Friday Thoughts on “A World Apart”

Aleksander Solzhenitsyn was many things in his day: soldier, prisoner, writer, and activist, but his particular skill was his observation of people as they are, as opposed to how he and they wished people to be. As we are spectators to a very dark drama going on inside the Beltway and across America, it may be better to take the rose-colored glasses off and see our elites and leaders for who they are, and not what we wish them to be.

In 1978, Solzhenitsyn delivered an hour-long speech to the graduating class at Harvard. Folks painted the speech, before it was delivered, as another cathartic smack-down of the USSR and communism and everything that animated American Academia to want to be become even more Maoist than Leninist. That wasn’t the speech Solzhenitsyn delivered. Here’s a snippet of it — please go read the rest of it

When the modern Western states were created, the principle was proclaimed that governments are meant to serve man and man lives to be free and to pursue happiness. See, for example, the American Declaration of Independence. Now, at last, during past decades technical and social progress has permitted the realization of such aspirations: the welfare state.

Every citizen has been granted the desired freedom and material goods in such quantity and of such quality as to guarantee in theory the achievement of happiness — in the morally inferior sense of the word which has come into being during those same decades. In the process, however, one psychological detail has been overlooked: the constant desire to have still more things and a still better life and the struggle to attain them imprint many Western faces with worry and even depression, though it is customary to conceal such feelings. Active and tense competition fills all human thoughts without opening a way to free spiritual development.

Solzhenitsyn was surprised at the reaction. He should not have been, as there is no one more invested in living a lie as someone who says they live for truth.

About DaveO

Retired soldier, micro-farmer, raconteur and pet owner from the great state of Oklahoma. Wandered in as a frequent commenter and have been enjoying blogging ever since.
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