Monday, August 04, 2008

Solzhenistsyn was no hero after all

Alexander Solzhenitsyn died yesterday. He was a powerful voice for the overthrow of the Soviet system of murder and communism and an advocate of freedom. Right?

Yes and no. His written works did help bring about the downfall of the Soviets, but he was, in fact, infatuated with communism and despised capitalistic freedom for allegedly making westerners "soft" and being favorable to "tycoons." He was infatuated with socialism and failed, remarkably, to see the connection between statist control and murder, economic suffocation and battered liberty. He, like his socialist apologists, believed the Soviet system of socialism was merely "imperfect" and taken over by tyrants and that that was the reason for its failure.

I write all of this with much displeasure since his "Gulag Archipelago" informed me and millions of others of the utter monstrosities performed behind the dark Soviet veil. With great eloquence, he told us all of the Stalnist pogroms of farmers, Jews, "undesirables" and others.

But, alas, Solzhenitsyn ended up being the typical intellectual with a mind-body dichotomy, refusing to see the necessity for the body to be free so that the mind remains free. He was the kind of intellectual (actually they're all this way) who enjoys a "good fight," whose raison d'etre is an eternal battle against bad government (insisting upon governmenet foils for life's meaning) instead of the honest and energetic exertion to earn one's living in a free and competitive environment. He, like his French and other supercilious European counterparts, finds in the capitalistic system a degradation of the human condition, rather than what it really is: the ecstacy of hegemony and the wondrous thrill of running one's own life and enjoying the bounties as a result. His brand of "utopia" is similar to religious "heaven": a place wherein one no longer has to work to survive, missing the point that work IS one's raison d'etre. The irony is obvious: a man whose whole being is built upon fighting but disdains capitalistic "fighting" to survive and prosper.

In this light, we see Solzhenitsyn's "courage" as simply a man who saw obvious wrong and ostensively challenged it, but did not have the courage to face the fundamental reason for the wrong. He, unfortunately, died ignorant and is now only a symbol of ignorance, rather than true courage. He is a sidebar to history and no hero to liberty.

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