to stop it. It was evening when the rich man got the drill home, and in the morning he bade the old woman go out and spread the propaganda after the voters, and he would attend to the house himself that day, he said.
So, when roll call drew near, he set the drill on the kitchen-table, and said: "Grind distortions and lies, and do it both quickly and well."
So the drill began to grind distortions and lies, and first all the newspapers and airwaves were filled, and then it came out all over the internets. The man twisted and turned it, and did all he could to make the drill stop, but, howsoever he turned it and screwed it, the drill went on grinding, and in a short time the lies grew so strong that the man was starting to believe it was the truth.
Now the old woman, who was out spreading the lies, began to think the vote was long in coming, and said to the women and the voters: "Though the master does not call us home, we may as well go. It may be that he finds he is not good at making lies and I should do well to help him." So they began to straggle homeward, but when they had got a little way up the hill they met the half-truths and distortions, all pouring forth and winding about one over the other, and the man himself in front of the flood. "Would to heaven that each of you had a hundred votes! Take care that you are not misled by the lies!" he cried as he went by them as if Mischief were at his heels, down to where his running-mate dwelt.
Then he begged him, for God's sake, to take the drill back again, and that in an instant, for, said he: "If it grind one hour more the whole district will be destroyed by half-truths and distortions." But the candidate would not take it until the other paid him three million dollars, and that he was obliged to do. Now the poor candidate had both the money and the drill again. So it was not long before he had a home much finer than that in which his running-mate lived, but the drill ground him so much money and influence that he covered it with plates of gold; and the house lay close by the sea-shore, so it shone and glittered far out to sea. Everyone who sailed by there now had to be put in to visit the rich man in the gold mansion, and everyone wanted to see the wonderful drill, for the report of it spread far and wide, and there was no one who had not heard tell of it.
After a long, long time came also an oil-man who wished to see the drill. He asked if it could make crude. "Yes, it could make crude," said he who owned it, and when the oil man heard that, he wished with all his might and main to have the drill, let it cost what it might, for, he thought, if he had it, he would get off having to sail far away over the perilous sea for freights of crude. At first the man would not hear of parting with it, but the skipper begged and prayed, and at last the man sold it to him, and got many, many billion dollars for it. When the skipper had got the drill on his back he did not stay there long, for he was so afraid that the man would change his mind, and he had no time to ask how he was to stop it grinding, but got on board his ship as fast as he could.
When he had gone a little way out to sea he took the drill on deck. "Grind crude, and grind both quickly and well," said the skipper. So the drill began to grind crude, till it spouted out like water, and when the skipper had got the ship filled he wanted to stop the drill, but whichsoever way he turned it, and how much soever he tried, it went on grinding, and the flow of crude grew higher and higher, until at last the ship sank. There lies the drill at the bottom of the sea, and still, day by day, it grinds on; and that is why the sea is crude.