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Javertís Religion of Statism
laissez faire books ^ | 31 December 2012 | Jeffrey Tucker

Posted on 01/03/2013 6:56:20 PM PST by Lorianne

Those who take prosperity for granted — and all of us do whether we admit it or not — would do well to make their way to the film Les Misérables, which features Russell Crowe playing the role of the relentless French cop Javert (not to mention an astonishingly effective presentation of “I Dreamed the Dream” by Anne Hathaway).

This film brilliantly pictures a level of poverty that none of us has ever known. We do well to reflect on it and the reasons that we do not experience such poverty now (hint: it’s not because of Congress).

And such images are an effective rebuke to the new primitivists of the left and right who tell us that we should go back to simpler times, to restrict, to stop the growth, to curb our use of everything from gas to water to food. Let this movie stand as a monument to what poverty really means. The results are not romantic much less healthy. They are gritty, gross, painful, and inhumane.

Not surprisingly, this poverty is accompanied by a ruthless government suppression of individual freedom, showing just how much poverty and statism are actually directly related in this world.

(Excerpt) Read more at lfb.org ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government
KEYWORDS: history; lesmis; poverty

1 posted on 01/03/2013 6:56:26 PM PST by Lorianne
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To: Lorianne
There was one weekend last month when TCM was playing a few different versions of Les Misérables. The one that caught my eye was the 1935 film with Charles Laughton as Javert and Frederic March as Jean Valjean. Laughton’s Javert was quite the statist indeed.
2 posted on 01/03/2013 7:22:34 PM PST by Olog-hai
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To: Lorianne

I saw it, and Anne Hathaway is a lock for Supporting Actress Oscar.


3 posted on 01/03/2013 9:16:26 PM PST by GunRunner (***Not associated with any criminal actions by the ATF***)
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To: Lorianne

This is a great post. Thank you. So often when Les Mis is lauded as a musical (too often none in the audience has read Hugo’s actual book), all you hear about is staging and how heart wrenching the story is and how great it is that young love prevails and wasn’t the music good. You do not hear most folks talk about the bloody revolution and the French version of communism or anything that the story really deals with. At least this is an honest look at part of what the story is about


4 posted on 01/03/2013 10:47:50 PM PST by Nifster
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To: Lorianne
Not surprisingly, this poverty is accompanied by a ruthless government suppression of individual freedom, showing just how much poverty and statism are actually directly related in this world.

Not accompanied - caused.

If humanity survives this period of time, it will look back on statist economic arguments as being as insane as the arguments for bloodletting in medicine.

An exact parallel, in fact - including making the patient so weak, they can't think straight enough to fight back against the lack of common sense that is resulting in their own murder.

5 posted on 01/04/2013 12:31:58 AM PST by Talisker (One who commands, must obey.)
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To: Lorianne

Love the new movie, love the stage musical, love the story.

Someday, perhaps, I’ll get the gumption to read the giant book. :)


6 posted on 01/04/2013 12:42:48 AM PST by SoFloFreeper
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To: Olog-hai

I’m glad you mentioned this one; I’ve seen it too, and it’s very good!


7 posted on 01/04/2013 1:07:12 AM PST by dsutah
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To: Lorianne; All

I haven’t read the book, but have seen the musical a couple of times on stage, seen the film, and listened to the original soundtrack for a few years.

My observation:

While Javert is indeed the antagonist, he is, in a theological sense, a slave to the law—God’s judgement with no mercy. The bishop represents grace...God’s grace. We are led to believe the bishop has respect for the law...otherwise, why would the constable bring the criminal back? If the bishop will press charges, back to prison goes val Jean. The constable expresses surprise that the bishop covers for the thief—but in the end, val Jean is freed.

The bishop’s gift extended to val Jean changed him—not the gift of silver, but the gift of mercy.

Still, as the “Stars” song reveals about Javert, he has a definite but unyielding point of view. In my opinion, his view is valid...but incomplete. We even learn (in the film) during “The Confrontation” Javert admits he is from the same socio-economic background as val Jean.

When Javert is convinced to allow that view to be cracked (in the film it is when val Jean has carried the injured Marius through the sewers) even for a moment, he is driven to suicide.

All this to say: Javert, while a bad guy, is also a bit of tragic figure...though not a hero. May we be more like val Jean, sinners saved by grace...showing ourselves to be the bishop...or, more to the point, like Christ (who the bishop was imitating).


8 posted on 01/04/2013 9:20:54 AM PST by SoFloFreeper
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