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Sunday, 25 September 2011

Alexander Solzhenitsyn: A Hero of Christianity and Nationalism

Alexander Solzhenitsyn: A Hero of Christianity and Nationalism
Written by Tim Heydon
September 2011

Only once has your writer got a lump in the throat when reading a tribute to the dead in the Daily Mail.

That was Stephen Glover’s article on Aleksander Solzhenitsyn, the great Russian writer and author of ‘One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch’, ‘Cancer Ward’ ‘The Gulag Archipelago’ and many other famous books about life under left-fascist totalitarianism, on the occasion of the latter’s death.

‘A literary giant whose courage put today's pygmy authors to shame’

...Under the heading, ‘A literary giant whose courage put today's pygmy authors to shame’ Glover recounted the life of a man who, strengthened by the Christian faith he had once abandoned in favour of Marxism, had lived a life of unimaginable hardship and had struggled against the evil of Lenin and Stalin with inspirational courage. As Glover remarked,

‘Most of us, if forced to spend eight years doing hard labour, would curl up, and very possibly die. We certainly wouldn't write a novel on scraps of paper and memorise them. Once released, we would probably crawl away into the obscurity of a quiet life rather than defy the Soviet authorities.

That Solzhenitsyn did not do this owed a great deal to his character, as well as to his high abilities as an artist. But his imperative to write also sprang from a powerful belief - not only in himself, though that was important, but also in the values of human dignity in which he had been educated as a child; Christian values which were in danger of being extirpated by Soviet communism, and which he wished to defend, despite being, as it must then have seemed to him, almost alone’.

Glover ended with these words:-

‘Of course, he did not overthrow Soviet communism, but he kept alive the hopes of many of his fellow countrymen, and he illuminated in the West the true horrors of Stalin and Lenin when they were still being celebrated by those whom Stalin himself had described derisively as 'useful idiots’.

‘And, in a country where tens of thousands of Christians were persecuted and murdered, Alexander Solzhenitsyn was yesterday laid to rest in Moscow's Donskoi cathedral, a wooden cross on his chest as he lay in his coffin. For a man who started his life as a Christian, and who endured the horrors of Stalin's Russia, this was surely the ultimate victory’.

Solzhenitsyn’s Struggle resonates with ours today

We are not at the stage when those dissenting from the approved marxist political stance – ie political correctness – can be sent by the authorities to labour camps of the Soviet type in the hope that either their harshness will finish either us off or will break our spirit. British attitudes still retain too much Christian heritage for that. Nevertheless, Christianity is persecuted here and political non-conformity is punished in all manner of ways.

In Secular Semi-Marxist Britain, as in the Soviet Union, ‘Right’ and ‘Wrong’ are whatever the Political Class say they are

There is every prospect that this persecution will worsen in time, as persecution tends to when, as in the atheistical Soviet Union, morality is not relativised as atheism logically demands but held to be an absolute when dictated by the state. In the USSR, so too in our country, the ‘right’ has become whatever the culturally marxist political class says it is and the ‘wrong’ has become whatever it disapproves of.

Solzhenitsyn : Christian and Ethnic Nationalist - Can’t have that!

Solzhenitsysn has faded somewhat from the public consciousness. Why is that? It is not because he wrote about a particular period in a ‘far away country’. As he showed so brilliantly, universal themes can be illuminated by the particular.

No, there is a more important reason than that. It is not just that the foundation of Solzhenitsyn’s antipathy to Marxism / Communism and the source of his courage in opposing it was his personal experience and the Christianity which it brought him back to, although there is that too, but that his view of Russia’s future was as part of a pan-slavic world founded on Orthodox Christianity. ‘Pan-slavic nonsense’ as Glover calls it in his otherwise admirable Daily Mail piece.

There has never been a culture of note that was not founded by a people on its religion.

There has never been a culture of note that was not founded by a people on its religion. This does not exclude Confucian China and the USA. Confucianism is the working out in moral terms of the implications of ancestor worship and the USA, regardless of the Declaration of Independence and its Constitution, was founded by Europeans and based from the first on Protestant Christianity. So why does Glover call Solzhenitsyn’s views ‘nonsense’? He doesn’t tell us, as if it were self-evident.

Solzhenitsyn and the Russian Orthodox Church

As it happens, Solzhenitysn’s opinions chime with those of the Russian Orthodox Church at least as far as it justifies ethnic preference. Here are ‘The Bases of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church’ which at the least underline the importance and rightness of ethnicity in Christian patriotism. The statement rightly points out the dangers of extreme national feeling, but continues:-

‘II. 2. …‘the Church unites in herself the universal with the national’ (as did Jesus himself, whose teaching pointed to the universal, but who) ‘identified Himself with the people to whom He belonged by birth’.

