Monday, April 30, 2018

The Most Sordid Profession - By Fred Reed

A few thoughts on our disastrous  trillion-dollar military:
It is unnecessary. It does not defend the United States. The last time it did so was in 1945.  The United States has no military enemies. No nation has anything even close to the forces necessary to invade America, and probably none the desire. A fifth of the budget would suffice for any real needs.
“Our boys” are not noble warriors protecting democracy, rescuing maidens, and righting wrongs. They are, like all soldiers, obedient and amoral killers. Pilots bombing Iraq or Syria know they are killing civilians. They do not care. If ordered to bomb Switzerland, they would do it. This is the nature of all armies. Glamorizing this most reprehensible trades is just a means of usefully stimulating the pack instinct which we often call patriotism.
The militarily is America’s worst enemy. It does enormous damage to the United States while providing almost no benefit. Start with the war on Vietnam that cost hugely in money and lives, ours and their, with no benefit. Iraq: high cost, no benefit. Afghanistan: High cost, no benefit. Syria: High cost, no benefit.
Curmdugeing Through Pa...Fred ReedCheck Amazon for Pricing.

The costs in lives and money do not include the staggering cost of weapons that do nothing for America or Americans. Do you, the reader, believe that you are safer because of the F-35? Do a dozen aircraft carriers improve the lives of your children? Will the B-21, an unbelievably expensive new thermonuclear bomber, make your streets safer? Then add the bleeding of engineering talent better spent on advancing America’s economic competitiveness.  The country has many crying needs, falls behind China, but money and talent go to the military.
We can not escape from the soldiers. The armed forces have embedded themselves so deeply into the country that they have almost become the country. America is little more than a funding mechanism for what clumsily may be called the military-industrial-intelligence-media-Israeli complex. Some of these entities belong to the military (NSA). Some depend on it (Lockheed-Martin). Some use it to their own ends (Israel),  but the military is the central infection from which the other symptoms flow.  Congress? A storefront, a subcommittee of the Knesset or, as P. J. O’Rourke put it, a parliament of whores. Factories, jobs, contracts, towns depend on military spending. If the Second Marine Division folded, Jacksonville NC would dry up and blow away. So would dozens of other towns. Without military spending, California’s economy would crash. Universities depend on military research funding.
The military has achieved its current autonomy by degrees, unnoticed. The Pentagon learned much in Vietnam, not about fighting wars, which it still cannot do well, but about managing its real enemy, the public. The media, which savaged the war on Vietnam, are now firmly controlled by the corporations that own them.  Thus we do not see photos of the horrors committed by American aircraft bombing cities. While the existence of phenomenally expensive weapons like the B-21 is not quite suppressed, coverage is so slight that most Americans have never heard of it. This the Complex learned from the F-35  debacle. And of course Congress thoroughly bought and wanting jobs in its districts, allows no serious opposition to anything military. Neither Congress nor the media point out the extent to which military expenditure dominates the economy, draining resources from civilian needs.
A Grand Adventure: Wis...Fred ReedCheck Amazon for Pricing.

Why does the military not win wars? In part because winning is not in the interest of the Pentagon and those who feed on it. Wars generate profitable contracts for all manner of supplies and equipment. Either winning or losing ends the gravy train. For example, the war on Afghanistan of almost two decades has become an entitlement program for the arms industry, accomplishing nothing, killing countless peasants, and lacking purpose other than maintaining an unneeded empire and funneling money to the Complex.
How did the Complex free itself from civilian control? The crucial step in depriving the public of influence was the neutering of the constitutional requirement that wars be declared by Congress. The military thus became the private army of the President and those who control him. Then came the All Volunteer Army, which ended inconvenience to or mutilation of the children of people of importance, leaving the body bags to be filled by deplorables from Memphis or Appalachia or Mexico. America’s wars then became air wars and finally drone wars, reducing casualties to very few. The public, both ignorant and uninvolved, became acquiescent.
As I write, we wait to see whether Trump, and those behind him, will put America deeper into the Mid-East and perhaps war with Russia. If he does, we will read about it the next day in the newspapers. It will be expensive, dangerous, and of no benefit to anyone but the arms industry and Israel.
Despite the asphyxiating economic presence, the military keeps aloof from America. This too serves the purposes of the Complex, further preventing attention by the public to what is not its business. In the days of conscription there was a familiarity with the armed services. Young men from most social classes wore the uniform however ruefully and told of their experiences. Not now. The career military have always tended to keep to themselves, to socialize with each other as the police do. Now the isolation is almost hermetic. You can spend years in Washington or New York and never meet a colonel. Military society with its authoritarianism, its uniforms and its uniform government-issue outlook is not compatible with civil society. To the cultivated, military officers seem simple-minded, conformist and…well, weird.
The Great Possum-Squas...Fred ReedCheck Amazon for Pricing.

