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Nobel Lecture by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
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Apr 17, 10

bookshelves: speeches-lectures, russians
Read from April 16 to 17, 2010, read count: 1

A bit like a bad political speech (think "Yes We Can!!!"), but because it is Solzhenitsyn, who represents so much, you know that this is not just verbiage. Most of the good stuff he says is derivative of Dostoevsky on the one hand (whom he quotes), and Adam Smith on the other (all that stuff about lack of compassion to distant, exotic peoples).

Solzhenitsyn, though, is someone I admire deeply, and his is a voice we are sorely missing now. He represented an authentic anti-communism, an authentic Christianity, in a time where the West was awkwardly trying to have the former without the latter. I love his Harvard speech, which you can and should read here:

Solzhenistyn was a great man who did great things; he wasn't as good a writer as, say, a bunch of men who never got the Nobel (Graham Greene, Borges, Nabokov, James Joyce, Proust...), but he stood for man's hope for a better future.

"Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: "Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened.Since then I have spent well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: "Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened."

It takes real guts to tell Harvard University that the West suffers from a "lack of manliness."

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