August 5, 2008
The death of Russian novelist Alexandr Solzhenitsyn marks the passing of a giant. His novels did much to undermine the Soviet Union.
Solzhenitsyn came to Harvard in 1978 and delivered an address that angered the academics who had once supported him as a prisoner. He said that Russia forgot God and that’s why communism was able to take over. He addressed the West about what he perceived as its decline in courage:
“The western world has lost its civil courage, both as a whole and separately, in each country, each government, each political party and of course in the United Nations. Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling groups and the intellectual elite, causing an impression of loss of courage by the entire society.”
While taking note of many courageous individuals, Solzhenitsyn said, too many in the West don’t know how to stand-up to dictators and terrorists. He then added this warning: “Should one point out that from ancient times decline in courage has been considered the beginning of the end?”
Solzhenitsyn was a Christian and has now received his reward. He has left a gift to the rest of us if we will receive it.
Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C.