Add it all up and you see that the citizenry has no say–none–over the Complex, which is autonomous and out of control.  If the Complex wants war with Russia or China, we will have-war with Russia or China. Ask people whether they would prefer a naval base in Qatar–which most have never heard of, either the base or the country–or decent health care. Then ask them which they have.
The military destroys America and there is nothing–nothing at all that you can do about it.
Further, the Complex drives foreign policy, and in directions of no benefit to America or Americans. For example, the contrived fury against Russia. Why this?  Russia presents no danger to America or anyone else. The Complex makes foreign policy for its own ends, not ours.
A  rising Asia is challenging the America military Empire. The tide runs against the Complex. North Korea faced Washington down and became a nuclear power. The Crimea went back irrevocably to Russia. East Ukraine does the same. Iran got its treaty and becomes part of the world order. In the South China Sea, China ignores the US, which once was supreme in all the seas. The war against Afghanistan heads for its third decade and the war on Syria seems to have failed. Other things go badly for the Empire. The dollar is under siege as a reserve currency. China grows economically, advances rapidly in technology and, doubtless terrifying to Washington, tries to integrate Asia and Europe into a vast economic bloc. The Complex beats the war drums as its fingers loosen on the world’s collective throat.
Washington desperately needs to stop the rollback of American power, stop the erosion of the dollar, block the economic integration of Eurasia and Latin America, keep Russia from trading amicably with Europe.   It will do anything to maintain its grip. All of its remote wars in far-off savage lands, of no importance to America or Americans, are to this purpose. A militarized America threatens Russia, threatens China, threatens Iran, threatens North Korea, threatens Venezuela, expands NATO, on and on.
America has been hijacked.

Vox Popoli: Put not your faith in men (This is one of the best essays I have read - understanding who we are as a Christian! - CL)

I have been let down by all of my heroes and role models. Not some of them. Not most of them. All of them. Except one.

I was taught to save by my father. When I bought my first house, he very generously wanted to help me and even offered to contribute something to the down payment. I declined when I found out that I had more money in the bank than he did. He joked that his companies were his savings account; we all know how that turned out.

I was taught character, courage, and taking responsibility by my grandfather. Towards the end of his life, having exhausted his resources on caring for my grandmother, he walked away from the beautiful, twice-mortgaged house he had owned for three decades and left it for the bank.

I was taught leadership and personal sacrifice by my uncle. After attaining fame and great power, he was awarded an important position at one of the most corrupt organizations in the world. He did not resign from it when its crimes were revealed to the public.

I revered Umberto Eco for his great learning and his intellectual insight. When I read Belief or Nonbelief, his debate on religion and God with Carlo Maria Martini, the Roman Catholic cardinal of Milan, I was astonished and bitterly disappointed by the shallow, superficial, and petty nature of his arguments.

I admired and looked up to one of my father's friends of more than thirty years. I considered him to be the epitome of a good, smart, successful, civilized man. I could not believe it when my father asked him to be a character witness at his trial, and he demurred for fear of how it might look and what people might say.

I always considered The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius to be the philosophical gold standard and Aurelius himself to be an exemplary man. Then I read more human history and realized that his son and successor was Commodus, and that he had uncharacteristically failed to prepare an adequate succession plan for the empire over which he ruled.

I cannot tell you how many authors I perceived to be great, only to learn that they were charlatans, conceptual plagiarists, plodders, experts in literary sleight-of-hand, learned historians rather than brilliantly original creators, and in some cases, the apparent beneficiaries of a sprinkling of pixie dust by a flighty passing muse.

Do I look down on any of these men because they lacked the perfection that I naively perceived in them? Do I reject their teachings? By no means! To the contrary, their failings only served to teach me that they were mortal men, not demigods, and that I, too, can hope to surmount my own failings and character flaws. They remain my heroes and my role models today, I merely see them in a more mature and realistic light that shows their strengths in contrast with their weaknesses.

The fact that your heroes are not perfect does not make them any less heroic. It actually makes them more heroic, because their failings are a glimpse into the struggle they faced, every day, with the manifold temptations of a fallen world.

Who was the one hero who never let me down? JRR Tolkien. I loved his books deeply and passionately from the time I read the first page of The Two Towers, and everything I have since read of his, and everything I have subsequently learned about the man has only given me more cause to admire him. One reason that it takes me so much longer to write Arts of Dark and Light than other fiction and non-fiction is that I am always striving to write something I consider worthy of Tolkien's influence, and of which he would approve if he were ever to read it.

