a world split apart commencement address delivered at harvard university, june 8, 1978

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When, for example, last week Michelle Goldberg, a New York Times columnist and one of the most prominent and powerful left-wingers in the country, could write without comment from anyone, discussing yet another book that predicts demographic disaster for conservatives, “It sounds almost messianic: the Republican Party, that foul agglomeration of bigotry and avarice that has turned American politics into a dystopian farce, not just defeated but destroyed. (Lewiston, NY, U.S.A.), About this Item: HarperCollins Publishers, 1978. Paperback. Since his body is doomed to die, his task on earth evidently must be of a more spiritual nature. But as long as we wake up every morning under a peaceful sun, we must lead an everyday life. (The last was Václav Havel, in 1995.) Active and tense competition permeates all human thoughts without opening a way to free spiritual development. Hard to find cohesive and intelligent writing on this level - so even if you are not interested in politics or perspectives on socialism and humanity - this is a great example of how to convey your perspective intelligently.

Such was the heritage of the preceding thousand years. Political and intellectual bureaucrats show depression, passivity and perplexity in their actions and in their statements and even more so in theoretical reflections to explain how realistic, reasonable as well as intellectually and even morally warranted it is to base state policies on weakness and cowardice. On the way from the Renaissance to our days we have enriched our experience, but we have lost the concept of a Supreme Complete Entity which used to restrain our passions and our irresponsibility. There is this belief that all those other worlds are only being temporarily prevented by wicked governments or by heavy crises or by their own barbarity or incomprehension from taking the way of Western pluralistic democracy and from adopting the Western way of life. This shopping feature will continue to load items when the Enter key is pressed. There is no true moral responsibility for distortion or disproportion. In America, “destructive and irresponsible freedom has been granted boundless space.” The “abyss of human decadence” is supposedly limited by “the right not to look and not to accept.” But this is a false defense; “Life organized legalistically has thus shown its inability to defend itself against the corrosion of evil.” America pretends “man does not bear any evil within himself.” This is untrue. Pages and cover are clean and intact. But most of this talk is political—of economic goods today, and whether and how... a flawed system that is neither democracy nor real freedom, moral savings of Western society are exhausted, pseudo-conservatives such as Jonah Goldberg, Live not by lies. The press too, of course, enjoys the widest freedom. But the fight for our planet, physical and spiritual, a fight of cosmic proportions, is not a vague matter of the future; it has already started. This is “particularly noticeable among the ruling and intellectual elites” (that is, his audience), who exhibit “depression, passivity, and perplexity.” Driving the spike home, he says “Must one point out that from ancient times a decline in courage has been considered the first symptom of the end?” Solzhenitsyn attributes this lack of courage to a surfeit of “well-being,” by which he means that everyone has been guaranteed more than adequate material goods and, more importantly, “an almost unlimited freedom in the choice of pleasures.” He believes that the decline in courage comes from an unwillingness to risk “this precious life . It is almost universally recognized that the West shows all the world a way to successful economic development, even though in the past years it has been strongly disturbed by chaotic inflation. It would be retrogression to attach oneself today to the ossified formulas of the Enlightenment. It has to be the fulfillment of a permanent, earnest duty so that one's life journey may become above all an experience of moral growth: to leave life a better human being than one started it. Or do they prefer not to hear?” (Oddly from our perspective, Solzhenitsyn’s examples of the effects of spiritual exhaustion are all in the foreign policy realm, rather than in the social realm that ultimately proved far more damaging to us.) Has little wear to the cover and pages. It’s a typical Frenchite type response, find the latest ‘ism’ the left dictates and point, shriek at the heretic. One of the most treasured books in my library, Reviewed in the United States on August 7, 2012, I love this edition (printed in English on the right and in Russian on the left) of Solzhenitsyn's 1978 commencement address to Harvard University students, "A World Split Apart." In many places, most of all post-Communist countries, the ruling classes of the target countries have eagerly embraced, or at least mouthed embracing, liberal democracy. 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. And I also feel a whiff of that Palladium article about free speech at Yale. Prime members enjoy FREE Delivery and exclusive access to music, movies, TV shows, original audio series, and Kindle books.

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