Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Dead write: many of Solzhenitsyn's predictions for the future of Ukraine have come to a painful fruition
Shortly after being exiled from the Soviet Union in 1974, Russian novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn gave a series of talks in the U.S. and UK. Those talks, including his Harvard Address of 1978, caused many in the West to turn against him. Once the hero of the anti-Communist movement in the West, his criticisms of Western culture, including its materialism, legalism, shallowness and cowardice, cut a little too close to the bone. His warning to the West - that we are in a weak enough state to be susceptible to the infection of totalitarianism - was stern. And while it did not come to pass - and the Soviet Union collapsed - his warning still applies.

Today on the Truth Perspective we discuss Solzhenitsyn's criticisms of the West, of Communism, and why his warning is still relevant. The problems he elucidated are not just still present, they have gotten worse. Solzhenitsyn worried that the West would have to learn through experience, and not through the example of those who had already suffered. It looks like he was probably right.

Running Time: 01:28:23

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Technical note: We had some audio problems during the second half of the show that weren't noticed until after the recording was made. Audio processing was unsuccessful in removing all the clicks, but we hope it is listenable in its current form. Listeners have our apologies!

Sources: Here's the transcript of the show:

Elan: Today is Saturday, August 4th and welcome to The Truth Perspective everyone. I'm your host Elan Martin and with me today are Corey Schink...

Corey: Hello everybody.

Elan: And Harrison Koehli.

Harrison: Hello.

Elan: On today's show Alexander Solzhenitsyn's Warnings to the West, we will be discussing the Russian author's prescient insights and observations regarding western politics, society, culture and moral and spiritual development. Solzhenitsyn was born December 11, 1918 and died August 3, 2008, ten years ago yesterday. He is best known for his novels, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, The First Circle, The Cancer Ward and his magnum opus, The Gulag Archipelago. His books largely dealt with life under communist rule in Soviet Russia and he wrote unsparingly about the harshness, suffering and cruelty of a system that was severely oppressive. Solzhenitsyn was awarded the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize in Literature "for the ethical force with which he pursued the indispensable traditions of Russian literature".

During WWII Solzhenitsyn was a commander in Stalin's Red Army and earned the Order of the Red Star. During this time he witnessed gang rapes and pillaging committed by Soviet soldiers. In letters he wrote to a friend in 1945 he spoke negatively of Stalin and because of these letters and the fact that they were read by military intelligence, he was accused of anti-Soviet propaganda under Article 58, paragraph 10 of the Soviet Criminal Code. He was actually sentenced to the Lubyanka prison in Moscow to serve an eight-year stint.

On the 7th of July 1945 he was sentenced to that term. He was sent to a labour camp. He spent part of his sentence in a sharashka which is a specific scientific research facility run by the Ministry of State Security. And part of this time he was also sent to what was called a special camp for political prisoners. During his imprisonment at that camp he was a miner, brick layer and foundry foreman. So basically he was sentenced to hard labour for several years. In 1953 when his sentence ended he was sent into internal exile for life in a region called Berlic.

He initially was educated in the ways of Soviet ideology. During his period as a soldier in the Red Army he had some reservations that quickly turned into a full-blown rejection of the Soviet ideology which is the reason why he was imprisoned. It's a testament to just how tightly controlled and watched everybody was at the time, that letters he had written were picked out and found and read, and for just voicing these sentiments was sentenced to eight years in prison.

It was out of that eight years especially, imprisoned, that he had forged a fuller understanding of what Soviet oppression was and how it existed and really informed his writings and later a lot of the talks he was to give to the west. So some of what we'll be talking about today is a series of speeches he had given in the US and in the UK in 1975 and 1976 and also in 1978 to Harvard University in a commencement speech. We'll be drawing on a lot of his writings to flush out who Solzhenitsyn really was and why his understanding of the Soviet system as it was, is so important in understanding some of the current trends in the west today.

Corey: I was thinking, just in terms of how priceless he was as an individual, combining his intellect, his ability to articulate exactly what he experienced through his novels and in his speeches that he has given because he provided a very powerful antidote to this communist-loving liberal ideology that was growing and proliferating through the west and that we see today. He was able to give the exact description of what was really going on as an eyewitness, as someone who suffered within a gulag, who spent eight years and saw what the system was like on the inside as opposed to the outside.

Stalin would organize cruises for the liberal intelligentsia. They would come over and get to see what a 'Soviet village" would look like. It was all staged and then they would be expected to go back and write publications, write for the magazines and to let everybody know just how utopian this Soviet system was. This was in the early days. But then behind the scenes, people were being arrested and charged on nothing just because they weren't completely 100% ideologically pure, I guess you would say.

Harrison: Onboard.

Corey: Yeah. They were rounded up and arrested and then charged and then they would protest, "What is my crime?" and they would go along with the authorities, thinking that they had committed some sort of a crime and then get rounded up, but they never got charged with a crime. That wasn't the point. The point was to inspire terror into the people in order to sustain a system that otherwise had no basis in reality except for these terror and pathological ideas. Solzhenitsyn was able to articulate this through his speeches and to warn the west that what was going on in the Soviet Union and the precursors, the decades leading up to the Bolshevik revolution and the rise of Stalinism, that that could happen here, that not only could it happen but that if we didn't understand and take our freedom seriously, that it would.

Harrison: For me there are two aspects that stand out in these speeches of warning. One is what you just said Corey, the warning that it could happen here and to not get complacent. But the other is that what Solzhenitsyn saw when he came to the States was what he called a total lack of courage. The way he saw American society, but in particular it's leaders, was that they had no spine and that they were constantly making concessions to the Soviets, often thinking that the Soviets were acting in good faith when they weren't. Well what he probably didn't know was that probably there were a lot of Americans, especially in the intelligence agencies, that weren't acting in good faith.

But in general, the American mentality was what we all experience every day. People who live in America or even in Canada or other western countries, is that there's an unspoken validity to your word. You give someone your word and you expect them to keep it and it's only very rarely that someone betrays you. So it kind of goes without saying that there's a verbal contract. The way Solzhenitsyn saw it, he saw all these Americans as being total Rubes, being totally naïve in their dealings with Soviet politicians.

I wanted to comment on one of the things you said about the arbitrary nature of arrests because he flushes that out in I believe the first talk he gave in the book Warning to the West but I believe it was the second speech he gave in the United States after coming. The way he got to the States was because he was exiled in 1974. The reason he was exiled or not put back in prison or killed is - according to him - he thinks it's because he had too much publicity. People knew who he was. He was too famous basically to get rid of so they sent him to the west hoping that he'd just be ignored and that he wouldn't be very effective doing what he did. But Solzhenitsyn used that new freedom to speak out even clearer.