Vox Popoli: Test-optionality (How elite universities manipulate admissions)

That's one way to avoid the merit-based IQ showdown that is looming at the elite universities. Get rid of the tests:

There are now well over 1,000 colleges and universities that don't require SAT or ACT scores in deciding whom to admit, a number that's growing every year. And a new study finds that scores on those tests are of little value in predicting students' performance in college, and raises the question: Should those tests be required at all?

Colleges that have gone "test optional" enroll — and graduate — a higher proportion of low-income and first generation-students, and more students from diverse backgrounds, the researchers found in the study, Defining Access: How Test-Optional Works.

"Our research clearly demonstrates that these students graduate often at a higher rate," said Steve Syverson, an assistant vice chancellor at the University of Washington Bothell, and co-author of the study.

"When a college considers going test-optional, one of the first reactions that people, including alumni, feel is that the college will be admitting less qualified students," he added. Syverson says the study should reassure admissions officials who've decided to go test-optional.

Syverson and his team of researchers studied 28 public and private institutions that no longer require test scores, and tracked about 956,000 individual student records.

Students like Ian Haimowitz, a sophomore at George Washington University, a test-optional school in Washington D.C.

He says in the beginning, he felt like a fish out of water.

"I know for a fact I'm the first Nicaraguan-American, the first Latino, the first Jewish Latino that a lot of kids meet," he says.

He adds that when he arrived at GW, he looked around and asked himself, "What am I doing here with kids who went to private schools and got the best education possible?"

It was a very different world than he grew up in back in New Mexico.

"I remember my freshman year of high school, I didn't have a math teacher. Maybe that's why you see in my test score that I didn't have a good grounding in math. But I believed my potential was still there."

Ian was a straight-A student in high school, but his SAT scores were so low he didn't think any top tier school would accept him. He says not having to submit his test scores opened the doors to a top selective school.

We can safely expect the Ivy League schools to try to get rid of objective testing as soon as possible, before it becomes obvious that there have been some very heavy thumbs on the admissions process at all of their institutions.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Mentoring Moment – April 29, 2018 – CAP Lesson – Study 7 – Institutions – Introduction

(You can backtrack this series thread from here.)

Studies 1-6 explained that we are now living in a kingdom age. Jesus confirmed that many times. Just before His ascension, we read this in Matt. 28:18-20: “Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Is there any indication in that quote which might lead us to believe that we will fail in this mission? Moreover, is Christ expecting us to fail in a commission He has given us? Where is the biblical evidence?
Why do so many Christians believe in a failed mission and to whose advantage is that?
If you still have doubts about our dominion commission, please review the past studies and ask God prayerfully to enable you to see it clearly. I know whereof I speak. I’ve been there!
Assuming we’re on board with the kingdom commission, what next? What are we going to do with it?
The next segment of our CAP will cover the instruments that God uses to accomplish His mission. We are part of that process.
Much of what you will be reading you have rarely heard preached, if ever. Is it any wonder why we are  ineffective as Christians?
·         A Christian society should be different from others. How so? Decentralized
·         Only Jesus is sovereign – no human institution has that authority.
·         The only three institutions authorized by God – family, church, and state
·         A pyramid societal structure is Satanic
·         Covenantalism – responsible men under God

The following is from Gary North’s “Unconditional Surrender” Attachment is for your files.

If Christianity presents us with a unique view of society's crucial foundations - God, man, law, judgment, and time - then we should expect to see important differences between Christianity's view of social institutions and rival religions' view of these same institutions. We should expect to see these institutions constructed on different philosophical foundations. We should also expect to see vast differences in the efficiency of these institutions, depending on whether they are found in a Christian society or a pagan society.
One of the most important features of Christian social theory, or at least Protestant social theory, is the absence of any totally sovereign human institution. No institution is granted final authority, for no human institution is free from the destructive effects of sin. Only Jesus Christ can claim total sovereignty in time and on earth. Jesus Christ alone is the link between man and God. His revealed word, the Bible, is the final authority for man, not the pronouncements of committees, bureaucrats, or religious leaders. Three institutions are covenantal by nature. Covenantal institutions are established by an oath before God. Only three institutions are covenantal: family, church, and state.
The source of social order is God. Specifically, it is the Holy Spirit, who was sent to comfort the church (John 16:7). The Holy Spirit came to guide men into all truth: "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come" (John 16:13). And we know that "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (II Corinthians 3:17b). It is God's sovereign power over the creation that holds all things together, and we know that the established relationship between Cod's law and external blessings guarantees the preservation of social order for those societies that strive to conform themselves to the revealed law-order of God.
Biblical social theory therefore affirms the order-producing effects of a decentralized system of competing, yet ideally cooperating, institutions. No single institution needs to provide this social order. Indeed, no single institution can, since the concentration of power involved in such an attempt is self-defeating and in total opposition to biblical social order. Freedom and order are achieved only when men throughout a society are striving to reconstruct all their social institutions along the lines outlined in the Bible.
Whenever we see a social theory that proclaims the validity of a pyramid structure of institutionswith some institutions at the bottom, and a single institution at the top, we are facing the society of Satan. The pyramid structure, both in social theory and architecture, was basic to pagan antiquity. It is also the reigning social theory of modern socialism and communism. It places men at the base of the pyramid, and it places the state at the top.
The Bible proclaims the existence of multiple sovereignties, multiple institutions that bear lawful authority. Human institutions possess legitimate sovereignty, but all such sovereignty is limited and derivative. God alone possesses absolute sovereignty. Any attempt by any institution to command final authority is demonic. All institutions are under God and governed by God's law. No single institution commands permanent authority over all the others.

