Category Archives: Alexandr Solzhenitsyn

Live Not By Lies

Jordan Peterson speaks with Rod Dreher

It never ceases to amaze me that almost every time Jordan Peterson goes on air, or rather on Youtube or similar outlets, he says something that is new, profound and evocative. And not just one “something”, but loads.

In this one (1 h 20 min), he uses the occasion of discussing Rod Dreher’s new book, “Live Not By Lies” to suggest that churches should make a special effort to attract young men? How? By inviting them to the adventure of taking up their cross and following Jesus by doing the best they can do with their God-given lives.

In the time of oppressive wokeness, where being male is tantamount to being the great spoiler of the world, this would be a truly bold move.

Then, JP says that in the face of the woke tyranny, not just all the Christians, but all the Abrahamic religions should band together to fight the common enemy.

Dreher’s title “Live Not By Lies” is derived from an essay written by Soviet dissident Alexandr Solzhenitsyn just before he was kicked out of his country. In it, he advised followers that the least they should do is to not participate in the lies that daily life in the Soviet Union foisted on people.

However, the Enemy may have learnt from that experience. When Black Lives Matter burst onto the scene, mobs pressured people to join in their chants and raised fists, shouting: “Silence is violence.”

So, it may have become more difficult even than in the Soviet Union to “live not by lies”. And if not yet, it may very well happen soon.

Today is the 200th Birthday of Fyodor Dostoevsky

His "Crime and Punishment" taught me a lesson

Many years ago, when I was in my early 20s, I shared a flat with someone who had a copy of “Crime and Punishment” by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky. When I started reading it, I found it easy to identify with the feelings of isolation and alienation of the (anti-)hero, the impoverished student Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov.

Raskolnikov thinks himself intelligent enough to be above the law, and do justice his own way. However, he then goes and murders someone. The victim is innocent, but the reader is not invited to find her likable. This was a brilliant move by Dostoevsky, because it forces the reader to examine himself. Do we not all sometimes harbour feelings of superiority? The rest of the book is all about Raskolnikov’s attempts to deal with the fact that he has killed someone.

The lesson the book taught me was to “consider the possibility that I might be wrong”. It taught me some humility. For that, I am deeply grateful to Dostoevsky.

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A Prayer for COP26

Dear heavenly Father,

Today is the day people around the world commemorate the end of World War One. I do not know for sure why this evil entered the world, I don’t think anyone does, but I believe what Alexandr Solzhenitsyn said in relation to the disastrous Russian Revolution applies to this war as well: “All this happened because we have forgotten God”. If this is true, I pray that people around the world heed those words for our present times and troubles, and that we, in everything we do, consider another word from the author of that sentence, namely that the dividing line between good and evil goes right through each of our hearts.

With that in mind, dear heavenly Father, I pray, with regard to climate change and our response to it, that we will learn again to trust first in you instead of in princes of the world and their paid advisers. That we learn to pursue treasures in heaven, not in this world. That we learn to care for your creation by respecting your laws, including the law not to steal from each other, and to not bear false witness against our neighbour. That we all humbly concede that we don’t know all the facts and all the answers. That we help each other by teaching each other the little we do know – and discerning what we don’t, and by listening patiently to one another.

Help us to be weary of the claim that all that is required to know is now known. Help us to discern between action that protects creation and that which, even if well intended, does not or, worse, does the opposite. Help us, and remind us every time we feel the need to act, to count the costs of our actions before we act, lest we build on sand instead of the rock of your word.

Lord, you know I am very sceptical about the currently widely favoured approach to tackling climate change, which is the one promoted and discussed at COP26 in Glasgow, by the many paid advisers of governments, by many big corporations hoping for government money in return for conforming to the ruling narrative, and by almost every established media outlet around the world. However, I pray today for your blessing on each and every participant, and on each and every observer. May those who are truly fearful be assuaged and find peace in you and your assurances – especially the children and young people, who are increasingly frightened out of their wits. May those who are distant from you be drawn nearer, so that they see your plans full of peace and joy for them and all of us. May those who are driven by power and greed be humbled and converted to your way. May those who deceive be humbled by the truth. May those who honestly seek the truth be steadfast in the face of much deception and pressure to conform.

Thank you, dear heavenly Father, for your promise that those who meekly emulate your love will inherit the Earth.

May you, dear Lord and Creator, be glorified, and may your peace reign forever. 

Amen.

Repealing the century of collectivism, mass destruction and genocide

Our hope resides in a resurrected God

“We shall repeal the 20th century.” These were words spoken by American economist Murray N. Rothbard (1926 – 1995) near the end of an article he wrote in 1992. Another American economist, Gary North (b. 1942), who is a historian and theologian as well, used these words near the end of a lecture he gave in 2010.

Rothbard made clear why he wants to repeal it, when he asked, ironically:

“Who would want to repeal the 20th century, the century of horror, the century of collectivism, the century of mass destruction and genocide, who would want to repeal that! Well, we propose to do just that.”

With “we” he meant what he hoped would be a resurrected movement which in America is called the Old Right, a movement that was libertarian in its core, supported decentralised structures, laissez-faire economics and minimal interference of the government into private lives. This movement was effectively killed off around the year 1900 and replaced by interventionist, imperialist, big-government and big-business supporting politics.

Similar things had happened, or were happening, in Europe. Nationalism was the name of the game, and that sentiment lead to centralised governments continually increasing their interventions into the economy to suit their lust for power. Imperialism was the natural outgrowth of this development. This in turn lead to the original catastrophe of our time, World War One.

Considering that we are by now one fifth into the next century, it is clear that we have been unable to repeal the 20th century. For, as an idea, or phenomenon, the 20th century, in all its awfulness, is still firmly with us. So, how can we go about “repealing” it?

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