Archive for March 4th, 2016

Quote note (#226)

It would be gratuitously provocative to summarize this as ‘Conrad on HRx’ — but still. Here he is, in The Secret Agent (Chapter VI), exploring the thought-processes of the unnamed aristocratic “lady patroness of Michaelis” (an anarcho-communist):

It was as if the monstrosity of the man, with his candid infant’s eyes and a fat angelic smile, had fascinated her. She had come to believe almost his theory of the future, since it was not repugnant to her prejudices. She disliked the new element of plutocracy in the social compound, and industrialism as a method of human development appeared to her singularly repulsive in its mechanical and unfeeling character. The humanitarian hopes of the mild Michaelis tended not towards utter destruction, but merely towards the complete economic ruin of the system. And she did not really see where was the moral harm of it. It would do away with all the multitude of the “parvenus,” whom she disliked and distrusted, not because they had arrived anywhere (she denied that), but because of their profound unintelligence of the world, which was the primary cause of the crudity of their perceptions and the aridity of their hearts. With the annihilation of all capital they would vanish, too; but universal ruin (providing it was universal, as revealed to Michaelis) would leave the social values untouched. The disappearance of the last piece of money could not affect people of position. She could not conceive how it could affect her position, for instance.

Conrad understood why Tories are even less trustworthy than Whigs.

March 4, 2016admin 19 Comments »
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