Charlie Chaplin’s Humanism

Filmmaker Charlie Chaplin didn’t identify with any labels.  He just believed in careful thinking, compassion and basic decency.  That probably made him a Secular Humanist.

Okay, that’s a joke, but it’s likely an accurate assessment.

The July/August 2016 issue of The Progressive has an excellent article by Ed Rampell, describing how Mr. Chaplin’s form of humanism made great art.  Mr. Rampell also documents the political influences which forced Mr. Chaplin into exile from the U.S. during the 1950s Red Scare.

The article isn’t just a random history piece.  A new museum, Chaplin’s World, has opened in the district in Switzerland where the Chaplin family settled in 1952.  According to eldest son Michael Chaplin, part of this enormous complex includes the family home, and recreates the environment with the same piano used to compose music scores.  There are also photographs and — presumably restored — home movies.

The museum also includes recreated movie sets.

Sadly, the online version of the article is protected by a pay wall.  The print issue may be available on newsstands, at public libraries and from

If you can get hold of a print copy of the July/August issue, also take a look at the report by Christopher Johnson documenting the early development of high speed rail in the Midwestern U.S.


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