What the Bible proclaims as binding is this: responsible men under Godbut never autonomous men under God. Neither the one (state, church, family) nor the many (individuals) can claim absolute sovereignty. Neither collectivism nor individualism is valid as an exclusive principle of social order. What the Bible proclaims is covenantalism: individuals and institutions under God and under God's applicable laws.

Vox Popoli: Christianity is not an option - (On the vital need of our civilization)

Strange, that Rod Dreher seems to think so, but he doesn't grasp that it is only the foundation built upon the rock that will stand:

I heard from a friend this morning who told me a story about a family we both know. A solid white working-class family. In the youngest generation, they’ve started falling apart in a way that will be hard to fix. It’s the usual Charles Murray Coming Apart thing: the loss of being bound by a sense of religious or traditional moral obligation, followed by a loss of a sense of the importance of marriage, especially for childbearing, and on down the line. Maybe they’ll pull out of this spiral, but odds are against them. I would bet money that some of them are thinking of the trouble they’re in as something that just happened to them. It’s like people who live in a nice house, but who wake up one day to discover that the yard has turned into a jungle of weeds, and the roof is leaking, and termites have eaten out the walls … and they wonder who came overnight and destroyed their nice house....

No social species can survive if its men (and women) are too drugged out and undisciplined to hold a job. No social species can survive if its people cannot make the adaptive imperatives that Wade Davis says all cultures must make. My dad was a civil servant and my mother was a school bus driver. My folks never had much money, and were, as I see now, living much closer to the edge than they let us know as kids. They didn’t want to burden us with anxiety. I also understand why my father instinctively imprinted the same taboos on his children. His basic code was:
  • Work hard, and above all things esteem those who do
  • Respect yourself and those around you, especially your elders
  • That means dress up for church, say “yes ma’am” and “yes sir,” “please” and “thank you,” and keep a clean yard
  • Be honest and fair
  • Do not lie, and that means in all things be true to your word
  • Be generous to others, but never expect anybody to give you anything
  • Kids need mamas and daddies, but a mama and/or a daddy who puts their own interests above doing right by their kids are of no account
  • Do not keep company with people who don’t believe these things and live by them, because they will only bring you down
You will note that “God” is not in this list. He believed in God, but his God was pretty much the transcendent guarantor of this code, and nothing more.

The problem is that there are too many who want to cut down the tree but keep living in the tree house. They don't understand that it simply isn't going to float there in the air by itself, but without the tree, it will fall to the ground, be smashed to bits, and badly harm everyone inside it. This is not a mystery. The descent of the modernists is the descent into post-Christianity and societal self-destruction. And the fact that the modernists are opposed to their natural successors, the post-modernists, does not make them on our side.

Running On Empty | Zero Hedge

They dote on their progeny, then bury them alive.