II. 3. Christian patriotism may be expressed at the same time with regard to a nation as an ethnic community and as a community of its citizens. The Orthodox Christian is called to love his fatherland, which has a territorial dimension, and his brothers by blood who live everywhere in the world’

Solzhenitsyn and Two Strands of Thought sneered at by Western Liberals

Thus Solzehnitsyn incorporated two strands sneered at and condemned by the western ‘liberal intelligentsia’ who have of course a stranglehold on the public expression of opinion in our ‘free society’: Christianity and ethnic patriotism. These people, who are half-way through the journey to a Soviet system but who seem to be unaware of the fact or actually to welcome it, have not of course experienced the full flavour of a world dedicated to equality as Solzhenitsyn had done. Nevertheless they seem to think they know more about it than he did.
(The tone of left-liberalism’s attitude to Solzhenitsyn is encapsulated in a piece of 4th August 2008 written by William Harrison for ‘The Guardian’.

Politically Incorrect Solzhenitsyn is being replaced as the Voice of Soviet Literature by Vasily Grossman who ticks more PC Boxes

Compare Solzhenitsin’s current reputation in the West with for example, the ecstatic reception given by Tim Martin in The Daily Telegraph Review section of 17th September 2011 to the Radio 4 production of ‘Life and Fate’, a ‘lost masterpiece’ as it was described there. Is it entirely a coincidence that this novel was written by a Soviet Jew, Vasily Grossman; that as well as the Soviets in WW11 and the Siege of Stalingrad it concerns the Holocaust and Soviet anti-semitism and that this production was commissioned by the Gramsci soldier and son of Polish Jewish immigrants, Mark Damazer when he was still at the BBC?

Tim Martin tells us, ‘The BBC adaption will no doubt build on Grossman’s growing fan base in the English-speaking world, where as Robert Chandler puts it. ‘we seem to have this need for there to be a one-and –only figure of Soviet Literature. It used to be Solzhenitsyn and now it seems to be becoming Grossman.’ Well, Grossman certainly ticks a lot of politically correct boxes and has powerful friends like Damazer, so ‘no surprise there, then’.

Going on about the Holocaust and Missing the Point

In this week’s Spectator magazine, Tanya Gold says, ‘A friend has asked me. ‘What is it about the Jews and the Holocaust? Why do you go on about it?’ She answered, ‘’For the dead you fool.’’

Gold has rather missed the point. It is not really that the Jews go on about their undoubtedly terrible sufferings in honour of their dead. It is that they mostly go on about it as if no one else had suffered, or as much. This is not a position likely to endear them to the Russians for example (20 millions war dead alone, excluding those many, many millions who died in the Gulags, as a result of forced starvations, deportations etc etc. (60 millions in total according to Solzhenitsyn). This apparent focus on their own sufferings to the exclusion of all else does unfortunately rather tend to reinforce anti-semitic opinions.

Are the Chattering Classes beginning to get fed up with Jewish Self-Obsession as well?

The never-ending flow of demonstrations of Jewish self-obsession and the acquiescent non-Jewish assumption that anything written by an oppressed Jew must necessarily be a superior piece does now though seem to be exasperating even people in the chattering classes. Here is Rupert Christiansen’s take on the play ’The ‘Passenger’ in the London’s West End,‘ (Daily Telegraph, 21st September 2011):

‘The press has recently been full of fascinating articles about a Polish-Jewish composer who suffered under Stalin and died virtually forgotten in 1996. But after hearing two of Mieczyslaw Weinberg;s operas ‘The Portrait’ and now his so-called masterpiece ‘The Passenger’, I have lost interest…. ‘

Solzhenitsyn’s experience of the West led him to reject it and to seek a ‘Third Way’

D G Rowling puts his finger on why Solzhenitsyn was confirmed in his pan- slavism through his exile in the West . He writes :-

It was Solzhenitsyn’s published writings after his expulsion to the West that dramatically drew Western attention to the revival of Russian national consciousness.

His surprising attack on Marxism as a Western ideology, his antipathy to the materialism, individualism and atheism that he saw at the heart of Western Civilisation and his call for a regeneration of traditional Russian values quickly earned Solzhenitsin the epithet ‘Russian nationalist’.

After having the leisure to inspect the state of decay of Western civilisation, during his exile in the USA, who can blame Solzhenitsin for seeking the salvation of Russia in its ethnic religious and cultural roots rather than in Western Liberalism?

And can there be much doubt that if Solzhenitsyn had in Britain expressed his view about the desirability of a Christian, ethnic state here with the same forcefulness and courage he exhibited all his life, sooner or later he would have run into trouble with the authorities here?