Friday, August 08, 2008

One Word of Truth...

Alexander Solzehenitsyn, Russian literary giant and prophet of freedom, has died at age 89. This man dared to tell the truth about the Soviet system of repression through his novels and speeches. Thirty years ago, he came to Harvard and told America the truth about itself. I remember watching this address on television and noting the bemused responses by the commentators.

Please reread--or read for the first time--this historic speech by a hero of our time, who along with Pope John Paul, II, Margaret Thatcher, and Ronald Reagan, were instrumental in bringing down the monster called Russian Communism. Sadly, Chinese Communism is still alive and lying to the world as best it can.

"One word of truth outweighs the world'--Russian Proverb.

Here are three gems from the speech (pointed out to me by a faithful CC reader):

"When a government starts an earnest fight against terrorism, public opinion immediately accuses it of violating the terrorist's civil rights."

"How many hasty, immature, superficial, and misleading judgments are expressed every day, confusing readers, without any verification. The press -- The press can both simulate public opinion and miseducate it."

"A person who works and leads a meaningful life does not need this excessive burdening flow of information."

5 comments:

Sarah Scott said...

The world has lost a great thinker, writer, and human being; perhaps one of the greatest. Solzhenitsyn fearlessly brought truth to thousands of souls otherwise in the dark,and is indeed a hero to be remembered, celebrated, and studied.

pgepps said...

He was an important man, and the net influence of his works was good. He influenced me with Gulag Archipelago, I know. I think it probably important to qualify the "freedom" we associate with him, as he was quite the pro-czar Russian nationalist, also. He abetted the cause of anti-Communism, though, and in the process inflamed many to develop an historical sense over against the merely pragmatic and futurist visions of idealisms and ideologies in the modern West.

Sarah Scott said...

pgepps,

One point of disagreement:

I see no need to qualify the freedom A.I.S. desired for Russia first and then for the world. True, he was known to lament the fact that the state of Russian morality and the net recognition of truth was greater under the era of the Czars. But despite this, the freedom he espoused was that which results from knowledge of objective, universal Truth. For a beautiful extended allegory on this, read *The First Circle*.

Many misunderstand his intentions because he wrote deeply symbolic fiction in order to fly under the radar of strict Communist censorship. Further, by the time he began to publish these works, he was not an overt promoter of Czarist rule.

Solzhenitsyn was a student of human nature and therefore of sin, and was fully aware of the kind of freedom desparately needed by the soul. That freedom did not and does not have to do with the era of the Czars alone, but applies to all human beings in all times under all political systems. (Though Communism was his most salient target.)

pgepps said...

I'll stand by my assessment that Solzhenitsyn's work accomplished so much good that it can withstand some thoughtful consideration of its imperfections. He is a hero of mine for his bravery at great cost, and for his effective use of right means to achieve good ends. I don't need to credit him with perfections not his own.

I find speaking in superlatives frequently obscures helpful and necessary qualifications--and communicates itself to your insistence on reducing truth under such limits as "objective" and "universal" and capitalized.

It is the more ironic because Marxism claims to be the objective and universal Truth; Christians need only be true to the truth truly written about Christ, who alone among humans embodies "the truth."

pgepps said...

Extensive Discusssion of his legacy, here.