Across the land, public pension and medical funds teeter on the brink of insolvency. You can ignore pending problems until you can’t. For those who prize clarity and realistic thinking, these impossible to ignore crises should be welcomed. They focus attention on an inescapable fact: the world lacks the unencumbered assets and productive capacity to redeem the promises that have been made against them. Somebody’s going to get stiffed.
With war on everyone’s minds, public pension and medical funds delineate inevitable battles lines: governments versus taxpayers, the unproductive versus the productive, the aging versus the young. Those wars are liable to be far more consequential than the ones everyone worries about in places like the Middle East and North Korea.
Nothing calls attention to the absurdity riddling the public pension system quite like the $76,000 monthly pension drawn by Joseph Robertson, an eye surgeon who retired as president of the Oregon Health and Science University last fall.
In the good old days, government employment meant low pay, but job security and a decent pension. Now such sinecures means wages in excess of those paid in the private sector plus pensions that are far more munificent…and job security. For a lucky few like Doctor Robertson, their pensions are a triple 7 jackpot. Oregon calculates pensions based not just on recipients’ government salaries, but what they receive on any non-government gigs they had going on the side. Robertson’s pension is based on his remuneration as university president and what he made operating on eyeballs.
This is what happens when actuarial tables and actual rates of return are discarded in favor of the political power of public employees and their unions, promises that can’t be kept, and taxpayers picking up the tab who have no idea what the final bill will be. Public pension and medical crises bring into sharp relief the writing on the wall: Governments Can’t Deliver.
As Charles Hugh Smith recently noted, public retirement and medical liabilities are increasing so fast that no amount of tax increases can keep up. Long before a 100 percent tax rate turns taxpayers into slaves, raising tax rates becomes counterproductive, yielding less, not more, revenues. One of the nifty things about the public pension and medical crisis is that it’s local. As such, it’s offering real world demonstrations that when local jurisdictions raise rates to fund their pensions, productive people leave.
The poster child is Illinois. The state on down to its smallest political subdivisions—like the town of Harvey—are buried beneath underfunded pensions. Illinois’ courts have ruled pensions are inviolable, which leaves governments facing insolvency with only two options: raise taxes and cut spending.
Harvey was ordered by a court to fund its firefighters’ pension fund, which is only 22 percent funded. The town’s property tax rate is six times the average rate in nearby Indiana, and Harvey is still coming up short. The state is garnishing its tax revenues, and the town has announced 40 public safety employees will be laid off. Why would anyone paying taxes in Harvey stick around for a future of ever-increasing taxes and ever-diminishing public services?
Many don’t, and Harvey and other localities in Illinois, including Chicago, are losing people. Out-migration statistics in Illinois, California, New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, and other net-loser states don’t capture the full scope of the problem. If one productive person moves out while one unproductive person moves in and starts living off state largess, there’s been no net out-migration, but the state suffers a loss (obvious to everyone except those fools and charlatans who will plump for an open-arms and open-wallet approach right up until bankruptcy).
Out-migration will get worse for net-loser states as the federal tax limitations on the deductibility of state and local taxes (SALT) kicks in. SALT has been capped at $10,000. After that, the wealthy have to pay the full measure of their high-tax states’ income, property, and sales taxes. The migration is gathering steam. It already costs twice as much to rent self-moving truck services from high-tax Los Angeles to low-tax Dallas as vice versa, and that spread will only widen.
State and local governments, their employees, and those on the dole can’t stop the productive from voting with their feet. The number who leave the US, however, is still a trickle. The federal government’s old age and medical funding problems, orders of magnitude greater than states’ and municipalities’, are no longer looming; they’ve arrived. The government could seal the borders to lock in the productive, but it wouldn’t prevent the slow-motion, but accelerating, catastrophe now underway.
The federal government’s ability to issue virtually unlimited debt and the Federal Reserve debt monetization machine mask the rot, but only create problems far larger than the ones they putatively solve. Low interest rates have destroyed state and local funds’ ability to achieve fairly safe returns, forcing them out on the risk curve to meet their rate of return targets, which are way too high. Underfunded as they are now, bear markets in stocks and bonds would obliterate them.
Encouraged by central bank debt promotion policies, individual, corporate, local, state, and federal debt has reached new records. While low interest rates have ameliorated the debt service burden, even they can’t stymie the toll debt is taking on the economy. Look no farther than real annual GDP growth, which hasn’t hit 3 percent since Bush Jr. was in office. Less growth means less tax revenues, which only exacerbates funding problems.
The older generation is pinning its retirement hopes on a younger generation confronted with huge debt, perpetually rising taxes, a shrinking economy, and dwindling opportunity. That’s not like hoping you can draw to an inside straight, it’s going all in, exchanging your hand for five new cards, and hoping you draw four aces. Good luck with that.
Oldsters like to complain that the youngsters are too preoccupied with gadgets and social media. They wish that were true. The youngsters are already questioning their impending debt servitude. The more perceptive are homing in on their parents’ generation’s self-granted benefits and unrivaled profligacy. You don’t have to search too far on the internet and social media to see the awakening.
Doting parents and grandparents who post their darlings’ every precocious moment and wouldn’t dream of letting them walking a block to school by themselves have no compunction about burying them alive under welfare and warfare state IOUs. In a world riven with conflict, the easiest war to predict is the intergenerational one.

