Monday, February 6, 2012

Where's Our Dickens?

Theodore Dalrymple asks, "Where is today's Charles Dickens?" Given our current political-economic situation, we may be due a Dickens. But it should be a real Dickens -- not some ideal Dickens, like the one promulgated by leftist literary theorists, but the one who "is often reproached for his absence of firm and unequivocal moral, political, and philosophical outlook." In other words, we need a real novelists (Kundera argues that a real novelist in fact demonstrates in his work an "absence of firm and unequivocal moral, political, and philosophical outlook," or else he is not a novelist).

And there is plenty to work with: politicians who at their best think they know more than is possible to know, and who at their worst willingly sell their votes to their cronies and financial supporters; bankers who happily gain through privatization of profits and socialization of loss; political philanthropy run amok; political unions on the rise; persistent unemployment created by gross (mis)management of the economy and widespread uncertainty from new programs and regulations; an educational system unworthy of a third world country. You name it, the topics for a Dickens abound.

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