Our Advertisers Represent Some Of The Most Unique Products & Services On Earth!

Alexander Solzhenitsyn ­
Hero And Sage

By K. R. Bolton
In Solzhenitsyn's death on August 3, at 89, there passes one of the few truly great men of our time. Not only a courageous individual, but also one of rare insight. Whether such prophets are honoured in their own Time, let along their own land, is another matter.
Solzhenitsyn was born in 1918, at a time when the Bolsheviks had not even consolidated their power. Serving during World War II in the Soviet Army, he was sentenced to ten years of prison camps and internal exile for critical comments about Stalin to a friend.
After the death of Stalin, and eventually a new regime eager to give the impression of a different era, Solzhenitsyn's first and only book published in the USSR, "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch," appeared in 1962. However, Solzhenitsyn could not be co-opted by the new regime and was exiled from the USSR in 1974.
Solzhenitsyn also refused to be co-opted as a Cold Warrior defender of the liberal decadents of the West, as the Trotskyites had been. In fact he offended liberal sensibilities. His rejection of the Communist system was on the grounds of its spiritual impoverishment, its materialism and mass conformity, and in this he saw a parallel in the West's liberalism. Unlike most of the other Soviet dissidents, he was not a liberal-democrat, or a potential neo-con. He therefore made enemies among both the liberal literati and the corporate power elite such as those among the New York Times, and the likes of Henry Kissinger, who had in 1975 blocked Solzhenitsyn from visiting the White House, and had attempted to block his being awarded honorary citizenship by the Senate.
In 1978 Solzhenitsyn was invited to give the Commencement Address to Harvard. (Available from Renaissance Press, <http://www.freewebs.com/renaissancepress>www.freewebs.com/renaissancepress). Here he analysed with depth and vision such as few have, the fundamental malady of Western Civilisation. He declared that the West had lost its moral courage, starting at the top among the ruling elite and the intellectuals. Solzhenitsyn traced the decadence back to the ideology dominant in the West, lambasting the Western ideal of the happiness of the greatest number and a freedom that becomes licentious. Decades of technical and social progress had granted the masses the accumulation of goods, but also spiritual and moral impoverishment; happiness "in the morally inferior sense." This has led to the desire for ever more possessions, "without opening the way to free spiritual development." The excess of leisure and affluence had undermined any notion of the defence of higher values and of sacrifice. Drawing on the lessons of biology, Solzhenitsyn warned that "habitual safety" is not conducive to the well-being of an organism. 
Politically also nothing great could be achieved, because any sign of statesmanship and the need for far-sighted action would be stifled by this desire for "habitual safety." The outstanding individual could not assert himself; mediocrity triumphs in the name of democracy. 
"It is time in the West to defend not so much human rights as human obligations." 
"Destructive and irresponsible freedom has been granted boundless space."
"Society appears to have little defence against the abyss of human decadence."
Solzhenitsyn castigated the press for its freedom to be misleading, immature and superficial, devoid of in-depth analysis. The direction of standards by fashion and conformity is every bit as stifling as conformity of the Communist variety, and both led to the "herd."
In the West human weakness is cultivated; in the East, strength. The East had endured decades of suffering and privation, and from this crucible had emerged the soul longing for what is "higher and purer." The West offered by contrast "TV stupor" and "intolerable music", artistic decadence and the lack of statesmanship.
This Western decline had been advancing since the ideological foundations laid in the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, emerging as rationalism and humanism. From this emerged Marx and his communism. (Solzhenitsyn was to elsewhere refer to the natural alliance that had developed between capitalism and communism, alluding to Armand Hammer as having opened up contracts with the USSR since the time of Lenin; a relationship that had built Soviet military power).
Solzhenitsyn challenged humanity to rise to new spiritual heights.
The speech was a shocking blow to the Liberal Establishment. The New York Times called Solzhenitsyn "dangerous". The Boston Globe called him the "mad Russian." He was condemned by neo-con guru William Buckley, and by liberal columnist Arthur Schlesinger Jr. The Washington Post called him "irrelevant" to democracy. Rosalyn Carter, friend of that paragon of liberalism, Rev. Jim Jones, responded with total incomprehension. Solzhenitsyn could not be co-opted to the liberal cause. It seemed mighty ungrateful. He did not fit in with the Western intelligentsia, and refused to compromise his writing style for the sake of popular culture. He lived not among the rootless cosmopolitans but among the woods of Vermont.
Solzhenitsyn returned to Russia in 1994, but equally he would not be co-opted by a post-Communist regime that sought to import the liberal decadence he had decried in the West. He held capitalism in disdain, opposed the way the oligarchs were talking over the post-communist economy and held to a vision of Russia as having a unique culture and destiny, under the impress of Orthodox faith. Therefore he refused the Order of St Andrew offered by Yeltsin, paragon of the type of liberal rot the West wished for Russia. But he did accept an award from Putin.
Solzhenitsyn was the embodiment of the Russian soul, as such not itself of the "West" (see Spengler, Decline of the West), but provided a detached analysis of what ails the West Civilisation. We continue to ignore his wisdom, while Russia seems to have embarked on a course of revival based on the crucible of suffering that leads to spiritual realisation.
Kerry Bolton is the Editor and Publisher of Renaissance Press in New Zealand.

Donate to Rense.com
Support Free And Honest
Journalism At Rense.com
Subscribe To RenseRadio!
Enormous Online Archives,
MP3s, Streaming Audio Files, 
Highest Quality Live Programs


This Site Served by TheHostPros