It’s not strictly accurate to say that the state and local public pension and medical funds’ crises is the canary in the coal mine. It is but one in an aviary of canaries. The fund canary is in extremis and may well be the first to expire; the others will certainly follow. Picture the horror as the adult canaries and their fledglings wage mortal combat for those last few molecules of oxygen.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Egor Kholmogorov: Alexander Solzhenitsyn - A Russian Prophet, by Anatoly Karlin - The Unz Review (Be sure to read the headnote - CL)

Moreover, this is not just a merely ideological crisis, manifested in the increasingly totalitarian Liberal self-destruction of Western civilization. It is also a geopolitical crisis, caused by the following fact: Moscow, once a center of global Communism (that is, one of the poles of the Enlightenment spectrum), is rapidly transforming – unless it deviates from Solzhenitsyn’s legacy – into a Vatican, or if you will, a Mecca of Conservatism. It is precisely here where the strongest redoubt that defends the image of mankind in its traditional Christian interpretation is now located.

Translator’s Foreword (Fluctuarius Argenteus)
Almost by necessity, all previous Kholmogorov translations have been those of his older texts, with a “lag” between the original and the translation varying between several days and several months. What you see now is a much rarer treat. Kholmogorov has just finished a long and engrossing article on Alexander Solzhenitsyn, clocking in at 16,000 words, to be published by a Russian conservative outlet. Publishing a complete translation on The Unz Review would require the text to be split into three or four parts, and would be an exercise in futility if the figure of Solzhenitsyn doesn’t attract enough attention from the readership in the first place.
As a result, this text was born. It is the preamble to Kholmogorov’s yet-unpublished Solzhenitsynean magnum opus, and it functions well on its own as a glimpse into Solzhenitsyn’s status in present-day Russia, going far beyond CliffsNotes truisms and common ideological myths surrounding his name. The article argues that, far from being a relic of the Cold War, Solzhenitsyn remains a relevant figure, perhaps even more so than during his lifetime, with many of his predictions coming true and some of his suggestions and ideas being adopted wholesale by the Russian government.
It is worth adding that Solzhenitsyn’s global importance is far from diminishing any time soon as well, attracting both detractors (usually from the NeoCon/NeoLib Unholy Alliance, as evidenced by this hot take) and admirers (e.g., Jordan B. Peterson, one of the Alt Right’s intellectual darlings, speaks fondly of Solzhenitsyn’s influence on his life philosophy in 12 Rules for Life).
Unz Review readers have the rare opportunity to get a primer of this article before it comes out in Russian. If it flies well with the audience, get ready for an epic three- or four-parter!
Note from AK: If you are enjoying these translations, please feel free to donate to Egor Kholmogorov here:

