A reminder from Solzhenitsyn
Can the kind of communism which Russia experienced after the Revolution in 1917 ever exist in America? According to Russian author and dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn it most certainly can. Deceptive regimes whose leaders talk of economic justice, but deliver hell on earth threaten our freedom to live and work in the way our founding fathers planned for us. The composers of our Constitution entrusted their endeavor to a higher being who blessed America with unimaginable gifts.
Freedom "is counted sweetest" by those who have endured the brutality and ugliness of communism, so Aleksandr Solzehnitsyn (1918-2008) winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, prison camp survivor (for writing a letter in 1945 criticizing Stalin), intellectual (but he disdained the gulf between the people and academics) and exiled writer has much to tell us Americans on this Independence Day.
Solzhenitsyn was one of the greatest thinkers (others say prophets) of the twentieth century; we are lucky he survived the gulags and his battle with cancer. He lived as a dutiful Marxist and atheist up until his arrest at the end of World War II. He then became Christian while imprisoned.
He clearly articulated the opposing forces of Christianity and communism in the postmodern world. The writer received the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion in May of 1983. The award, first given to Mother Teresa of Calcutta in 1973 was founded by Tennessee philanthropist John Marks Templeton. The exiled dissident and Vermont resident accepted his prize with an address that every American should read today.
In his address "Godlessness: the First Step to the Gulag"[i] Solzhenitsyn explains how his beloved Russia gradually succumbed to a secular world view in the centuries leading up to the Revolution and how communism destroyed the culture. He concludes that victory against totalitarians will depend on "steadfast men" and "stout hearts." After years of writing, research and recollection he gave us the reason for why human beings could ever find the Marxist way of life acceptable:
I would be unable to find anything more precise and pithy than to repeat once again: Men have forgotten God.
The founding fathers, were they witnessing our American culture today, couldn't have agreed more. The ugly reality of Big Government socialism has washed up on our shores. Those that wish to strip us of our rights and wealth have been in overdrive for the last two and a half years controlling, regulating, and riding roughshod over free market principles.
He goes on to give us his views of our modern state of affairs:
But the world had never before known a godlessness as organized, militarized, and tenaciously malevolent as that practiced by Marxism. Within the philosophical system of Marx and Lenin, and at the heart of their psychology, hatred of God is the principal driving force, more fundamental than all their political and economic pretensions.
The concepts of good and evil have been ridiculed for several centuries; banished from common use...evil makes its home in the individual human heart before it enters a political system. Yet it is not considered shameful to make daily concessions to an integral evil...Western societies are losing more and more of their religious essence as they thoughtlessly yield up their younger generation to atheism.
To the ill-considered hopes of the last two centuries... we can propose only a determined quest for the warm hand of God...There is nothing else to cling to in the landslide: the combined vision of all the thinkers of the Enlightenment amounts to nothing.
All attempts to find a way out of the plight of today's world are fruitless unless we redirect our consciousness, in repentance, to the Creator of all: without this, no exit will be illumined, and we shall seek it in vain.
At this time, the revitalization of Judeo-Christian values upon which our freedom rests, will fuel our victory against those who have gained such a strong foothold in this great country. The tyranny of the ruling class minority threatens us from all sides. Nothing short of our liberty to speak freely to anyone about anything is at stake. Respect for religious values makes us free and is the cornerstone of our great country.
[i] Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, "Templeton Lecture, May 10, 1983," in The Solzhenitsyn Reader: New and Essential Writings, 1947-2005, eds. Edward E. Ericson, Jr. and Daniel J. Mahoney (Wilmington, DE: Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2006), 577.
Read more M. Catharine Evans at Potter Williams Report