Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Alexander Sozhenitsyn: How America Became a Laughingstock

Notable & Quotable - WSJ.comWhen I was in high school, I liked to read the Russians a great deal. To me, the Russian authors seemed realistic and bleak, just the way the world seemed to be. There was no limit to the depth of poverty, depravity, inspiration, or whatever human experience had to offer. It was just the opposite of "Father Knows Best" and "The Lone Ranger", two shows which I, along with million of other Americans, still revere today. Who could forget a Stavrogin, a Raskalnikov? Who could forget Raskalnikov's landlady? Certainly, those mercurial characters belong in the pantheon of world literature along with the Hamlets and the Macbeths of a reknowned English playwright.

So out of the fuzzy, somewhat romantic world of my youth, comes this truly Russian, bitter, temperamental, and brutally honest character, Alexander Solzehitsyn. I could not say that I liked "The Gulag Archipelago" but it opened my eyes and left an indelible impression.

So here's the Wall Street Journal quote taken from a speech Solzhenitsyn gave at Harvard in 1978. One often hears from Barack Obama and other inveterate pacifists how America is a bad word in foreign capitals like Paris or Berlin, where bureaucracy is valued over character, and moral indictments of Al Quaeda are replaced with relativism and subpoenas and loud but feckless bellowing. Just click on the title link to read the words of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, one of the greats of world literature.

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