Alexander Solzhenitsyn: A Russian Prophet
Translated by Fluctuarius Argenteus
Alexander Solzhenitsyn was, without doubt, the most politically successful author in world history. Surely there were crowned poets, but their talents had never been truly exceptional. There were politicians awarded the Nobel Prize in literature, such as Winston Churchill. There were men of letters who had made a successful bureaucratic career, such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Prime Minister of Saxe-Weimar. But there was but one writer whose words could uplift entire continents and send shockwaves through global political trends. There was only one who bequeathed his nation a detailed ideological and political program that would become not less, but more relevant after his death. This man was Solzhenitsyn.
At present, Russia – to both the joy and chagrin of many – is entering a new political era, codified specifically by Solzhenitsyn’s writings and ideas. It is not the Solzhenitsyn of ideologically varnished Liberal anthologies, nor is this his twisted inversion, the Solzhenitsyn who, as an “enemy of the people”, is the never-ending source of Neo-Communist hysterics. The driving factor of current politics is becoming the true Solzhenitsyn, as revealed in his actual writings – novels, short stories, articles, discourses, and interviews.
Some formulas coined by the writer became part of government policy, such as the emphasis on the “preservation of the people”. Others became a political reality, such as his call for a nationally minded authoritarianism, as opposed to the aping Western multiparty democracy. There are also still many – such as his ideas regarding the zemstvo, organs of “small-space democracy” – that are yet to be widely heard and discussed.
Our civic and political maturation, in line with Solzhenitsyn’s vision, is happening right here and now. For many years, Solzhenitsyn kept pointing out that the mid-17th century church reforms that had provoked the schism of the Old Believers was one of the direst and most calamitous events of Russian history. Nothing could be more pathetic than a struggle against the most pious and hard-working part of the Russian nation. But we nowadays see a determination to heal that old wound from within both the government and the Orthodox Church.
On August 30, 1991, Solzhenitsyn wrote a letter to President Yeltsin, urging him to refrain from automatically accepting Soviet administrative demarcation lines as the new state boundaries. For more than 15 years, he kept insisting that the idea of Crimea and Sevastopol as parts of the Ukraine is nonsensical, and that the Eastern Ukrainian oblasts, once known as Novorossiya, should be granted the right to make their own choice of allegiance in a referendum. A rejection of all attempts to “drive a wedge between kindred peoples” and construct the Ukrainian state as an anti-Russia project is a mainstay of Solzhenitsyn’s writings – and reflective of his own dual Russian (Solzhenitsyn) and Ukrainian (Scherbak) ancestry. All of this seemed of only minor importance at the time of his passing in 2008, but ever since 2014, we have been living in a reality where these issues have again become cardinal.
One of Solzhenitsyn’s chief concerns was the question of Russian unity: The injustice inherent in the system of federalism that was rife with another “parade of sovereignties”[1], the idiocy of the central government making treaties with minority republics, the unacceptable discrimination against the Russian language. Solzhenitsyn was one of the first critics of the US Public Law 86-90 regarding the so-called “Captive Nations”, in which Russia was tarred as the “occupier” of ephemeral “nations” such as “Idel-Ural” and “Cossackia”. Once again, we feel Solzhenitsyn’s legacy acquiring the most acute present-day relevance.
It is not just Solzhenitsyn’s ideas that are coming to the fore, but even his historical appraisals. It was Solzhenitsyn who hailed Peter Stolypin as the consummate Russian statesman, and the late imperial Prime Minister now occupies a central place in the Russian political canon. Likewise, it was Solzhenitsyn who singled out the figure of Alexander Parvus in the history of the Revolution, and nowadays, no analysis of the Russian Catastrophe avoids discussing this international man of mystery and his contribution to Russia’s destruction. The only figure that our present day views with more appreciation than Solzhenitsyn is probably Emperor Nicholas II. However, even in this case, we see a creeping evolution towards latent monarchism in Solzhenitsyn’s old age.
ROGPRTowards Tropical Hyperborea?
It sometimes seems that even nature itself hews to Solzhenitsyn’s will. When he first proclaimed the necessity of developing the Russian North-East and harnessing its vast and inhospitable spaces, it seemed an impossible utopian dream. His claim that “Russia is the North-East of the planet, and our ocean is the Arctic, not the Indian” was countered by the seemingly commonsense reply that the ocean is called the Arctic Ocean – or the “Ice Ocean”, as it is called in Russian – because it’s literally covered with ice, and that one can’t live in the permafrost. Soon afterwards, the rapid melting of the Arctic has begun to provoke geopolitical ferment; there are conversations about internationalizing the Northern Sea Route to foreign shipping, and mutterings that Solzhenitsyn’s call to settle and secure the Far North was left unattended for too long. But better late than never.
Solzhenitsyn’s legacy is not only a Russian, but a planetary political phenomenon. It was Solzhenitsyn who in his famous Harvard Speech warned the West that they were not alone on this planet, that civilizations described by Western historians and culture theorists are no mere decorative elements, and instead living worlds in themselves, that cannot have a Western measure imposed upon them. Russia, a unique civilization, is of these historical worlds. And the Western measure itself has become subjected to spiritual corrosion, and has fallen far relative to the bygone greatness of Christian civilization. Solzhenitsyn’s once-shocking idea that a globalist “End of History” is impossible has since been appropriated by Western political theorists, namely Samuel Huntington with his “Clash of Civilizations”. This very idea has constituted the bedrock of Russian foreign policy since Putin’s Munich Speechin 2007.
The Gulag Archipelago, published in the West, carried out a sweeping detoxification of Western elites from their poisoning by Communism, that “opiate for the intellectuals” (to quote Raymond Aron). However, this transformation gave them no antidote for militant atheism, the very force that had spawned Bolshevism. A liberal version of anti-Communism logically led to the triumph of Communism under the modernized and updated guise of Cultural Marxism – leftist feminism, totalitarian “tolerance”, racist “anti-racism”, the final victory of Homintern. Even this had already been envisioned by Solzhenitsyn. He theorized that, at a certain point in the future, a Russia liberated from Communist totalitarianism would gaze in horror at the triumph of a Liberal-built Western “Communism”.
That said, Solzhenitsyn’s main concern was never an abstract global humanity, but the Russian people. He is perhaps the writer with the most acute and intensely conscious national awareness out of those who had risen to fame in the second half of the 20th century. His resistance to Communism cannot be properly understood without its main motive: The Russian people cannot and must not be used as a tool for any utopias or experiments, be they Communist or “progressive” in nature. Solzhenitsyn equally rejects political projects that treat Russians as expendable fodder – be it for the Empire, or the “world revolution”, or the triumph of industrialism, or the space race. Everything that improves and intensifies Russian national life is good; everything that doesn’t, is bad.
His resolute and outspoken anti-Communism, his determination to bring down the Reds whatever the cost, was borne out of the conviction that the Occidentalist Marxist utopia had led to a colossal and bloodstained waste of national human resources, that the Russians had been reduced to cogs in a machine and fuel for the fire, that the organic development of Russia, both spiritual and economic, had ceased. The constant leitmotif of his books is not just the enunciation of the damage wrought by Communist tyranny upon the Russian psyche and livelihoods, but also in revealing the forces of resistance and freedom hidden inside that psyche.
In addition to his anti-Communism, he was just as merciless towards both Occidentalist and plain Western Russophobia. He lambasted the intelligentsia, devoid of tradition and roots, as “the Smatterers”[2]. He introduced the very notion of Russophobia into modern political parlance, to be later developed into a coherent theory by his closest ally, the mathematician Igor Shafarevich. Solzhenitsyn provided his definition of Russophobia: The view of Russia as a backward “land of slaves”, the claim that the Soviet regime was a natural continuation of historical Russian statehood, both Muscovite and Imperial, which was purportedly also based on wanton cruelty and inhumanity. In his anti-Russophobe polemics, Solzhenitsyn emphasized the normalcy of Russia’s pre-Bolshevik history. He spurned both October and February revolutions of 1917 as the fruits of a nihilistic desire to unmake and remake Russia based on a total ignorance of Russian life.
Solzhenitsyn is opposed to both the verbal mockeries of Russia-bashing “pluralists” with their non-concealed contempt for “this country”, and the cold determination of Western politicians and political theorists to paint Russians and not Communism as the main adversary of the West. Solzhenitsyn publicly lashed out at US military plans to specifically bomb the Russian population in case of war, and came to realize both his own and his Russian compatriots’ unenviable position as “a grain caught between two millstones”[3] – that of Communism and that of Western Liberalism.
It was clear to him that these millstones were both just parts of an infernal machine built by a godless anti-Christian “humanism”. Communism and Liberalism are two siblings spawned by the Enlightenment ideology that would put mankind on the disastrous road of worshiping Matter instead of Spirit, which would inevitably lea to the sullying and degradation of said Matter. Solzhenitsyn puts forward a detailed and consistent anti-Enlightenment doctrine: A return to God, voluntary self-restraint and self-restriction of humankind, emphasizing duties instead of ever-expanding “rights”, prioritizing inner freedom, and rejecting the sacrifice of national life not only to totalitarian utopia but also to the orgy of freedom. Solzhenitsyn’s doctrine is one of the most consistent and politically sound Conservative philosophies formulated over the last couple of centuries. His duel with the ghosts of Voltaire and Rousseau goes on after his death, and the score is still in the Russian writer’s favor.

