Sunday, August 03, 2008

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, RIP

Solzhenitsyn, the great chronicler of the commonplace feature of state socialism everywhere, the Gulag, has passed on.

From the “Letter to the Soviet Leaders”:

“I do not entertain much hope that you will deign to examine ideas not formally solicited by you, although they come from a fellow countryman of a rare kind – one who does not stand on a ladder subordinate to your command, who can be neither dismissed from his post, nor demoted, nor rewarded by you, and from whom therefore you are almost certain to hear an opinion sincerely voiced, without any careerist calculations, such as you are unlikely to hear from even the finest experts in our bureaucracy.”

In the very first paragraph, he hits on one of the key features and failures of socialism – the fact to succeed, it is necessary to become a ‘yes man’. There is no room for the innovator, the man who seeks the truth, or the man who simply wants to be left alone.

Hey baby, that’s speaking “truth to power” – and to a power that wasn’t above sending people like Solzhenitsyn off to labor camps when displeased. Not like today’s faux revolutionaries who face the terror of a fawning interview by Keith Olberman.

This is a man who fought a good fight.