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Some months ago, John Yoo started a conversation on conservative novels and novelists. It was in reading the comments of this discussion that I determined to read Milan Kundera’s Immortality. The novel is a beautiful and mesmerizing study on human nature, and in reading it I’ve been thoroughly enchanted by the way Kundera articulates the simplest of observations. Here, for example, is Kundera on the matter of human rights:
But because people in the West are not threatened by concentration camps and are free to say and write what they want, the more the fight for human rights gains in popularity, the more it loses any concrete content, becoming a kind of universal stance of everyone toward everything, a kind of energy that turns all human desires into rights. The world has become man’s right and everything in it has become a right: the desire for love the right to love, the desire for rest the right to rest, the desire for friendship the right to friendship, the desire to exceed the speed limit the right to exceed the speed limit, the desire for happiness the right to happiness, the desire to publish a book the right to publish a book, the desire to shout in the street in the middle of the night the right to shout in the street.