Moby Dick as America--as production line, as industry; the common man in service to the madness of the leader--yes, this is our democracy.
"A whaleship reminded Melville of two things: (1) democracy had not rid itself of overlords; (2) the common man, however free, leans on a leader, the leader, however dedicated, leans on a straw."--Olson, Call Me Ishmael (in Ch. "Shakespeare, concluded")
"Through these forms that certain sultanism of Ahab's brain became incarnate in an irresistible dictatorship.
"For be a man's intellectual superiority what it will, it can never assume the practical, available supremacy over other men, without the aid of some sort of external arts and entrenchments, always, in themselves, more or less paltry and base." (ibid)