Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Manifestoes

Groupings of intellectuals can, in certain cases, and particularly when the liberty of the masses and of the spirit is mortally threatened, constitute a strength and exert an influence; Hungarian intellectuals have just proved this. However, it should be pointed out for our own guidance in the West that the continual signing of manifestoes and protests is one of the surest ways of undermining the efficacy and dignity of the intellectual. There exists a permanent blackmail that we all know and that we must have the often solitary courage to resist.

Subject to these reservations, we must hope for a common rallying. But first our Leftist intellectuals, who have swallowed so many insults and may well have to begin doing so again, would have to undertake a critique of the reasonings and ideologies to which they have hitherto subscribed, which have wreaked the havoc they have seen in our most recent history. That will be the hardest thing.
Camus, Hungary: Socialism of the Gallows [interview] (1957) [tr. Justin O'Brien]
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