Hugo and Rand

2001-11-15

The other night I posted a new essay at the Monadnock Review, the literary webzine I edit. This essay contains some thoughts of mine on the purpose of art, refracted through a contrast between Ayn Rand and Victor Hugo. There's much more I could have said about Hugo and Rand, but I didn't want to make the essay too long or academic. I see this essay fitting into my ongoing project of a collection of essays on Ayn Rand and Objectivism.

The Economist has a good perspective on the supposed conflict between the Christian West and Muslim East. I've been skeptical of assertions by writers like Paul Johnson and John Derbyshire that we're witnessing the continuation of centuries-old Christian-Muslim conflict, dating back at least as far as the Crusades.

My old friend Jim Robbins is at it again (and again). He's an entertaining writer. Jim's comments about what would happen if Osama Bin Laden were tried in American courts if captured alive are instructive. I wonder if it's the spectre of such a farce that has goaded Bush into seizing the dictatorial power to try foreign nationals in military courts using any rules the administration deems convenient -- certainly a dangerous precedent and a serious step on the road to tyranny.

Today's quote from Victor Hugo: "Despotism violates the moral frontier just as foreign invasion violates the geographical frontier." (Les Miserables, IV.13.iii)


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