Peruvian Libertarian Wins 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature
Hats off to "one of the Spanish-speaking world's most acclaimed authors and an outspoken political activist who once came close to being elected president of his tumultuous homeland," whose "gradual shift from the left toward an embrace of free-market capitalism has put him at odds with much of the hemisphere's intellectual elite" — Mario Vargas Llosa wins Nobel literature prize.
The article quotes Jonathan Galassi, head of Vargas Llosa's U.S. publisher, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, hailing him as "one of the world's greatest writers — an eloquent, unequaled champion of human freedom." It also reminds us the "famous incident in Mexico City in 1976, [when] Vargas Llosa punched out [Gabriel] Garcia Marquez, whom he would later ridicule as 'Castro's courtesan.'" One wonders if these are the only two Nobel laureates to have engaged in a fistfight.
La Ciudad y los Perros, his first novel, and Los Cachorros are the only books I recall reading by him, although I have just pulled La Guerra del Fin del Mundo off the shelf where it has languished unread for years, and plan to hone my rusty Castilian on it.
"The Origins of International Law," the seventh chapter of Thomas E. Woods' How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, explains how in the aftermath of the Spanish conquest of the Americas, Francisco de Vitoria, noting the abuses he saw, came to the conclusion that "[t]he treatment to which all human beings were entitled... derives from their status as men rather than as members of the faithful in the state of grace," and concludes with this profound statement from the libertarian Mario Vargas Llosa:
- Father Las Casas was the most active, although not the only one, of those nonconformists who rebelled against abuses inflicted upon the Indians. They fought against their fellow men and against the policies of their own country in the name of the moral principle that to them was higher than any principle of nation or state. This self-determination could not have been possible among the Incas or any of the other pre-Hispanic cultures. In these cultures, as in the other great civilizations of history foreign to the West, the individual could not morally question the social organism of which he was part, because he existed only as an integral atom of that organism and because for him the dictates of the state could not be separated from morality. The first culture to interrogate and question itself, the first to break up the masses into individual beings who with time gradually gained the right to think and act for themselves, was to become, thanks to that unknown exercise, freedom, the most powerful civilization of our world.