Libertarians You’ve Never Heard Of: Albert Camus

SFL Staff

It’s important to learn from intellectual giants like Ayn Rand and Murray Rothbard, but there are many unsung heroes that are also worth exploring. In thiseducational series, we hope to introduce students to such individuals. While not all of the figures profiled here explicitly identified as libertarian, they made great contributions to the cause of liberty that are worth acknowledging.

“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutelyfree that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”– Albert Camus

Who: Albert Camus (1913-1960) was a French journalist, novelist, political essayist and activist. He is also catalogued as a philosopher, though he denied such an association. Camus devoted his entire life to attacking nihilism, the philosophy that claims that there are no morals or meaning in life. He won a Nobel Prize for Literature, and he is widely recognized for all of his intellectual achievements.

Why he matters: Although Camus wasn’t a libertarian, he fought fervently against communism and Nazism after he came to the conclusion that the idea of remaking the world would only lead to mass murder rationally justified. His criticisms against authoritarianism are expressed in The Rebel, where he says that human reason is confused by “slave camps under the flag of freedom, massacres justified by philanthropy or by a taste for the superhuman.” His book was very controversial and captivated millions readers, including his target, the intellectual circle of the time who was attracted to communism. This caused the final split between Camus and many intellectuals, including his once friend, Sartre. Camus defended individual freedom, freedom of speech and freedom in general; he lived his life to serve truth and freedom.

If you only read one thing: Read The Rebel: An Essay of Man in Revolt (1951)

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