But on the nature of the arrests, he points out that one of the things that led a lot of Americans to believe that the Soviet Union wasn't so bad, at least not as bad as it was in Stalin's time, was because at some point he says in these speeches that whereas Stalin would have arrested 100 people in order to make a point, to deter other people from making the same bad choices that these people did, Khrushchev for instance, would have arrested just the two necessary. But the point that Solzhenitsyn makes is "Well they're still arresting the two that are necessary and that's still a crime." Just because it's two instead of 100 it doesn't excuse the reason that they're being arrested.

And on the nature of those arrests, I'm going to read a couple of paragraphs from that speech. This is in the context of détente. He was very critical of the way in which the Americans approached détente. He says,

"Let me give you some examples. This is why détente doesn't work. Mere acquaintance with an American, and god forbid that you should sit with him a café or restaurant, meant a 10 year term for suspicion of espionage. In the first volume of the Gulag Archipelago I tell of an event which was recounted not by some insignificant arrested person but by all the members of the Supreme Court of the USSR during that brief period when I was in the good graces of the regime under Khrushchev. A Soviet citizen had been in the United States and on his return said that they have wonderful roads there. The KGB arrested him and demanded a term of 10 years but the judge said, 'I don't object, but there is not enough evidence. Couldn't you find something else against him?'

So the judge was exiled to Sakhalin because he dared to argue and they gave the other man 10 years. Just imagine what lie he had told and what praise this was of American imperialism. 'In America there are good roads.' Ten years."

Ten years for saying they have good roads in America because that's imperialist anti-Soviet propaganda. If you've read Kafka's The Trial or Orwell's 1984 or any of the great novels written on just the absurd nature of totalitarianism, then you get an idea of what it is. But when you're reading those books you think, "But this is fiction. It must be exaggerated." But the thing you learn when you read about the actual memoirs and accounts of what really happened is that that's exactly what happened. It's no exaggeration when you're reading these books. Ten years for saying that America has good roads.

Elan: And I think the way that he flushes out this reality, especially in One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich or in The First Circle, is first of all he has very colourful characters whose inner lives haven't been completely demolished by the system that they are being held prisoner of. They're asking these questions that are both practical and realistic and also existential that give the reader kind of an insight into the types of pain and psychological reality that they had to endure. This was a gift that Solzhenitsyn had given to the west and to the world. This is the reality and it wasn't some kind of two-dimensional journalist's account of events in a certain place. This was a real insight into the lives of all too many people who had lived in this time and place and I think that that's one of his major successes and the reason why he was acknowledged and lauded so much in the west. He had made this a reality for the rest of the world who, up until that time, had only a vague understanding of what life under Stalin and Soviet Russia was really like.

Corey: Yeah. They had the ideologue's understanding because that was the Soviet way of projecting its image on the world, which was through propaganda which was very active in spreading the socialist system, that it was based on this utopian ideology that was progressing along these lines that would make life better for everybody. Whereas in reality we learned in Political Ponerology, there's a completely different beast underneath that mask and Solzhenitsyn shows that through his work and his courage and also in his persecution. But at the same time when he comes to the west I found it interesting that he says that whereas the Soviet system was to brutal, he still makes the comment that he would not want the western system instead, which I thought was particularly interesting. He did gain a reputation for being a western critic.

For him, he was just critical. He thought. He was a thinker so obviously any system is going to have its issues but I think he was coming in in the 70s and he was seeing in American society the kind of decadence that had led up to the Bolshevik revolution in the early 20th century and in the late 19th century. I think he had made the comment when he was asked what kind of issues did the west have that were similar to what Russia had under the Czars and the Russian empire, one thing he commented on was how it seemed like the true intellectual elite had retreated from making any sort of real critique or giving their arguments about what was going on in society and the older generations had left the young pretty much to make those decisions for themselves. The youthful people had the loudest voices and the rest had just kind of retired. They had left the youth to their own devices. That was one big thing that he said was a sign of that weakness and cowardice that was enveloping the west at the time.

Elan: It seems as though forced through this suffering that he had undergone, that there was a kind of an astute pattern recognition, that he had felt compelled to think very deeply on what the Soviet system was and later on what the western system of governance and culture was. In one of the speeches he had given, at Harvard in 1978, and speaks a little to what you just mentioned Corey, he says,

"In today's western society, the inequality has been revealed in freedom for good deeds and freedom for evil deeds. A statesman who wants to achieve something important and highly constructive for his country has to move cautiously and even timidly. There are thousands of hasty and irresponsible critics around him. Parliament and the press keep rebuffing him. As he moves ahead he has to prove that each single step of his is well-founded and absolutely flawless. Actually an outstanding and particularly gifted person who has unusual and unexpected initiatives in mind hardly gets a chance to assert himself. From the very beginning dozens of traps will be set up for him. Thus, mediocrity triumphs with the excuse of restrictions imposed by democracy."

Not to make too much of this in comparison to Trump because I hardly think he's a genius or someone who's especially gifted, but it is interesting to read that with Trump in mind, as someone who is just trying to upend the status quo a little bit, even if he's flawed in a hundred other ways. But I'm sure that there are other examples of people in American society and politics who have been squashed in the just the way that Solzhenitsyn mentions here because, as he says, mediocrity triumphs and that's one of the best observations I think he has about the west and the US in particular.

Harrison: Well I'll read from his Harvard address. This gets into the things you two were just talking about. He writes,

"What should I be asked instead, whether I would propose the west, such as it is today, as a model to my country, I would frankly have to answer negatively. No, I could not recommend your society as an ideal for the transformation of ours. Through deep suffering people in our country have now achieved a spiritual development of such intensity that the western system in its present state of spiritual exhaustion does not look attractive. Even those characteristics of your life which I have just enumerated are extremely saddening."

You can read the speech to see all the things that he's talking about. The section that Elan just read is one of them, about the politicians. He traces this back and I think this is one of things I think Solzhenitsyn is so good at because he was, if not the greatest, one of the greatest critics of the Soviet government but he was also a very harsh critic of the west, even though he held certain aspects of it up as an ideal. But he was unrelenting in his criticism of what he saw as being wrong with the west.

This is a perspective that I think you don't get from even Jordan Peterson for instance. Jordan Peterson will play up the good things about western society and he'll say "Every system is flawed" but he never really rips into the things that are bad about western society and Solzhenitsyn being an outsider, he didn't hold anything back. That's what I think is so great about him. He paints a very interesting picture of not only how both societies are bad in their own ways, but he gives the distinction between a real pathocracy like the Soviet Union was and a culture and a society that is just dying from the inside like America because they're two separate things. Both can have their atrocities and the things that are just morally reprehensible about them, but they're two different animals. They're two different diseases.