Sviyazhsk, Russia.
It was Solzhenitsyn’s activity directed against the convergence of the Western and Soviet systems, towards the moral discreditation of Communism and the awakening of a spirit of radical resistance to the Red evil in the West, his critique of the Liberal foundations and hypocritical hegemonism of the West itself, and last but not least, his post-homecoming attempts at a moral consolidation of Russia around a nationalist, conservative, populist, anti-Western and anti-Neo-Communist platform – it was all of this which drove the global Enlightenment project into its current state of crisis.
Moreover, this is not just a merely ideological crisis, manifested in the increasingly totalitarian Liberal self-destruction of Western civilization. It is also a geopolitical crisis, caused by the following fact: Moscow, once a center of global Communism (that is, one of the poles of the Enlightenment spectrum), is rapidly transforming – unless it deviates from Solzhenitsyn’s legacy – into a Vatican, or if you will, a Mecca of Conservatism. It is precisely here where the strongest redoubt that defends the image of mankind in its traditional Christian interpretation is now located.
[1] A byword for the snowballing secessionism of Soviet republics in 1988-91, when they first proclaimed “state sovereignty” (primacy of republican legislation over Soviet laws) and then full independence.
[2] The most common English translation of his 1974 essay Obrazovanschina, alluding to the narrow and superficial intellectual development of Liberal intelligentsia.
[3] Russian proverb equivalent to “between the devil and the deep blue sea”, also the title of Solzhenitsyn’s memoirs published in 1998-2003 (usually rendered in English as simply Between Two Millstones).