I have been reading Western obituaries of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and their obtuseness is shocking in the extreme. Every last one of them misses the point of the life, writing, intellectual orientation, and spirit of Aleksandr Isaevich. All of them admit that he was the greatest writer of the 20th century, but, all of them also excoriate him as a crank and eccentric. Was he, indeed? I submit that the Western commentators miss the point, and miss it deliberately, for if they were to attend to it, it would destroy their hedonistic and self-centred worlds.
Aleksandr Isaevich was uncompromisingly attuned to the struggle of good and evil, both on the battleground of the human soul and the arena of international relations. Modern journalists are mostly a deeply-compromised lot, committed to the propagation of a nihilistic “anything goes” philosophy. Individual “freedom” is the greatest good, and unrestricted license is seen as the greatest “liberty”. Aleksandr Isaevich stood as firm against hedonism in the West as he stood against communism in the East. No doubt, he recognised the common source of these two movements in that sorry intellectual movement known as the “Enlightenment”.
That is, he stood for the recognition of good and evil in all movements, not merely in relations towards communism. This is why he is the greatest figure of the 20th century. The West thought that he would support them mindlessly after his exile, as so many other Eastern refugees did, but, Aleksandr Isaevich saw the evil little worm at the heart of the secularist apple, and he refused to take a bite. This is why Solzhenitsyn is going to be so important to future generations.
He was not merely a critic of Marxist-Leninism, although he was certainly that. He was a clear-eyed observer of the New Dark Ages that opened in 1914, and are not completely finished at present. He saw the hypocrisies of both sides (the current “right/left” dichotomy), he denounced both. Nevertheless, many do not understand that he was not merely a critic, for that would not have given him the stature that he undoubtedly had, has, and shall have. Aleksandr Isaevich was a prophet, one who saw the equivalence of the evil of Vladimir Lenin and Donald Trump, and saw that both were corrosive to the human soul. Both need to be put into the dustbin of history for mankind to advance.
The New Dark Ages (a term that Aleksandr Isaevich coined) shall not be over until secularism is either destroyed or is triumphant. Marxist secularism in the East fell of its own inner contradictions. Shall American secularism (founded on the same Enlightenment hubris as Marxism) fall for the same reason? Just as the Russian people were distinct from the Marxist ideology, so, too, the American people are distinct from the Constitutionalist ideology. Both peoples were better than the ideas driving their states.
Aleksandr Isaevich saw the end of Marxism in his lifetime; I do not think that we shall see the end of secularism in ours. There are too many who profit from it. However, we must ask the questions that Aleksandr Isaevich would ask. Is it good? Is it evil? Does it tend to God? Does it tend to self-worship?
We should never forget that Aleksandr Isaevich stressed that the frontline in this war does not run between people, it runs in the midst of every human soul. For this observation alone, he deserves respect and honour from us. As for the Western journalists… I would say that the less we say of such sorts, the better.
Monday 4 August 2008