On the one hand that has to be kept in mind because I know a lot of especially pro-Soviet/communist types will see America as the biggest baddy in the group and make either an equivalence between western society and Soviet society and even maybe say Soviet society was better, the Soviets knew what they were doing when I think that's morally reprehensible to do that. So you have to have some nuance to be able to see that there are things that are very wrong about western society, but it's not like you still can't make distinctions between American society in particular or western in general, and Soviet society as it was.

What Solzhenitsyn does is trace this back to the worldview that Americans have and specifically to the enlightenment and the renaissance and he says what eventually turned out was that that was a terrible thing. For all the good things that came out of the enlightenment and the renaissance, it created a materialist worldview that elevated well-being to the level of the ultimate good. The way Solzhenitsyn puts it several times is that it elevated man to the place where god was so that man's judgments take the place of the scale of values that religion previously provided and the scale of values that it still does provide to those who are religious, but in the west that has lost its place as the overarching, grand narrative and ultimate aim of life, to this fragmented thing among individuals and smaller groups. But western society has lost that unifying grand narrative that provides the ultimate scale of values. I'll read a couple of things where he makes this clear.

So he's talking about some of the bad things about western society including - I like how he put this - "the revolting invasion of commercial advertising, TV stupor and intolerable music". {laugher}

"All this is visible to numerous observers from all the worlds of our planet. The western way of life is less and less likely to become the leading model. There are tell tale symptoms by which history gives warning to a threatened or perishing society. Such are, for instance, a decline of the arts or a lack of great statesmen. The centre of your democracy and culture is left without electric power for only a few hours and suddenly crowds of American citizens start looting and creating havoc. The smooth surface film must be very thin then, the social system quite unstable and unhealthy.

But the fight for our planet, physical and spiritual, a fight of cosmic proportions, is not a vague matter of the future. It is already started. The forces of evil have begun their decisive offensive. You can feel their pressure yet your screens and publications are full of prescribed smiles and raised glasses. What is the joy about?"

Specifically in his criticism of western society, tracing it back to the enlightenment and the renaissance he writes,

"This means the mistake must be at the root, at the very foundation of thought in modern times. I refer to the prevailing western view of the world which was born in the renaissance and has found political expression since the age of enlightenment. It became the basis for political and social doctrine and could be called rationalistic humanism or humanistic autonomy, the proclaimed and practiced autonomy of man from any higher force above him. It could be called anthropocentricity with man seen as the centre of all."

This ties back to our discussion last week about Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson because Sam Harris is essentially an anthropocentric rational humanist and he even gives as his ultimate goal well-being, right? That was his criterion for the development of the ultimate good in society. So we were joking about that last week and pointed out how the way he kind of presents this, it resembles a lot of the utopias. That's essentially what Sam Harris does. He says, "Oh this is what we need and when we do that then the world will be great because we'll get rid of everything that's bad" and he creates this utopian vision of the future.

In this Harvard address by Solzhenitsyn he just points out that that is exactly what the Soviet Union did. That is exactly what the Bolsheviks did. That was their reigning, guiding ideology and motive. He's even got one of the subheadings for this speech as 'Well Being'. I just thought that was funny, that that's the exact word that Harris chose, so maybe Harris is a closet communist. Maybe he's a watermelon - pink on the inside. {laughter} No, that was mean of me.

But one of the consequences Solzhenitsyn says about this humanistic thought is that you lose the understanding of good and evil and he says that the understanding of good and evil is essential for any society, for any human. That is one of the things we cannot do without, is the understanding of good and evil. So he writes,

"The humanistic way of thinking, which had proclaimed itself our guide did not admit the existence of intrinsic evil in man nor did it see any task higher than the attainment of happiness on earth." There's Sam Harris. "It started modern western civilization on the dangerous trend of worshipping man and his material needs. Everything beyond physical well being and the accumulation of material goods, all other human requirements and characteristics of a subtler and higher nature were left outside the area of attention of state and social systems as if human life did not have any higher meaning. Thus gaps were left open for evil and its drafts blow freely today. Mere freedom per se does not in the least solve all the problems of human life and even adds a number of new ones.

Freedom was given to the individual conditionally in the assumption of his constant religious responsibility. This is in reference to American democracy and its belief in individual rights granted to each individual as one of god's creatures. The flip side of individual rights is religious responsibility." At least that was the subtext and the implicit thing that went along with rights as it was 300 years ago.

This is, again, something that Peterson points out. You can't have rights without responsibility and group rights make no sense because you can't have group responsibility. That's what you had in the Soviet Union, group responsibility and it turns into a nightmare. So he says,

"Such was the heritage of the preceding 1,000 years. Two hundred or even 50 years ago it would have seemed quite impossible in America that an individual be granted boundless freedom with no purpose, simply for the satisfaction of his whims. Consequently however, all such limitations were eroded everywhere in the west. A total emancipation occurred from the moral heritage of Christian centuries with their great reserves of mercy and sacrifice. State systems were becoming ever more materialistic. The west has finally achieved the rights of man and even to excess but man's sense of responsibility to god and society has grown dimmer and dimmer.

In the past decades the legalistic selfishness of the western approach to the world has reached its peak and the world has found itself in a harsh spiritual crisis and a political impasse. All the celebrated technological achievements of progress including the conquest of outer space, do not redeem the 20th century's moral poverty which no one could have imagined, even as late as the 19th century."

Corey: I think that's particularly fascinating, just to think about the degree of this freedom that he's talking about, if we just say it's "freedom" in quotes, and then the abject slavery that was experienced in the Soviet Union and the relationship between the two that seems to go back all the way throughout history. I was reading a book that Solzhenitsyn recommends in one of his speeches by Soviet statistician Igor Shafarevich. He had this book published in France, I believe in the 60s or the 70s and in that book he details the history of socialist ideas that goes all the way back to classical Greece. The ideas are exactly the same every time they come up. It's making all property communally owned, making all women the wives of every man, the state raising the children, the "emancipation" of the workers against the evil rich.

With the enlightenment it became much more potent I think because of the eradication of this kind of religious worldview because many different Christian sects through the medieval era were practicing this and some were violently revolutionary like the Anabaptists in Germany. They tried to create a new Jerusalem in Muenster and they held the town hostage for a year-and-a-half practicing these socialist ideals. Their leaders were insane, just absolutely insane. The one leader, when the armies finally broke through and the siege was ended on the town, he went and hid in somebody's bed and tried to pretend he wasn't the leader and he was crying and just an absolute mess whereas just a few years earlier he was the prophet of the new socialist agenda.

