The great Algerian novelist and philosophical writer, Albert Camus, was born on this day one hundred years ago, in 1913. If he hadn't died at the criminally young age of 46 in a car accident in 1960, he would be 100 years old today. Happy birthday, Msr. Camus. There's a great article about him and the things many people don't know about him, over at the Huffington Post today. The article is by Professor Robert Zaretzky, a history professor at the University of Houston.
Why is this important? Well, personally, Albert Camus' writings and outlook are at the core of my own personal beliefs and philosophy. And he was a genuinely heroic guy. He actually journeyed into Vichy France during World War II and took up a leading, very risky position in the French Resistance. He edited the underground resistance newspaper, Combat, all through the war. Unlike many intellectuals, he stood behind his beliefs no matter what the risk. And he fought injustice wherever he saw it using the tool he had at hand, which is to write about it, whether it was about the Nazis, or how the Berbers were treated in Algeria, or how the poor were treated in France and the United States.
Between that, his generally progressive politics while simultaneously being one of the few French or English liberals who didn't fall for the Soviet lies about the promise of communism, his frank musings about the morality and justness, or lack thereof, of the acts of murder and suicide, and his fundamental concept of The Absurd, are all vastly, hugely important contributions to human history and thought.