At The American Spectator, Paul Kengor pays tribute to Jack Kerouac. Kengor notes that the fiftieth anniversary of Kerouac’s young death came and went with not much fanfare, and aims to set that right. He writes (abridged):
The year 2019 brought some notable golden anniversaries from a wild year: 1969. Some were glorious, such as the Moon Landing; others were scurrilous, scandalous, such as the Manson Family murders, Woodstock, Chappaquiddick. The year 1969 also marked some shocking deaths: Sharon Tate, Mary Jo Kopechne, even Judy Garland.
Another death that year, which rocked that generation, especially the so-called Beat Generation that emerged the previous decade, was that of Jack Kerouac, whose death at age 47 shocked Americans. And yet, in 2019, the 50th anniversary of Kerouac’s passing came and went. I didn’t see a single tribute. I thus felt it worthwhile to cobble together a tribute for The American Spectator, a publication that never neglected Kerouac’s importance, nor his enigma.
Kerouac appreciated what America had allowed him to do — that is, the America of freedom, which meant free markets, property rights, individualism, all polar opposites of the socialist-collectivist state hailed by his New Left appropriators.
In “After Me, The Deluge,” an article that Kerouac in 1969 had put together for syndication in newspapers, and which unwittingly became a last statement published after his unexpected death, he said that “if it hadn’t been for Western-style capitalism,” which enabled “free economic byplay, movement north, south, east, and west, haggling, pricing, and the political balance of power carved into the U.S. Constitution,” he “wouldn’t have been able or allowed to hitchhike half broke thru 47 states of this Union and see the. scene with my own eyes, unmolested.”
Read more here.
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