The author makes the point that it seems like this socialist utopian ideal had many of its roots in Christianity. It dates back before that but it's almost like this perversion, almost a crazy satanic perversion of the Christian ideal. When we lost Christianity we retained that perverse nature and it seemed almost like the last vestige of Christian sentiment. "Oh, socialism. That's so great. That's a way to absolve my guilt for all of the suffering in the world, all of the suffering of the poor and the downtrodden. You can just sign up and become a card-carrying communist and we'll go ahead and take care of the evil imperialists." And everything was switched on its head in this radical process with the dawn of Marxism because Marx's books, when you read them in the context of all these other philosophers and religious thinkers, priests, all the way back to Greek philosophers and their plays about these socialist thinkers, they made a mockery of them but they also had some more serious proponents. They're all the same. It's bizarre how similar they all are. They just get projected into people's brains. It's bizarre.

Harrison: Well you mentioned that the seeds of a lot of these ideas can be found in Christianity. I think that one of the reasons that things always go in that direction is that certain practices don't scale. Certain things that work on an interpersonal level won't work on an international level and certain things that do work on a small group level won't work at a large group level. So with communism for instance, you can have a degree of communism in your household or even a small group of people and it can work and it's proveably worked in certain examples like communes and things like that where a small group of people all in agreement with each other can achieve something and sustain it. But that will only apply to people willing to enter that system or who were born into it and then maybe choose it as they grow up.

But when you try to then impose that as a social solution on an entire population it can go nowhere but down. It can be nothing but a travesty because first of all, not everyone will agree. What do you do with the people who disagree? Well according to communists, you have to kill them. That's the only way to do this.

This is one of the things in the warning to the west speeches where Solzhenitsyn is talking about what communism actually is, to try to pierce through the illusions that a lot of people in the west had about what communism actually is. So he quotes, for example, one of the letters Marx wrote to Engels where when speaking of the communist revolution he said that "It will be necessary to repeat the year 1793. After achieving power we'll be considered monsters but we couldn't care less." And on the subject of good and evil being done away with, he writes "Depending on circumstances and the political situation, any act including murder, even the killing of hundreds of thousands could be good or could be bad. All that depends on class ideology."

Later on he writes, "All the communist parties upon obtaining power have become completely merciless but at the stage before they achieve power, it is necessary to use disguises." And on communism's view of war this is how he phrases it, "War is necessary. War is an instrument for achieving a goal."

Now these and observations like these are what inspired Lobaczewski to write a lot of the passages that he wrote in Political Ponerology, first of all, the necessity to use disguises. Well one of the reasons for that is that as a macrosocial pathological phenomenon it is like psychopathy where a front has to be put up in order to give an impression so that people don't see the true nature of it. It's almost on a caricature level when you get to the state level. Like you mentioned earlier Corey, about the shows that the Soviets would put on for visiting members of other populations, there was a great novel. I'm not sure how to pronounce the author's name. I think it's Danilo Kiš. He was from Yugoslavia and he wrote a novel called A Tomb for Boris Davidovich.

In one of those there's a story and while these may be fictional accounts they are rooted in the truth. They're truth in the form of a lie as good art is. There's a story in there about a Soviet official who's called one morning while he's in the apartment of his mistress and he says "We've got someone really important coming!" So the story is there's this guy from the UK that's coming who is pro-communist but in writings and speeches that he's given in the UK he's been critical of the Soviets for their attitude towards Christianity and towards people of faith. So they say "This is very bad. We've got to do something about this." So it's this guy's job to go to this old church which has been turned into a beer-making factory and he's got four hours to clear out all the beer-making equipment and make it look like a church. He dresses up as a priest and they fill the aisles with all the employees of the office of the security services and then this guy comes and they're like "Let's take a look at this church" and he's there on the pulpit pretending to give a sermon to the people so the guy stays for a little while. He nods his head and then after 5 or 10 minutes he leaves.

Of course there's more to the story than that but that is essentially what that looks like, what that dissimulative attitude looks like in practice. And again, it's like reading a Kafka novel it's so over the top but things like that were regular occurrences. So what kind of minds must be behind that? Well we kind of know what kind of minds those are. Any comments on that? I had another point I wanted to get back to from an earlier part of our discussion.

Corey: The only thing that I can think of to add to that is something by an author whose name I can't remember. I think he was a psychoanalyst but he did publish some work on the psychopath and he discussed that fact that from his studies of the psychopath that for him it seemed as though for the psychopath, it was impossible for a psychopath to understand the independent existence of a fact because the fact's independent existence exerts a sovereignty on you as a person. As people, when we look at reality, we don't think to try and necessarily bend everything to our will for our own personal designs. If we do then that person is typically seen as pathological whereas for the psychopath, facts don't exist because of that sovereignty they impose on them. It's like a revolution against reality that's just innate and that breeds these kind of systems where there is no such thing as good and evil, there is no such thing as objective reality because that would mean 'I can't do whatever I want'.

Harrison: Well on that subject, I want to talk about that for a bit. I never liked the way that that guy phrased that idea, that there are no facts to a psychopath, to a psychopath all that exists is what he imagines or wishes to be. I don't think that's true. But I think there's an idea behind those words that is true. For someone to tell a lie they have to have some awareness of what the truth is. If you have no conception of the truth then you wouldn't know what circumstance would get you caught, right? You have to have some awareness of the nature of causality. "Oh, I left that knife there with my bloody fingerprint on it." Well that's a fact.

A criminal like a psychopath knows that. He knows that he's got to clear that fingerprint or clear the knife or get rid of the knife. He's not going to just leave it there. If he had no conception of facts whatsoever he would see that knife and think "Oh, that's not my knife. I'm just going to leave it there." Some criminals do leave their knives because they're stupid but the smart ones - and there are smart ones - know to get rid of it. They have some awareness of facts. I think what that guy was seeing vaguely through a distorted lens was the idea, like you mentioned Corey, that what's actually going on there, for the psychopath, that truth doesn't have the emotional valence that it does to normal people because of the muted emotions of the psychopaths. Truth doesn't have a value to them, at least not a value greater than what it will provide to the psychopath in a very egocentric, egoistic way.

So facts will matter to a psychopath if that fact is beneficial to the psychopath. It's just that it doesn't matter for anyone else and truth in and of itself has no value to a psychopath. So they can lie without any feelings of guilt or remorse because it doesn't matter to them. The only thing that matters to them is that short term 'me, now, me want now' or 'me want in a few days so me gonna get that'.

