The New Plaugue

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Re-reading the Plague by Albert Camus during a pandemic. So poignant.

The New Plague:  Where is Albert Camus when you need him?

‘What’s is this about the rats?’

'I don’t know. I’s peculiar, but it will  pass.'

La Peste, Albert Camus, 1947, p. 18.

I received my copy of The Plague by Albert Camus I had ordered online. I read it years ago, along with his other novels and those of Jean Paul Satre. Existential writers are beyond cool when you are young.

The Plague can be seen on the one hand as a metaphor for the rise and emergence of Fascism in the 1930s and 40s,  but as a non-ideological and non-human plague. Similarly, the current pandemic could be portrayed as a metaphor for the empty materialism, rampant nationalism and the growing parochial intolerance that has emerged in recent years. The denialists’ insistence that the pandemic was created artificially by the Chinese, along with equally bizarre conspiracy theories, has led to the exacerbation of the virus in the USA due to political inaction and the ignorance of some sections of the populace. A virus doesn’t discriminate but certain political views do.

Just as inaction is said to have led to the rise of Fascism/Nazism prior to the Second World War, so the inaction of Trump and his followers has led to the Covid 19 virus being allowed to thrive through misinformation and the belief that containment would lead to a reduction in economic activity and it was thus preferable to take the business as usual approach and sacrifice the lives of the vulnerable rather than curtail profit and industry.

The Allies failure to address the rise of Fascism, first in Spain and then in Germany and Italy, is similar to the early response to the current pandemic. “Do nothing. It’ll probably blow over like any other flu strain.” How wrong they were, and the economic effects will probably be catastrophic.

To quote the introduction to the novel: it wasn’t Fascism that Camus was specifically aiming at, but dogma, conformity, compliance and cowardice. Nothing seems to have changed since 1947 when the novel was published. If only Camus were here today to write a sequel.


Submitted: May 28, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Craig Davison. All rights reserved.

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Comments

helmu

I've never read that book, but once the libraries open, I should. I read the Stranger a year or two ago and it was brilliant. Camus was an excellent writer and I love how his views are timeless in some sense. You can fit them to today or the past and his books will probably make people realize the same thing in the future as well

Fri, May 29th, 2020 9:01pm

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Yeah, I've read most of his novels Yeah, I like L'Estranger, or The Outsider. The Fall and The Rebel. I have his picture on my wall.

Mon, June 1st, 2020 5:19pm

hullabaloo22

What a brilliant essay, Craig! And that conclusion... I couldn't agree more!

Sat, May 30th, 2020 7:53pm

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I get very annoyed with idiocy and feel I have to express my opinion about whatever it is that irks me. The world has gone mad as I far As I can see. Trump and the MAGAs annoy me (Make America Great Again).

Mon, June 1st, 2020 5:37pm

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