At its core, however, Heart of Darkness is about greed. The people who ravished Africa in the late 19th century and who people Conrad's book had nothing more in mind than making money. Conrad described a group of European adventurers encamped on the bank of an African river as "sordid buccaneers" whose talk was "reckless without hardihood, greedy without audacity, and cruel without courage . . ." When the character Marlow asks an accountant why he took a job that landed him in an African jungle, he scornfully replies, "To make money, of course. What do you think?"
I thought about Heart of Darkness recently as I read the news about Jonathan Gruber, the MIT professor who was one of Obamacare's chief designers. Videos came to light in which Gruber basically admitted that Obama's healthcare law was based on deception and the contemptuous belief that Americans are too stupid to understand what the law would cost them.
Prior to passage of the healthcare law, Obama's people bragged about how smart Gruber is. He was going to craft the most perfect and lovely healthcare system that had ever been designed, we were assured. And now we find out that Gruber was just a cynical academic who made millions of dollars packaging a swindle.
Indeed, Gruber is very much like Kurtz in Conrad's Heart of Darkness, the mysterious man in the heart of a dark continent who accumulated vasts stores of ivory and who acquired a firm hold on the imagination of the novel's central character, a riverboat captain named Marlow.
Marlow's description of Kurtz sounds very much like the Obamacrats' obsequious praise for Professor Gruber:
Hadn't I been told in all the tones of jealousy and admiration that he had collected, bartered, swindled or stolen more ivory than all the other agents together. That was not the point. The point was in his being a gifted creature, and that of all his gifts the one that stood out pre-eminently, that carried with it a sense of real presence, was his ability to talk . . . .And of course Professor Gruber is just one of the many elitists who surround Barack Obama--all graduates of America's most prestigious colleges and universities. Almost all of them have an air of arrogance and condescension, and an unseemly sense of their own intelligence. Like the characters who grub for wealth in Heart of Darkness, most seem propelled solely by greed or the desire for power and recognition.
For some reason, Americans have been willing to put the nation's destiny into the hands of these hollow and soulless people, most of whom have done nothing with their lives except attend elitist universities where they learned to do little more than talk. We even want our children to get degrees from the fancy colleges where Obama's bureaucrats have been spawned. We are willing to borrow vast sums of money to pay tuition costs so our children can take classes from professors like Jonathan Gruber.
And so we journey upriver into America's own Heart of Darkness: the elite colleges and universities that suck up our money and produce nothing but emptiness. "The horror! The horror!" we will say to ourselves when we get our first student-loan bill and find we don't have the money to pay it.
|MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber
"The horror! The horror!