Elan: I'd like to add a quote from one of the speeches that speaks directly to some of these issues. He says,

"Communism has never concealed the fact that it rejects all absolute concepts of morality. It scoffs at any consideration of good and evil as indisputable categories. Communism considers morality to be relative, to be a class matter. Depending upon circumstances and the political situation, any act including murder, even the killing of hundreds of thousands, could be good or could be bad. It all depends on class ideology. And who defines this ideology? The whole class cannot get together to pass judgment. A handful of people determine what is good and what is bad.

But I must say that in this very respect communism has been most successful. It has infected the whole world with the belief in the relativity of good and evil. Today many people, apart from the communists are carried away by this idea. Among progressive people it is considered rather awkward to use seriously such words as good and evil. Communism has managed to persuade all of us that these concepts are old fashioned and laughable. But if we are to be deprived of the concepts of good and evil, what will be left? Nothing but the manipulation of one another. We will sink to the status of animals."

So a little earlier in the conversation we talked about how religion and Christianity and possibly what was best about a faith in higher things has been twisted and subverted in some sense by communism. Solzhenitsyn was an eastern orthodox Christian. His mother raised him that way and he was also indoctrinated into communism. But at some point he had made the choice, I think, to acknowledge what was higher and to make the distinction between what was an ideological paramoralism as Lobaczewski would say, and what was true. He had a taste for things that were true. He had a taste for things that were just, that had acknowledged the fact that man wasn't the centre of the universe and this informed his writing and everything he did.

I wanted to add that just bringing in Russia as a country today, there has been a renaissance of this type of thinking in the way that the eastern orthodox church has risen to prominence and traditional values has claimed its place where communism for so long had been the religion of Russia. A little earlier Harrison you had mentioned that "The intense suffering of our country has now achieved a spiritual development of such intensity that the western system in its present state of spiritual exhaustion does not look attractive".

So forty years ago he said this! I think he was anticipating through the suffering of Russians under communist rule, a coming back to orthodox Christianity or at least some of the sentiments of believing in something and believing in good and evil. One of the other things he said just after that particular quote was "A fact which cannot be disputed is the weakening of human beings in the west while in the east they are becoming firmer and stronger. Sixty years of our people and thirty years for the people of eastern Europe. During that time we have been through a spiritual training far in advance of western experience. Life's complexity and mortal weight have produced stronger, deeper and more interesting characters than those generally produced by standardized western well-being."

He clearly took a very long view of all the developments. He could see 40 years ahead. He could see Putin's religiosity and the religiosity of Russia today, bringing it to the point of successfully bringing itself up after 70 years of communist rule. So I just thought that was pretty interesting.

Harrison: I think he was right in two ways. He was right to see that direction but he was also right in his rejection of the bad things in western society in the sense that Russia actually got a lot of those at the same time. From my perspective as an outsider it looks like Russia hasn't become exactly what Solzhenitsyn would have liked, especially due to the 90s, that a lot of western culture got imported into culture and all the things he said, especially regarding TV, movie and music. A lot of Russian culture is just bad American culture and unfortunately it's like that the world over. So he says he didn't see the western model being the model for countries in the future. I think he was wrong about that just because he didn't see just how effective American culture would be at infecting everything that it comes into contact with and the worst aspects of it.

I wouldn't say that all countries have become models of America but those aspects, just because of the nature of the interconnectivity of nations nowadays due to the media and the internet, that it just reaches out and it touches everyone. So you get that commercial consumer culture that is everywhere now. It's in China. It's in east Asia, in Japan and Korea. So on the one hand his warning wasn't enough to prevent the worst aspects of western society from infecting everyone horribly.

Another thing that he wrote about that I thought was interesting in regard to the way that Russia has developed over the past 30 years was what he wrote about the difference between revolution and evolution because this is something that Putin said, I think in his series of interviews with Oliver Stone but it might have been a different one. It might have just been around that time. But he wrote that "The Soviet Union was experiencing so many difficulties, so many failures that it had to seek some way out and indeed I thought that the way out" - this was several years ago before he was writing this in the 70s - "I thought that the way out was to seek the path of evolution, certainly not the path of revolution, not an explosion. On this Sakharov and I agreed, an evolutionary smooth path which would offer a way out of this terrible system."

He goes on to write that he didn't think that evolution was possible now in the 70s and 80s just because totalitarianism had achieved this kind of inertia that couldn't be fought against in that way. But that doesn't mean that he was advocating revolution either. He was like "Well what do we do?" He wrote "Because at the moment, the question is not how the Soviet Union will be able to find a way out of totalitarianism but how the west will be able to avoid the same fate." He's basically saying 'we're screwed in Russia at the moment and it's not how we're going to fix Russia. It's how we're going to save the west from suffering the same fate.'

"How will the west be able to withstand the unprecedented force of totalitarianism? That is the problem. I don't know whether western listeners would find my words embarrassing. It is difficult for me to judge this kind of reaction but I would put it this way. The people who have lived in the most terrible conditions, on the frontier between life and death, be it people from the west or the east, all understand that between good and evil there is an irreconcilable contradiction and it is not one and the same thing, good and evil, that one cannot build one's life without regard to this distinction."

So he kind of saw this contradiction in that evolution is the only way to go and revolution is rarely, if ever, probably never the way to go. So this is what Putin had said in regard to the 90s, that in an ideal world what would have happened is that the Soviet Union would never have fallen apart, but what would have happened would be a steady evolution of the system to bring in new ideas and to get rid of the old bad ones. This is kind of what Putin himself has been doing over the past 20 years. He took the status quo of where Russia was in 1999 and evolved the Russian state and the Russian Federation along those lines. What really happened in the 90s was a revolution.

Gordon Hahn who we had on the show a year ago wrote a book called Russia's Revolution From Above. What it basically was in the early 90s was a revolution but it wasn't a violent revolution from below which is what the Russian Revolution in 1917 was. This was a revolution within the power structure of the Soviet Union. We see what the result of that was. We've been running a series by Alex Krainer on SOTT over the past week or so on what that Russian revolution of the 90s really was and the disaster that it created for Russia.

So what a revolution does is it destroys the pre-existing order in the hopes of achieving a new one but in that you have the destruction. That is never a good thing. The status quo is usually always better than a revolution that comes along that destroys everything in the hope of creating something better out of it. Even if something better is created out of it, which it hardly ever is, how can that possibly justify the millions of people that die in the process? It can't. That's one of the reasons that Solzhenitsyn was so relentless in his criticism of the people that supported communism in the west, because they were morally reprehensible. That's the way he saw it and that's what he called them.

