Keynesian Spirits


Camus and Resistance

From Claire Messud’s review of Camus’ recently translated (by Arthur Goldhammer, who also translated Piketty’s Capital) Algerian Chronicles:

Camus to the French: “we must refuse to justify these methods [reprisals and torture against Algerian resistance and its supporters] on any grounds whatsoever, including effectiveness. Once one begins to justify them, even indirectly, no rules or values remain.”

Camus to the FLN, the movement for Algerian independence: “No matter what cause one defends, it will suffer permanent disgrace if one resorts to blind attacks on crowds of innocent people.”

If criticism is to be effective, he continues, “both camps must be condemned.”

Camus on the armchair intellectuals who endorse terrorist violence from afar: “Each side thus justifies its own actions by pointing to the crimes of its adversaries. This is a casuistry of blood with which intellectuals should, I think, have nothing to do, unless they are prepared to take up arms themselves.”

Camus, in a letter to Kessous on Algerian resistance: “Bloodshed may sometimes lead to progress, but more often it brings only greater barbarity and misery[…] I will be told, as you will be told, that the time for compromise is over and that the goal now must be to wage war and win. But you and I both know that there will be no real winners in this war…”