Brian’s Reflection: Friday, December 3, 2010
All ambitions are lawful except those which climb
upward on the miseries or credulities of mankind.
Joseph Conrad, novelist (“Heart of Darkness”); he was
born on this date, 1857, in Berdychiv, Russian Empire
Well. So much for the Corporate Empires of the World ….. now “classed” by the Supreme Court of the USA as “Persons” and therefore able to exert, “legally”, all their power and money in maintaining their control of the World. Hang on folks. If you thought that we peons were indentured servants or slaves now, wait and see what the future brings!
The problem with rampant capitalism – along with any political or economic system which has no moral foundation – is that it lacks any connection with human compassion, concern, sense of community, or with any other sense of our common responsibility for each other. I lived for a little while in Liberia in the 70’s, when Firestone Rubber “owned” the country. It didn’t matter how many people died, as long as Firestone made as much money as possible through its rubber plantations. I lived in Nicaragua for awhile in the early 70’s; the country rotted while the dictator Somoza and his cronies (supported by the USA) raped the country. I visited many times in Brasil in the 80’s – the corporate rich lived lavishly while millions of people barely survived in wretched favelas I visited, and children lay dead in streets flowing with human waste.
It is not only the “corporations” which fulfill their ambitions on the miseries of the poor. It is equally many religions which do so on the “credulities of mankind”. People often wonder why I am not “fond” of Mother Theresa. It is because while she may have provided comfort for many sick and dying people, she was perpetuating the conditions that kept so many people in such dreadful condition, all because her religion told her to do so. I admire her charity ….. but not her lack of justice, which God commands us to love.
My understanding of the Gospel and of Jesus tells me that Jesus would agree with Conrad: It is to crucify Him yet again to achieve our ambitions “on the miseries or crudulities of mankind”. And it is even more grievous to do so claiming that we are being loving or charitable.