There's one great little bit in the book. I'm going to read it. This is where he's talking about people of this sort. So he writes,

"There is a certain woman here in the United States named Angela Davis. I don't know if you are familiar with her in this country but in our country literally for an entire year we heard nothing at all except Angela Davis. There was only Angela Davis in this whole world and she was suffering. We had our ears stuffed with Angela Davis. Little children in school were told to sign petitions in defence of Angela Davis. Little boys and girls 8 and 9 years old were asked to do this. She was set free as you know. Although she didn't have too difficult a time in this country's jails, she came to recuperate in Soviet resorts. Some Soviet dissidents, but more importantly a group of Czech dissidents, addressed an appeal to her. 'Comrade Davis, you were in prison. You know how unpleasant it is to sit in prison, especially when you consider yourself innocent. You have such great authority now. Could you help our Czech prisoners? Could you stand up for those people in Czechoslovakia who are being persecuted by the state?'

Angela Davis answered, 'They deserve what they get. Let them remain in prison.' That is the face of communism. That is the heart of communism for you."

So you get all of these apologists for communism that will say "Oh, all those people deserved it. All those people that were slaughtered, all those people who were sent to the gulags and had their humanity stripped away from them, beaten to the bone, starved half to death, but kept in that semi state of starvation so they wouldn't die, and then forced to work 12 hours a day at hard labour, they deserved it.' People like that just sicken me! To say that someone deserves that because they said that the US had better roads than the Soviet Union? These people deserve it?

So that is really the mentality that comes along when you buy the communist Kool-Aid, that you want a revolution. 'Things are bad in our society. There's inequality. All we need is a communist revolution to set things right.' Yeah!! And then everyone that gets slaughtered in the process deserves it because they were part of the system, part of the oppressive patriarchy.

And that's why I think that Solzhenitsyn's warning to the west is so relevant today. It's not relevant in the way that he was talking about it in the 70s because in the 70s what he really thought and what he saw happening was the Soviet Union taking over the world and encompassing the entire world and turning it into one big gulag archipelago and that didn't happen. the Soviet Union fell and the pathocratic centre that was the Soviet Union dissolved in a sense. The same type of ideology has raised itself up in the form of the Islamic State but that also is an aborted attempt. They could never hope to achieve what they wanted on the level that the Soviets got, just by the nature of their ideology and really their strategy and tactics on the ground. They were almost eliminated as anything other than a mercenary underground terrorist group, which could do a lot of damage but like the underground ragtag terrorist groups known as the communists did in Russia in the early 1900s.

But where the warning really shines through I think for today is that there is the risk of that happening again from below, a revolution from below. You see this in the radical left in western societies where they are falling into the same trap that the communists of late 19th century, early 20th century did which led to the Russian Revolution. This is why Jordan Peterson is so adamant and comes across as so angry and mean, as some people would say, because this is a real problem!! Like Solzhenitsyn said, this is something to be scared of. If this happens, we can't imagine how our lives would change. You think it's bad now? All the lefties? You think it's bad now? You think this is bad? Well the tables are going to turn and you might be the ones at the top and things are going to be horrible for everyone else and then they're going to be horrible for you because you're going to be one of the first people that are executed once the new Antifa regime takes over the United States or whatever.

Elan: And that's a trend we've seen happen again and again, the early adopters in the party of Soviet Russia who were slaughtered by Stalin. You had the Brown Shirts under Hitler. That was one group of thugs that got killed at some point, wiped out. But like you were saying Harrison, we're hearing just shocking, disgusting statements coming out of the radical left in the US today, 'Kill all white males' and this is coming out of the mouths of academics! Out of people who have tenure. who are shaping the minds of students in universities! I think Solzhenitsyn would say they're reactionaries. And like you were saying earlier, the point is not to be a reactionary. The point is to be evolutionary. The point is to build on those things that are constructive or working well as they are and not demolish everything so that you're essentially going in the other direction because there were some negative things, however highly negative about the previous system.

So you mentioned Russia in the 90s and I think that's really important because you had Yeltsin, you had Gorbachev who were finally, at least at the beginning, able to say "We can all acknowledge to ourselves that communism is an abject failure and we have nothing to show for it except for a bloated military, but we also have our machine shops and some infrastructure, but let's give US democracy and the monetary system a try." And what did that do? As the articles that we've been featuring recently have been fleshing out, it destroyed Russia for upwards of 10 years until Putin came into power. You had a Mafioso control of industry. You had millions of people dying from malnutrition and the destruction of medical services.

This was all a movement towards democratization US style with advisors telling Yeltsin what to do and where and how much. So what happens whenever you move into a direction that is the polar opposite, when you're not building on what is working, what is good, and when you're working towards an ideology of any kind and that includes western democracy as a kind of ideology that half the world has bought into, it's a recipe for disaster. Any comments on that?

Corey: I just wanted to comment a little bit. We've discussed it before but some of the parallels between Russian society in the 19th century and what America is going through today and the decades that passed between the real outbreak of hysteria in the Russian empire and the Russian revolution. It's interesting today because in America we talk about the 60s and all of the craziness that happened, the free love generation and revolutionaries and radicals and drugs and hippies and some really good music. {laughter} But Russia also had the 60s, but they were the 1860s and it was roughly very similar because at that point...

Harrison: Free love?

Corey: No, it wasn't necessarily free love but it was chaos, especially in the universities where at least one professor in particular was fired from his job because he required students to take an exam. They were all going to be medical professionals and he said "They're not going to become doctors by playing billiards" but he forced all these students to take the exam and they got him fired through mass protests. They all protested against him because that was the climate of the time. It was the time of the Czar, Alexander II and he had instituted these massive reforms to try and modernize Russia. He emancipated the serfs. There was a wide adoption of the scientific/materialist mindset. There was all sorts of ethnic strife. There was the Crimean War and I believe that was what initiated Alexander II's reform projects.

But no good deed goes unpunished. He was assassinated. There were so many assassination attempts on his life by radical students and radical revolutionaries who wanted to start a social revolution. Now we don't see that today but we hear it. You don't necessarily see assassination attempts on the President of the United States but you definitely hear that clamour for that hysteria that just keeps building. It was building at that time in the 1860s and by 1881 the Czar was assassinated. Then his successor instituted more dictatorial movements which only exacerbated the revolutionaries.

