The other night I had occasion to revisit one of my favorite essays: Of French Caryatids and American Rednecks by French Canadian writer Pierre Lemieux. Lemieux notes that there are two basic types of individualism: the rugged American variety (typified by rednecks who carry weapons and show little respect for established authority) and the refined French variety (typified by Epicures who enjoy fine art, fine wine, and intellectual conversation). And he asks: are these two types mutual exclusive? As one who harbors a healthy disrespect for authority but who tends toward the refined end of the individualist spectrum, I would hope that there is no dichotomy between rugged and refined individualism. Lemieux's thoughts on the subject are well worth revisiting every once in a while. Indeed, his site is chock full of thought-provoking essays, including one in remembrance of Robert Nozick and another arguing against total war even in the face of last year's terrorist attacks.
Peter Saint-Andre > Journal