In Camus’s vision—as expressed in a letter on the philosophical crisis of the French Resistance—justice, including economic justice, is meaningless without an equally passionate commitment to liberty.
In the letter, Camus writes first of the foundering of the “élite”—the intellectual and administrative and even military class who were the pride of French meritocracy. He begins on a note of balanced, even-eyed vision that, difficult to maintain at the best of times, was heroically hard to keep at a moment of such, well, existential stress. “Here I very briefly summarize the feelings of a French intellectual,” he writes, “in the face of the current situation as it can be observed from within the interior. To put it plainly, one’s first feelings would be those of anguish. My deep conviction is that the form of war that metropolitan France has adopted, and in which we are all engaged, can lead either to the rebirth of this people or to its definitive fall.”