But the moral decay was there in the universities when those students became adults and then they were drawn on in the revolutionary movements. As WWI drew on they initiated their revolution and Lenin was sent in with some crazy backroom dealing in Germany and some evidence that Wall Street was also helping him along, probably the same types of people who today who are Bolsheviks in disguise, the same kinds of weird liberal people in power. All of the hysteria and everything, the circumstances at that time, as Solzhenitsyn says, they had freedom. They had massive amounts of freedom through reforms and they squandered it. He can't say that it was purposeful or conscious but the elements there of having freedom and, as he says, soaring high like an eagle. It's almost as if some people desire slavery and there's always someone there to give it to you because there's always people there who want to be slave masters. Those dynamics are definitely there today.

Harrison: In that story the students ganged up on the professor, right?

Corey: Yeah.

Harrison: One of you mentioned it earlier in the show that this is one of the things that Solzhenitsyn was critical about in western society. In this one paragraph in one of the talks he gave he just lists all the ways in which pre-revolutionary Russia and then-modern America were similar. I think that a lot of them apply even more today than they applied when Solzhenitsyn wrote this. He wrote,

"And what we see is always the same as it was then. Adults deferring to the opinion of their children. The younger generation carried away by shallow, worthless ideas, professors scared of being unfashionable, journalists refusing to take responsibility for the words that they squander so easily, universal sympathy for revolutionary extremists, people with serious objections unable or unwilling to voice them, the majority passively obsessed with a feeling of doom, feeble governments, societies whose defensive reactions have become paralyzed, spiritual confusion leading to political upheaval. But what will happen as a result of all this lies ahead of us but the time is near and from bitter memory we can easily predict what these events will be."

He was writing this in the 70s. I wasn't alive in the 70s so I don't have any frame of reference for how exactly the climate compares to today, but those first bits about the younger generation, you see this on college campuses today where the students run the place and the professors are basically running around in fear of their students. They have to be careful what they say. They can't say the wrong thing. They have to apologize when they do something wrong. The kids - because they really are just kids - they're these entitled know-it-alls who are just mini-tyrants and they think they're great people and they think that this is justice. They think that they're the moral heart of society and the universities when really they're the troublemakers that will get everyone killed essentially.

In there he talked about journalism too. In some of these speeches he rips into the British press for instance. In one of the talks he gave in the UK, he writes, "Your newspapers may be famous for their traditions but they print a number of articles containing analyses and commentaries which are shamefully shallow and short-sighted. What can one say when your leading liberal paper compares the contemporary development of the Russian spiritual revolution with pigs trying to fly. This is not just contempt for the spiritual potential of my people. It's broader than that. It's a kind of fastidious contempt for any kind of spiritual regeneration, for anything which does not stem directly from economics but which is based on moral criteria. What an inglorious end to 400 years of materialism!"

Again, comparing where we are today to 40 years ago, that was arguably what today we'd call a Russophobic article in the UK press. How much worse have thing gotten where that's all you read now? It's all you read to the point where when I talk to people from Canada, they can't believe that any of the things I say about Russia or Putin because the media is just 100% totally against anything Russian. The Russians are all evil, Putin's an evil bastard and he's out to kill everyone and he's the new Hitler and how can anything he does be good? How can he be right and anyone be wrong? Stephen Cohen was on CNN. Anderson Cooper who was talking to Max Boot - is that the guy?

Elan: CFR neocon.

Harrison: He's another worm of a human being. But just thinking about how much I dislike Max Boot it made me forget what I wanted to say. {laughter} So Anderson Cooper asks Cohen what he thought of the recent meeting between Trump and Putin and the press conference that took place after it and he said "We know nothing about what was actually said in that meeting and it's so wrong that we know nothing about what's going on. That's just horrible." So Cohen very calmly and rationally gives a precedent, "When Reagan met with Gorbachev they had these secret meetings and no one knew what it was about and good things came out of it. There's precedent. This is the way things work. This is the way diplomacy works. And plus, we do know a lot of what was said because in the Russian press they said they talked about this and that and this". And then Cooper's like "Oh, well that was the Russian press and Putin said that. Oh, so you're saying you believe Putin?" And Cohen kind of rolls his eyes, 'what do I say to that?'. It's like "Yeah, it might come as a big shock to you but I do believe some things that Putin says."

We're at such a hysterical pitch that a guy like Anderson Cooper just can't comprehend that someone might believe one thing that Putin said. It's like "You can't believe anything he says because he's a super liar! They always lie and we never lie!" That must be the world that they live in where you get this sharp division of black and white, 'we good, they bad'. 'We always tell truth. They always lie to us'. These people are like freaking Neanderthals. If Putin was to say "2+2=4", they be like, "Well does it really? Can we believe him? Maybe it's actually 5. We should look into this. We're going to get our top experts on this because if Putin said it we can't just trust that he's telling the truth!" God, grow a freakin' brain!

And then how they can say this with a straight face with the monumental lies that western politicians have been exposed for saying over the past generations! {big sigh}

Elan: I watched that interview too and to his great credit, Stephen Cohen absolutely put them both in their place. What he said basically is he has lived in Russia. He has lived in the US. There are people more eminent than he - showing a little modesty there - who believe - shocker!! - that some of Putin's statements may actually be correct. I'm actually shocked that Anderson Cooper brought Stephen Cohen on to discuss anything rationally because it risked having a little ounce of truth when they allowed Stephen Cohen to say what he had to say in response to Max Boot.

Harrison: And Boot's just this smug asshole. At the end of the interview he just gives this self-righteous smirk because Cohen had said basically, "What do you want? Did you want Trump to threaten Putin? What are you going to get out of that?" He's got this smug smirk on his face. I just want to punch him! {laughter} I'm still thinking about Max Boot.

Corey: I know. These people are so absolutely insane. It's crazy to imagine what this would be like if this happened to you in real life. You're just walking down the street and some guy is saying "You're a liar! You're a murderer! You're a killer!" And he just follows you around and that's all he does, yells "You're a killer! You're a murderer! You're a killer!" You're like "What are you talking about?" "I can't believe a word you say because you're a liar! You're a liar!" This is the chorus that we have to listen to all the time. It's these kinds of people who should probably be in an insane asylum for what they've done to their brains, just running around call Putin a murderer and a criminal and a killer and just making it up as they go along. It's fascinating.

Elan: And it's not enough that they assert these lies and make a living doing it, but insist that you believe those lies and if you don't then you're a Putin apologist, a Russian 'bot, a conspiracy theorist or just the worst kind of human being. I also had opportunity recently to speak to some friends of mine who are all pretty smart people, all educated, all successful in a middle-class way, all people who respect me and who I respect, decent people, and all of them were holding onto this deeply anti-Russia, anti-Putin sentiment and any facts to the contrary could not possibly be the case. So that was a real exercise for me in patience and conveying information and just the possibility that they had been propagandized in ways that they can't even imagine.

