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Solzhenitsyn Vs. The Culture of Death

February 22, 2019 Frontpage No Comments

By SHAUN KENNEY

Alexander Solzhenitsyn would have been celebrating his 100th birthday last December, and the author of Gulag Archipelago and The First Circle would be equal parts mortified and turned prophet about the current state of affairs in his native Russia and about the decline of the United States.
Ironically enough, one of Solzhenitsyn’s first complaints about the Western world upon his arrival as a refugee from the Soviet Union was the pervasiveness of the Western media. Very soon, his disdain for the omnipresent media circling his home, his family, his friends and compatriots would erupt into the now famous condemnation of journalism writ large: “You are worse than the KGB!”
One is almost forced to reflect on this for any number of reasons, especially as in Virginia, we are watching in real time as Gov. Ralph Northam — champion of infanticide — appears about to survive the ocean of criticism he has brought upon himself, first by describing in clinical detail how infanticide is actually practiced by doctors and condoned by bioethicists, and second as photos of him in either blackface or a Klansman outfit (Northam will not say which) cropped up as a consequence from a classmate who was horrified by Northam’s defense of infanticide.
The end result? Of the three statewide Virginia elected officials, the two white guys have both admitted to wearing blackface at parties during the 1980s. Yet the Democrats have chosen to crucify our black lieutenant governor, Justin Fairfax, by digging into his past and finding a bevy of sexual assault claims — most of which are truly horrific and unlike Justice Brett Kavanaugh, can be backed up with text messages and testimony.
Critics are perhaps correct to note with some irony that appearing in blackface is a social crime worthy of being declared hostis humani generis, but that actually destroying human beings is not.
Others still have further noted that while many among us are horrified at the idea of infanticide, fewer still are willing to recognize that all abortion is indeed infanticide. What is the moral difference between killing a baby outside the womb or inside the womb? At 39 weeks? 20 weeks? 6 weeks?
The sad truth — and journalists dare not touch this live wire — is that Northam really didn’t break any new ground. Northam instead is reflected a symptom of an already sick culture where infanticide is routinely practiced, routinely justified by bioethics panels, and routinely aided and abetted by a journalist class unwilling to challenge the sexual revolution.
To wit? Look at your newspapers right now. New York just legalized infanticide; over 30 states are considering similar legislation; some pro-life groups recently gathered in Florida are undecided on whether or not they will take up the mantle that all abortion is genocide or whether they will merely settle for “repealing Roe”— which doesn’t end the cycle of abortion but merely balkanizes it to the states, where Planned Parenthood is greedily licking their chops for the kill.
Do any of your headlines scream about infanticide? When was the last time you read a story about it in a mainstream or legacy outlet? Even National Review, Fox News, The Wall Street Journal — is there the necessary depth of outrage?
The sad fact is in three parts.
First and foremost, we need to recognize Solzhenitsyn’s cold truths about the nature of American journalism and media. Here’s a quick sample from his 1978 Harvard University Address:
“What sort of responsibility does a journalist or a newspaper have to his readers, or to his history — or to history? If they have misled public opinion or the government by inaccurate information or wrong conclusions, do we know of any cases of public recognition and rectification of such mistakes by the same journalist or the same newspaper? It hardly ever happens because it would damage sales.
“A nation may be the victim of such a mistake, but the journalist usually always gets away with it. One may — one may — safely assume that he will start writing the opposite with renewed self-assurance.”
In short, Western journalism (sic) becomes the perfect breeding ground for misinformation aimed at provoking an emotional response, not at fostering a rational appreciation. When Solzhenitsyn comments that a person who works and leads a meaningful life does not need an excessive burdening flow of information, contrast this with how we now consume the preaching of secular religions — our 24/7 news media, social media, print media, politicized film and television, and even video games carry the social justice themata.
The second part is that the pro-life movement is no longer split between incrementalists who seek to end abortion by degrees and absolutists who recognize that all abortion is infanticide. Rather, the incrementalist faction is devolving into the “safe, legal, and rare” wing of the abortion movement. This obsession with “ending Roe” rather than ending abortion has over the last 46 years earned us 61 million dead babies and the most liberalized abortion laws in the world. Is that victory? Which side are we actually on?
Point three is rather simple. Only 18 percent of all Americans actually believe in ending abortion. On the flip side, we could say that one in six Americans believes that every human person deserves the basic right to exist from his or her moment of beginning to natural death. Not a bad starting bloc, if you ask me — but we will not restore a respect for the culture of life in America by negotiating through the courts or cutting deals with politicians.
Back to Solzhenitsyn for a moment. When asked whether he felt more hopeful for the West or the East in the long run, Solzhenitsyn argued it was the East that held the most promise. In his short book Rebuilding Russia, he argues that while Russia may have to endure an authoritarian regime for a time (presaging the Putin era), it would transition into a democracy on its own terms — not necessarily on the terms of liberal democracy.
Today’s Russian Federation seeks to define itself against the West, if for no other reason than the West has errantly sought to push the territorial extent of Russian power as far east as possible. This definition has taken a bend toward the traditions that have worked for Russia: autocratic government, strong leadership, and a reliance on Eastern Orthodoxy.
The liberal democracies of the West have chosen a different path, one termed as “ideological colonialism” by Pope Francis and other more prominent luminaries of Christendom. Embracing the culture of abortion, homosexuality, and sexual promiscuity is the hallmark of the new civilization, so it seems.
Yet our media passively subsidize this new narrative and are quick to move on from any criticism of the abortion regime in our country. New bright shiny objects are found to quickly turn our attention away from the horror of infanticide and toward other bogeymen. Dialectical materialism — the same false god that drove the Soviets and the great error Russia spread to the world — is now firmly entrenched in the West.
The warnings of men such as Solzhenitsyn on his 100th birthday are echoed through the warnings of another 100th anniversary — that of Our Lady of Fatima. The tools to restore the culture of life will not be material ones, however. They will be spiritual, and the rosary in your pocket is the first and best tool to restore our spirit and change this culture to something Christ would recognize as the City of God, not the city of man.

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We love your comments! First Teachers encourages readers to submit their thoughts, views, opinions, and insights to the author directly, either via e-mail or by mail. Please send any correspondence to Shaun Kenney c/o First Teachers, 5289 Venable Road, Kents Store, VA 23084 or by e-mail to svk2cr@virginia.edu.

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