Corey: Anybody who is that adamant about slandering someone else's character without adequate proof, you need to think twice, you need to assess their character at that point.

Harrison: You need to question their character.

Corey: You need to start questioning their character. That's why Ponerology is about macrosocial evil because we all know what that looks like on the level that we exist at on a day-to-day basis. When somebody's in the workplace and they're constantly talking about somebody in these salacious, crazy ways, unless you have some mental defect where you just believe what everybody says because you don't want to hurt anybody's feelings, then you're going to naturally think "I think this person protesteth a little too much. What's in it for them? Why are they attacking this person?" Then you're like "Oh well they want their job" or "they don't like them because they've got their job. They got the promotion they didn't want". That's on the regular day-to-day basis. We know what that looks like.

On a macrosocial basis it's a very, very similar activity that takes place. What don't they want? They don't want America and Russia to come into any sort of mutual agreement because this world that we're looking at in terms of the multipolar versus unipolar order, that expression right there of the multipolar world order is the antithesis of what these CIA, deep state, whatever mentalities want to see in the world. They're so addicted to power, when you think about it, their mentality is this Soviet mentality where 'we dictate the terms', 'we create reality', 'we tell you what reality is', 'we tell you what to believe'. In this multipolar world if Russia and American and everybody agrees to base everything on make deals, sharing facts - it doesn't have to be a utopia - but at least it's a step towards something that's reasonable and not the horrors that could exist if these people get their way, fighting Russia at every step of the way, nuclear war and all that.

That's what they don't want! They hate that idea! They live off of war. They make trillions of dollars on war, on selling guns to the Saudis, selling bombs to the Saudis so they can murder children, arming terrorists across the Middle East and then profiting off of the destruction that they cause. That is their life blood. These kind of individuals would hate to see anything like peace because they live on destruction. They're like vampires. "Oh I guess we'll just believe them!" No, don't listen to the vampires. {laughter}

Harrison: I'm still thinking about Anderson Cooper and what a slimy twerp he is so I'm going to read some more of Solzhenitsyn's thoughts on the press. This is from his Harvard address so he's addressing an American audience and an American press.

"The press too of course enjoys the widest freedom. I shall be using the word press to include all of the media. But what use does it make of it? Here again, the overriding concern is not to infringe the letter of the law."

This is a reference to a previous part in the speech where he's talking about the legalistic nature of western society and what a bad thing that is to have just a straight legalistic society.

"There is no true moral responsibility for distortion or disproportion. What sort of responsibility does a journalist or a newspaper have to the readership or to history? If they have misled public opinion by inaccurate information or wrong conclusions, even if they have contributed to mistakes on a state level, do we know of any case of open regret voiced by the same journalist or the same newspaper? No! This would damage sales. A nation may be the worse for such a mistake but the journalist always gets away with it. It is most likely that he will start writing the exact opposite to his previous statements with renewed aplomb.

Because instant and credible information is required, it becomes necessary to resort to guesswork, rumours and suppositions to fill in the voids and none of them will ever be refuted. They settle into the reader's memory. How many hasty, immature, superficial and misleading judgments are expressed every day, confusing readers and are then left hanging. The press can act the role of public opinion or miseducated. Thus we may see terrorists heroized or secret matters pertaining to the nation's defence publicly revealed or we may witness shameless intrusion into the privacy of well known people according to the slogan 'Everyone is entitled to know everything.'

But this is a false slogan of a false era. Far greater in value is the forfeited right of people not to know, not to have their divine souls stuffed with gossip, nonsense, vain talk. A person who works and leads a meaningful life has no need for this excessive and burdening flow of information. Hastiness and superficiality. These are the psychic diseases of the 20th century and more than anywhere else, this is manifested in the press. In-depth analysis of a problem is anathema to the press. It is contrary to its nature. The press merely picks out sensational formulas. Such as it is however, the press has become the greatest power within the western countries, exceeding that of the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. Yet one would like to ask, "According to what law has it been elected and to whom is it responsible?" In the communist east a journalist is frankly appointed as a state official. But who has voted western journalists into their positions of power? For how long a time? And with what prerogatives?

There is yet another surprise for someone coming from the totalitarian east with its rigorously unified press. One discovers a common trend of preferences within the western press as a whole. The spirit of the time, generally accepted patterns of thought and maybe common corporate interests, the sum effect being not competition but unification. Unrestrained freedom exists for the press but not for the readership because newspapers mostly transmit in a forceful and emphatic way those opinions which do not too openly contradict their own and that general trend.

Without any censorship in the west, fashionable trends of thought and ideas are fastidiously separated from those that are not fashionable. And the latter, without ever being forbidden have little chance of finding their way into periodicals or books or being heard in colleges. Your scholars are free in the legal sense but they are hemmed in by the idols of the prevailing fad. There is no open violence as in the east however a selection dictated by fashion and the need to accommodate mass standards frequently prevents the most independently-minded persons from contributing to public life and give rise to dangerous herd instincts that block successful development.

In America I have received letters from highly intelligent persons, maybe a teacher in a far away small college who could do much for the renewal and salvation of his country but the country cannot hear him because the media will not provide him with a forum. This gives birth to strong mass prejudices, to a blindness which is perilous in our dynamic era. An example is the self-deluding interpretation of the state of affairs in the contemporary world that functions as a sort of petrified armour around people's minds to such a degree that human voices from 17 countries of eastern Europe and eastern Asia cannot pierce it. It will be broken only by the inexorable crowbar of events."

Elan: Incredible passage! And again demonstrates the prescience of his insights, what he was able to see over 40 years ago in the United States, the trends, the developments that have now become absolutely full-blown in the US. So what we're doing now is we're reflecting on his insights and seeing how they've actually come to pass and to become alive and so virulent. I guess the best we can do at this point is to look at all this and see it for exactly what it is.

A lot of this reminds me of Lobaczewski's understanding of pathocracy and pathology as it exists in peacetime. The US never had a time where they were deeply reflecting on the tragedies of revolution or movements like the Soviet ideology and it seems to me that Solzhenitsyn was demonstrating this kind of reflection with his own society, with his own country that Americans and the west would do best to take in his knowledge of pathological systems. So I guess that's part of what we tried to do today.

On that note I want to thank our listeners today for tuning in. We hope you got something out of it. We hope you get a chance to read some of his novels. We'll be posting a link to the Harvard address so you can read that. You can watch him give the speech with a translator. And I want to thank my co-hosts today, Harrison Koehli, Corey Schink. And have a good week everybody.

Harrison: Bye-bye.

Corey: Bye everybody.